Last of the Emco-manufactured conventional geared-head milling machines, the FB-2 was an exceptionally well built and versatile machine. Driven by either a 0.18 kW single-phase or 0.25 kW 3-phase motor, six spindle speeds spanning 120 to 2000 r.p.m. were available (on a 60-cycle supply these became 145 to 2400 r.p.m.). Able to be swivelled through 360° (with setting by degree markings that included a vernier scale), the all-geared, oil-bath head had a spindle with a No. 2 Morse taper socket held within a 40 mm travel quill driven by a rapid-action lever. Unfortunately the fine feed only worked at 90° to the table, by winding the whole head up and down the column - hence, with feeds along the axis of the quill limited to those by lever, the millers ability to handle very sensitive angled jobs was restricted to setting them up in an angled vice, or similar. Although resetting the head's vertical position on the column took much twirling of the control handle it was (unlike the much cheaper and cruder competing Taiwanese mill/drills) guided by a gib block and so stayed in perfect aligned throughout its travel. If the head needed to be rotated around the vertical axis of the column the latter could be unclamped from its housing by two socket-headed screws and, guided by a ring of degree markings, swung to whatever position was desired
While the earlier 4-speed head used paddle-type speed-change levers located by tiny, fiddly-to-engage pins (as also found on Emco lathes of the time) the 6-speed version had much larger, more easily-gripped plastic handles fitted with spring-loaded indexing.
Of a generous size for a small machine the 630 x 150 mm table had 380 mm of longitudinal travel, 140 mm across and a maximum clearance of 370 mm from the spindle nose. As an option a 3-speed table-feed motor was offered (this became a variable-speed motor on the Taiwanese copies) that gave rates of 33, 65 and 170 mm per minute. However, although this expensive installation included a safety over-load clutch, activated when the table contacted an adjustable stop, it lacked a true "fully-disengaged" action; not a serious drawback, but one to be aware of. All versions had neatly engraved rulers, marked either in mm or fractions of an inch, on both the X and Y axes.
Micrometer dials were of a good size, neatly engraved and, on all the examples encountered by the writer, both Austrian and Taiwanese, the feeds worked with commendable smoothness, the feed-screw nuts being adjustable to remove backlash. In addition to being used on the FB-2 miller, the 6-speed head was also fitted, as an optional extra, to the larger Emco geared-head lathes.
Always an expensive proposition, in 1992 the FB-2 was listed at over £2500 and by the time a stand and chip tray, table-motor unit, vice and collet-chuck were added this rose to over £4200, a figure then well beyond the pocket of all but the wealthiest amateur and one that explains the attractions of the cruder, less versatile but tough Mill-Drill machines from the far-east that sold for between £650 and £1200. Almost exact copies of the FB-2 were also made in Taiwan and marketed under various brand names e.g. Poseidon in the U.S.A. and Warco in the U.K. These copies, very much less expensive than the Austrian-built machines, still appear to have been a soundly engineered proposition and the few examples encountered by the writer all worked quietly and with commendable precision.
A number of accessories was offered by the makers including a T-slotted angle plate, 150 mm diameter rotary table, a swivel-base machine vice, boring and fly-cutting head (non-micrometer type), a collet chuck, drill chuck, a number of milling cutter, drill, gear, side-and-face and slitting-saw cutter sets, a pair of adapters to mount a 3-jaw chuck on the table, rotary table and angle plate, a set of stepped clamping shoes, a standard machine light, a fluorescent-strip machine light, a cabinet base, a chip tray with coolant connections and a coolant tank and pump assembly.
Emco FB2 Photo Essay