T-Nuts for the Milling machine

I was hoping to buy these but they are a weird size. The machine came with a couple of hacked up ones, and 3 different sized bolts as well to add to the mix.

A piece of 1/2×3/4 steel was cut to just over 3” length. This gives me 4 nuts 3/4” long and 0.025” for 3 saw cuts.

Some careful markup on the metal provided the guides I needed to make this the correct size. Measuring at close stages resulted in a symmetrical part. A bit of careful work with a centre punch meant that the bolt holes were centered in the slot. I tapped these 5/16×18 for a set of studs and standoffs that I hope to buy later this year. This is the first time that I used power tapping, what a joy compared to using a tap handle. A blip or two on the drill press power switch does the job. Only works for through holes though.

This was the first real test of my milling machine and my skills. The result is quite decent. And lots learned about the machine and its capabilities.

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Making missing parts

The horizontal milling machine has a stop on the X axis (left-right movement). This allows setting the travel within preset limits. Unfortunately only the LH adjustable limit came with the machine.

So today I made a RH one. Essentially a mirror image of the LH one, it is made from 1/2×3/4 steel. A 5/16” end mill did the hard work, with my coolant mister keeping things cool and lubricated.

The t-nut to hold the limit in place was made from a bolt. A bit of lathe work resulted in the final part working perfectly. One step closer to working on that model engine again!

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At the beginning

These are photos of the machine as it arrived. The photos actually make it look better than it was. Lots of accumulated grime, oil and grinding dust mixed together for over 80+ years. Several coats of paint add to the patina.



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At last, a milling machine

Opportunity came knocking and I answered. A small horizontal milling machine became available. And now it is in the basement!


An unknown brand, it has 3 speeds and metric lead screws. Divisions on the handles are 0.1mm, approx. .004 inch. A solidly built machine, it is in good condition showing little wear and no abuse. I might repaint it machinery gray at a later date but for now I want to get on with using it.

I stripped the machine to components, cleaned and re-assembled. No bad surprises, old oil and metal chips were easily removed with Varsol. There are just a few Allen bolts and set screws to replace.


The spindle is 1.125-12, a match for Myford and others. It is a solid spindle which is a pity as a MT2 taper with draw bar would get some horizontal clearance back. The unit probably weighs over 120 lbs., it doesn’t move once placed on the bench. Operation is very quiet and smooth.


The ER32 collet chuck came with a 3/32” collet enabling me to try cutting some mystery aluminum with an 1/8 milling cutter. I am ordering some more collets to fit my various end mills. For the .75” and 1” diameter ones I will have to make my own arbors from 1.75” diameter steel, that will go onto the Tools-To-Make list.


A Fixture Plate

There are a few machining steps coming up for the Jan Ridders Glass Cylinder engine that require larger pieces to be machined than will fit int he milling vise. A usual solution is a T Slot table to bolt onto the cross slide or milling slide but there isn’t one available in Taig size. Some time ago I bought a bunch of metal from someone, including a large piece of 1/2″ cast aluminum plate. A 5 minute cutting session on the bandsaw resulted in a 4” x 5.25” plate.Laying out on the granite surface plate

A bit of layout work and off to the drill press. Given that there is a grid of 20 holes to drill and tap I made use of the recently built fogless coolant sprayer to keep the drill bit cool and lubricated. The drill press was used to guide the 10-32 tap into the holes, finishing the tapping in a vise.

Cool air and cutting fluid keep the drill happyGuiding the tap straight in to the holeOnly a few more to go!

Last I drilled 4 mounting holes to line up with the T Slots on the Taig cross slide and milling slide.

Verifying location of mounting holesAll cleaned up after a bath

I don’t have a #10 counterbore and the 10-32 SHCS’s I have are too long so 2 more tools go on the build list before I can finish this plate.

A sample of why this is so handy to have