The Dixi Milling Machine
nothing is actually known about this type of machine. Even DIXI
SA. don't seem to have any documentation about it. Similar
machines were used to mill various recesses into watch plates. In any case, it was made for work on
rather low and flat objects, considering the limited elevation
of the spindle above the table. This table can be rotated over
angle of about 270 degrees. Presumably there have been stops to
limit the angle of rotation, but these are lost now. Workpieces
can be fastened using the four T-slots or using a clamp operated
by a toggle lever. All slides are operated by hand-levers and
the movement is limited by micrometer stops.
The machine has been given a thorough cleaning and was carefully repainted. Actually, I am not sure about the original colour. Other machines I have seen, were either grey or some sort of pale-green, but I found this dark green rather pleasing and easy on the eyes.
to make the DIXI more useful for model engineering, I had a
couple of raising blocks made for the spindle and fitted them
with an eccentric lock. I have also replaced the lever operation
for the z-axis with a screw-feed. I made sure, however, that
these alterations are reversible and did not change the
substance of the machine, so as not to detriment its historical
value. In addition, I made micrometer stops for the swing of the
countershaft was obtained from a flea-market and painted to suit
the machine. The machine takes its power via this countershaft and set of idler
pulleys from a 'Multifix'
motor, which is mounted underneath the work bench.
The Hauser Milling Machine
As the DIXI, the
Hauser miller really is a production machine, i.e. it would have
been set up for a particular job with the various slide stops
and then operated using the hand-levers. For one-off work this
is not a very convenient arrangement. Also modern milling
cutters tend to have far fewer teeth than in the old days,
meaning that only one or two would be in contact with the work
piece at any one time. I found that this makes hand-lever
operation difficult and the cutters tend to 'hook' due to uneven
advancement of the slides. This constraint, together with the
rather limited movement of the slides and the restricted
clearance under the spindlenose has resulted in this machine now
sitting in storage and unrestored for some years.
The ball-bearing spindle, which is an exchangeable
'cartridge', such as those still made by Gepy
S.A., is excellent though. Another
drawback is that the rotary table, which would have been similar
to that of the DIXI, is missing. One ideas was to adapt is as a
surface grinder, the ways being reasonably well protected.
Below are two pages from a 1913
catalogue entitled 'Precision Machines and Tools'
(Präzisions-Maschinen und Werkzeuge). Strangely, this catalogue
does not bear the manufacturers' name anywhere, though it shows
pictures of their production facilities. The only vague clue to
its origin is that it was printed by a well-established printing
and publishing house in Goslar (Harz mountains, Germany). This
may indicate that it could be a catalogue of the well-known
precision machinery manufacturer Gebr. Thiel
in not so far away Ruhla (Thuringia), who, being originally a
watchfactory, started to make their own production machinery at
about this time. The machines that were available in three sizes
very much resemble the products of Dixi or Hauser.
four-tool turret slide
The Wolf, Jahn & Co. Model 'A' Milling Machine
Various German manufacturers of horological machinery seem to have produced a small milling machine based on the 8 mm WW type headstock that slid in a dovetail. A most useful feature in some models is the integral rotary table that was driven by a worm, the worm-wheel being cut into the rim of the T-slotted table. The column was modelled like those in the early horological drilling machines, but later Boley machines had a more substantial casting. The advantage of the early models was that the throat clearance could be easily increased by raising blocks.
According to the
information on www.lathes.co.uk., the Wolf, Jahn
& Co. milling machine design seems to have been taken up by
some British manufacturer and sold under the brand of Sigma.
Eventually this evolved into the BCA miller,
which still is in
production today. The early Sigma machines appear to have been
virtually identical to the Wolf, Jahn & Co. Model 'A' and I
am wondering, since my machine doesn't bear a manufacturers'
label and was obtained in the UK, whether it is not in fact a
Sigma or George
Was machine was
received in a rather worn state and required some cosmetic and
mechanical restoration to
achieve a serviceable state.
|Picture from a 1912 catalogue||The restored machine||A very similar machine from about 1890 in the Musée International d'Horologerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland|
All the machines take the standard 8 mm WW (or B8 according to Schaublin S.A.) type of tooling. A range of 'second league' collets are kept for use with drills and end-mills.
|Spindle tools on 8 mm WW arbors|
addition, I obtained, or made from blanks (either antique or
from Schaublin S.A.), arbors for many current and obsolete
sizes of mills and slitting saws. Some years ago the remains of
the workshops of a well-known Viennese optical factory (that
went out of business some ten years earlier!) turned
up on the flea-market and I
got hold of various small shell- and other types of milling
Modern end mills are either held in a
carefully bored-out holder and fixed with three set-screws, or
in a suitably sized collet.
I also constructed a rather large boring-head to take the standard 8 mm boring bars and a micro boring head to
take 4 mm tooling. In addition, a dividing
attachment was constructed from various WW-lathe parts.