Just one plain vertical milling head was listed, with a No. 4 Morse taper nose and a 20 mm spindle bore. Running in high-precision taper roller bearings and hardened and ground all over, the spindle assembly was beautifully made but lacked a quill feed. Most competing makers at the time offered optional, very high-speed, self-motorised heads that incorporated, most usefully, both fine and rapid-action drilling feeds. However, the unusually large number and range of speeds did go some considerable way to compensate. Mounted on the end of the sliding base, the upper ram had 140 mm of in-and-out travel under the control of a handwheel.
As carefully configured as the horizontal, the vertical spindle was also hardened and ground and ran in super-precision bearings. Built around a particularly stout main column with wide and generously-proportioned ways to carry the knee, the miller was mounted on a separate cast-iron stand - whose chip tray was, unfortunately, small and ineffective.
An owner writes:
Thanks for the tech spec on the Sabca Mill that arrived today, which is of much interest. My own is nearly identical to that shown, the only difference being a 4-spoked lever arrangement for the Y axis travel instead of a handwheel and a slightly different shape of door to the lower end of the machine.
I bought it for ?00 a number of years ago from a fellow model-engineering club member. I know little of its history, except that at some time the original 3-h.p., 3-phase phase, 2-speed motor had been rewound to single phase. This was not a success as it certainly did not like the normal domestic mains. Also, the original 2800 and 900 motor rev arrangement that gave a very clever range of speeds,( 12 horizontal or 24 vertical evenly spaced) was now left with huge gaps between the speeds on the 1-speed 1425 r.p.m. motor. I was given a 2800/1425 motor that I ran through a static phase converter. However, even using the two motor speeds it could not be called a success and the motor eventually failed.
At some period of it's history the machine had suffered it's fair share of abuse with obvious signs of damage to the table and I felt no sense of guilt it attempting to update it, rather than restore it to its ex-works condition (which, given a normal domestic electricity supply was not practical anyway). So, I splashed out. I went for a new 3-phase motor, plus a modern inverter and have the best of all worlds. I leave the twin V-belts on the middle speed. I can also use the gear change for horizontal mode, or a combination of both gearboxes for vertical milling. I now have the original speed range, with no steps, and plenty of torque at the lower end.
I have also fitted digital read-out on all 3 axis and a halogen work-light. Unfortunately, the maker's plate has gone, so I cannot date the machine, although I would love to have some rough idea, and also what it cost. Not cheap, I would think.
I am really delighted with the end result. A most versatile machine, beautifully made, that is a solid as a rock, runs very sweetly and is very accurate. I suppose with the inverter and the digital readout system, plus a few extra collets, it stands me at about a ?000, and worth every penny. I am getting a bit long in the tooth now and, having been brought up on well-built machine tools, am biased - but I do believe that money spent on good second-hand British (or American or European) tools is better value than on many of the Far-eastern imports.
*Proof of the type's success - the genus Precision Universal Milling Machine - is evident from the number of similar machines made in various countries including:
Emco Model F3
Belgium: S.A.B.C.A. Model JRC-2
Czechoslovakia: TOS FN Models
England: Alexander "Master Toolmaker" and the Ajax "00", an import of uncertain origin.
Germany: Hahn & Kolb with their pre-WW2 Variomat model
Wilhelm Grupp Universal- Fräsmaschine Type UF 20 N/120
Hermle Models UWF-700 and UWF-700-PH
Leinen Super Precision Micro Mill
Macmon Models M-100 & M-200 (though these were actually manufactured by Prvomajska); Maho (many models over several decades)
Rumag Models RW-416 and RW-416-VG
SHW (Schwabische Huttenwerke) Models UF1, UF2 and UF3
Thiel Models 58, 158 and 159
Wemas Type WMS
Italy: C.B.Ferrari Models M1R & M2R
Bandini Model FA-1/CB and badged as Fragola (agents, who also sold a version of the Spanish Meteba).
Japan: Riken Models RTM2 and RTM3
Poland: "Avia" and "Polamco" Models FNC25, FND-25 and FND-32 by Fabryka Obrabiarek Precyzyinych
Russia: "Stankoimport 676"
Spain: Metba Models MB-0, MB-1, MB-2, MB-3 and MB-4
Switzerland: Aciera Models F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5
Christen and Perrin Types U-O and U-1 (Perrin Frères SA, Moutier)
Hispano-Suiza S.A. Model HSS-143
Mikron Models WF2/3S, WF3S, WF-3-DCM & WF-2/3-DCM
Perrin Type U-1
Schaublin Model 13 and Model 22
The former Yugoslavia: Prvomajska (in Zagreb with Models ALG-100 and ALG200)
Sinn Models MS2D & MS4D
"Comet" Model X8130, imported to the UK in the 1970s by TI Comet.
United States: Brown & Sharpe "Omniversal"
Sloane & Chace in the USA produced a miniature bench version and at least five Chinese-built models have also been made, including one from the Beijing Instrument Machine Tool Works. A number of the "clones" merely followed the general Thiel/Maho/Deckel concept whilst others, like Bandini and Christen, borrowed heavily from Deckel and even had parts that were interchangeable. Should you come across any of these makes and models all will provide "The Deckel Experience" - though you must bear in mind that spares are unlikely to be available and, being complex, finely-made mechanisms, they can be difficult and expensive to repair..