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Thread: Different Kind of Old Iron

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    Different Kind of Old Iron

    This is for those that appreciate fine iron regardless of race, creed, or color.

    This is a 1962 SIP No.1H Jig Borer that I rebuilt about 15 years ago. I picked it up at a government auction for $500. New, this machine would have sold for about 80K. Having spent the last 31 years working in the National Laboratory research system, I've seen a lot of good equipment sent out to salvage, and I was hopeful that this was a diamond in the rough.

    The Swiss made SIP Jig Borer is the Rolls-Royce of Jig Borers. A Jig Borer is an extremely accurate milling, drilling, and boring machine. When new, this machine had a guaranteed positional accuracy of 40 millionths of an inch throughout the entire work envelope (8”x8”x12¼”). It uses a quartz veneer optical system for positioning that you read through the yellow tinted windows on the front of the machine. There is a precision microscope built into the head that you use to locate the work-piece being machined. It has a separate motor that blows cool air on the spindle assembly to prevent any thermal expansion/movement. The cool air is also blown into the front optical housing. Tim Taylor probably wouldn't have liked this machine very much because the spindle is only 1/3 hp. These machines are used only for miniature high precision work.

    It had a few missing parts, but I was fortunate that Sandia's precision machine shop has a SIP exactly like this one and I was able to clone up the missing pieces. Other than having about 20 coats of paint and some ugly but light surface rust, the machine was in fairly good shape. The sealed table ways were rust free thanks to a good coat of oil. I completely disassembled the machine, cleaned & reassembled. I re-flaked the worktable by hand. When I had it complete, I was anxious to verify the machines accuracy, I machined a 16 hole pattern into a 8"x12"x1" piece of tooling plate and had it inspected on our Zeiss High-Precision Coordinate Measuring Machine. The inspection report showed a total "True Position" variation of 35 millionths in the 16 hole pattern - well within the original machine specifications. With the advent of the modern CNC machine, these machines have pretty much become dinosaurs. They're just as accurate but not nearly as fast.

    It took about a year to complete. I traded this machine to a local machine shop for my Turret mill and lathe, plus some accessories. The machine shop probably got the better end of the deal but for a total outlay of about $750 and a lot of work, I was happy.

    I get a kick looking at these old pictures. My garage was actually empty once!
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
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    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Bruce,
    Now that some neat old Iron.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore
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    443
    Somebody said "millionths" - the market for jig borers is gonna go through the roof !!

    Seriously though, it's great that you saved it from the scrap heap.
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Carlyle IL
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    350
    Bruce:

    Now this is pretty cool.....

    We get to see your garage with nothing in it!!!! lol and that thing-a-ma-jig isn't bad either.


    sorry couldn't resist. thanks for the story...

    Joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    29,091
    The jig borer is very cool, and looks like a sweet restoration job. It's also cool that you actually know how to operate it. I can't help but wonder if my 20-something machinist nephew would know how to even turn it on. Something tells me the machinist trades curriculum at TVI in Albuquerque (oops...Central NM Community College) wouldn't cover how to run something like that.

    Wow...Bruce's shop before the garage door became the clamp rack.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Nice Bruce...wish I had seen that befor you traded and you would have priced it....those are really handy if its in a machine shop.
    Reg

  7. #7
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    Nov 2006
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    Odessa, Tx
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    Wow, what a "Restoration". How about a little dissertation on the ""re-flaked by hand" .......for us folks with only a smattering of Machinest background? I don't understand though how you could concentrate on the restoration with all that "Room" in your Gar...er..shop.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
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    Wow, been a long time since I heard heard the term "jig grinder". Nice restoration for sure!

    Jeff
    Who misses working around and with machinist that really know what they are doing.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Wow just don't cover it now does it guys

    VERY nice job Bruce, I'm sure that machine will be working for a LOT of years to come!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    The jig borer is very cool, and looks like a sweet restoration job. It's also cool that you actually know how to operate it. I can't help but wonder if my 20-something machinist nephew would know how to even turn it on. Something tells me the machinist trades curriculum at TVI in Albuquerque (oops...Central NM Community College) wouldn't cover how to run something like that.

    Wow...Bruce's shop before the garage door became the clamp rack.
    They had a great editorial on the subject of manual machine tools in the latest issue of Machinist Magazine. Basically the editor was saying that there was no way manual machines could be profitable in todays CNC dominated industry. I thought for an editor of a Machinist magazine, that was pretty narrow minded.

    Now I will say a lot of negative things about the quality of Lie Nielsen tools, but since their shop was comprised of 50% of both CNC and Manual machines, they seemed to be pretty profitable. Unlike CNC's that are meant to do cycling of parts or machining parts that require multiple tooling operations, manual machines are great for one-set-up machining, and quick set-ups overall. In short it behooves any machinist to know how to use CNC machines and manual machines alike.

    I am in no position right now to have my own machine shop, but in the future I want to add an old milling machine and lathe to my arsenal of woodworking tools. Nice jig borer in any case!!
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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