Typical of the many simple bench-mounting horizontal millers produced on the West coast of the USA in the years after WW2, the "INDUSTRO-LITE" was manufactured by the Industrial Mfg. Co. in a small factory in at 147 E. Main in Sheridan. The owner and designer of the machines was Mr Harold Olsen who, in 1977, sold his interest in the Company to Gordon Neilson, the final four machines being built by him.
With production beginning in 1945 - and around 400 examples believed to have been produced - for its capacity, the Industro-Lite was a very well-built, heavy little miller and also of excellent quality; the bedways were hand scraped and, to quote an experienced user, "... the fit and finish puts Southbend and Atlas to shame." As a consequence, today, in the 21st century, numbers are still in use and being cared for by their proud owners.
Fitted with a two-step pulley that drove, by a V-belt, to a two-step, large-diameter pulley on a built-in countershaft, the recommended 3.4 h.p., 1750 r.p.m. electric motor was mounted externally on a hinged plate that allowed for belt-tension adjustment. The drive next passed to a 3-step pulley in cast iron and from there to the mail spindle pulley by another V-belt. Also incorporated in the drive was a lathe-like backgear assembly with its bronze-bushed gears running on hardened and ground shafts. The inclusion of backgear doubled the number of speed in direct drive from six to twelve and, with the torque of the motor increased, allowed the machine to mount wide, slab milling cutters and so do useful, heavy-duty work. Speeds in the slow range were 42, 78, 110, 152, 200 and 370 r.p.m. and in direct belt drive 170, 310, 450, 570, 800 and 1450 r.p.m.
Running in Timken taper roller bearings and ball races, the No.3 Morse taper high-tensile strength steel spindle could be had with diameters of 7/8 and 1-inch; at its outer end, where it passed through the supporting drop-bracket, needle-roller races were used. Like most of the contemporary competition, the overarm was round and clamped into its split housing by, on early models one cross-bolt but on later versions - probably due to slippage of the bar in the casting - by two. As an option - or possibly standard on the later machines - a cosmetic cover was fitted to the overarm, thus giving the impression of a rather more massive-than-it-really-was appearance.
With three T-slots, the table could be had in two sizes: a standard 18" x 6" or 22" x 6"; in the former case the longitudinal travel was 9.5", in traverse 4.5" and vertically 11". With the longer table fitted the traverse and vertical travels remained the same but with the longitudinal increased to 13.5". Power-feed to the table was a standard fitting, this being driven by chain from the countershaft - a non-slip drive far superior to a belt - to a three-speed gearbox on the side of the main column. Four rates of sliding feed were available, set at 0.16, 0.12, 0.006 and 0.005 inches of travel per revolution of the spindle. The drive - carried by a Carden shaft from box to table - had its final connection to the table through a "drop-out" worm-and-wheel, a lever being lifted or dropped under just light finger pressure to engage or disengage it. The power feed worked in both directions, a lever on the side of the box provided to select neutral and the travel directions. Carried in a T-slot along the front face of the table, two adjustable knock-off stops were provided to automatically disengage the drive. The table feeds screws were in the form of milled Acme threads, end thrust being taken out against adjustable ball races and the zeroing micrometer dials finished in black with white digits and lines. As an option, the 18-inch long table (but not the 22-inch) could be fitted with a quick-action lever feed for production work
While available for bench mounting, the Industro-Lite could also be supplied fitted to a stand, of which at least three versions were built: a basic type with the front and back faces open and sides either splayed-out, or vertical, and cut with two open rectangles (typically found as the model MF-300). The other stand, while open-fronted, had all three other faces vertical and enclosing without cut-outs. One of these stands was rather different; fully enclosed it held the motor inside driving upwards instead of from the back; the miller fitted to one of these carried the Model designation MF-500 and had, reported the owner, a cast overarm..
While the early stands all seem to have been in cast iron - with the open version carrying the word Industro-Lite cast-in vertically for the full height on each side face - later versions might, as shown in the pictures below, have built up from welded steel plate, giving a more modern, clean appearance. However, might these stands be home-made, or adapted from another machine?
Optional extras included both vertical and slotting heads, a "lathe attachment" and a dial filer. The vertical head had a robust, Timken taper-roller bearing supported spindle and internal gearing that raised the speeds slightly to 50 to 1500 r.p.m. Instead of being bolted direct to the front of the column, the head was clamped in place by two curved malleable-iron castings, this arrangement allowing the head to be swivelled thought 90° each side of vertical. The slotting head, also driven directly from the main spindle, had a stroke of 2 inches - though the stroke rates remain unknown; likewise, details of both the lathe attachment and die filer have yet to be discovered.
Should you have an Industro-Lite miller, and would like to share more details, the writer would be pleased to hear from you.