Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello all!

 

I finally found what may be the rolling mill for me, this vintage Buffalo beauty. However, I have a few questions that I cannot for the life of me find any answers to. If anyone has even speculative advice I'd greatly appreciate it. First off, here's the machine-

 

metal flattener.PNG

 

Now, it's listed as a Metal Thicknesser, and I cannot find that verbiage anywhere at all, much less in the specific context of vintage Buffalo machine. Is that even the same thing as a rolling mill? I assumed it is just a precursor to the modern 2-hi rolling mill, but I'm coming up with nothing. 

 

If it isn't the same, could I use it as one? I don't expect to be trying to do any serious dimensional reduction, but for evening out billets and getting them more evenly 'thicknessed' off the press, it seems like it would do the job. One cautious recommendation I did receive was that it may not be made for hot metal. If that's the case, would machining a new set of rollers out of H13 be enough to rectify that? Assuming I don't run hot metal through it for hours on end, I don't think it would be a problem...

 

The last question I have is a problem of torque. The motor is 10hp which seems like a lot for 5" rollers, but is it enough to move hot metal? Without any documentation on it or what it was doing in the previous shop, it's hard to guess. Some suspect that it's for non-ferrous only, but again, does it really matter? 

 

Coming across rolling mills (missed the one posted here a month or so back) this size is despairingly uncommon, and the modern equivalents are even larger and considerably more expensive even on a small scale. If the motor needs a swap, I was thinking of putting in a high torque motor of the same RPM so it wouldn't need adjusting to the reduction gears, and as said above I wouldn't be too opposed to machining new dies for it worst case. It's too neat of a machine to pass up on, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

John 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to see you back John.

Have you seen this site?: http://vintagemachinery.org/mfgindex/detail.aspx?id=129&tab=3

They have several machines called "wrapping rolls" or "bending rolls". Not sure if that's what you have.

Edited by Joshua States
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I do a bit of lurking, but lately I've been much more heavily involved in the toolmaking side of forging. I love that site! I did a little bit of combing, and haven't seen quite the right thing in there. Without a manufacture date on this thicknesser, it's hard to pin down what catalogue to look in. The wrapping rollers seem to be used more as a ring roller than a thicknesser. Another word I've seen in this quest is a 'metal flattener' although I'm only getting the modern results of huge machines intended for unrolling big coils back into flat sheets.  Although if anyone comes across a vintage Buffalo or Champion ring roller, let me know :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, John Page said:

Thanks! I do a bit of lurking, but lately I've been much more heavily involved in the toolmaking side of forging. I love that site! I did a little bit of combing, and haven't seen quite the right thing in there. Without a manufacture date on this thicknesser, it's hard to pin down what catalogue to look in. The wrapping rollers seem to be used more as a ring roller than a thicknesser. Another word I've seen in this quest is a 'metal flattener' although I'm only getting the modern results of huge machines intended for unrolling big coils back into flat sheets.  Although if anyone comes across a vintage Buffalo or Champion ring roller, let me know :rolleyes:

Looks like a standard rolling mill used for jewelry manufacture and other non ferrous uses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

John that is one heavy duty looking machine. The limiting factor for rolling hot metal is most likely going to be the bearing material used in the mill stands. As far as torque if it driven by a 10 HP electric motor you should have all kinds of torque from what I can as the the gear reduction.

Measure how fast the rolls turn and use the formula below to calculate it.

 

My rolling mill has a 5 HP hydraulic drive turning the rolls at 20 RPM and has all kinds of torque.

To calculate the theoretical torque of the machine use this formula T (in-lbs) =63025 x HP / RPM (of the roll)

My machine puts out T=63025 x 5 /20 = 15,756 in-lbs or 15756/12 =1313 ft-lbs of torque

1280 rolling mill steel 2.JPG

1280 k1.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks gents! Not sure what the reduction gear drops the roller RPM down to, but the gearbox faceplate says the reduction ratio is 8.8 (divide motor RPM by 8.8?) If so, that puts the roller torque at a little over 3000. I suppose the bearing material, if problematic, could be replaced by a higher temperature equivalent. One good thing about these old machines is how easy they are to take apart and work on! I am a little worried about what sort of pressure it can withstand, as the leadscrews don't look particularly enormous, but for some light duty rolling it should be fine. I think, as with all things, it'd be best to take it slow and see how it goes...

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a very beatiful machine.

 

To me it looks to be a roller for nonferrous metals, similar to what is used in the jewelry trade.

 

Because it is so heavy duty you might be able to get away with using it for hot metal, be very careful however, these machines are not build for large reduction in a single pass. 

There is no mechanism in place to cope with too high loads, like on a purpose built forging rolling mill (a soft link)

 

If you feed it to big of an bite or too cold material the machine will tear itself apart, I know this can happen with powered jewelry rolling mills.

That said if you are careful it can be used and give you perfect uniform thickness.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like a great little machine to me. a few things to consider when using it...you WILL most likey break it. unless you are verry carefull. try and work back through the drive train and see if there is a purposefull weak link like a bronze pin of somthing similar. you can do a modern version with a VFD set to trip at a low ampage (i have my mcdonnald set like that) .my big rolling mill is 20hp at 5 inch width. and run through a variable speed hydrolic gearbox.

 id get it for sure. make sure you are not greedy with bites i keep mine at 3mm max and actually it wont feed in a lot more . remember that double width is double risistance and any cold thick bits could kill it.

no loose clothing or gloves and make a feed table so you can push work in rather than holding it with tongs that can be drawn in.....drawn in does not necessarily mean drawn through...they could be fired back at you with some force.

almost none of these are made for hot metal so you will have to use and ajust/fix improve if needed.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the insight! I think that a use/fix/use/fix mentality is great, especially with something potentially 100 years old. Also thanks for the infeed table idea, I've seen those on larger ones but haven't considered adding one. Much safer than stuffing it in with tongs. I do a large amount of running rough lumber through large planers at work and I see a lot of other people having trouble tripping the breakers because they try to take too large a pass or don't account for variation in thickness early on from cupping and various other warpage, but it seems incredibly easy to not do that if you feed in a board before closing the table against the cutters. That way, you only start to remove material when it's safe to not overload the machine, and I think the same logic applies to these sorts of mills. Especially with an infeed/outfeed table, taking the first pass to adjust milling reduction rather than just going for it. As for the VFD, I was leaning towards adding one anyway because it's 3 phase and I only have a single phase receptacle where it'll live. Is an amperage trip a common feature in more industrial VFDs? I don't remember seeing one on my grinder but haven't investigated for that specifically so it may be there without me noticing. 

 

Thanks again! Incredibly grateful for all the info here!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would 'buy and try' - it looks good to my (virtually) untrained eye.

 

It can always be sold again, and you are only out the shipping!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Officially in the mail! Or whatever the freight equivalent is... I'll post some initial updates when it arrives, but I'm quite excited for this, it's a machine I've wanted for a long long while, and finding a vintage one is icing on the cake. One day if I ever find a spot to build a workshop, I've been seriously considering building in a lineshaft to drive these sorts of things. But for now, the built in motor is more than enough ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

John 

   I have a machine just like that , a little different configuration of the power line. I know why you have a 10hp and I have  a very underpowered 1 hp. At 1 hp  all I do is smooth the final surface prior to grinding.....actually I have gotten quite good at getting a good finish with a hand hammer ..I do not use it for significant thickness reduction.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to know thanks! I was thinking of replacing the motor, as the one on it is theoretically functional but again, incompatible with the power situation. A 5hp single phase, either high torque or regular would likely be more than enough. Once I have it in the shop I'll do some poking around and see what makes the most sense with the coupling to the reduction gearing. Fingers crossed it's all in working order!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

The mill has finally come in, early last week and I've only had a cursory look around the beast. It's a very handsome machine all said, I'm very excited to get to use it. The reduction gear is only part of the drive train, it seems. I discovered a handful of other reducing gears underneath and in the back end where the two shafts couple with the power. Spinning the motor by hand is very easy and has me feeling good about the torque output. There's a mystery shaft directly under the rollers on the underside of the table but I can't figure out what it's for. There is a mitered gear with teeth only on half the circumference that looks like it was meant for some sort of limited raising/lowering possibly for an infeed table. But the rest of the linkage is missing and the only other clues are a pair of through holes in the frame that seem like they would intersect with the gearing. More likely than not I'll take out the mystery shaft or push it in a bit to get some space to work with and use the holes to bolt through. That way I can have an infeed table so I can keep my hands well away from the business end. I'm still hunting down wiring and plugs and the like to get it power, but should be able to do a test run shortly. Fingers crossed it goes well!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Managed to get the wiring temporarily installed today, enough to turn it on and see what happens. Between the VFD and a neat old mechanical forward/reverse switch, there were a lot of places to get the polarity of the 3 phase wrong, but it's officially running! I only brought it up to about half speed because the motor and reduction gear plate is not mounted to anything and I was afraid the chain would jump off if moving too quickly. But it works! Now I need to hunt down a longer bit of 10/3 cordage and some strain relief connectors for the VFD box, then figure out the motor placement. 

 

In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for lubrication on the drive gears? Is there such a thing as dust resistant grease? Or is a more regular application of an oil better to maintain the old iron? 

 

Cheers!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...