"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Tiny Taig Sleeper CNC Mill

Art-Deco-Sleeper-Train2I just called the Taig CNC Micro Mill a “sleeper”. I do that because I think there are probably a lot of people who don’t realize what is “under the hood” of this little machine. It doesn’t have all the catch word components of larger CNC mills. Especially the anti-backlash ball nuts and screws. It also uses good old fashioned manual oiled guide ways. Very non high-tech components. I consider it the KISS principal of machine design.

The truth is it doesn’t need the balls when used within it’s design parameters. It is a MICO mill. A well designed micro-mill.

I have been running one in hobby type CNC operation for nearly a decade. Nothing is worn out our causing reduced repeatability or accuracy. Note I said HOBBY USE. I figure I have at least 1000 hours of (moving) operation on the mill. Perhaps up to 1200 hours. I often run 3D carvings with a continuous run time of two hours or more.

Twenty five weekends a year with 5 hours of actual run time (a lot) is only 125 hours a year. That time ten years is 1250 run hours. If someone is doing more run hours than that with a Taig, they should probably look towards a midi mill like the Tormach 770 with auto oiling and forced (flood) cooling.*

I have milled all types of hobbyist metal such as Iron, steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and many other materials like Corian(r), wood, plastic and wax.

I have involved myself with lost wax casting and for several years have pressed my ageing Taig CNC mill into micro fine 3D wax carving. The spindle is constantly at top speed and runs from two to four hours continuous. The Taig mill doesn’t miss a single bit.

My favourite wax… Continue reading

Tiny but Mighty Project

Mighty Mouse

Mighty Mouse

I haven’t posted here for some time. I have been busy doing a ton of work on other projects and the “machining of steel” part of my shop has been a bit idle. I have been machining wax so that counts for something.

But I made up for the slack a very tiny bit last night by machining a small locating pin for my wife’s sewing machine from a steel rod. Hardly worth mentioning actually, but like I said, its been a long time and no posts here.

What I started with was about a two inch length of 3/16 (0.1875) inch steel rod. The pin finished out at about 5/8 (0.625) inches long. The ends needed to be different diameters for half the length each. I took no measurements and just turned the pin to fit the existing holes. This was a repair/replacement for an existing plastic pin that broke. I replace one several years ago that is along side of this current one. The pins are used for locating a removable platform or deck around the sewing head. The steel pins are of course much more durable than the original.

The fat end of the pin is a press fit into the plastic platform base and the small end slides into a locating hole on the machine base.

OK, so the point is — this pin is not something you can just go somewhere and purchase, and it is far better than the existing plastic part it replaces. It is a better invention. (That’s my favorite new word, invention.)

It was super easy to make. The lathe (I used the PD400) is always set up. Total time even with finding the steel rod, was about 30 minutes. I also used the cutoff saw to cut… Continue reading

Seeing The Light

I am showing off my personal Taig Micro-lathe and some of the minor improvements I have made.  I haven’t done any super detailing but it seems everyone modifies their Taig Micro-lathe to the way they like it.

It is an older version and NOT exactly the same as the one being sold today. I wrote an article when I first obtained this lathe, so I won’t go into detailed coverage here. The biggest change is the carriage on the new lathes are extruded rather than cast, a much nicer looking detail improvement.

I like the motor on the left rather than behind the micro-lathe.  I don’t want swarf thrown all over it and there is the carriage clamp screw on the back side of the carriage I have to get to. The compound tool holder (not shown) sometimes has to stick out the back for angle cuts. Also the motor switch is far more accessible in this position.

I also like how easy it is to make accurate motor belt adjustments. Other owners can do it their own way. The motor base is a homemade copy of one shown in Nick Carter’s web site. I used to buy from Nick (including this lathe) until I became a Taig dealer myself. He is a good guy!

The motor is a Dayton 6XJ07. It was supposed to be TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled) but the shaft end cover is open in this motor. I have checked… Continue reading

Just Do It


Promoting Micromachining

At this moment I don’t want to take time away from my wax carving and lost wax casting but I am still enthused about my machine shop activities. Some of that is because I use my machine tools to machine wax models.

I love all my machine tools. It is just so cool to turn things from raw stock into dimensional accurate parts. I am totally hooked. Here is a size comparison of a micro lathe to my manual midi sized lathe. I also love CNC but it is not for everyone. I do not own a CNC lathe.

What really stokes me at the moment are the smaller machines like the Taig Tool products that I sell in my e-store. There is so much that can be done with this size of machine and so many people who really like to use them. It is a great product. The really interesting part is that many owners customize their Taig machines to make them unique. Why not? They use their machines to make parts and accessories for their machines. It is a part of the culture.

The Taig Micro lathe is very popular for custom modifications. It is one of those machines that have no intrinsic value to keep stock like an antique car. Accessories make it more valuable when done correctly.

I wouldn’t actually do it right now, but I can imagine myself choosing the Taig micro lathe and mill as my initial manual tools and modifying them to my needs the way JR Bently AKA “The Engine Man” has done. Yeah, he has moved past Taig brand but he and many others have shown what can be done with small machines tools. His modifications of the tools are inspiring. You see where he started.  I’ll never stand next… Continue reading

DRO Error Fix

This is my DROpros DRO that I installed on my X3 manual mill back in February of 2010. There is also a complete install article in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. Go visit both links.

This is the best addition I made to my manual mill. I use the DRO on everything I make on the X3 Who needs dials anymore?

Well, I did. I was about to run a few cuts and when I flipped the DRPpros on it did its little display dance as I call it the gave me an error seen in the first picture. The X REF kind of hinted to me it was looking for a reference and didn’t find it. I figured there may be a battery inside for a reference voltage.

I sent this first picture to DROpros and explained the problem. They agreed it could be a battery or perhaps a diode that failed.

About a week later I shipped the control head back to them. I did peek inside and there IS a battery on the main board. I checked the voltage and under no load it was only half of the voltage indicated on the battery label. Ta-ta…

Just got it back and as you see it is working perfectly again. I didn’t get a bill for repair or return shipping yet. I paid for for sending. I may not get a bill.

The DroPros owner is a veteran and proud of his customer service. As a veteran brother… Continue reading

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