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Butler Elgamill Milling and Boring Machines

Elgamill Accessories   Large Jobs on an Elgamill 

Elgamill Constructional Details   High Power Elgamills

Manuals are available for the Butler Elgamill and other Butler machine tools


Founded in 1886 and based in Halifax town -  once an important centre of UK machine-tool production - the Butler Company are still going strong. Over many decades they became well known for a wide range of conventional lathes, slotters, shapers, planers, plano-millers, horizontal borers and, in later years, a number of NC-controlled drills and special-purpose machines.
Bought by the large B.Elliot Machine Tool Group, Butler's ordinary products were, by the 1960s, becoming increasingly old-fashioned and the chance was taken to build, under licence, a milling machine to be called the "Elgamill" - its name derived from another Elliot subsidiary, the Elgar Machine Tool Co.
First manufactured during the late 1960s, the Elgamill was a design by Mecof  SRL, an Italian machine-tool maker who had begun life in Ovada, to the north west of Genoa, in 1947. Who the individual designer was is not known, but so successful was his work that it allowed Butler to proclaim the Elgamill as "The World's Most Versatile Milling Machine". Intended to be a machine easily adaptable for both general-purpose milling and boring operations, the Elgamill was steadily developed to tackle larger, heavier and more complex and difficult-to-handle jobs and consequently was built in a variety of versions, sizes, adaptations. A particularly strong model, offered from the late 1970s onwards, was the "Hi-Power" - this being produced in a Series consisting of the types H, T, L, CR-15-V3, CR-15-V4, all fitted with a choice of heavy-duty, DC motors with ratings of  20, 25, 30 and 40 h.p. and able to be equipped with rams having, on the end of their horizontal spindle, universal, right-angle or "double" heads. By the 1980s, machines were carrying the designations: EC9000, HEC and LEC and, developed even further with more sophisticated computer controls became, in 1996 (after Butler and the machine-tool makers Asquith combined) the "Powercentre" range.
As the design of the Elgamill was modular, with many components on different models being interchangeable, it was relatively easy to construct one-off specials to a customer's particular requirements. Such machines could have longer beds, two side-by-side, fixed or travelling columns, extra long tables, increased height and a variety of control systems including NC and CNC - and doubtless other possibilities. However, for all but some of the fixed-column, moving-table Models the Hi-Power T and TNC (both with NC or CNC controls) and conventional Hi-Power CR15V3 and CR14V4, the layout of the standard machines remained the same with construction centred around a particularly rigid, non-moving cast-iron table machined with T-slots in its top surface and, at the rear, fibre-faced rectangular ways to carry a saddle to which was fixed a vertical column. To help support the column's weight a set of recirculating roller bearings was fitted beneath it, these running on hardened steel tracks. Longitudinal guidance was also provided by rollers, these being of the pre-loaded type that engaged with another set of hardened steel ways.
With the base fixed, longitudinal travel came, of course, from the saddle - this being machined on its left-hand face with ways for the rise and fall "head slide" - a box-like structure holding a gearbox. The head slide was topped by an in-and-out travel, ram-type all-geared milling head running on fibre-faced ways with, as standard, just a horizontal milling spindle.
Slideways of all versions were fitted (as one might have expected) with an automatic lubrication system, this usually taking the form of "Lumatic" electrically driven pumps; one, fixed to the saddle, lubricated the bed slideways with another, mounted in the headslide, providing a supply of oil to the headslide and ram slideways
Running in two pairs of pre-loaded precision bearings, the spindle was driven by a motor that could - depending upon the size of the miller - vary in output from as little as 10 to as much as 40 h.p. From the flange-mounted motor, drive passed through oil-immersed gearing and a mechanical clutch on the smaller CS8 and CS10 models but a heavy-duty, electro-mechanical clutch on all other variants.
Power feeds in all directions were run from a separate motor, the drive being taken through trains of gears to the three feed screws; on the CS8 and CS10 the drive passed through mechanical clutches but on the CS10VA and DR12VA through an electro-magnetic type. On the CSN10 and DR12 machines separate drives were used to turn recirculating ball screws for each axis - but with rack-and-pinion gearing used instead on the long-traverse DR12VA.
One very important accessory was a universal, double-swivel vertical head (similar to that first used on the wonderful French Huron miller) that could be mounted either permanently, or fixed to a swing-out bracket that allowed a quick change from horizontal to vertical and back again. In its standard form the vertical speed range (the drive turned 90 through heavy-duty spiral bevel gears) was identical to that of the horizontal, though the makers did offer to provide higher or lower speed heads, the latter by the use of "interposed" gearboxes.
Continued below:

The large Butler Elgamill Hi-Power Model L fitted, in this case, with an auxiliary side table topped by a box-table support

Continued:
Running in precision, pre-loaded taper-roller bearings, the spindle had a nose equipped with a Bristol Erickson quick-change locking ring and, on virtually every version, a nose socket catalogued as the metric "50 UNI 3089" and imperial "ASME 2.75". The various angle swivel markings engraved on the head included vernier setting scales - with an electronic zero-set facility available at extra cost. Other measuring systems found on the Elgamill reflected the changes taking place from the late 1960s onwards with a variety of types available including illuminated magnifiers, the about-to-be-obsolete optical readers and the recently introduced digital readouts.
Although a range of standard Elgamills was offered, the modular construction and large number of interchangeable parts allowed the makers to offer not only one-off specials but, at lower cost, custom-assembled versions - including double fixed or travelling columns, a variety of plain rectangular or rotary tables, different overarms and customised control systems - all to a buyer's particular requirements. One unusual accessory - of which no illustration can be found - was a special ram with both horizontal and vertical spindles.
The smallest machine in the range was the CS8, this being of fixed-bed, travelling column type and fitted with a horizontal spindle as standard - though a universal head was available as an extra. Beds could be 4, 5 or 6 metres long , all of the same 965 mm width and with six 22 mm T-slots on top (on a 175 mm pitch) and one more along the front face. The respective longitudinal travels of the column for each bed length were 2300, 3300 and 4300 mm with the ram's cross travel set at 980 mm and the column vertical movement a maximum of 1100 mm.
Rated at 10 h.p. the spindle drive motor gave twelve speeds from 30 to 1440 r.p.m. while the 4.5 h.p. feed motor produced travel rates that varied from 6 to 500 mm/min and the standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism a single, fixed rate of 2200 mm/min.   
Superior to the CS8 was the popular CS10, this being listed as a basic model and also, equipped with variable-speed drive to the spindle, as the CS10VA and, equipped with a digital read-out system, the DR12VA.  Constructional details followed the smaller models with a fixed bed and travelling column and fibre facings to the ram and saddle slideways.
Offered for the machining of large and unwieldy components, the Elgamill Model L "High-Column" was equipped as standard with an infinitely variable-speed DC motor mounted inside the saddle, digital readouts to all three axes and N.C. controls as an extra (the latter also involving the use of a special double pinion drive in the saddle for backlash-free movement). Beds of almost any length could be supplied - though the minimum was 6 metres - in intervals of 1 metre. Machined with two large section fibre-lined rectangular ways for the saddle to run on, the High-Column followed the usual Elgamill arrangement of having two hardened steel track along which ran recirculating roller elements fitted beneath the column to give it additional support. Longitudinal guidance of the saddle was by pre-loaded rollers, engaging with hardened steel ways - all the sliding elements being protected by close-fitting, telescopic steel covers.
Columns could be had in three heights, these being listed not by the clearance they gave between the spindle centre and table, but rather the spindle centre to floor, the distances being 3235, 3735 or 4235 mm. Spindle speeds - 27 from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. - were, as on other versions of the Elgamill, identical for both horizontal and vertical heads, with the drive coming, in standard form, from a 15 h.p. motor -  this being considered adequate for the majority of ordinary work - or by 25 and 30 h.p. motors that had a slower speed range from 42 to 1190 r.p.m.. However, bearing in mind its intended purpose, the ram and spindle assembly of the Model L was not standard, but strengthened by the use of five heavy-duty angular contact ball bearings (in place of the ordinary precision taper roller type) and the use of a power drawbar. In addition, D.C. motors drove both the travel of the ram and the headslide, the drive passing though backlash-free, recirculating ball screws and electromagnetic clutches. The universal version of the vertical head fitted to the Model L was also made more suitable for heavy work by the fitting of very much more expensive, high-precision Gamet pre-loaded double-taper roller bearings  - presumably in place of ones having an ordinary level of accuracy. Nose fittings were confined to the regular Bristol Eriskson quick-change locking ring type and the nose socket catalogued as the usual metric "50 UNI 3089" and imperial "ASME 2.75". In addition to the standard and universal heads, for the Model L the makers also offered a plain right-angle head in a heavy-duty version - though one limiting factor was that, at the lower end of the spindle-speed range it was not possible use the full power of the 25 or 30 h.p. ram-head motors.
Shown below is a selection of Elgamill models together with their outline specifications.
Did you work on the production of the Elgamill or for Butler? If so, the writer would be very interested to hear from you..

Butler Elgamill CS8. Fixed bed available in lengths of 4, 5 or 6 metres and fitted with a travelling column. The bed width was 965 mm with five T-slots on top and one along the front - all 22 mm wide and on a pitch of 175 mm. The longitudinal travel of the column for the three bed lengths was, respectively, 2300,3300 and 4300 mm; the maximum vertical travel of the head unit 1100 mm and the in-out ram travel 980 mm. Fitted as standard with a 10 h.p. motor, twelve spindle speeds from 30 to 1440 r.p.m. were available while a 4.5 h.p. feed motor produced longitudinal, transverse and vertical feeds that varied from 6 to 500 mm/min and the standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism a single, fixed rate of 2200 mm/min.   

Butler Elgamill ram-head drive system. Additional constructional details on this page

Butler Elgamill CS10. Fixed bed available in lengths of 4, 5,  6, 8 10 and 12 metres and fitted with a travelling column. Two column heights were available that gave head vertical travels of 1200 and 1700 mm. The bed width was 1030 mm with five T-slots on top and one along the front - all 22 mm wide and on a pitch of 175 mm. The longitudinal travel of the column for the five bed lengths was, respectively, 2300,3300, 4300, 6300, 8300 and 10,300 mm and the in-out ram travel 980 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with a 4 h.p. feed motor giving longitudinal, transverse and vertical feeds that varied from 6 to 500 mm/min. The standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism gave a single, fixed rate of 2000 mm/min.   

Butler Elgamill CS10VA and DR12VA (the latter identical mechanically but with a standard-fit DRO system). Fixed bed available in lengths of 4, 5,  6, 8 10 and 12 metres and fitted with a travelling column. Two column heights were available that gave head vertical travels of 1200 and 1700 mm. The bed width was 1030 mm with six T-slots on top and two along the front - all 22 mm wide and on a pitch of 175 mm. The longitudinal travel of the column for the five bed lengths was, respectively, 2300,3300, 4300, 6300, 8300 and 10,300 mm and the in-out ram travel 980 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with a 6.5 h.p. feed motor that gave infinitely variable rates of longitudinal, transverse and vertical feeds from 3 to 2200 mm/min. 

Butler Elgamill CSN10 with a choice of CNC controls: Plessey NC11, NC22  and NC33; Cincinnati Acramatic 1V and V and Bendix 400 and 1500 (others could be fitted as well. Fixed bed available in lengths of 4, 5 and 6 metres and fitted with a travelling column. Two column heights were available that gave head vertical travels of 1200 and 1700 mm. The bed width was 1030 mm with six T-slots on top and two along the front - all 22 mm wide and on a pitch of 175 mm. The longitudinal travel of the column for the three bed lengths was, respectively, 2300,3300 and 4300 mm and the in-out ram travel 980 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with a 4 h.p. feed motor powering the feeds at rates that varied from 2 to 2000* mm/min. rapids were also fitted, these giving a single fixed rate of 2000 mm/min. * varied according to the N.C. system

Butler Elgamill DR12. Fixed bed available in lengths of 4, 5 and 6 metres and fitted with a travelling column. Two column heights were available that gave head vertical travels of 1200 and 1700 mm. The bed width was 1030 mm with six T-slots on top and two along the front - all 22 mm wide and on a pitch of 175 mm. The longitudinal travel of the column for the three bed lengths was, respectively, 2300,3300 and 4300 mm and the in-out ram travel 980 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with a 3 h.p. feed motor giving feed rates from 2 to 2000 mm/min. The standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism gave a single, fixed rate of 2000 mm/min.   


Butler Elgamill CR15V3. This model differed by having a fixed column with a 2500 x 1200 mm travelling table with a load capacity of 20 tone, seven T-slots, 22 mm wide on a 175 mm spacing, its ways protected by steel telescopic covers and hydraulic clamping as standard. Longitudinal travel was 2000 mm, the ram in and out travel 980 mm and the head's vertical movement 1130 mm or, with the optional taller column, 1630 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with three separate 3 h.p. D.C. feed motors that gave infinitely-variable longitudinal, transverse and vertical feeds through recirculating ballscrews from 0 to 2400 mm/min. The standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism gave a single, fixed rate of 2400 mm/min.

Butler Elgamill CR15V4. Another model with a fixed column and travelling table, this time a square rotating one, 1070 x 1070 mm able to carry 2.5 tons, with six T-slots, 22 mm wide on a 175 mm spacing, its ways protected by steel telescopic covers and hydraulic clamping as standard. The table was equipped with a centre spigot hole 50 mm in diameter and a number of reference slots. Longitudinal travel was 1350 mm, the ram in and out travel 980 mm and the head's vertical movement 1200 mm or, with the optional taller column, 1700 mm. Fitted as standard with either a 12.5 or 15 h.p. motor, twenty seven spindle speeds from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. were available with four separate 3 h.p. D.C. feed motors that gave infinitely-variable longitudinal, transverse and vertical feeds through recirculating ballscrews from 0 to 2400 mm/min and a worm drive to the rotating table. The standard-fit, rapid feed mechanism gave a single, fixed rate of 2400 mm/min. A four-axis digital readout was fitted as standard with the option of three axis NC control - with the digital readout retained on the rotary table - or a full four-axis N.C. fitting.

Elgamill Model L "High-Column" Intended for the machining of large and unwieldy components, the Elgamill Model L "High-Column" was equipped as standard with an infinitely variable-speed DC motor mounted inside the saddle, digital readouts to all three axes and N.C. controls as an extra (the latter also involving the use of a special double pinion drive in the saddle for backlash-free movement). Beds of almost any length could be supplied - though the minimum was 6 metres - in intervals of 1 metre. Machined with two large section fibre-lined rectangular ways for the saddle to run on, the High-Column followed the usual Elgamill arrangement of having two hardened steel track along which ran recirculating roller elements fitted beneath the column to give it additional support. Longitudinal guidance of the saddle was by pre-loaded rollers, engaging with hardened steel ways - all the sliding elements being protected by close-fitting, telescopic steel covers.
Columns could be had in three heights, these being listed not by the clearance they gave between the spindle centre and table, but rather the spindle centre to floor, the distances being 3235, 3735 or 4235 mm. Spindle speeds - 27 from 30 to 2080 r.p.m. - were, as on other versions of the Elgamill, identical for both horizontal and vertical heads, with the drive coming, in standard form, from a 15 h.p. motor -  this being considered adequate for the majority of ordinary work, though 25 and 30 h.p. motors offered as an option. However, bearing in mind its intended purpose, the horizontal spindle of the Model L was not standard, but strengthened by the use of five heavy-duty angular contact ball bearings (in place of the ordinary precision taper roller type) and the use of a power drawbar. In addition, the ram and vertical travel of the headslide were both driven by D.C. motors, the drive passing though backlash-free, recirculating ball screws and electromagnetic clutches. The universal version of the vertical head was also made more suitable for heavy work by the fitting of very much more expensive, high-precision Gamet pre-loaded double taper roller bearings. Nose fittings were confined to the regular Bristol Eriskson quick-change locking ring type and the nose socket catalogued as the usual metric "50 UNI 3089" and imperial "ASME 2.75". In addition to the standard and universal heads, for the Model L the makers also offered a plain right-angle head in a heavy-duty version - though one limiting factor was that, at the lower end of the spindle-speed range it was not possible use the full power of either the 25 or 30 h.p. ram-head motors

Another view of the Butler Elgamill Model L "High-Column"

Ram head of the Elgamill model L "High-Column" model


Elgamill Accessories   Large Jobs on an Elgamill 

Elgamill Constructional Details

Manuals are available for the Butler Elgamill and other Butler machine tools

Butler Elgamill Milling and Boring Machines
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
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