Aciera F3. Grease Or Oil.

  1. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    201
    UK Hampshire
    I'm reinstating an Aciera F3 and I'm a little confused as to what to use in the vertical head.

    Through its production life the design of the standard vertical head seems to have changed.

    This seems to be the earliest version. I have managed to track down the manual for this version and its oil filled, you can see the sight glass on the front. The oil is for lubrication of the gears, from what I can tell the lower bearing is greased and the upper oil fed from the nipple.

    [​IMG]

    And this one the latest version. Again,manged to track down the manual and on this version there is no sight glass and the gears and bearings are greased.

    [​IMG]

    At some point there seems to have been a transition between heads, this is what mine looks like. Seems similar to the later one but with an oil sight glass and nipple for the top bearing. Not sure if it should be oil or grease for the gears as I cant find a manual for this head.
    IMG_2483.JPG

    With the scribe block set to the mid fill point on the sight glass this picture shows how far the oil level will be inside the head. The part of the spindle that would be submerged in oil doesn't rotate and the drive gear wouldn't dip into the oil so I cant see how the gears would be lubricated does that mean that despite the oil level sight glass this one probably needs the gears greasing, any body know for sure?

    IMG_2481.JPG
     
    Milkybars likes this.
  2. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,995
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Those are lovly machines, that glass may be a running level, and show full running. That gear needs oil, Id ask on the model engineers forum, as those are highly desired in the modeling forums.
     
  3. Agroshield Member

    Messages:
    805
    On a very practical note, if you fill it to the scribe level with oil, every time you remove the head (or even loosen it to rotate to horizontal mode), the oil will pour out everywhere. Also, try filling it as it is now and see if any oil escapes down the spindle. If it is not oil tight, it is not meant to be oiled.

    It is possible that for continuous, very high speed use, they may have specified oil instead of grease.

    Have you seen:

    https://www.practicalmachinist.com/...lls/aciera-f3-vertical-head-lubricant-199016/
     
  4. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    201
    UK Hampshire
    Yes, I've already read that and it doesn't really answer the question. The expanded drawing in the last post does appear to detail my head.

    I can fill the head beyond half way before there is any possibility of oil escaping down the spindle. Luckily the head rarely if ever needs to be split off as shown in my pics, normally you just lift it off as one unit with the drive, I think Aciera get around or certainly minimise oil leaks when adjusting the head angle by specifying an ISO 150 which I guess is pretty viscous. Think I may go down the oil route, if its filled to the top of the window then the drive gear should just about dip in.
     
  5. Agroshield Member

    Messages:
    805
    You might have to be wary with that oil in a cold garage in a UK winter and take appropriate action.

    Also remember that the specified lubrication schedule and products were made on the basis of (hard) industrial use, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Your usage will be a small percentage of that and under quite different circumstances.

    If you happen ever to see any P20 collets (W20 with internal M12 thread), I would be glad to know. Thanks.
     
  6. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    201
    UK Hampshire
    Hope you are sitting down. While looking for info on the Aciera dividing head I came across a web site selling some P20 collets.

    https://www.nielsmachines.com/en/collets/
     
  7. metvic New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    West Sussex UK
    I have owned for about 15 years an F3 apparently identical to yours, citizen kane, and like you have never found a manual showing the correct vertical head. Lubrication has always been a problem but my general guide for the F3 is to use oil if a sight glass is fitted and grease if not. However, I previously had an F3 with the early rounded head shown in your first photo and in this case it was oil-filled but the bottom bearings had to be smeared with grease by removing the bottom cover plate, would you believe! For my current machine I have always filled with oil using an oil gun applied to the top nipple. It does drip slightly if I rotate the head but there is minimal leakage from the spindle.
     
  8. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    201
    UK Hampshire
    Thanks for the reply, nice to know I'm not the only one slightly confused but the way Aciera chopped and changed the lubrication method for the vertical heads.

    I've done the same as you and oil filled and its been running just fine for a couple of months now. I've filled it quite high on the sight glass and I can see the oil is being stirred up so I'm confident that the gears are dipping into the oil. Likewise, no oil leaks from the spindle and minimal if I rotate the head.

    I'm seriously considering a DRO, have you fitted one to yours?
     
  9. metvic New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    West Sussex UK
    I was really pleased to chance upon your post and the opportunity to share experiences for the first time with someone with a similar F3 vertical head. You will know as I do that the manuals at this time were a complete mess with random crossing-out on the lubrication diagram in an attempt to keep up with design changes. I am even aware of one late machine with a sight glass on the side instead of the front of the head but with no requirement for oil, only grease.! can only guess that Aciera were using up old castings.

    What oil did you settle for; I use ISO 30. I did seriously look at DRO soon after I got my square head F3 but never bit the bullet and now can't justify it for what I do. I have VFD, what is your electrical set-up?

    In the absence of a quill feed on the F3 I have made a very simple drilling attachment. It would not get approval from the Aciera purists but I find it preferable to cranking the table up and down. I also have a W20 collet that takes MT 2 tools,
    which is also very useful for drilling etc.

    My main problem now with the vertical head is its 22 kg weight. Due to age and health issues I now need help to lift it on and off if I want to use the horizontal spindle or the overarm!
     
  10. citizen kane Member

    Messages:
    201
    UK Hampshire
    Currently I'm running on 80w90 gearbox oil, I think its roughly equivalent to an ISO 100 or 150. Is does seem to "foam" a bit so I may change to an ISO hydraulic oil when I come to change it.

    Similarly I went down the VFD route, I put in a half speed inverter rated 3hp motor and I can get the full range of original speeds buy running up to 100hz and down to 25hz. I've used another small inverter for the coolant pump.

    I would be interested in seeing your drilling attachment, I've been looking for the high speed head with a quill feed but I don't hold out much hope of finding one at an affordable price. I have a spare overarm and was toying with the idea of adapting this to allow the fitting a stand alone vertical head from another machine.

    I know what you mean about wrestling the vertical head off, I've put mine on wheels and I have a chain block on a fixed I beam so I just roll the machine into position to change the head or table.

    As I'm sure you are aware, W20 spindle tooling isn't that common but it is available at reasonable cost from https://www.rcm-machines.com/en/machine-accessories/collets/w-collets?p=1
     
  11. metvic New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    West Sussex UK
    The following is a post I made to the old Yahoo Swiss Machines group which describes my simple drilling attachment:

    "I hesitate to make this post for several reasons. Firstly, I have taken advantage of a very innovative idea by another member of the Group, namely David Cruikshank’s use of a splined shaft for the quill of my drilling attachment. This quill slides in a splined socket which is gripped in a standard W20 collet. My reason for not adopting the more conventional plain quill with a keyway was to avoid possible excessive loading on the milling spindle key. Having once had to replace the horizontal milling spindle key in my F3, I did not want to risk facing the more difficult job of doing this for the vertical head. I trust David and other Group members will see this as a sharing rather than stealing of a great idea!

    Secondly, my drilling attachment does not involve any of the impressive machining skills demonstrated in the posts which others have made on this topic. Ensuring concentricity of the thread to which the drill chuck is attached was the only operation requiring significant accuracy.

    But perhaps my main hesitation arises from the fear that some may view the marriage of a piece of cheap, modern, mass-produced equipment to an Aciera F3 as an act bordering on heresy. I have adapted a simple drill press of the type intended for use with a conventional electric hand-held drill. The parallel vertical motion of the drill press obviates the requirement for any form of trunnion at the upper end of the quill shaft, and it was only necessity to turn bushes to match the inner and outer diameters of a ball race which I already had in my oddments crate, to the clamping ring on the drill press and splined shaft respectively. The baseplate of the drill press was bored, to fit around the spindle of the F3 vertical head, and turned upside down to provide a flat mating face. In its inverted position the baseplate makes a useful tray for odds and ends like cutters, allen keys etc.

    I have reached an age where long-term projects are no longer attractive. All I wanted was quickly to achieve the capability for carrying out drilling operations on the F3, and in this respect the project is a complete success. Maybe it will of interest to others for similar or maybe different reasons."

    The last of the three photos shows the current status, with a handwheel on the top of the quill and a plain brass bush between the splined quill and the F3 spindle. I can't match the quality of your photos!
     
    • Drilling Attachment DSCF2079.jpg
    • Drilling Attachment DSCF2080.jpg
    • Copy of Drill Attachment 20200801_131152.jpg
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