Saturday, July 13, 2019

Prowler Spring (Pre-AirVenture) Update

Hey Everyone,

Well, summer is getting into full swing and AirVenture is just around the corner.  But, I wanted to take a few minutes to recap the Prowler related news, happenings and other stuff that's gone on since the last blog update in April.  I personally have not gotten much accomplished with Prowler this spring.  I just have too many domestic things happening right now, not the least of which is the last 2 daughters are leaving the house (and the country) soon for college and a Rotary Exchange.  But, I do have a fair amount of Prowler related news from several of the builders and owners to share with you.  Here is what I have:

Prowler items in this update:
1.  Ray Has Moved out of "Commie-fornia" 
2.  Bryan Has Purchased Kit #4
3.  Francis has completed paperwork for French FAA
4.  Bud's Prowler is For Sale
5.  Steve Has Donated His Prowler To A Museum

Before I get started on the blog update, I wanted to share something pretty interesting with you.  This spring, we had really strange, large, cyclonic storm pass over our area.  Here are a couple pics that I took:

While you can sort-of see the cyclonic movement of this storm from these pictures, you really needed to be standing under it watching the whole storm spin to get the full effect.  Then, my daughter found a video (with some time-lapse footage) that was made by a young guy in her class that makes drone videos.  Check this out:
That was a very crazy storm!  Nice job on the video, Landon!!

On with the update.......

1.  Ray Has Moved out of "Commie-fornia" -  In my last update I reported that Ray had stopped by the shop on one of his trips to haul his Prowler and his hangar "stuff" up to the Bend, OR area.  Well, recently he and his wife packed up what was left in the house and they made the final move up to Bend.  Here is the email that he sent out to announce the move:
This will be the final communiqué from this outpost.  The southern border has now been overrun and the troops are rapidly infiltrating the local area.  I suspect the fifth column may begin to activate for the final push. Also noted are more frequent intrusions along the coast, possibly probing operations to locate more weak spots for the final moves.

We will be evacuating this location in the next few hours and will re-establish communications when we have located a more secure location to operate from.  There will be no further transmissions…
Later, I got this email with the subject line "Return To Reality" and this announcement from the new "outpost":
The great escape is over.  The return to reality occurred on 10 Jun 2019 @2004Z as I crossed the line in the lead vehicle.  The high speed recce vehicle was close behind to complete the relocation convoy.  A previous secret load had been pre-positioned with all the industrial tools and supplies and is still hidden in a secret location.

With great difficulty communications have been re-established and the location can now be revealed.   [Street Address removed].  Map coordinates are still classified to prevent targeting the exact location by previous enemy officials.

Contact #  XXX-XXX-XXXX. This # is classified and not available from any other source.
So, there you have it.  Ray has really escaped from Commie-fornia.  I'm hoping to get invited to visit the new outpost sometime soon.  I'll have to make sure that I'm not followed by any previous enemy officials.  I'll make a report with pics when I return.  Thanks for the updates, Ray.  Congratulations on your escape from CA.

2.  Bryan has purchased Kit #4 -  Kit #4 was originally purchased by a gentleman named Lee Guiff from Indiana.  Lee stuck with George and made payments on the 2nd half of his kit cost and eventually ended up with a mostly complete kit.  Unfortunately, Lee passed away recently and his wife began looking for a way to dispose of this kit.  I mentioned this to Bryan in one of our conversations.  He became interested and eventually negotiated a deal with Lee's wife.  Here is a pic from his trip to pick up Kit #4:
 Here is a write up of the transaction that Bryan sent to me recently:
You had mentioned Kit #4 being possible for sale.  After the conversation life went on as usual and I had not given this opportunity a second thought. Then one morning out of the blue I had a distinct prompting that I should call and inquire about the status of their progress in reselling their kit. As it turns out not much had transpired since your initial consultation with them since the component pieces were uncrated and shelved in different locations in a barn on the family farm.

After much communication on the subject we reached an understanding and I realized that it was time to borrow a trailer and head north to personally inspect the remnants of Kit #4. As an aside, the original purchaser was introduced to George in the early days of Auto Aviation when George was building F85 engines for other aircraft builders. When the decision was made to transition into building an airframe for the F85 engine, George put together the prototype Prowler.   After the decision was made to make Prowler kits, the well known Red White and Blue Jaguar (production) version came to be.

That was when Lee made the decision to acquire a position in the kit delivery schedule and kit #4 was assigned. As with all the other initial purchasers component delivery was an issue and diluted the initial enthusiasm associated with the purchase. Eventually a majority of pieces found their way to complement the collection of parts and kit #4 was pretty much complete (but without cowling and engine).  Like other builders at the time work was started on the horizontal stab but not much happened after that. As delays were hampering delivery of components almost six years transpired before an engine arrived, then - there it sat for the last twenty-four years.

Rolling back the barn doors I immediately began recognizing items that looked all too familiar (from my experience constructing my own kit #7).  Remarkably the majority of parts were in good shape so we transitioned into conversing about perceived value and subsequent liabilities of transferring ownership.  With those issues settled we loaded up my trailer, reminisced a bit and with smiles all around I became the new caretaker of a collection of salvaged parts.  In all, this was a good thing for me as I needed quite a few component pieces to assist me in final assembly of my airframe.  Some of the remaining parts will also go to supplement other builders who may need items.
Since then, Bryan has begun to process all of his new "stuff" and one of his first orders of business is to sell the engine that he also bought from Lee's family.  Here are a few pics:

This engine is for sale.  If you are interested, please contact me and I will put you in touch with Bryan.  If you get to AirVenture this year, you can see this on display!!

Update: 9/12/19 - The engine has been sold.

3.  Francis has completed paperwork for French FAA - I recently got an email from Francis that contained a document in French.  Here is what Francis sent me:

Sent: 6/15/2019 9:40:52 AM
Subject: Fwd: 2ème relecture
Hello Todd,
Some news of "dossier de calcul".
Asked by OSAC (French FAA)(they broke my bollocks!)😄🙄😵
I asked Francis if this report was good, if the Prowler passed the test with the "French FAA"??  Apparently, he doesn't know yet. His answer was:
I dont know, but this allows the visit of OSAC to close the spar!
But, I do not know when, the French bureaucrats are very slow!
Hopefully, it will happen soon!!  Here is the first page of the report that Francis made for the OSAC:
If anyone knows a french speaking mathematician that can translate this, please let me know.  Thanks for the update Francis!  I hope the inspection gets completed soon!

4.  Bud's Prowler is For Sale - Bud has placed his Prowler For Sale.  I created a blog page for him to use to send information to interested folks.  See it here:

5.  Steve Has Donated His Prowler To A Museum - I recently emailed Steve to check on the status of selling his Prowler.  Here is what Steve sent back to me:
Thanks, Todd!  I wound up donating it to the Port Townsend Aero Museum at Jefferson County airport in Port Townsend.  They picked it up a couple of weeks ago.  They’re expanding their museum and envision it hanging in a new building they are preparing to build, gear up and banked; but in the meantime they say they want to fly it.  They know they need to swap out the PRSU drive gear and fix the two or three squawks I had from my last flights; we’ll see if they can do it.  I’m working on a liability waiver now.  I think it will be cool when its all said and done.  I told them about you; you might give them a call in case they ever want to consult with you.
So, the PT Aero Museum may seek some help to get the plane in the condition that they want.  I also told Steve that I'd try to put together some kind of tribute to George that could be placed with his airplane.  I'll keep you informed as I pursue that.

Well, that does it for the Prowler update for this time.  While I haven't been doing a lot of Prowler work myself, I have still been busy.  The following paragraphs outline some of what has been going on with me this spring.


Dad's RV Mess
- Dad has an RV that he stays in when he is up at his sawmill during the summer.  When my folks head for Phoenix each winter, dad puts his RV under a roof that he build many years ago to dry his fresh cut lumber under.  This past winter, there was a lot of cold, wet, snow that piled up nearly 4 feet deep on the roof of this shelter.  Well, it could not handle that size load and roof and trusses came down onto his RV.  It did a lot of damage.  I had a stretch of 5 days off at the beginning of May and went home to WI help him get this mess cleaned up.  Here is what it looked like on the day we started:
Here is the "pile" about 6 hours later after we got the sheathing off and the 1st couple trusses removed:
Yeah, at 81 years old, that's dad up on the roof of the RV!  About noon on the 2nd day, we exposed the truss that crashed down onto the RV air conditioner and shoved it down through the roof.  Ugh!!
This is what was left to do on the last day - just take down the last section of sheathing and trusses:
In the end, we got the entire roof removed and got the RV jacked back up to level so that the landing gear could be removed:
The weight of all that snow coming down onto the RV caused the pins in the landing gear to shear off.  That allowed the landing gear legs to shove up through the bedroom floor and tore the hell out of the bed and the bump-out gear.  Since then, dad has gotten the landing gear fixed and re-installed.  Then, he moved the RV off of the slab.  After AirVenture this year, I'm going to hang around and help him get the bedroom put back together and get it closer to livable again.

Graduations -  So, this spring 2 of our 3 daughters had graduations.  First, in mid May, our oldest daughter, Kayla, graduated from the University of Montana - Western:
Congratulations, Kayla!!!  Woo-hoo!!  She actually graduated in Dec '18, but the University does not have a  mid-year commencement ceremony.  So, this was her graduation ceremony.  Here are all our daughters at Kayla's graduation:
Kayla has since been hired by the State of Montana Department of Agriculture as a poultry and meat inspector.  She is off to a great start and she is loving her 1st job!

Then, in early June, our youngest daughter, Crysta, was honored as the valedictorian of her class:
And, a week later, here is a picture from her HS commencement ceremony:
Great job, kid!!!  Soon, she will leave for 10 months on a Rotary International Exchange to Brazil.  On the other end of academic spectrum, our middle daughter, Alexandra (on the right above), has accepted a 3-year partial scholarship to Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany.  She'll be leaving in Aug this year.  She previously completed a 10 month youth exchange to Germany during her junior year in high school.  She has become very proficient and fluent in German, however the university teaches classes in English.  So, she'll getting a lot of bi-lingual experience for the next several years.  Congratulations on the scholarship, Alex!  Excellent job!!

FIRE! - A few weeks ago, I was out in the shop and heard a helicopter come over very low.  It was a CalFire helo and it was landing in the creek bottom behind our house.  I ran up the steps to the shop office and saw a lot of smoke coming from that way!

I jumped in the truck and headed towards the fire.  When I got to the to the other side of the creek, I saw this:
Within minutes, the helo had dipped in a nearby reservoir and made it's first pass:

Thankfully, CalFire got the fire contained and put out very quickly.  Good thing, because the wind was blowing pretty strong out of the north that day, and my property was straight downwind!!  After the devastating Carr and Camp Fires last year, this was a bit of a scare!  Hopefully, this will be all for fires this summer!!

Shop Painting -  It's been 10 years since I build my shop.  It has needed a new paint job for a few years and this year it had to get done.  I hired my nephew to help me get this done.  In fact, Garrison did the majority of the painting work.  Here's a picture of him reaching the high spots.  As you might expect, my sister was not exactly all that excited with this picture:
Yeah, that's the ladder on top of the tractor canopy!  In the end, Garrison did a great job.  And, my steps to the office got painted for the first time, EVER!
There was one place that needed painting that Garrison couldn't get to since he had to head back home.  And, this area needed some special attention.  So, I handled it myself on some recent days off:
This wall needed special attention because it is a south facing wall.  This wall gets the very worst of sun in the summer and driving rain in the winter.  In fact, the first thing I had to do was find several leaks and patch them (I had rain water getting into the shop this past spring!).
It took about 3 days to get the leaks located and patched, then put 2 good thick coats of paint on everything.  It's great to have the shop sealed back up and looking good again.  Thanks for your help, Garrison!

EAA Chapter 157 Father's Day Pancake Breakfast - This spring, I was volunteering at the local EAA chapter's pancake breakfast (I was mixing the pancake batter - it was the only job I was qualified for since it involved a power tool!!).  At one point, the girls came to wish me a happy Father's Day and handed me an envelop.  It had a ticket in it for a ride in a T-6 Texan!!  That's the plane in the background, and me with the girls together when I got back from the flight: 
As we walked out to the plane, I explained to the pilot that my daily driver was an Airbus A320.  He said, "Well, that's no fun!"  So, I assured him that he could have as much fun and he wanted on this ride.  Needless to say, my flight included some "unusual attitude" flying.  Ha!  Thanks, Ladies!!   That was a great Father's Day gift!

Well, since that day, I've been working the day job nearly non-stop so that I could get my hours in early in July for the company and then be off  for all of the week of AirVenture.  If you can make it to OSH this year, it's going to be a great year!  It's the 50th anniversary of AirVenture at it's "new" home in OSH.  I'll try to get another blog update in after AirVenture.  I hope you all have a great summer!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Bud's Prowler is FOR SALE


Prowler N12BT

Bud has decided to sell his Prowler airplane.  Here are a few recent photos:

Here are a few more details:

=> The Airworthiness Certificate was issued in 2010
=> The airplane is at the Apopka Airport, FL (X04)
=> Currently 114 hrs on the airframe and engine
=> Asking $80K USD

Here are a few older pics I have of Bud's Prowler:

 Here are a few videos that I have of Bud's airplane:

An engine start-up:

A takeoff roll:

A couple of in flight videos:

If you are interested in getting in contact with Bud, please send me an email to the feedback link located here:


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Another Prowler Shop Project - Rebuilding A Hardinge CHNC Lathe

As I mentioned in the last update, I've been working on another machine project on and off at the shop over the past year.  I wanted to break this update out of the normal Prowler blog updates, since this update deals with my repair and alteration of a "new" machine that I hope to use in production Prowler parts - and does not contain much info related directly to the Prowler aircraft.  So, if you're interest - Please have a look.  If rebuilding old CNC machines is not your thing, feel free to pass on this one.

Last May, I had a buddy who wanted to sell his CNC lathe to raise some cash to buy another machine he liked better.  He was tired of dealing with his Hardinge CHNC lathe with a Fagor 8025T control installed on it.  It was his only production lathe that didn't have an OmniTurn control and and he wanted to purchase another Hardinge lathe he found that came with an OmniTurn control - so, that way, all of his machines would then be the same.  I have actually worked on this machine for him many times over the years, so I knew pretty well what I was getting into.  The lathe wasn't holding position well on the Z axis and there was a few other problems that would need to be addressed.  The price was right, so I bought it from him.  Here's a few pics from moving day:
 I used the overhead gantry that I'd built for working on the 400 ton press to pick the machine up.  Then, I backed the trailer under it:
Here is the machine after I got it home to the shop and started to tear it down:
To start with, I did some research about this lathe.  What I've found out is that this is the very 1st line of CNC lathes that Hardinge ever made.  These machines were built in the late 1970's and this machine was #109 in that series of lathes.  Unlike our current technology, anything built in the 1970's that had a computer attached to it was BIG!  This lathe was no different.  Here is pic from the cover of the maintenance manual that I found online:
Check out that control!!  It's 1/2 the size of the lathe!! And, your smartphone today probably has 10,000 times the computing power than that old control did in 1979!  If you follow that square tube that comes out of the top of the control and goes up and over the lathe you'll see it is attached to large electrical cabinet behind the lathe.  That cabinet is about 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide and about 1 ft deep.  It was designed to hold some huge, high current switches, breakers, relays and spindle control amplifiers that were the cutting edge technology of 1970's.

Now, sometime in the late 90's or early 2000's someone did a retro-fit to this machine and installed the Fagor 8025T control that is on the machine now.  That got rid of that massive control in the foreground of the above picture (I wonder whatever happened to that??).  However, when whoever did this retro-fit installed this new Fagor 8025T control, they left a lot of "stuff" in the machine that was no longer needed.  There was a ton of "dead weight" that was hanging out in this machine that could be gutted out and gotten rid of.  More on this later, but I figured, at the very least, the large electrical cabinet in back could be deleted and the machine streamlined significantly.

After some initial tear down and investigation, here is the punch list I've come up with for this lathe project:
1.  Find out why the Z axis was not working well (loosing position and not repeating well - like during threading operations);
2.  Remove the huge electronics cabinet off the back side and put the needed components into a smaller enclosure;
3.  Overhaul the X axis servo, and belt drive system - it was kind of a hodge-podge mess;
4.  Re-wire the machine with a single point power hook up and convenient switching to power up the control and the spindle systems;
5.  Investigate the tool turret system and try to get it to be usable again;
6.  Rehab the coolant system;
7.  Rehab the collet closer system and try to get it working again;
8.  Re-install new plexiglass into the enclosure doors.

1.  Z-Axis Issues - So, one of the big problems with the machine was that the Z axis was not working well.  It was loosing position often and the control was giving Z axis following errors.  It was also not repeating its position well - like during threading operations.  After the initial tear down, I started focusing in on the Z axis system.  What I discovered is that the Z axis ballscrew was designed to be held in position along it's long axis by a bearing block system.  There are basically two thrust bearings that are tightened towards each other by cylindrical bearing retainers with OD threads that are threaded into a big block of steel (from the each direction); and that block is rigidly bolted to the ways (main body of the lathe).  Here is a pic of the Z ballscrew (under the covers) and the bearing block on the left end (the servo turns the ballscrew via a cogged pulley on the right end):
Here is the pulley end of the Z axis ballscrew:
Turns out, those bearing retainer nuts had merely gotten loose and each time the Z axis changed directions, the Z ballscrew would turn about 1/4 of a full turn and the cross-slide would not move (while the bearings "slopped" inside the bearing block).  So, just simply tightening up those retaining nuts took the backlash out of the Z axis ballscrew.  After a few other small tweaks and putting it all back together, the Z axis is nice and tight and working well again.

2.  Huge Electronics Cabinet & Re-wiring - As I previously mentioned, when the F8025T control retro-fit was accomplished on this machine, there was a lot of junk left on the machine that could have (should have) been removed.  This was very true with the electrical cabinet.  Before I moved this machine from my buddy's shop to mine, I decided that it would be easier if I removed that main electrical cabinet (also since I wasn't going to need it any longer, why leave it on).  Here is a pic of the inside of that 5' x 3' x 1' electrical control panel just after I disconnected it and removed it from the main body of the lathe:
Looking closely at this cabinet under the cover, you can see that the only component that is in use on the left side of this huge cabinet is the black box near the top.  That is the spindle drive controller/amplifier.  All the rest of the "stuff" on the left side of that box is not used and can get chucked!  On the right side, the huge 60 amp switch on the upper right can be replaced with a 30 amp machine switch that is about 1/10th the size.  The group of semi-conductor relays on the lower right can still be used, but about 1/2 of them are no longer needed.  They have been replaced by relays in the F8025T control and can be deleted.  The remaining "stuff" in the middle of the right side of the cabinet can be used as is, or replaced with a smaller updated component.  Overall, I surmised that the items that are actually being used in this LARGE cabinet could be removed and installed into a much smaller cabinet. (I have an idea for another application for the large cabinet, but that'll be another project for a future update.)

Here is a picture of where and how this cabinet was attached to the machine.  It was simply bolted to a sort-of "tunnel" that was welded to the back side of the lathe.
The various control and power wires were passed through this tunnel and then into the big cabinet.  After looking this over for a long time and taking some measurements, I decided that all the electronic components that were needed to run this machine could be mounted into this tunnel.  One big problem was going to be that divider plate welded down the middle of the tunnel.  Also, you can't put a bunch of electronics into a small space and not ventilate it.  Things will overheat.  So, I was going to have to include some kind of ventilation fans and filters.  Oh, and I'd have to fabricate a cover for it.

First things first - that divider had to go.  A few minutes with the 4" angle grinder (with a thin cutting blade) and a lot of sparks later..... The divider was gone:
With that gone, I could start moving the components over from the big cabinet to the small one.  First, I traced out the circuit diagrams and took lots of pictures of the existing hook-ups, then that old divider plate became the new plate to mount the components on in the top portion of the tunnel.  With that component plate in place, I started moving components over one-by-one.  Here is the current result:
At this point, everything in the new cabinet is moved over and hooked up except for the 115Vac items.  The wires that are still hanging out of the tunnel all have to be somehow or other get hooked up to 115Vac power - which is still pending (I haven't done the main power hook-up wiring yet).

Next up, I started chasing down how to ventilate this tunnel.  There were some large rectangular access plates that I had removed from the lower sides of the tunnel.  Also, the big, old electrical cabinet had a large air filter set-up.  I decided to use that and, somehow, attach it to one of those lower access plates.  Here is what I came up with after I cut out a few chunks so that it would all fit together:
The lower access plate (on the left, above) got a square hole cut in it.  The old filter assembly got a slice cut out of it.  Here (below) is the new system after welding the cut pieces back together:
There are stand offs at each corner that the cover bolts too.  This provides and air gap all around the edges of the cover.  Here is a test fitting of the new filter assembly on the tunnel:
Next, add paint and some furnace filter material:
AND..... air filter assembly is completed:
Now, I had to figure out a way to get air to move through the cabinet.  A 115Vac cooling fan would work best.  I found one locally sourced for $15, got it to the shop, took some measurements and cut a hole in the other lower access plate using a fly cutter in the mill:
Here's the access plate with the holes cut and the fan that will mount to it:
I decided that there was enough room on the access plate to also fit an electrical hook-up box to it that will be used for hooking power up to the machine:
Add paint and a little more furnace filter material:
Here is the fan and power hook-up box mounted to the other side of the tunnel:
That all came out pretty nice.  I'm happy with the results.  Moving on to the X axis work:

3.  Overhaul Of The X-Axis Servo And Drive System - Here is a picture of the X axis drive set up before I stripped it all down.  You can see that it is a very "hodge-podge" set up with lots of plates, extensions, shims, etc.:

From these pictures, it may not be immediately evident, but it was not an optimal and there is much room for improvement here.  The servo that was installed on the X axis is quite oversized (servo power capability and physical size).  A properly sized servo will negate the need for that big aluminum block spacer between the servo and the mounting plate.  Also, the cogged pulley on the right in the top picture is very worn and needs replaced.  After removing the servo and the aluminum cover plate here is the cogged pulley that drives the X axis:
The pulley is pretty badly worn where the belt runs on the outer edge of it.  It looks corroded too, like whatever someone was using as a coolant wasted away the aluminum where the belt ran. Here is the hub that the pulley attaches to on the end of the X axis ballscrew:
I tried finding a 1" slab of that cogged pulley material that I could machine to make a new one identical to the existing, but I have been unable to locate any at a reasonable cost (most places wanted me to buy a 10' bar of the stuff!!).  I beat up eBay an Amazon and found one new cogged pulley that might work.  It is the one on the left here (old pulley on the right and ballscrew hub is below):
The new one I found has the correct specs with regard to the diameter and number of cogs, but it is much thinner than what is currently on the machine.  That may not be a big issue as long as the small pulley on the servo can be made to align properly.  Also, the center boss on the new pulley is too small to adapt it directly to the existing hub.  Here's what that looks like:
So, I'm going to have to find another way to adapt it.  (Or, I might put a big piece of round aluminum bar in the super spacer on the mill some day and experiment with making my own replacement cogged pulley from scratch).  More to be done here.

As for the servo itself, it is not the correct shaft size, not the correct physical size and the max speed is rated too low for the machine (F8025T control).  The original servo went out on my buddy, so he bought a replacement off eBay.  But, unfortunately, he got one that didn't have a high enough max speed.  I installed it for him anyway, temporarily so that he could keep making parts - but, I had to limit the max speed on the control.  Now, I'm keeping an eye on Ebay for a cost effective option to replace this servo with one that is more properly sized and will allow the control to run the machine at normal max speed.  More to follow.

4.  Power Hook-ups & Machine Switching - Previously, the machine was powered from 2 different sources.  One source of 115Vac was fed into the large old electrical cabinet that powered the spindle and various relay controlled components (like coolant and collet closer, etc.).  Then, the Fagor 8025T control (which includes the power to the servos and servo amplifiers) was fed from another 115Vac source (literally fed from a cord plugged into a wall outlet).  Also, this machine originally used a cutting oil only coolant system with a huge tank under the lathe bed and was powered with a large 230Vac/3 phase pump.  Somewhere along the way, the 230/240Vac system was removed, the tank emptied and the coolant system was converted to a Little Giant 115V coolant system.

I'm going to continue to use all 115Vac systems, but I'll create a single point power hook-up for the 115Vac power.  Then, I'll install a remote switch on the front of the machine near the F8025T control that will turn on the spindle and power the coolant and various auxiliary systems.  I'll hard-wire the F8025T control to the same 115Vac system and continue to used the power switch that is already installed on the control to turn it on and off.  This way, I can turn on just the control if I want to jog the machine around and move the servos, etc. and not have to turn the spindle on.  That could also be used to make "dry runs" to test part programs.  Then, when ready to make chips, just hit the other switch to power up the rest of the machine.

5.  Tool turret system - This will potentially be the most difficult part of this machine restoration.  The lathe was built with a 8 position tool turret.  The tool turret was computer controlled and moved automatically when tool changes were called for.  This was accomplished using a complex system of pneumatic pistons, air motors, hydraulic actuators and an encoder type electrical position feedback system.  However, when the machine was modified and the F8025T control installed, the tool turret was simply bolted down and a gang-bar tool system was mounted to the top of the turret.  Here is the tool turret with the gang-bar removed:
Removing the top plate of the turret (the plate that the tools are actually mounted to) reveals a sturdy ring below that is rigidly mounted to the X axis and has two alignment dogs (black raised areas on the left and right sides of the picture below) and you see the top of the turret piston (area inside the bronze ring):
The way that the tool changer selected a new tool was to apply compressed air under the tool turret piston and lift the piston and the tool mounting plate upward.  Then, a rotary air screw turned the turret until the new tool was close to alignment with the tool position closest to the spindle "cutting position".  Then the compressed air was removed from the bottom of the piston and ported to the top side of the turret piston.  This forced the tool turret mount plate down onto the set of tapered dogs in the outer ring shown above.  Those male dogs you see in the picture above are matched with female slots in the bottom of the tool holder plate.  When the turret piston has compressed air on top of it, the air pressure holds the tool plate firmly down on those alignment dogs and keeps the tools perfectly aligned for cutting the part in the spindle.  Here is the alignment ring with the alignment dogs removed to expose just the top of the tool turret piston:
Here is the piston removed from the machine.  You can see the aluminum piston and the o-ring around the outer edge that seals the piston inside the turret pocket:
The thick piece of steel you see to the left of the piston (between the piston and the gear on the far left) was an alignment stop device.  When the turret was close to the desired position, a hydraulic arm would pop out from the side of the turret pocket and stop the turret in the desired position (the air servo would simply spin the turret until the old control made that hydraulic arm pop out and stop it in the desired position.  Here's a shot of that arm that stops the turret in the desired position:
The finer pitch gear that is attached to the tool turret piston (photo 2 above) engages the idler gear that you see in top of the hole in this picture:
That idler gear turns an electrical feedback encoder that is located under the rectangular cover just above the piston pocket in the picture above.  The control would know where the desired position was by using those gears and the electrical feedback encoder and and when the control saw the tool coming close to the "cutting" position, it would fire the hydraulic arm to stop the turret in that spot.  You can see the top of the feedback encoder in the foreground of this picture (my fingers are holding the feedback shaft):
Anyway, the point of all this is that (I THINK!) I might be able to use the turret again by installing a 2-way pneumatic valve system that normally ports air to the top side of the turret piston to hold it in the normal cutting position, then have a spring loaded "Tool Change" position which will put compressed air under the piston when a tool change is desired.  So, when you want to do a tool change the Gcode will have the control go into a pause routine for a tool change.  Then, the operator will flip the 2-way pneumatic valve to the (non-normal) "Tool Change" position which will put compressed air under the turret piston and allow the turret to be turned by hand.  With the new tool in the cutting position, the operator releases the 2-way valve and the compressed air will once again push the turret down onto the alignment dogs and hold the new tool in cutting position. At least, that is the theory.  The application might be a little more "fun."  More to follow......

 6.  Rehab the coolant system - As I mentioned above in the power system modifications, this lathe originally had a cutting oil "coolant" system.  Heavy, petroleum based cutting oil was used as a coolant and it was stored in a large tank under the lathe.  The cutting oil was pumped by a fairly large 230Vac/3-phase pump which was turned on/off by a large 3 phase switch in the electrical cabinet that was actuated by a 115Vac solenoid.  The 115Vac solenoid was controlled by the old controller using Crydom solid state relays.  Here is a pic of the accessible end of the coolant tank (and pump):
Using cutting oil like this is really not practical anymore and most coolants today are water based solutions that are much less toxic and much less expensive (imagine the cost of 30 gals of cutting oil today!!).  I don't have a definite plan yet, but I hope to install a medium sized coolant tank with a 115Vac pump that can easily be controlled by the F8025T control using the Crydom relays.  I have more research to do on as I design this new system and will follow-up on this when I get a firm plan together.

7.  Collet closer system - The lathe has a pneumatic collet closer system installed.  It has been semi-deleted and is not currently operating in automatic mode.  Here is a pic:
It does work manually by turning the  whole body of the closer, the threaded rod will close the collet holder.  I'm hoping to trace the electrical and pneumatic circuits in this system and figure out how the system is supposed to work.. Then, I will come up with a plan to repair, re-vamp, re-do, or otherwise re-install an operating collet closer system.  Even if it is just ends up being a manually controlled collet closer (.vs. controlled by the F8025T controller) - that would be an improvement over the current manually threading mode.

8.  Re-install New Plexiglass Into Enclosure Doors - I removed the enclosure bows so that I could work on the lathe more easily, but didn't have anywhere to store them out of the rain, so I turned them upside down on top of the machine, for now. Here is a pic as the machine currently exists.
Once I have all the mechanical type repairs done to the lathe, then I will endeavor to source some plexiglass and install new panels into the doors so that there will be good visibility inside the machine while it is running, but keep the coolant from splashing and flying about.

Well, that the current state of "dis"-repair of this machine.  I'll be pecking away at the hit list areas and will update on this machine again later.  Hopefully, you might have found some of this useful information for a similar project or prospective project.  Thanks for checking out the Hardinge CHNC Lathe project.  Now, back to the normal Prowler Blog updates.