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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Stark U.S.A.
      Precision Bench Milling Machines

      Stark Miller Page 2   Stark Miller Page 3   Stark Miller Page 4

      Stark Miller Page 5

      Stark Miller on Original Underdrive Stand

      Literature for Stark machines is available

      From the late 1800s onwards the American Stark Company made a range of small, precision bench milling machines, many similar to those offered by other makers of precision bench lathes: Ames, American Watch Tool, Cataract, Stark, Pratt & Whitney, Sloan & Chace and Waltham. Stark's offerings were gradually improved in both rigidity and ease of operation - it being one of the few company to provide the option of a neat, integrated drive system that could be positioned underneath a bench. While other makers contented themselves with simple machines using adaptations of lathe headstocks and lever-feed slides for production use, Stark also offered heavier and more versatile machines and included in their accessory range a beautifully made vertical head that transformed the smaller millers into useful, general-purpose machines for toolroom use..

      Stark Plain Milling machine circa 1890 to 1900. The lathe-like headstock with a (hollow) precision spindle and bearings was fitted to a column machined with a replica of the Stark lathe bed, so allowing components to be interchanged between lathe and miller - or any set-up the operator was imaginative enough to devise. To allow larger work to be tackled, a raiser block was supplied that could be mounted between column and head. The knee elevation was through a bevel gear and the table fitted with both screw and lever feeds either of which could be selected by "simply turning a screw marked "O" at the end of the carriage". Supplied as standard with the miller was a swivelling-base vise and, though not illustrated, an eight-plate dividing head with tailstock. The machine was much smaller than it appears and the travel of the table limited to three inches in and out and six inches up and down - the longitudinal travel was not stated but must have been in the order of 8 inches or so.

      Stark Universal Milling machine, Pinion and Wheel Cutter Combined. This beautifully constructed artefact used the column, knee and table of the Plain Milling machine but was fitted with the 3-spindle head from the dedicated Pinion and Wheel Cutting Machine - details of which can be found in the Stark lathe section.

      Over many years Stark made a range of small, precision milling machines, many similar to those offered by other Precision Bench Lathe makers, for example:  Ames, Cataract and Hardinge, Pratt & Whitney, Rivett, Stark and Waltham. However, the miller above was unusual in being based not on a modified lathe headstock but on the spindle from the No. 4 lathe built into in a rather more conventional and substantial design of machine - but constructed to precision standards rather than as a work-a-day machine.
      The 18" x 4" table could be swung 45 degrees either way from its normal position on a conical spacer between the bed and a sub-plate that mounted to the knee (in the picture, left, the release and locking hexagon-headed set-screw can be seen on the left-hand side of the knee casting immediately above the vertical lift handle). The table carried a single 0.535" wide T slot and had 10" of longitudinal travel, 3.5" in traverse and 4.75" vertically. All feeds were by hand and the machine could be powered either by an ordinary countershaft unit mounted to the side or by Stark's own self-contained, 3-speed gearbox/clutch equipped underdrive motor unit that, combined with the two sizes of cone pulley on the miller, provided a total of  6 spindle speeds. The gearbox unit was not made especially for the miller, but also offered as an accessory for the Stark range of precision bench lathes and as a unit suitable for driving a range of other makers' small machine tools.

      Rear view of the complete under-bench drive unit showing the supporting frame, motor and coupling, clutched 3-speed gearbox and drum-type reversing switch.
      Driving a small milling machine was always an awkward engineering exercise - ceiling and wall-mounted drive countershafts made for their lathes did not always adapt well to the problem - and by the early 1930s Stark were offering a neat, self-contained motor drive unit mounted on a substantial cast-iron frame and designed to fit beneath a bench. It was also offered for the Company's lathes and was advertised and marketed as being suitable for other makes as well - it being easily set up to drive any number of small machine tools that would otherwise have required a separate and cumbersome one-off drive units. The assembly consisted of a supporting frame, motor and coupling, 3-speed gearbox with a cultch and a drum-type reversing switch. The speed-change lever could be operated whilst the drive was running and the gearbox, with three shafts, all supported on adjustable Timken roller-bearings, used a series of non-metallic gears engaging with hardened steel gears running on hardened shafts - lubrication being by immersion in an oil bath.

      Another of the heavier Stark horizontal milling machines that used an improved and much heavier form of head.

      Stark Miller Page 2   Stark Miller Page 3   Stark Miller Page 4

      Stark Miller Page 5    Stark Miller on Original Underdrive Stand

      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
      Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
      Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

      Stark U.S.A.
      Precision Bench Milling Machines



      Literature for Stark machines is available
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