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Author Topic: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!  (Read 1813 times)

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Offline ajsawyer

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Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« on: September 21, 2021, 03:04:39 PM »
Hello all, I am in the process of designing/building a mill and have been digging up old threads from others who have done the same. I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of pictures/video on one thread, along with some other info, so here we go...

stats on mine (feel free to use the same format)

Reason for building: to make something I can use to make lots of things.
Max log width: 54"
Max log length: 33'
Engine info: Kohler KDW1003 24hp diesel
$$$ spent: $2800 so far
Hours spent: about 60 so far
Lessons learned: diablo steel demon blades are amazing.

https://youtu.be/wkBvWv1_1Wg



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Offline tacks Y

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2021, 08:11:26 AM »
Sorry I have a Baker mill, not home made. But looking at your pics do you have a way to hold carriage on the tracks? If not may be make it farther between the rollers? Looks like it could tip off.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2021, 08:59:04 AM »
Sorry I have a Baker mill, not home made. But looking at your pics do you have a way to hold carriage on the tracks? If not may be make it farther between the rollers? Looks like it could tip off.
I machined 3" diameter wheels with a 3/8"x3/8" groove in them. They will ride on 1/4" thick 1" angle iron, I just have to get some 20' sections and weld them to the track (which is 4"x6"x3/8"). The wheels are spaced 36" apart front to back, it is a lot sturdier than it might look. I placed the vertical posts (4"x4"x3/16") towards the cutting side so that with the motor installed the center of mass should be close to the middle.

Sitting on the ground without wheels on it it is not easy to get it to start tipping at all - with everything installed the rolling saw assembly will be pushing 1800lbs. The part I'm not sure about is if I ever get a 48"+ diameter log on there, how much lateral force will there be when making a first cut so close to the top of the saw. I guess I'll find out sooner or later.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2021, 11:20:06 AM »
One thing I haven't decided on yet is the clutch, whether I should go with a centrifugal clutch or a lever operated belt tensioner like the cooks mills have. Have any of you experienced both setups? 

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2021, 03:40:04 PM »
I put a clutch on mine with a 22hp engine and it has been great. I did have to deglaze it after a day sawing with a friend who was being a bit rough on it but other than that I've never looked at it again. Open throttle and it goes.

One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed. It has been fine and sawed many logs without it but recently I had it trip and caused a bit of damage.

I bet you'll want your lift to move a lot faster than that too! Hard to see how quick it was moving but mine is 3-4x quicker I'd say. Hiking up to start new logs or over opening cuts before dragging slab off won't be much fun.

Offline KenMac

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2021, 09:52:48 PM »
One thing I haven't decided on yet is the clutch, whether I should go with a centrifugal clutch or a lever operated belt tensioner like the cooks mills have. Have any of you experienced both setups?
My Cook's has the belt tensioner style drive. I like its' simplicity and durability. The only downside I see is the blade runs most of the time from starting a log to finish. It's not as convenient to stop blade rotation as a clutch, but to me that's a trade-off I'll go for every time.
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Offline John1946

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2021, 04:38:58 AM »
ajsawyer, your mill looks like a " Texas Ben" offspring. Are you using his plans? I used his plans with some mods to build my mill. Are you going to be portable? What are you going to use as a log turner, at 54" I hope it isn't manual.
 

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2021, 08:23:00 AM »
ajsawyer, your mill looks like a " Texas Ben" offspring. Are you using his plans? I used his plans with some mods to build my mill. Are you going to be portable? What are you going to use as a log turner, at 54" I hope it isn't manual.
 
That's right, I figured I could save a lot of trial and error by modifying his existing plans to fit my needs. Would love to see how yours turned out!

I'm going to use my tractor to move the mill around the property if necessary, and to load and turn the logs. My neighbor has a skid steer with a grapple he'll give me a hand with if needed. I'm making a log hauling trailer as well so I'll be able to go pick up about 6k lbs at a time when I have the chance. I'm doing this for the lumber and not for the money per se, so I'm not sure I need to put an axle under the mill just yet.

The reason I went with 54" max width is that I have a 50" red oak that fell down a couple of years ago on the back of my property. I'm glad I did because one of my coworkers has a 56" water oak that she's getting cut down and is giving me the logs. Here's a picture of that oak, as well as the log pile that's waiting for me.  



 


Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2021, 08:27:32 AM »
I put a clutch on mine with a 22hp engine and it has been great. I did have to deglaze it after a day sawing with a friend who was being a bit rough on it but other than that I've never looked at it again. Open throttle and it goes.

One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed. It has been fine and sawed many logs without it but recently I had it trip and caused a bit of damage.

I bet you'll want your lift to move a lot faster than that too! Hard to see how quick it was moving but mine is 3-4x quicker I'd say. Hiking up to start new logs or over opening cuts before dragging slab off won't be much fun.
Can you elaborate on what happened to make your mill trip?

I'm also curious about how your belt drive is set up and whether you've had any issues with that? If I go with a clutch, I'm considering the dual belt type. 

The lift was a bit slow in the video because the battery hadn't been fully charged, I figure I can also play with the sprocket sizes if I want more speed. Either way I was thrilled that it worked the first time - I'll take slow over hand operated!

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2021, 10:46:49 AM »
One thing I wish I did on my mill is capture the carriage to the bed.

This is one feature I would like to see on ALL mills.  Budget friendly, home built or otherwise.
HM126

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2021, 11:02:08 AM »
I've got the pictures but it isn't done yet .Anyway the frame is from a salvaged straight truck that hauled NFL foot balls all over the USA .Long rascal 28 feet ,8" frame .The rollers on the carriage are 4" heavy duty V-notch from an obsolete robotic loader I got on a scrap pass at work .These things have 1" axles .I had to widen the notch to be able to ride on the angle iron guide track and they were hard as  rock .Had to use carbide lathe tools on them .The only things I have yet to do is the saw and set works and bed clamps .In other words a works in progress ,rather slow at that .

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2021, 02:16:50 AM »
A little bit of negligence on my part, I had a short offcut laying across the track I thought would just snap and it built up tension and sent the carriage into a slight wheel stand when it sprung back. Front wheels missed the tracks on the way back down (offcut pushing from one side only) and splattered.

Happened in a split second, I couldn't believe what was happening for the brief microseconds it was happening.
Easy feature to add anyway, peace of mind, who knows what will happen. I've never had any instability while sawing, even way up at max height.

Definit need two belts, whichever way you do it. One B or even C I wouldnt think, just won't cut it for 25hp.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2021, 06:36:46 AM »
You're going to want something to keep the head from coming off the track.
I've never had a problem sawing the log and staying on the track. I've only had a problem 3-4 times. It involves when I am coming back with the head. Seems like it hits the cant/log and somehow gets knocked off the track. I forgot the details. I will let you know more when I do it again.  :D ::) All mine has is some angle pieces, on each side of the head, that goes under the bed rails. This keeps it from falling all the way off.
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2021, 11:18:29 AM »
This one has been around a while.  It's a 4 post design using 5 thread per inch Acme rod.  The two sides are connected by #40 chain.  It has a steering wheel on one axle for fine adjustment.  I set a cordless drill on the other side to make large moves.  Works pretty well.  I'm running an electric motor that I pirated off a grain auger.  It is about a 1960 vintage rated at 5 HP.  I set a modern 5 HP on it and it wouldn't pull the mill.  I have 24 feet of track and can cut about 22 feet max length.  It is 27 inches between the blade guides at full opening.  Axles are Ford 9" (turned down to fit a pillow block bearing).  Tract is 4x4 angle with bearing casters riding on top.  I have a LogRite cant hook and and old model with an 8 foot steel handle to turn logs.  



 

Log stops and dogs are on the same axle.  Slide them up and they bind.  Threaded rod tightens it up.



 

The contraption will cut.



 

Before the wooden guards went on.........



 

My best production in a day was about 800 bdft of 6/4 yellow poplar.  They were ideal sized logs for a manual mill.

Wudman
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2021, 12:07:21 PM »
Just for general information .Electric motors are about like lawn mower engines and log splitters .It's became a popular thing to  over rate them. The only true way to find out the actual power is using 746 watts per horse power .

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2021, 09:10:43 AM »
This one has been around a while.  It's a 4 post design using 5 thread per inch Acme rod.  The two sides are connected by #40 chain.  It has a steering wheel on one axle for fine adjustment.  I set a cordless drill on the other side to make large moves.  Works pretty well.  I'm running an electric motor that I pirated off a grain auger.  It is about a 1960 vintage rated at 5 HP.  I set a modern 5 HP on it and it wouldn't pull the mill.  I have 24 feet of track and can cut about 22 feet max length.  It is 27 inches between the blade guides at full opening.  Axles are Ford 9" (turned down to fit a pillow block bearing).  Tract is 4x4 angle with bearing casters riding on top.  I have a LogRite cant hook and and old model with an 8 foot steel handle to turn logs.  


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Log stops and dogs are on the same axle.  Slide them up and they bind.  Threaded rod tightens it up.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

The contraption will cut.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

Before the wooden guards went on.........


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

My best production in a day was about 800 bdft of 6/4 yellow poplar.  They were ideal sized logs for a manual mill.

Wudman

Very nice, I like your log dog idea!

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2021, 09:22:47 AM »
I picked up the water oak logs on Friday, I'm glad I went with 56" max width! 



 

 

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2021, 09:30:21 AM »
I used an electric clutch on my dedicated slabber build.

If I were to fabricate a band mill, Id use a belt tensioner design instead of an electric clutch. Much simpler, less long term maintenance.

Here is a link to the post where I show the design.

https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=76301.msg1158070#msg1158070
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2021, 10:00:12 AM »
At first I was thinking your mill was all wood. then closer examination showed texas build :)

My mill is 24' bed length roughly 20'-4" cut length. will fit a 48" diameter log. running 22 hp predator with centrifugal clutch.

During my design phase I felt that capturing the carriage to the bed was a great idea. So I added a piece of cutoff 2x6x.188 all it does is wrap the 3/8" rail I welded to the main beam. its just tight enough the head cannot come of the track. I have had some close calls.

Check you my signature for the build and my gallery for all of the pictures.
https://forestryforum.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=7990

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2021, 11:55:23 AM »
Got it painted last night after spending all Sunday de-greasing, acid etching, and applying POR-15. Hopefully it will last!


 
 

 

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2021, 02:03:27 PM »
Got it painted last night after spending all Sunday de-greasing, acid etching, and applying POR-15. Hopefully it will last!

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

POR15 comes in gray??? Who knew?!?!?
HM126

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2021, 05:45:58 PM »
Got it painted last night after spending all Sunday de-greasing, acid etching, and applying POR-15. Hopefully it will last!

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

POR15 comes in gray??? Who knew?!?!?
Sure does. Pro tip: don't store it in a mason jar (although that's a brilliant idea) unless you know how to easily cut off the ring without breaking the glass. 

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2021, 06:15:33 PM »
Looking forward to seeing your first stack of lumber next week, at this rate!  ;D

Brave to paint it before it's seen a log. Nothing else to be added to the carriage? Dripper, fuel tank, tensioning stuff etc will all bolt on?

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2021, 07:34:47 AM »
Sure does. Pro tip: don't store it in a mason jar (although that's a brilliant idea) unless you know how to easily cut off the ring without breaking the glass.
I usually just drill/punch a hole in the lid, dump out what I need into a solo cup, then use a short panhead screw to seal it up.
I agree with @JoshNZ about painting before testing, but hopefully any changes will be minimal.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2021, 07:58:21 AM »
Looking forward to seeing your first stack of lumber next week, at this rate!  ;D

Brave to paint it before it's seen a log. Nothing else to be added to the carriage? Dripper, fuel tank, tensioning stuff etc will all bolt on?
I just got sick of all the rust, especially with how rainy it's been lately in Atlanta. 
I wanted to paint before assembly (and to make it pretty), figured I might save some time even though I have to grind and weld a few more things on. I hope I don't have to take the blade pulleys off again as they are on real tight. 

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2021, 08:02:48 AM »

I wanted to paint before assembly (and to make it pretty), figured I might save some time even though I have to grind and weld a few more things on.
I'm with ya.  The trailer I fabbed up is in the same state.  Everywhere I ground off the galv and welded has been rusting...and rusting more.  
HM126

Offline Gere Flewelling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2021, 08:04:11 AM »
I have had terrible luck with POR15.  Not with the product, but the container.  Every can I have ever purchased has required destroying the lid to get it open the first time.  Then what ever product you don't use hardens up before you have a chance to use it again.  After struggling with this for some time, I was advised by a NAPA counter person that I should try the SEM brand "Rust Trap" paint.  It seems to work exactly the same as the POR15, right down to the "runs like water" when brushing it on.  The good part is that it costs less per quart, comes in black or gray, and best of all it comes in a brake fluid type can with a small screw on lid.  The lid will stick some but can easily be opened with a pair of pliers.  I usually dump some in a plastic quart paint mixing container and brush on what I need and then dump it right back into the can.  Almost no waste of the product.  The gray color requires a welding rod to stir it up as it settles out when new.  The cans do have a ball in them like a rattle can, but still needs to be stirred up when first opened.  The black seems to stay stirred.  I have used many quarts of this product the last couple of years and believe it is the best rust sealer paint out there at this time.
Don't get any on you as it takes days to get it off your hands and it never comes out of your clothes.  :-\ 
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Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2021, 08:28:56 AM »
Thanks @Gere Flewelling

I haven't opened my 6 pack of POR15.  If I can return it, and find the SEM product locally, I'll give it a shot.
HM126

Offline rastis

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2021, 01:15:39 PM »
One drawback to POR15 is it is not UV protected. Unless theyve changed the formulation since I used it last.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2021, 03:23:36 PM »
One drawback to POR15 is it is not UV protected. Unless theyve changed the formulation since I used it last.
That's why I put 2 coats of rustoleum on top of it, turned out to color match really well. 

Offline marty3d

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2021, 11:58:48 PM »
So, here is mine.  I started with a kit for the sawframe itself, the rest is my design/work.  I tend to get carried away...  

It will cut a 36" x 16'6" log on its trailer mounted bed.  I built an extension that allows 20ft logs and I am extending that right now to do 24ft for one particular customer.  It has a 22hp Predator engine that is running just fine so far.

I designed the setworks to be microprocessor controlled - I can position the saw using a joystick and I can set the carriage in motion in either direction with a knob.  I also have a separate box for AutoCut and AutoReturn.  AutoCut starts and marks the beginning of the log, cuts to the end and stops - raising up a half inch to get ready to eject the board.  AutoReturn marks the end of the log and pushes the board off the end.  When the saw gets 2" past the start, it stops and drops down for the next cut.

The mill has a hydraulic setup for setting the stops, pushing the log over and clamping it in place.  It also turns the log and raises/lowers the toeboard.

Other than the saw itself, the hydraulics, lift motor, and track motor are all 24v DC electric.  Two car

 

 

 

 batteries in a box and a 110vac to 24VDC power supply keep things going.
Retired - and busier than ever.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2021, 11:07:40 AM »
Marty, I would love to see more details on what you did. the few pictures you posted looks top notch.

Offline boardmaker

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2021, 02:11:23 PM »
That looks awesome Marty.   Good job!

Offline marty3d

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2021, 11:40:43 PM »
Here are a couple more detail photos.  The carriage drives using two #35 roller chains, some sprockets, etc.  A nice feature is that one end is hard-connected to the frame.  The other end just runs over a quartered section of a sprocket and is secured by just a bungee cord.  That way, I can add or take out an extension without having to fuss with the chain.  I just finished modifying an extension to do 24ft rafters for a customer - it is pictured.  It is supported by trailer jacks so I can align it with the mill.  Easy.

 

 
 

 

 
br>

So, I had this brainstorm while trying to attach the encoder to the carriage drive motor.  Look closely and you see the motor (which has a metric allen head machine screw attaching the sprocket to its shaft, a metric 3/8" drive allen socket, a 3/8" socket drive to a 1/4" hex shaft, a bit of hose, and a hose clamp.  Totally works.
Retired - and busier than ever.

Offline marty3d

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2021, 12:26:44 AM »
Time to try a video - here is a link:     This is my boom truck and the hydraulic claw I built to pick up logs.

And, another link:  
Retired - and busier than ever.

Offline ajsawyer

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2021, 02:25:01 PM »
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Your chain drive sprocket is reversed from mine, I have a 54t driving a 15t. Could the stripped lift nuts have to do with the torque on the lift rods?

Offline marty3d

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Re: Home Built Mill Thread - Let's see 'em!
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2021, 10:22:42 PM »
No.  Torque is 90% dependent on the amount of lift, and then friction - grease, etc.  Our two systems are quite comparable, although you have a very slow driver that you have to speed up, and I have a very fast driver that I have to slow down.  When it was working, it would drop the saw down by a very precise 1-5/8" to start the next cut - automatically - in less than a second.  

That said, the amount of lift exerted by the Acme rod is also related to sliding friction - which should not be very high with greased steel on steel.  I am looking into that.
Retired - and busier than ever.


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