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Pointers for a Thiel 159

Willum

Plastic
Joined
Apr 25, 2024
Location
The Great Eastern Flatlands
Hi All.

A Newbie on here but not a Newbie machinist (I did my apprenticeship in the 60s). I've owned and restored a Thiel 58 clone, built by Sentinel (steam lorry and railway engine manufacturers) and DON'T want another big project. Won't be hard to work out I've achieved my 'three score years and ten' and there ain't enough left for that job again.
Most of my works has been the manufacture of parts for ancient motorcycles and cars, one-offs/Toolroom type jobs.
After a machining hiatus of about 20 years, I'm eyeing up a Thiel 159. I've found one that looks in reasonable condition but would like to ask the collective wisdom for pointers regarding what to watch out for/run away from.
The only thing I do know is that the main spindle gearbox is prone to swarf/coolant contamination - which I guess would be ameliorated by decent maintenance. At a guess, any missing 'standard' accessories and parts are likely to be made of unobtainium as well.
Any info much appreciated.

Will
 
Best designed German milling machine ever IMHO
Some have powerfeed on the quill both up and down
Very elegant design
Parts are not available any more
There was one guy in Germany but he does not respond to my e-mail any more
I have a few spares though Not much
Never noticed any coolant contamination But I do not use coolant Such a mess
Never had any serious problems with it beside getting hold of bellows
Those I did order in China

Peter
 
Hi Peter. Just in case I go for the one I've found - which has the powered quill ............:D
It is missing the bellows on the vertical slide. Can I ask where you got yours from, please?
As for the coolant: I know a lot of folk hate the stuff and, yes, it gave me awful dermatitis in the days before anyone worried about things like that - but for me the prolonged tool life and improved finish was worth the consideration. Screens stop it being thrown around so much but they are in themselves a hindrance.

Will
 
Well, I got one.
00000004-PHOTO-2024-05-17-08-56-36.jpg00000005-PHOTO-2024-05-17-08-56-36.jpg00000006-PHOTO-2024-05-17-08-56-36.jpg
Dragged it home from Birmingham yesterday and proved beyond all doubt that the UK now has the worst maintained roads of anywhere I've travelled in Europe.
A few things needing to be done but nothing that looks serious. Came with a bit of tooling as well .......
00000003-PHOTO-2024-05-17-08-54-36.jpg

One thing I do know is that it was a LOT heavier than my old Sentinel '58' clone and clocked in at 1245Kg as it stands and without the tooling on the scales.
It's also very, very much quieter than the 58's triplex chain driven system.

Just got to get time to set it up and get going .......
 
It came with a newly printed parts manual, although I'm not 100% sure it's complete. I've yet to locate a 'User' manual to download and print. I believe there might be one on here but the one I tried to download refused me access.
 
Hi William,

Excellent! Have fun with the new machine. I love the auto-feed vertical head on these; it is very neat considering how many components they have in there. That boring head among the tooling looks good, too.

Can't remember where I downloaded my manual from, but it was free and someone on this forum pointed me in the right direction (maybe Peter?). Anyway, I can email it to you if you have an email account which will take a 10M .pdf file.

If anyone else in the UK is trying to find a Thiel 159, I noted that Phil Geesin Machines in Sheffield had one in about a month ago - similar vintage and automatic head, looked in nice condition from photos. Not sure if it's still for sale.

Best,

Ian.

p.s. Don't ignore the possibility of casting a good wiper for the vertical ways from PU resin. I did this because so I'm able to line things up from the ways or clamp magnetic bases on, and bellows get in the way. Anyhow, 3 or 4 months later it is still doing really well. PU is pretty oil resistant.
 
Can't remember where I downloaded my manual from, but it was free and someone on this forum pointed me in the right direction (maybe Peter?). Anyway, I can email it to you if you have an email account which will take a 10M .pdf file.

If anyone else in the UK is trying to find a Thiel 159, I noted that Phil Geesin Machines in Sheffield had one in about a month ago - similar vintage and automatic head, looked in nice condition from photos. Not sure if it's still for sale.

Best,

Ian.

p.s. Don't ignore the possibility of casting a good wiper for the vertical ways from PU resin. I did this because so I'm able to line things up from the ways or clamp magnetic bases on, and bellows get in the way. Anyhow, 3 or 4 months later it is still doing really well. PU is pretty oil resistant.
I saw the one Paul Geesin had. Good condition but a bit short on tooling, no horizontal arbor and no overarm steady, either. It is ex-MOD, so probably quite well cared for and serviced. He still has it listed.

The boring and facing head is a Kuroda UFB-4S, which looks very much like a Japanese copy of the Wohlhaupter original. The kit looks almost complete and in quite good condition.

As for the PU wiper: Good idea, thanks. There is a wiper on the vertical slide already. It will get investigated for integrity in due course.

Peter: Thanks for the link. I've now found that one and downloaded it. It is a scanned/photograhed copy of an original manual and very useful, thanks - even if a bit out of kilter on a few of the pages. I suspect ian159 is referring to the same one - on a French site? If not, I'll happily take an emailed copy.

Sadly there's a bit of a casualty of the journey home. Looks like the manual feed handle for the quill feed was not secured by its grubscrew ............ It's gone! :angry:
Hope to God it's in the gutter on the M6/M42 and not in someone's radiator.
I'll see what the Seller offers before I embark on an unplanned machining job ................
 
Hi William,

Re the manual: Yes -- the one I have is the same manual exactly, but not the same scan. I can't remember which site I obtained it from.

Hope you have no more missing bits after the drive. People here can give you pics and dimensions for the quill handle if it is really lost and you need to make a substitute. The one I have has 3 keyways cut in it, but only one allows the vertical head to slide back fully without the handle getting in the way.

Re the y-axis clamping (one of the few things on these machines which attracts criticism).. I note a few photos of 159s with a sheared-off shaft for the clamp on the operator's RHS. It's possible to clamp y and then traverse z into this handle from below - I reckon that's the way they get broken. Also, the leverage is only just enough to really lock the y-axis properly in a well adjusted machine - I am not the first to spot this.

I think making the levers go up from the shaft rather than down works here, and you can make them 25% longer to compensate for the 25% reduction in mean human hand strength between 1965 and 2025. It looks crowded, but it works in practice...I better upload a picture or two if anyone is interested.

ttfn
Ian.
 








 
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