Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Give me a Brake

In a recent post in the Dark Chocolate and Sponge Cake series, I showed some pictures of the tear-down of the top of the milling head on my Zimmermann milling machine. Rather than add the follow up material to that thread, I thought it made more sense to put it in a separate, albeit orphan, post.

The new brake shoes - or 'break' shoes as they were described on the package - were a perfect fit:

The 4-step pulley tapped down into place the locknut can be refitted:

I tightened it back down using the Gedore pin spanner, with extension sleeve:

I've ordered a pair of M6x1 set screws with brass tips, which will be put in place to complete the fitting of the locknut. They're coming from JW Winco. Should have those in another day or two.

The housing for the drive pulley set could now be put back in place, and secured with 4 allen head cap screws:

I then winched the motor up into the air again with a come-along and got it back into place. Final step in mounting it was to tighten down a couple of nuts:

Then the wiring to the motor needed to be re-established. After feeding the leads through the box, i tightened up the compression connector:

Then the individual leads could be put back on their respective terminals:

Normally one avoids using a tool like this on fasteners cross-wise to the jaws, but these are brass fittings so the tightening torque is quite modest and certainly no strain on the plier wrench.

Connections complete:

Lastly, the cover:

I flipped the disconnect back to the 'on' position and everything was working as per usual, except for the brake, which was no longer making a clattering noise and in fact easily braked the spindle. Nice to have at least one trouble spot on the machine sorted out.

Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It is always a good feeling after you've had something apart to get it working again, better than it was....

      Hoping to hear in the next day or so about the availability and price of a new quill and spindle.

  2. Always enjoy taking a brake to read your blog, totally worth it.

    1. Appreciate that - sometimes braking news is the best news of all (?)

  3. Ah the joy of using old machines..
    My last repair job like that was on the mulesaw. A bearing had become loose on the main shaft, and while I hate to stop whatever I am doing, it is indeed a nice feeling when it is in better condition after you complete the repair job.

    The major advantage of old machinery has to be the delightful absence of plastic. Plus the fact that they can be repaired without a software upgrade.


    1. Jonas,

      good to hear from you as always. I also appreciate the 'delightful absence of plastic' on old machines, and the fact that they are repairable, if you have the means and time to do so.

      The software upgrade aspect is ultimately what will result in ever crappier machinery. with the rate of change in computer tech, it is highly unlikely that any software or operating system on a machine will be relevant or useful after, say, 10 years. And like old computers, there comes a point where you can no longer simply upgrade software but must replace the computer altogether. In such a situation, where manufacturers increasingly design machines around the myriad benefits of the computer chip, it will really make no sense to design the rest of the machine to last 50 years, when it will very likely be obsolete after 10. So, inevitably, the pressure is to make the rest of the machine less substantial than previous models. I generally steer clear of machines with a computer card in them, though there is one in my SCM planer (I have a spare) and there may be one in my shaper for the digital readout. I'm not sure. More and more it seems like the sweet spot for machinery is the 1990's, maybe the early 2000s for some models. This, of course, from the perspective of a one man shop without the deep pockets or production imperatives of a larger enterprise.


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