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Craftex CX601 Milling Machine Spindle lock

Earl Wong

Active Member
Its been a busy summer for me so now that I am somewhat caught up I can share what's been happening at my home hobby machine shop.
The 1937 Atlas 7 Inch Shaper Restoration is complete. I'll post on another thread.
I acquired a new Craftex CX 601 Milling Machine from Busy Bee. There's not a lot of information on the internet about these specific machines, sure there are very similar machines like the Grizzly G0704 and the Sieg X3, and although they share the same DNA there are numerous differences as they are built by different specs. So I will post what I have learned from my machine in the hope it can help other Canadians eh.

The first thing about the CX601 is its weight. It's heavy. 560 lbs heavy. I managed to lift it off my truck with a Princess Auto overhead electric winch rated for 440 lbs.
With a lot of praying, hoping and wincing I managed not to injure myself or anything else.
IMG_3346.JPG IMG_3348.JPG IMG_3347.JPG

After doing the usual rolling it to its final destination in my shop like an Egyptian building a pyramid, cleaning, tramming and set up, I found just as I expected, the machine isn't usable to me without a few mods.
The first thing I installed was I-gaging DRO's on all 3 axis. I plan on upgrading the head units with a wireless Blue DRO using a Galaxy tablet. I'll show that in a future update.
The very next thing I found was performing tool changes for the R8 spindle requires three hands. According to the owners manual (which at best is comic book reading with bad pictures and inaccurate or deleted information), the flats on the spindle "nut cover" are held while the drawbar nut is turned to release the tool. Of course if your using R8 collets, this will also release your tool from the collet unless you have three hands. The tool kit that comes with the machine provides two open end wrenches that do not fit anything on the machine... weird. There are no holes, registrations or flats at the bottom side of the spindle to lock it in place, so I made a spindle lock.
Since one of the first thing most people do is eliminate or bypass the plastic safety guard at the spindle I decided to re-purpose it for my spindle lock.
IMG_3400.JPG IMG_3404.JPG IMG_3404.JPG IMG_3406.JPG
I milled a pocket that the lock wedges against to lock the spindle. The machine will not turn on if the lock is engaged and of course has to be disengaged for the machine to turn on.
The system is simple and works very well.
My next update will be adding a homemade X axis power feed.
 
Last edited:

thriller007

Well-Known Member
Its been a busy summer for me so now that I am somewhat caught up I can share what's been happening at my home hobby machine shop.
The 1937 Atlas 7 Inch Shaper Restoration is complete. I'll post on another thread.
I acquired a new Craftex CX 601 Milling Machine from Busy Bee. There's not a lot of information on the internet about these specific machines, sure there are very similar machines like the Grizzly G0704 and the Sieg X3, and although they share the same DNA there are numerous differences as they are built by different specs. So I will post what I have learned from my machine in the hope it can help other Canadians eh.

The first thing about the CX601 is its weight. It's heavy. 560 lbs heavy. I managed to lift it off my truck with a Princess Auto overhead electric winch rated for 440 lbs.
With a lot of praying, hoping and wincing I managed not to injure myself or anything else.
View attachment 3567View attachment 3565View attachment 3566

After doing the usual rolling it to its final destination in my shop like an Egyptian building a pyramid, cleaning, tramming and set up, I found just as I expected, the machine isn't usable to me without a few mods.
The first thing I installed was I-gaging DRO's on all 3 axis. I plan on upgrading the head units with a wireless Blue DRO using a Galaxy tablet. I'll show that in a future update.
The very next thing I found was performing tool changes for the R8 spindle requires three hands. According to the owners manual (which at best is comic book reading with bad pictures and inaccurate or deleted information), the flats on the spindle "nut cover" are held while the drawbar nut is turned to release the tool. Of course if your using R8 collets, this will also release your tool from the collet unless you have three hands. The tool kit that comes with the machine provides two open end wrenches that do not fit anything on the machine... weird. There are no holes, registrations or flats at the bottom side of the spindle to lock it in place, so I made a spindle lock.
Since one of the first thing most people do is eliminate or bypass the plastic safety guard at the spindle I decided to re-purpose it for my spindle lock.
View attachment 3569View attachment 3570View attachment 3570View attachment 3572
I milled a pocket that the lock wedges against to lock the spindle. The machine will not turn on if the lock is engaged and of course has to be disengaged for the machine to turn on.
The system is simple and works very well.
My next update will be adding a homemade X axis power feed.
Nice mod!! have you made the other x axis power feed yet?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Just pointing out the last posts were fall 2018.
Where IS Earl anyways? We miss him.
 

Earl Wong

Active Member
Wow time flies!, still here Peter, my home machine shop has been growing organically, and since covid its been really taking off with short run orders and repairs. Heres where i’m at with the mill. A7FDAA2F-DB8E-4F45-BC2E-6697952AAB30.jpeg I added a 3 axis dro replacing the stacked igaging dro, best decision ever!
7C0DBF90-E42A-433E-B0BB-4CD55E6A8E5C.jpeg I have all the parts I need for the power axis feed with the exception of fabricating a housing to put it all togethor, now that you guys reminded me, think i’ll get to that this weekend.
3D37FDC4-1457-41C5-9361-4EBDA399F0B9.jpeg 7307C3AD-B204-4BE5-BD1F-C29675FA5942.jpeg This is the dog clutch I machined to engage and disengage the power feed. I stole the idea from Stefan Gotteswinter.
B78A0570-AC81-412E-B723-767D16C52A2D.jpeg Some very needed tools I recently finished, Hemingway kit ball turner,
047572A5-8597-4F49-8CDB-454582B41734.jpeg Keith Fenner Turnwright Machine, design rollers. They work great, couldnt get the kit from Kieths Canadian distributor so just made my own from his plans. Have received 6 orders to make these so far.
62F799E5-DB40-4BC3-AA6C-1D0D371DA95A.jpeg Tom Lipton Oxtool design rod bender, another great tool I use quite a bit.
Will keep updating the power feed project. Thanks for the reminder guys.
 

DPittman

Ultra Member
Premium Member
.....Not a wonder we haven't heard from Earl for a while, he's been busy making cool stuff!
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Earl, wow you have been a busy. Nice looking stuff & great to hear from you again!
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
True story here, our PeterT, above had Keith Fenner Turnwright Machine fix his lead screw and there is an episode on youtube where he fixes it. It's a good one. He uses those Keith Fenner design rollers to do the job. small world... Peter gives us the link for that one?
 

DPittman

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Wow time flies!, still here Peter, my home machine shop has been growing organically, and since covid its been really taking off with short run orders and repairs. Heres where i’m at with the mill.View attachment 9466I added a 3 axis dro replacing the stacked igaging dro, best decision ever!
View attachment 9467I have all the parts I need for the power axis feed with the exception of fabricating a housing to put it all togethor, now that you guys reminded me, think i’ll get to that this weekend.
View attachment 9468View attachment 9469This is the dog clutch I machined to engage and disengage the power feed. I stole the idea from Stefan Gotteswinter.
View attachment 9470Some very needed tools I recently finished, Hemingway kit ball turner,
View attachment 9471Keith Fenner Turnwright Machine, design rollers. They work great, couldnt get the kit from Kieths Canadian distributor so just made my own from his plans. Have received 6 orders to make these so far.
View attachment 9472Tom Lipton Oxtool design rod bender, another great tool I use quite a bit.
Will keep updating the power feed project. Thanks for the reminder guys.
I have the imaging stacked drops on my lathe and really like them but I have never ran anything different and know no different. Can I ask what you like so much better about the "real" dro? Is it just accuracy or the ability for layouts/hole patterns etc?
I have new to me mill and would like to someday add a dro to it.
 

thriller007

Well-Known Member
I have the imaging stacked drops on my lathe and really like them but I have never ran anything different and know no different. Can I ask what you like so much better about the "real" dro? Is it just accuracy or the ability for layouts/hole patterns etc?
I have new to me mill and would like to someday add a dro to it.
I am brand new to the dro scene as well but the couple of things that had the "wow that was easy" factor was the easy hole patterns for flanges and the 1/2ing feature to find the middle of what you are working on. It also has settings for radius and a taper. I have not used those yet as this is all brand new to me. I do need to buy a magnetic edge finder. I have it on a cx605 and now that I am getting my cx601 going it will not be optional. Now I just have to figure out what size scales I need and order them.

@Earl Wong I think your idea with using the chip guard switch with the spindle lock is awesome. Since my switch was removed but received it in the box I would like to do the same. Do you recall where you hooked the wires up to? Was it on the forward reverse switch? If so what terminals? Other question is how thick is the aluminum plate you have mounted on top? thanks in advance. Also can not believe how polished you made it
 

Theflyingwrench

Active Member
Wow time flies!, still here Peter, my home machine shop has been growing organically, and since covid its been really taking off with short run orders and repairs. Heres where i’m at with the mill.View attachment 9466I added a 3 axis dro replacing the stacked igaging dro, best decision ever!
View attachment 9467I have all the parts I need for the power axis feed with the exception of fabricating a housing to put it all togethor, now that you guys reminded me, think i’ll get to that this weekend.
View attachment 9468View attachment 9469This is the dog clutch I machined to engage and disengage the power feed. I stole the idea from Stefan Gotteswinter.
View attachment 9470Some very needed tools I recently finished, Hemingway kit ball turner,
View attachment 9471Keith Fenner Turnwright Machine, design rollers. They work great, couldnt get the kit from Kieths Canadian distributor so just made my own from his plans. Have received 6 orders to make these so far.
View attachment 9472Tom Lipton Oxtool design rod bender, another great tool I use quite a bit.
Will keep updating the power feed project. Thanks for the reminder guys.
Hello Earl,
I'm new to the hands on of bench size milling machines. I'm considering a cx601. Now that you have had a chance to do a nice bit of work with yours, what are the limitations for it, materials wise and accuracy/repeatability.
Thanks
 

Earl Wong

Active Member
I can list some pro's and cons based on my experience.
Pro's - Great learning machine, very capable to perform most operations. Large work envelope compared to the other mills Busy Bee offers. I've ganged three 4" tool vises on my bed. (do not use a 6 inch milling vise, you will lose too much Y axis capability). I am currently cutting 1 1/4 holes in 1 1/4 thick 4140 steel plate on low gear 275 RPM using a carbide annular cutter and has no problem handling that operation. (you can view some vids on facebook - Small Dog Metal Fab) I've had no issues with my machine so it rates high for me with reliability. Purchase high quality tooling such as your end mills and inserts, otherwise you might feel the machine is not capable of producing nice finishes. Machine was reasonably priced so easy to get into, some mods like I made make it easier to work with. I've been using it now on a regular basis for the last 4 years, and probably more than what the average home gamer would use since by business keeps growing.
As far as accuracy, I measured index with a .0001 indicator, was within .0015 along the X axis and .0004 along the Y axis.
Con's - On my machine Y axis movement a little stiff even with the gib adjusting screw backed right out. I'm sure I can correct this but never enough time to do it. When locking down both axis for repeatability, sometime slight movement up to .005 on X axis depending on my milling operation. Install a DRO to be accurate, do not rely on the machine dials! The DRO system I purchased from E-Bay (from China) made my life so much easier, I purchased 2 systems one for the mill and one for the lathe, and spent about $700 for everything. Z axis movement a little stiff but I can live with it and could be overcome with some modification.
That's about my only criticism on the mill, just understand it is a light duty machine that wont perform like a heavy knee mill. (I ask it to do more than what it was designed for)
In summary I have really appreciated it for the last four years and will be getting a knee mill soon only to do larger work, but will continue using the CX601 for other operations.
My mill has paid for itself 10 times over four years in the revenue its generated for my business. If you live in Edmonton, reach out to me, I'd be happy to show you my setup and teach you anything about it.
 

Theflyingwrench

Active Member
Thank you very much for the reply Earl!
I looked at you FB page and I was very impressed. I'm intending to use it for very similar purposes (currently rebuilding 2 '50's BSAs)
I'm in Newfoundland, so it's a bit of a hike but appreciate the offer!
It looks like the mill is more capable then what I need which is fantastic! Are you doing that work with the orignal plastic gearing?
Thanks again
 
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