email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Emco FB-2 (and clones)
Vertical Milling Machine

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A manual is available for the Emco FB-2


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

It's not really that big. A 6-speed FB2 being operated by the
smallest chap they could find from the sales department.

The clear markings and simple controls on the head of an FB2. Note the improvements over the 4-speed model: easier-to-grip speed-change levers, adjustable-for-position spindle and column clamp handles and a 2-lever drill-feed handle. The end of the quill where it protruded through the top surface of the head was also protected--but only by an easily-knocked-off plastic cover.

Gear cutting on the FB2 using the Emco dividing head.

FB2 general-arrangement drawings. The table was 630 mm x 150 mm


Taiwanese-built  Emco FB2 clone
It appears that more than one Taiwanese manufacturer was responsible for the Emco FB2 clones - with some of the models imported not even carrying a dealers identification. However, all those seen by the writer have been constructed as an almost perfect copy, built to a good standard and have worked well.

Warco clone of the Emco FB-2 fitted with an infinitely variable-speed table drive

Warco table feed-screw micrometer dial


Emco Millers Home Page   Early Belt-drive Emco Miller   EMCO F1, FP 7 F1CNC Milling Machines

Emco FB2 Photo Essay    Emco F3

A manual is available for the Emco FB-2

Emco FB-2 (and clones) Vertical Milling Machine
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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