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Wide Bed/Big Swing Leblond Lathe & Cinncinnati Hypro Planer Mill

jh:

Mr. Yancey did show us a video of the on-site boring mill he and his sons had made for the Three Gorges Project. It was increceibly ingenious and altogether wild looking. As Mr. Yancey told us, the boring mill was built using parts of old US machine tools. It consisted of the rotary table from a big gear hobber with a section of heavy gun-barrel lathe mounted on it. A saddle rode on the lathe bed with part of a planer to provide a toolslide and downfeed. The machine initially mounted on the top of the runner, above where the shaft coupling flange would be. It bored the shaft fit and faced it sqaure, then the machine was re-mounted so it used the bored and faced surface as reference. It then machined the top and bottom bands of the runner. It was wild to see the video, as this huge section of lathe bed was revolving like the arm on a giant fly cutter. Once the machine had bored and faced the fit for the shaft and done the bottom and top bands, it machined some of the crown of the runner as well.

The last thing it did was to machine the inner area of the top of the runner crown for static balance. This was perhaps the most ingenious thing of all. To do this, the bottom band of the runner was set on four load cells, equally spaced about the shaft centerline. Each load cell gave an input of how much of the runner weight it was carrying. This input went to a computer program which figured out where and how much steel to machine off the inner area of the runner crown. This was converted into a CNC program for the boring mill. As the arm revolved about the shaft centerline of the runner, the CNC program pulled the tool in and out. This machined the inner circumference of the top of the crown into something other than circular, making a kind of "cam" with the heavier and thinner areas where needed to get the runner into static balance.

Mr. Yancey told us the lathe bed was a section of either a LeBlond or Niles (I forget which) gun barrel lathe he'd picked up at the end of WWII. The hobber was also surplus at the end of WWII. It was quite an interesting marrying of different old machine tools parts with some fabrications and castings done by his shop, as well as adaptation to CNC. One of Mr. Yancey's favorite things was to get old planers and convert them into CNC machining centers. He used to custom build these planers to do various specialized work. Some examples would be drilling numerous holes in structural connector plates for large bridges, or machining heavy weldments. One of the last times I spoke with Mr. Yancey, he was bemoaning the fact that he kept getting calls for these retrofitted planer/CNC machining centers and the supply of good larger planers was nearly dried up.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Hypro planer mill that was the mate to the LeBlond lathe in this thread is still sitting, unsold. Apparently, no one wanted it. It's a great machine, in every bit as good a condition as the LeBlond lathe. Unfortunately, in today's world, shops needing a planer mill are not too numerous. I think it is too much machine tool for nearly all shops, and for the few needing a planer mill it is a bit on the small side.

I was fortunate in getting to know Mr. Yancey, and that he took an interest in me. He taught me a lot in the brief time I knew him.
 
Joe:
I believe the planer mill has sold. I know the first time around with the auction the price never went high enough for the Power Authority to sell it. I am not sure if they had a second auction or just squeezed the high bidder for more money. The dealer (machinery values in NJ) I was bidding against on the lathe apparently bought the planer mill, as he called me to ask for my riggers information to load it on a truck for him. My guess is the dealer bought it and sold it to someone sight unseen, so it will be trucked directly to the end user. I will try to find out from my riggers where it ends up. It too was a fine machine tool in fantastic condition.
 
I spoke with Byron Yancey today---son of Bob Yancey.
He has no plans to post on web the video Joe Michaels references, unfortunately.
Turns out Yancey Machine Shipped two different machines to China.

I will drop in on The Yancey Firm in a week or two.
Should have some pics and follow up to post.

jh
 
Joe:
I believe the planer mill has sold. I know the first time around with the auction the price never went high enough for the Power Authority to sell it. I am not sure if they had a second auction or just squeezed the high bidder for more money. The dealer (machinery values in NJ) I was bidding against on the lathe apparently bought the planer mill, as he called me to ask for my riggers information to load it on a truck for him. My guess is the dealer bought it and sold it to someone sight unseen, so it will be trucked directly to the end user. I will try to find out from my riggers where it ends up. It too was a fine machine tool in fantastic condition.

Carter just wondering you clearly have the work to justify such a machine as well as the people with the know how to make money on it. Knowing it came from a great home and the history on it how come your shop wasn't interested in it? Or is it just that the machine really is too out of place in modern industry?

What I would really like to know though is how does one pivot their career to be in the position of a person like Yancy? It sounds like he had the neatest of jobs, are there many if any shops left out there doing the type of work like him that one could apprentice for? If I could find the right place like that to go work for and learn from, I could be due for a career change.
 
Adam,

That is a good question. We did give the planer mill some thought. There are a couple of reasons why we didn’t buy the planer mill. We are currently out of space for any new machinery that size. In other words something must go out to make room for anything new. That was the case with the big lathe – we scrapped a 48” Niles that was pretty well worn out to allow the new one a spot. We have a 48 x 48 x 192 Gray double housing planer that is in good shape, that we use frequently. Although the added capability of milling would be nice we felt that losing the traditional planing capability would be too big of a loss to justify the planer mill. The other line of reasoning not too buy the planer mill is that while it is a fine machine tool, I would rather take up valuable shop floor real estate with a larger CNC gantry mill. We are in the process of trying to build a new building, but are facing a few difficult issues with the planning board. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and end up with a new space for new machinery soon.


Even in a job shop environment like mine old style machine tools are becoming outdated. In order to keep up with my customers demands I must be able to produce quality machine work as fast as possible. For example it is hard to justify paying a guy to spend 2 days laying out a 60 hole bolt circle on a custom flange and drilling it on a radial drill press, when it could be setup, programmed and drilled on a CNC machining center in a few hours. Especially when a customer has a plant out of commission waiting for the part. Personally I love the older machinery. I enjoy running them and working on them. However, business wise, I cannot justify investing in machinery that does not maximize return.
 








 
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