4 months by cncdivi

Recently, I spent several hours changing the way covers on my Industrial Hobbies RF-45 mill. The ones usually seen on most RF-45s tend to be of a lesser quality and lack durability. I’d been making do with magnetically mounted covers but decided to revert back to more secure, problem-free covers before putting the mill into its flood enclosure. Adjusting way covers and splash guards may be attainable when you’re right next to the mill with access from all side, but it becomes a more challenging endeavor when the mill is inside an enclosure and some angles are difficult to reach.

Way covers, for whatever reason, seem uncommonly expensive, so I keep an eye out for them almost everywhere.  A long time ago, someone in an auto parts store said to me one day, “Parts is parts.”  This came up because he had a part to fit the car I was repairing, but it was from a completely different make.  It was a good point–if the part fits and does the job, it doesn’t have to be from the same make.  Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for parts.  When it comes to import machine tools, they can be hard to come by, but there are some useful sources.  Grizzly does a pretty good job of delivering parts that can be ordered from their web site.  Another great source is Tormach, who will also let you order from the web site.

Consequently, when it came time to replace the way covers on my RF-45, I went around to the usual suspects and wound up ordering a brand new set from Tormach.  I knew they were well made as I remember looking at them on a Tormach mill.  I also liked the way the Y-axis covers were angles to encourage chips not to pile up there.

It took a little bit of fabrication of some adapter plates, and I had to drill and tap a few holes in the column, but here is what I came up with:

Way Cover Parts

Set of parts including the bellows and the adapter plates I fabricated…

Z-axis Way Cover

There is the Z-axis way cover in place…

Y-axis Way Cover

And there is the Y-Axis way cover.  You can see some of the mess these covers are designed to deflect away from the sensitive areas of the ways and ballscrews!

Getting a new set of way covers in place was one of a couple of operations I wanted to get done to the mill before it gets installed in its new flood enclosure.  I have one or two other things to do yet, and I am expecting a new 3000lb capacity gantry mill to be delivered to the shop this coming week as well.  That should make short work of moving the mill.  More photos when I get it into the enclosure.


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