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Ground top tables of a Wadkin FM

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Eldi76

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Hi all,

Do you guys know who can ground the cast iron top tables of a Wadkin FM 18? They are quite heavy, approximately 100 Kg each.

Thank you in advance!
Eldi
 

Inspector

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Eldi. This is a UK site so I doubt a lot of the members know much about the machine shops in Sydney. I suggest you try the Metalwork Forums and Woodwork Forums. If anyone would know it would be one of them. Members here have a lot of other good information on Wadkin machines so don't hesitate to ask.

Pete
 

Eldi76

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Hi Inspector,
I am looking for a machine shop in the UK. My Wadkin FM is currently being restored in England and I would like to check the option of getting its top tables grounded.
Thanks! Eldi
 

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Doh! I didn’t realize that from the initial post. Sorry. Hope you find someone that at can do the job for you. Maybe a post or have this thread moved into the metal work section of this forum by a mod might yield more useful replies.
Pete
 

clogs

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eldi 76
hope u find a place on ur own...From experience these one off places are like hens teeth.....
I wanted a 2.5m dia x10ton cast iron flywheel re machining......dohhhhh
You could ask on the model engineering form or also the mig welding forum....both uk based......
tey are very helpfull .....if it's a pain for u, I'm a member of both and can ask for u if u wish....

Have just sent an email to an engineering mate in Yorkshire asking if he knows a place.....
any results I'll PM u.....

Just to add, things have changed a lot in the UK engineering wise.....
all the old school, seat of the pants engineers have been passed over pretty much...like me, we left when all this stupid paperwork got going...plus the cost multi £1000 pound machines needed.......just jobbing eng now....retired and loving it........
it's all CNC now.....they can make a 1000 but a one offf....phewwwww.....

the other place u could ask might be the steam engine lads/forums, ie Fodens, Alchin and Burrells.....they often need big stuff machining.....
or try Arrow Butler Castings in Chesterfield, England....seem to remember they had a machine shop on site...they may help.....
perhaps a Saterday morning job, wink, wink.....dont know anybody that knows anybody now....

sorry all out of ideas at the mo......

if u need any more help just ask.....no probs....
 

Keith 66

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Are the tops warped or heavily pitted? I would have thought a good sand with a random orbital sander will be more than adequate, this is what i did with my old Wadkin bandsaw.
You will likely be needing a Way grinder probably the only grinding machine big enough to take tables like this
I had a lathe bed reground a few years ago it was slightly larger than a myford & cost £650 The company i used Slideway surfaces has now gone. Their machine that re ground my tiddler of a lathe was over 20ft long & weighed about 30 tons.
Google slideway grinding services, there are still a few firms doing this type of work. Unislide is one.
Best be sitting down when they give you the price!
 

TheTiddles

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Surface grinding something that small will be pretty easy for many places, the 450mm width will rule out some of the smaller outfits using old reciprocating machines.

Surface grinding is less of a thing now for flat tables than it was as the finish of a mill is better, but it’s still done plenty.

Are you sure it’s worth it?
 

Eldi76

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Surface grinding something that small will be pretty easy for many places, the 450mm width will rule out some of the smaller outfits using old reciprocating machines.

Surface grinding is less of a thing now for flat tables than it was as the finish of a mill is better, but it’s still done plenty.

Are you sure it’s worth it?
I am not sure if it's worth it. Here are two photos of the tables before and after an initial clean. I now think that if cleaning and sanding would bring the top tables to a decent condition (and perfect flat) , maybe I should settle for that...

IMG_20210728_095310_427.jpg


IMG_20210728_095346_141.jpg
 

TheTiddles

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I guess it depends what you want, to get all that pitting off is a fair bit of metal removal, which is probably fine to do, but may not make it perform any better as a machine, there’s always a risk of warping the table too.

Flat is a relative term, wood is not well known for being a good reference material, so if your machine makes wood flat enough, that’s good enough
 

Eldi76

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I guess it depends what you want, to get all that pitting off is a fair bit of metal removal, which is probably fine to do, but may not make it perform any better as a machine, there’s always a risk of warping the table too.

Flat is a relative term, wood is not well known for being a good reference material, so if your machine makes wood flat enough, that’s good enough
I agree, maybe writing "perfect flat" was not the best wording from my side. The most important thing is that the machine will perform as it should, and if possible - to have it look cleaner. What is the best method (except grounding) to get all the pitting off? Random orbital sander?
Thanks!
 

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If you are going to the expense of having the saw restored, presumably to new condition, shipped to Australia then the added cost of getting the tables surface ground make perfect sense. In for a penny. In for a pound. 😉 Don't the people doing the restoration have someone they go to?
 

Eldi76

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If you are going to the expense of having the saw restored, presumably to new condition, shipped to Australia then the added cost of getting the tables surface ground make perfect sense. In for a penny. In for a pound. 😉 Don't the people doing the restoration have someone they go to?
Unfortunately, the guy that usually does the surface grounding cannot handle the size and weight of the top tables of a Wadkin FM. However, considering the cost that @Keith 66 mentioned for his lathe bed, I am not sure it would be worth it for me...
 

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There is an old style engineering outfit where there is still big old (and new) equipment on the fish docks in Grimsby, they used to do trawler engines etc, last time I was there they were working on machining castings for CAT scan machines, I was really quite impressed. They have done quite a few bits for me over the years, probably the sort of place you want. Ian. Bacons engineers (01472) 351313
 

Eldi76

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There is an old style engineering outfit where there is still big old (and new) equipment on the fish docks in Grimsby, they used to do trawler engines etc, last time I was there they were working on machining castings for CAT scan machines, I was really quite impressed. They have done quite a few bits for me over the years, probably the sort of place you want. Ian. Bacons engineers (01472) 351313
Thank you!
 

ScottandSargeant

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You need to make sure the tables are jigged correctly if they are going to be reground. They will need to be taken off the machine complete with the slides that they run in… and the slides adjusted to get rid of slack/ wear. If it is badly done someone who doesnt understand they might end up grinding the tables out of parallel from the base reference face. If you want an expert to contact about it, message me. It won’t be a cheap operation To do a proper job
Paul
 

TheTiddles

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I agree, maybe writing "perfect flat" was not the best wording from my side. The most important thing is that the machine will perform as it should, and if possible - to have it look cleaner. What is the best method (except grounding) to get all the pitting off? Random orbital sander?
Thanks!
If you want all the pitting gone, you need to remove all material above the deepest pit anywhere on both tables (statement of the obvious there).
So if they’re mostly 0.5mm deep but one is 1.5mm you’re chunking off a lot of metal to achieve that. It probably won’t make the machine work better
 

RobinBHM

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I am not sure if it's worth it. Here are two photos of the tables before and after an initial clean. I now think that if cleaning and sanding would bring the top tables to a decent condition (and perfect flat) , maybe I should settle for that...

View attachment 114819

View attachment 114820
they look fine from the images

I have found using a 4" belt sander with 40 grit and working upto 180 grit, then swapping to a RAS works great -you can go upto 1200 grit to get a shine.

the problem with cast iron is it can warp -but Wadkn machines probably seasoned their top castings before grinding.

Ive found most Wadkin stuff to be pretty good for flat -and the FM was a fully industrial machine, super heavy duty -Id be surprised if its warped.


theres zero point in getting them ground just to get rid of pitting. Only needs doing if they are really warped.
 

TheTiddles

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It won’t look the same, but I suspect you’d struggle to notice a performance difference between having them ground flat or milled flat, so long as someone can hold them still and level, the price difference might be huge.
 
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