Tormach PCNC440 Z axis oil manifold access

Turning a Dribble into a Flow

The right hand side oiler for the Z axis on my 440 has always had a poor oil feed to the slideway.   I had tried to clear all the pipework that is easily accessible but with no improvement.   I was conscious that deeply embedded in the spindle assembly was an oil manifold that fed the left and right slideways and the ball screw.   Could this be the source of the problem and how was I going to get at it without a major strip down of the Z axis spindle assembly ?

Looking down from the top of the spindle assembly I could just see the manifold in a hole in the casting.   If I could get to this I might just be able to work on it without a major strip down.

First of all an apology that I do not have any photographs of what follows as I was so engrossed and so grubby that I left my phone secure and out of the way.  The process will become obvious as you progress and is not overtly difficult.

The stripping process was to remove the two screws holding the door interlock switch, remove the four screws holding the wrap round cover, remove the holding pin on the power drawbar and remove the two bolts holding the spindle motor.   With all these fixings and parts freed off it is possible to lift the outer cover up and over out of the way and to lay the spindle motor inside it.   It is tight to shimmy the cover around the power drawbar body flange but it is possible without removing the drawbar piston assembly.

With all this removed it fully reveals and gives access to the cavity containing the manifold.   It is a short term joy because it is pretty much impossible to undo the right hand side oil feed as this is from the end of the manifold.

Light bulb moment – if I drilled two 6mm holes in the assembly casting opposite the two hex head screws that are holding the manifold in place, I could get a hex driver T bar to remove these screws and free the manifold from the casting wall.   This would allow the manifold to be moved to work on it.

Here is a drawing to help locate the two holes giving the distance from the back and bottom of the casting. (The lower black and blue assembly is my fogbuster mounting).

Once the manifold is free to be moved around it is possible to remove the right hand feed pipe and remove the associated length of pipework to clean it.   I found the manifold end of the pipe had not been cleanly cut and was restricting oil flow.

A word of warning – the oil feed to the ball screw is a semi rigid pipe and this terminates in the side of the ball screw.   Do not overstress this length of pipework or there will be tears.

Assembly is the reverse process.   Apologies once again for the lack of supporting pictures.

I can report my right hand side Z axis slideway oil flow is much improved.

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2 Replies to “Tormach PCNC440 Z axis oil manifold access”

  1. Thanks for posting this! I am in a situation with my 440 where, after reinstalling the enclosure yesterday after installing a new ATC, the oil line that leads to the manifold in the column that you describe got pinched between the enclosure and column such that when the column initially retracted (and I was too stupid to catch it), it broke the nylon tube inside. I am contemplating my repair strategy and after seeing this, I am definitely going for a simple splice of the broken line with an appropriate fitting rather than trying to replace then entire line which would require access to the manifold in the column. I sure wish it was easier to get to this oil line manifold.

    1. Good morning David
      I fully understand your frustration and concern. I debated long and hard how I was going to approach access to the manifold and the last thing I wanted was to strip down the spindle assembly.

      The process that I described is practical to do but clearly depends on you being able to get your hand into the casting sufficiently to move things around. Swapping the feed tube would be practical if it is the LHS feed as this enters the manifold on the top whereas the RHS comes off the end. The two hole trick works to get the manifold out.

      If I was in the same situation as you are I would opt for the same fix as you suggest – a thin wall sleeve joiner inside the feed pipe. Good luck and keep in touch. It is always good to talk with other Tormach / 440 owners. They are great machines.

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