Friday, September 30, 2016

Today's Family Reading

Robert S. Woodbury, History of the Milling Machine (1960).  Family Reading, because I read in front of my Sherline CNC mill, so it could bask in the glory of its illustrious ancestors.  What I did not, until reading this, is the milling machine invented, largely by Eli Whitney, was not a vertical mill, but a horizontal mill like this:

This is a highly technical book.  If you aren't pretty familiar with mills, much will be over your head and profoundly dull.  The last chapter is about the most recent development: computer control mills, the size of a room because of the computer.

A video showing how a horizontal mill works.


  1. Found it in the Dallas Public Library, checking it out.

  2. The size of a room since the book is a 1960 print. Whats interesting to me is that in the 1970s author Merritt Roe Smith concluded Eli Whitney didn't make any standard parts or tools like that mill. He is reported to have a new book out on the Harper's Ferry Armory this year. Will try and look it up to see what he's deleting now.

  3. One of the most interesting things I learned at the IMTS Show week before last was how cheap very sophisticated machine tools have become.

    Samsung was showing a CNC lathe with 6-8 cutting heads and 2 spindles for $45,000.

    A couple years ago, the same machine was $75,000.

    If you like old timey ie;non-cnc machine shop work,

    He has a very complete machine shop and does a variety of jobs, filming and explaining as he goes along. I am not a machinist but when I want something relaxing to watch, I call up one of his videos, more or less at random. I always learn something interesting.

    He has a Kearny and Trecker mill, similar to the one in your pic, that he bought used and refurbished to use professionally. He videoed the restoration process and explained how it worked. He also has a number of videos of him using it.

    Trivia question: How many here know what a shaper is?

    South Bend had a restored shaper in their booth that was very cool to see.

    John Henry

    John Henry