News and Order Updates
May 3, 2021 - Late last week I checked on the latest spindle arbor order. I know they have the spindle ODs cut, but not the ID yet. I'll check again this week. I'm going to have very limited availability until at least mid next week. We lease the property we're at and the owner recently informed us that he wanted to sell it. So, we're hurrying around to get the property in the condition needed for the lending institution. With property prices so high and lumber super high, we figured it's best to just buy where we're at, even those it's not ideal...after all, 30 days to clear out and find a suitable place would have been nearly, if not completely impossible (plus, I hate moving...especially with many thousands of pounds of equipment and something important always seems to get broken).
Some have asked about the injury to my right arm and shoulder. I have no idea what I even did to injure it. It's been kind of getting better slowly...but, I keep over doing it. It's one of those deals that the doctor says don't use it at all, yet that doesn't seem practical for the real world. However, I'm kind of coming around to the idea that the doctor might be right. I'm going to just bite the bullet and take a few days off.
April 9, 2021 - This is just some general information that I want to pass on because I've seen a few bad practices when it comes to spindles. It's good to know to avoid unnecessary heartache and keeps us from spending a ton of time on customer repairs from bad practices (at this point, we are quite busy and repairs can be very time consuming for us). This isn't limited to just those who are new to machining...I've also seen experienced machinist guilty of some of these too!
1 - Never use a metal hammer to hammer out a tool/collet or tighten a collet nut...and it's best to never hit the spindle with anything at all in an attempt to true something up. Any of those can ram one or more of the balls in the bearings into the bearing race and create a dent in the bearing race. At that point, the bearing is pretty much no good and will likely be noisy. If you want to see an eye opening test of just how easily this can ruin bearings, get a single ball from a bearing, put it on something steel and tap the ball with a metal hammer...more often than not, it will create a dent in the steel below it. For removing a stuck tool or collet using a mills pullbar, only use light taps with a dead-blow hammer. In my experience, using a cordless impact driver to tighten/un-tighten the drawbar usually avoids things getting stuck. That slight impact seems to be enough to loosen the tool or collet. It should also be noted with bench top mills, that even if you use light taps with a dead blow hammer, that energy has to go somewhere. Overtime (or even quickly in some cases) it can loosen gibs, mess up your Z axis alignment and loosen other things on the mill parts that can be hard to track down.
2 - If you decide to replace the spindle bearings on your own, be careful during every step. Bearings are sweat fit (heat shrunk) to the spindle and can be work to get off. That being said, using a rotary tool with cut off wheel or a splitter can damage the bearing race area of the spindle. If that happens, that area will need to be smoothed out so the new bearings will slide over it. If possible, use a hydraulic shop press to remove the bearings. The most challenging part is often putting the new bearings on. Good bearings are very expensive, so take your time here. The bearings will need to be heated up first. If possible, only heat the inner race of the bearing to about 200 degrees F (the headstock casing are interference fit and should be heated to 160 - 200 degrees F to make things easier). Now comes the tricky part...one must very carefully align the bearing with the spindle arbor and slide it on. It should go on with relative ease. If the bearing is a little cocked to one side and it gets stuck, carefully remove it and start over. Do not try to press a crooked bearing! If the bearing gets a good start and isn't crooked, but shrinks to the spindle to quickly, you can press the bearing the rest of the way using a shop press. A hammer isn't best to use, but it can be used if you're very very careful. Here's the key...make sure any and all pressure, from a press or hammer, is only on the inner bearing race and nowhere else. If too much pressure is put on the outer race or worse yet the bearing seals, then it can dent or destroy the bearings. If a hammer is used to only hit on the bearing inner race, the energy from those impacts can still "explode" the bearing apart...especially angular contact bearings. When that happens, it's almost impossible to put the bearings back together without damaging them. Some machine shops will also install bearings if you don't want to wait for use to do it or do it yourself.
3 - This is another reminder about spindle run-in. If a new spindle isn't run-in properly, it can ruin it. If a person does high speeds without warming the spindle up first, it can ruin it. Break in should be about 3 or 4 hours and we've found that getting the headstock casing to around 110 degrees F is best. I know that may seem like a long time, but that's actually the minimum. To warm up the bearings for high speed work, run at a speed that gets the headstock to about 100 degrees F for at least 15 minutes.
April 6, 2021 - Update - If you're waiting on a BT-30, 5C or R8, we have newly cut and ground spindles that should be finished in 4 weeks then shipped to us (they just now updated me on that info). Some of you will still be getting BT30 and R8 headstocks over the next two weeks from the good spindles we currently have. Everything always seems to take longer than I want of course...I was hoping for the new BT-30, 5C and R8 spindles to be here right now. Anyway, if you watched the video below, you know that our using two different bearing sizes for front and back made the grinding more labor intensive because they have to dial in two different heights on the spindle...so, we changed the manufacturing strategy to make the grinding more accurate and less labor intensive. Our previous manufacturing strategy always left a chunk of each spindle batch just out of spec. You may also start seeing some design changes to our motor mounts. If you're waiting for us to release the CAT-40 for the Grizzly/Precision Matthews and similar mills, we won't be adding that to the line up until we are much closer to, if not fully, caught up on work.
March 3, 2021 - We have some more BT-30, R8 and ISO20 to get out. Remaining 5C and BT-30 orders will get the new parts coming, in theory, a handful of weeks. For R8 and ISO-20, we have ordered new headstock casings. We ran out a little faster than I wanted to. On this page I've put a new video...some had questions about the best way to measure runout and some are interested in more ID OD grinding info. I'll likely to do another video, when I get a minute, on getting started in 3D printing for mechanical parts.
February 24, 2021 - For the past few weeks I've haven't been in the shop or office a whole lot because of a health thing. I only got a handful of orders out and running behind on replies to messages. It seems like any time the doctor switches me to a new medication it takes a handful weeks to start working plus figuring correct dosages. Anyway, I realize that isn't machine related, but it does affect my work productivity.
On order fulfillment, I do have a handful of BT-30's from ready to nearly ready, some motors and some few ER headstocks to go out. We have more spindle arbors arriving in 3ish weeks. I noticed that even after grinding, not all of them fell within specifications. That being said, we ordered some replacements and extras and those are the ones arriving in about 3 weeks. The spindle arbors have been a bit of a bugger to get down pat. Interestingly, what I discovered with grinding, is that, it's not a simple as chucking a spindle arbor in the grinding machine and running a few quick passes on the inside surface. Each arbor has to be pains takingly dialed in by indicating two or three areas, typically the front and rear bearing race areas of the spindle arbor. They use the average between the two or three indications to chuck the spindle arbor in the grinding machine. This gives the greatest accuracy when grinding the inside surface based on where the bearings will sit.
Here's the other interesting bit, if any bearing race surface is off very much, it may not end up with the needed accuracy even after grinding (the greatest chance of this is on spindles that use different size bearings on the front compared to the back). Those that end up a little too far off will eventually be sold as "scratch-n-dent" products. They key is making sure the shop that turns the spindles in their lathe gets the bearing race area as accurate as possible. So there you have it and I hope that wasn't too boring. Again, thanks to all our customers who have continued to support us!
February 8, 2021 - As a reminder. It's best to "run-in" your new headstocks for a few hours. Initially, the spindle arbor may feel a little tight and that's normal. After run-in, the bearing lubricants will have settled and as they warm up the spindle moves more freely.
For those who are trying to run the BT30 or 5C using the OEM Sherline motor, it won't work well. The Sherline motors just aren't strong enough to do much work. The double stack of bearings take more work to move than the tiny OEM Sherline bearings. You will overheat the Sherline OEM motor and may burn it out. We got a much needed batch of angular contact bearings in that we use for the rear bearings in the 5C and BT30. Also, be careful when moving machines between area's of different temperature. Any bare metal will rust from "sweat"...and it's a hassle to remove rust.
January 25, 2020 - Still sending out BT-30, IS0-20, R8 and 5C headstocks. Got in more bearings that we needed. I'll also be updating the motor instructions. The factory made some changes to the motor driver configuration, so the instructions need updating. We're also starting to test composite motor brackets and headstock casings (I'm most curious about how well the headstock casings will work). We're having others do the real-world testing, because I'm focused on getting orders filled. If we need more testers, I'll put that in one of the updates. As a reminder, emailing to ask for a specific delivery time on a specific order is pretty tough to guess at. I have to take my time during assembly and many individual orders are for lots of parts. I'm going as fast as I can go. One other thing too, after getting you're headstock, take time to "run it in" as per the included instructions...do not skip this step.
January 9 2020 - Not much new to report. Still sending out BT-30, IS0-20, R8 and 5C headstocks. We've added ABEC-7 Hybrid Ceramic Steel Sealed Angular Contact beings to the BT-30 options. The hybrid bearings will allow for much faster speeds.
December 30, 2020 - We did get some of the sealed deep groove bearings we needed. I suspect the new sealed angular contact bearings will be here at some point. I had a minor surgery Tuesday that didn't go as planned. It turned out to be more complex than anticipated. That pretty much shot down my idea of working over the holiday. Anyway, we're sending out motors, R8, BT30 and 5C headstocks this week for those I have bearings for. As mentioned in a previous update, we'll need to make new BT30 drawbars. The current drawbar is a little too hard and can crack at the flange when tightening it. In the mean time, we're going to track down some high grade bolts and send those out for drawbars. We probably won't have the actual replacements until March. I know I missed a few weeks on updates, but please keep checking this page on Mondays. It's the best way to keep updated.
December 14, 2020 - Last week wasn't overly productive. The loss of my sister is difficult thing to process. Multiple orders will be going out these next two weeks. I have to work around two minor surgeries, one this week and the second will be before then end of the month, though not scheduled yet. For next week, I likely won't close down for the holiday. Instead I plan on working to get more products assembled. As a side note, I'll be sending out new BT30 pullbars once made. The CRV metal used in the current pullbars ended up being a little too hard.
December 4, 2020 - Our website was down for a few days because it was hacked. The ecommerce system (that's the order system) runs on a completely separate secure platform, so it wasn't affected. However, if you sent us an email this week, it's possible that we didn't get it because of the website/domain issue. It was a lot of labor and time to get the website back running. We will still be shipping some ISO-20 and 5C headstocks next week. We had enough bearings, but a portion of the bearings turned out to have open sides with no seals on either side. Which I didn't know until opening them. Exposed open sided bearings are definitely not what a person wants. The orders that we do have sealed bearings for we're still sending. Also, so you know, I just lost my sister and friend. Last week things were looking better for her, however there was a sudden downturn Thursday evening. I will do my best to keep getting orders out while handling matters. There will be times next week that I simply won't be available. I appreciate your understanding.
November 23, 2020 - This week were shipping some BT30 headstocks, still shipping 5C and some ISO20 headstocks. We will have to wait on some new bearings for some headstocks (we ran out on some and some were accidentally damaged). This week will be busy we have two funerals and just found out that a very close friend is in critical condition. I'm sure some of you have also lost friends and family. Please continue to be safe.
November 16, 2020 - Well, we unexpectedly received a handful of ISO-20 spindles from the grinding shop. I wasn't expecting those, but I'm glad they came. I'll get what we have sent out. I'm planning on picking up some BT-30 spindles as their finished early next week. The 5C headstocks are still shipping out. Because we're running low on the our 62mm x 30mm bearings for ER, ISO-20, R8 and BT-30 rear, we're placing a another order soon. This will include ABEC-9 bearings for those who are interested.
November 9, 2020 - We are continuing to ship 5C headstocks this week. For those who ordered Taig machines, they should be here late this week or early next week (that's my fault, I wrote out the order and never hit send on the email). I will be unavailable Monday and Tuesday. My wife's mother died a few years ago Nov. 10th, so we try to spend some time together around that time each year. Stay extra careful, looks like Covid-19 is coming on pretty hard.
November 2, 2020 - (Friday Update, although I'm posting this Monday) Anyway, we're sending out 5C headstocks and motors all this week. As the BT30 spindles get ground, I will start picking those up possibly late this week, or early next week. Please keep in mind that I'm going as fast as I can and must build one headstock at a time. It's the only way to do it. Because heating the bearings and the headstock casing has to be timed exactly right...trying to do more than one at a time is just asking for problems....it leads to ruined overheated bearings and scored spindles, which are the two most expensive parts. I'm pretty excited to get these all out! Please send me pictures of your build once your new headstock, and motor if you ordered one, is on and running.
October 23, 2020 (Friday Update) - Next week we will resume sending 5C headstocks out. The grinding shop should start on the BT-30 spindles late next week.
October 16, 2020 (Friday Update) - The grinding shop we use is still working to finish the government order, so not much to report. Hopefully next week he can give me an educated guess as to when. At this point I'm still on quarantine for another week anyway. As a side note, it's probably a good idea make sure to keep extra distance from others while at the doctor's office. We were just informed yesterday that my wife was exposed to a Covid positive person while at the doctors office. Have a good weekend and stay safe
October 8, 2020 – I’ve picked up the remaining 5C spindles from the grinders. After exposure to covid-19, I’ll have to be on quarantine for two weeks. For reasons of safety, I won’t be handling customer parts until the end of the quarantine period and 2nd Covid test is done. The first Covid test was negative, but apparently, those tests are only 50% accurate. Which means I must take another later one. Anyway, I probably don’t have it, but after losing some friends in death to it…better safe than sorry for everyone. Hopefully, by the end of the quarantine period, the grinding shop will have more spindles done. I know after they finished the 5C spindles, they had a pretty large government contract to do before starting on the others spindles. Because I’m getting behind on responding to emails for updates, please use this webpage to get your updates. To keep it more organized, I will be updating this page every Friday starting the 16th. Even if there isn’t much to report, I’ll still put it up. Also, please keep in mind that it’s hard to predict when a specific order will go out.
Based on feedback. Next year we will make a few added parts based on suggestions by customers. Some have requested a timing pulley for adapting an encoder to their spindles. At this point, I’m thinking for the BT-30, we will replace the compression nut on the pulley side with a threaded timing pulley. That way it will be both the compression nut and encoder pulley. The 5C, R8, ISO-20 and ER versions will likely be slip fit with a setscrew. Also, we will be expanding the lineup of lathe adapters. Some want more height options as well as risers for tool holders. Another request has been a high speed pulley version. In order to do this, we'll create an additional pulley with motor adapter. You should be able to more than double your speed (we'll also source some heatsinks for the headstock). We will email everybody when they are available…but it won’t be until next year.
September 17, 2020 - I just picked up most of 5C spindles from the grinders and will put them together tomorrow and next week.
September 3rd, 2020 - The new spindles have recently been completed. I just dropped the last of the new spindles off at the grinding shop this morning. The outside grinding shop uses Studer CNC grinders and they are much faster than our grinder. He hasn't given me a date for completion yet. I know of one customer order ahead of ours, but he should get our spindles done this month. As he gets them done, I'll go get them for immediate shipment.
July 28, 2020 - I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone for their patience with everything. Between Covid-19, finding the right suppliers, slow freight shipping, and so on, it's been the weirdest year I can recall. Believe it or not, we've had to have some spindles arbors made and remade by 3 different shops before we got the precision we needed. Some spindle arbors from the last shipment came in with good specs and others were just to far out to correct. That being said, we decided to bring all parts manufacturing back to the USA. The quality is simply better and it's more economical in the long run. The spindles, headstock casings and other parts are now being produce right here in Michigan. This supports the local economy and the quality is top notch! The only things that will be made off shore are the bearings and electronics. Again, thanks for your patience and you have all been very gracious.
July 23, 2020 - Because the grinding process has been so slow with our ID grinder and I've been having migraines for weeks at a time. Tomorrow, we will have grinding shop not far from us also start working on the headstocks. Parts have been shipping, but it's just be slow going and we hope to change that by getting the help from the outside shop.
July 3, 2020 - We are currently shipping the first batch orders for BT30, 5C, ISO20 and Low Profile R8. The grinding process is slower than I expected....however, we have to do it right!
On Tuesday June 30th, we looked at a CNC lathe with Y axis and live tool capabilities. If we can get the price where we want it, we'll have a excellent machine to bring more work in-house.
June 9, 2020 Upcoming Products
We're bringing production back in house starting late this year! Right now, we are in the process of acquiring new large commercial milling and turning machines for production. This is the best way for us to ensure control over all aspects manufacturing. Plus, this will lead to a wider variety of crazy good products!
At this moment, our first priority is completing all current orders. After that, here are some of the products we will be working on:
- Grizzly G0704/PM25 BT30 and CAT 40 headstock
- Grizzly G0704/PM25 AC Servo Spindle Motor Upgrades
- 5th Axis Rotary Headstock Adapter for Taig and Sherline Mills
- Super Rigid Mill Column Braces For Taig Mills
- High Speed Pulley Kit For Most GlockCNC Headstocks
Update June 8, 2020 - Current Orders Shipping Starting June 22nd
Exciting news! We received our carbide shaft CBN grinding points. They were pretty pricey (we had to buy 5 as a minimum order for an unusual custom size). If you're familiar with grinding points, you might notice the very thick 10mm shaft (about 3/8"). Most grinding points have a 1/8" or 1/4" shaft. Because we're using one of our ER32 headstocks with an adjustable ER nut as the grinder, we can use a much thicker shaft. This means far less deflection and superior finish.
Anyway, we will be spending this week getting the grinding setup down pat. This means testing the grinder on some old headstocks we have setting around. I'm sure there are a few things that will need adjusting or changing the setup and probably mess a few things up in the process. I don't mind making mistakes on old headstocks. Baring anything crazy happening in the world, I'm thinking we can start grinding customer headstocks next week.
I hope everybody is still being very careful about protecting their health. It's nice to see so many businesses opening up and people getting back to work. I don't know about your area, but traffic here has picked up to it's normal pace before this all happened.