Specialist manufacturers of drilling, tapping, threading and automatic feed machines sold under the Ixion brand name, Otto Häfner of Hamburg, Germany, offered a compound table to fit their heavier models - so turning them into light-duty milling machines. However, they also made at least one proper, complete and very effective bench-top vertical milling/drilling machine, the Type BST-23. Weighing some 342 kg, the Ixion milling and drilling was very heavily built and modelled along lines established by Taiwanese and Korean makers - whose inexpensive and now ubiquitous Mill/Drills began to appear on the market in the early 1970s. The very long-established German machine-tool distributors Hahn & Kolb also listed the machine, as did the Maxion Company - and can occasionally be found with their branding.
With a powerful 2-speed, 3-phase motor mounted at the back, the drive was brought forwards by V-belt from a 5-step pulley to an intermediate 5-step idler pulley and from there to the No. 3 Morse taper spindle by a 32 mm wide Poly-V belt - the standard-fit motor giving a total of 10 speeds from 120 to 2160 r.p.m. However, other specifications have been found including the BST-23PF with a choice of two ranges: 200 to 2250 r.p.m. or 100 to 1120 r.p.m., the BST-23TF with a 3-phase 1.5 h.p. motor that gave stepless speeds (through a system of expanding and contracting pulleys) from 125 to 1150 r.p.m. and the BST-23STPF, this having a 2-speed 126.96.36.199 h.p. motor that gave stepless changes in two ranges of 95 to 1650 r.p.m. and 140 to 2400 r.p.m. Far Eastern machines, invariably fitted with a single-phase motor, also used an intermediate pulley to give between 9 and 12 speeds with much the same range - though always with V-belts throughout. Like the Far Eastern examples, the BST-23 also had both a quick-action drilling feed for its 120 mm (4.75") travel spindle and a particularly slow and delicate worm-and-wheel driven feed using a full-circle handwheel working through worm-and-wheel gearing.
Fitted with adjustable stops for all directions of movement, the 3 T-slot table was 610 x 240 mm (24" x 9.5") with travels of 353 mm (14") longitudinally and 165 mm (6.5") in traverse (though the maker's advertised figures were slightly less generous). Like many Swedish Arboga millers, the Ixion enjoyed the advantage of a table assembly that could be unbolted from the T-slotted base plate and used beneath other drills or on other machine tools. Removal of the table also gave an increase in clearance beneath the spindle nose - this was normally 585 mm (23") - and hence the chance to mount special vices or rig-up other imaginative or unofficial work-holding arrangements.
Instead of the crude rack-and-pinion head-elevation mechanism used on the majority of competing examples - Warco, Alpine, Nu-Tools and Pinnacle, etc.- that allowed the head to loose its vertical axis alignment during long-travel movements, the Ixion, like the rather good Korean-built Naerok and Draper versions, the Ixion had a bevel-gear driven elevation of the head that maintained alignment throughout the head's 375 mm of travel Feed screws were metric and, according to a satisfied owner, the whole machine demonstrated decent rigidity and spot-on accuracy in use.
It appears that, over time, some small modifications were made to the machine with one advertising flyer (date April 1973) showing an early machine with some differences including a lack of a depth-stop mechanism on the quill, a rounded front to the head and the switch gear positioned less conveniently on its left-hand face. The fine-feed handwheel was in metal, not plastic, and the table handles were not of the later full-circle type but of the older "balanced" design.
This type of relatively compact vertical miller and co-ordinate drilling machine is a most useful addition to any workshop, especially if you are playing with the repair of motorcycles and cars. Able to mill to tolerable accuracy with either large or small cutters, it becomes especially handy when used as a coordinate drill, the spindle speeds being both high and low enough to cope with drill bits of small and large diameter - drilling a 1/4" diameter hole into free-cutting steel needing around 2,300 r.p.m. while a hole 1.5" in diameter needs around 357 r.p.m. With a vice bolted securely to the table, the slides can be manoeuvred easily - to bring the workpiece exactly into place - and then locked. The nominal drilling capacity in steel of the Ixion was 32 mm. The machine stood 1950 mm high with table surface 800 mm above the floor.
The writer has a similar generic Taiwanese miller in his home workshop and would not, under any circumstances, be without it.
Ixion also manufactured other millers along the same lines, the BT-15F, BT-30F and the BTU 23 FST - the latter model shown at the bottom of the page - but others are unknown. Hence, if you have an Ixion milling machine of any type, the writer would be pleased to hear from you and perhaps see some photographs..