X2 Mini Mill Table and Air Spring Installation Progress

Saturday, February 4, 2012
As I mentioned in the previous post, I bough a large table assembly and air spring upgrade kit. Yesterday I had a few hours to work on my mini mill, and this is a quick update on the progress. Installing the table is actually a trivial exercise: unbolt the three hex screws holding the column bracket to the table and bolt it to the new on. Since I'm installing the spring kit as well, so I ended up taking the whole mill apart.
The spring kit installation isn't too complicated either. The  process [with the mill disassembled] took less than 30 minutes. The steps included:
  • Drilling a 10mm hole in the back of the column 
  • Drilling and taping two M6x1 screw holes
  • Bolting a [provided] braket and post to the head 
  • Bolting the air spring to the column 
  • Bolting the two together
Low End of the Z Travel
Top End of the Travel
The quality of the air spring kit was surprisingly good. The parts were well made, and the air spring itself was made in South Korea. LittleMachineShop.com has clear, easy to follow instructions. The only thing I don't agree with is the Z-travel stop location LMS suggested: the air spring allow the head to go all the way up to the top of the column, and the provided instruction would limit the travel by an additional inch - inch and a half. I will likely mill something out of aluminum or plastic that stops the head flush with the column.
The table [at least my specimen] had much better finish that then stock HF table, and appears to be much more accurate. My original table had horrible binding problems especially on the cross travel, and the table had close to .007" of runout over the the 9" of travel. The new table appears to have about  .001"-.002" over 12", and not binding I can detect. The increased travel is very noticeable, but I imagine I'll have to modify the head to bring it forward at least an inch.

Table Moved to the Front Table Moved to the Back

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase. The whole thing, including shipping, set me back a bit over $400. In addition to the 30% travel increase on all three axes, the air spring and the new table have significantly improved the feel of the machine.

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