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Author Topic: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???  (Read 1910 times)

Offline customcutter

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Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« on: December 12, 2017, 10:00:16 PM »
I've been sick since buying my mill, but finally felt up to trying to get it running.  Started out trying to clean the drip tank, without much success.  Filled and drained it probably 20 times, but it still has about 2-3 inches of rust/crud in the bottom of the tank.  I also cleaned the drip lines and valves, but they will choke back off again.  Any idea's on how to clean the metal tank built into the frame would be much apprciated.  Thinking of adding a poly tank overhead at this time.

Finally got all the braces lowered and the hoses, brackets, and zip ties taken off.  Started the mill up and used the hyd's to get the transport braces off.  Ran  the head back to the end of the mill and shut it down.  Went to start it up about 1/2 hour later and it wouldn't start.  I asked another guy there to pump the primer bulb on the fuel line, and noticed a couple of minutes later he was still holding onto it.  Finally tried starting it again and nothing.  Pulled a plug, and checked the oil and everything was flooded in gas.  The guy had pumped about a gallon of gas into the crankcase.  So today I did a tune-up and oil change/filter change.

It fired right up after all that, got a log loaded and it would cut about a foot and the blade would dive from 1" deep down to 3" deep over the next 6-8".  We tried rotating the log 180* and still the same outcome.  We were loosing the daylight and didn't take time to level the carriage.  It looks fairly level, but I know it's not.  I got to thinking later the chains that raise and lower the head are tight on the off side and about a link of play on the operator/loading side.   I'm going to level everything up tomorrow and try again.  If that doesn't improve things I thought I would try a new blade straight out of the box.  I don't have a "tool" for checking the blade to deck setting.
Any other thoughts on what might be causing the blade to dive?

thanks,
Ken

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2017, 03:58:16 AM »
You don't need no stinkin tool !!!

Got a nice straight board or piece of Aluminum or steel about 3 feet long ? Place it on edge on the blade at the "NO SET" tooth. Every 3rd one has no set. Then measure from the bottom of that to the log bunks as you slowly move the head down to the other end.

 You need to check blade guides, check if blade is REALLY sharp and set is equal. Even new blades can be defective. New blade or used/resharp ?

 What breed of log ?? Some are pretty nasty to learn on.  Keep posting things as you try them and we will all get you sawing promptly.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2017, 05:52:07 AM »
Kenny, I would call the Cook boys and get the manual for your mill, follow the adjustment procedure to the letter. Cooks also have many vids on you tube on various adjustments that are very worth watching. A new to you mill you should start at ground zero and check everything. Also use a new band and try several logs. Frank C.

Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 06:42:50 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys.  The log is pine that has been down for about 4-6 weeks.  Butt end is about 10" down to about 8" taper.  We also have some fresh cut pine.  Some of the logs will be as large as 24"+, so thought I would start with a smaller one to see if everything was cutting properly. 

One other thing, when I first tried to cut the log it tried to roll.  It wasn't dogged off properly.  I'm wondering if that could have damaged the blade somehow affecting the set on the teeth or something possibly.  Just remembered that. 

Yes I intend to contact Cooks this morning.  They were great to talk too when I was there looking at a new saw, and just a enthusiastic when I came in with my used Saw.  Tim commented that it was probably still under warranty, and gave me several operating tips personally at 5PM at night even though he was obviously busy.

thanks, Ken

Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 08:45:50 PM »
I went back today after getting another load of logs and did some more trouble shooting.  The log had tried to turn because the belt was loose on the hyd pump, and the log dog wasn't tight, and allowed the log to turn.  I tightened the belt up and later blew a hyd line.  Oh well, I knew I was going to have to repair/replace some pretty soon anyway.  It's a slow leak for now.

I checked the level which wasn't exact but wasn't all that bad. So I decided to change the blade for a brand new one. It cut's like a dream, like a knife through butter. Cut up 3 logs, then had a bad ending.

We put on a log that had a much larger tapered section near the roots. I didn't raise the toe board, and started cutting about one inch into the log. By the time I realized I wasn't going to clear the cross bar with the larger end, I tried to back up. Bad, Bad, BAD mistake. It pulled the blade off the rollers, and also the draw back fingers jammed into the log and jacked the head into the air. I wound up breaking the blade but learned several valuable and costly lessons.

Use your toe boards.
Don't always start your cuts on the small end of the log. If you have a large taper, cut that end first and work your way down into the log.
If your not actually using your drag back fingers tie them up out of the way.
Don't try to back your blade out of a long cut, especially if you can't control the speed. Back up a little and cut it off with a chainsaw or whatever method is safe, to remove a trapped blade.

Other than that it's the most fun I've had with my clothes on in a long, long time. :o  I'm heading to Alabama in the morning to buy a New Holland TN65 tractor with a FEL and grapple, to handle the logs when we get the property.

Sorry, I was too busy having fun to take any pics, so you'll just have to trust me for now!!!

thanks,
Ken

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2017, 10:13:13 PM »
customcutter,

It has been my experience that starting with the large end at the beginning of the cut has resulted in fewer headaches.  It is easier to see where it won't clear and it is easer to trim with a chainsaw if I can back the head away. 

Yes, most of us have found that backing up with a blade running will end badly.  I keep a couple of small wedges in my mill tool box just for those times when I need to back out of a cut.  Stop the blade, wedge it up enough to clear and back out, removing wedges as I go.  By starting at the big end, it doesn't happen as often anymore, although I have had to back out after hitting something solid like a lag bolt, or an ceramic insulator.
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Offline mountainlake

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2017, 05:18:03 AM »
 
  Good the hear its cutting good, some sure let their mills get out of tune.  Don't worry about making a mistake once in a while, I still do after 13000 hours. Last week I almost sawed  the top of the last log stop off, it had slipped a cog and was a little higher than the first one.  That's fixed now.   Steve

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2017, 06:21:20 AM »
Much aggravation can be avoided by judicious trimming with a chainsaw before the log is even on the mill, elephant feet and branch nubs will give you fits. From experience know how large a log you can handle on your mill and reject any over that size, don't be tempted. As you have found don't try to back out with the band running it never ends well. Even with a debarker  check the path of the band for hard wear and small stones, use a wire brush and old axe to clear the way. Don't rush, speed will come when you deserve it. Frank C.

Offline Ox

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2017, 08:21:35 AM »
These guys are right on the ball with tips, tricks and solutions.  I have nothing to add.

I will second the notion of getting an owner's manual and following the alignment to a T with no shortcuts and taking all the time needed to do as perfect a job as you can.  It will pay off several times over down the road.  You will know that you're starting off perfect and can now judge more effectively if and when anything goes wrong where to look and how to fix.
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Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 02:54:24 PM »

 My comments were based on the fact we built an oversized Woodmizer. We had no manual. All we had was many people telling us we could not build such a mill with any amount of success. Manuals are fine, as long as you have it in the field, in the rain or snow and time to read up while the customer is standing there watching you NOT sawing.

 We never had a bad customer, although, we did not do much custom sawing. We cut river sinker logs from 100 years or more logging days.  We did receive advice from a couple of guys that helped with adjustments on our mill, and, 1 guy drove 3 hours because he just didn't believe we had built the thing.  That's why my opening statement was "you don't need no stinking tool". Learn to look at what is happening and reason out what the problem may be. 

 Turns out the operator checked the blade travel then changed his blade and went to sawing.

 THIS is what the forum is all about. Get 'er done.  ;D ;D

Offline mountainlake

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 04:14:56 AM »
 
 Hate to admit it but I bought my mill new and I've never looked in the manual 13000 hours later.   Steve

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 06:29:24 AM »
I designed and built my band mill but never wrote a manual. Every adjustment on a mill, band or circular, affects every other adjustment and if not done in a progressive orderly manner you end up chasing your tail. A good manual (some aren't) just makes it easier. As I mentioned the Cook boys have a you tube series of videos covering most all of the important adjustments. Frank C.

Offline furu

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 11:18:55 AM »
To this day I still question/regret the decision that I made when I did not buy the Cooks AC-36. 
The regret has faded over the years but regret none the same. 
I believe it is one of the best mills out there.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline drobertson

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 03:16:36 PM »
I don't know much about the Cook's mills other than they look pretty solid, and the use of more hydraulics rather than electronics is appealing. Now we all now electronics are employed all across the manufacturing industry, but this does not mean it's always the cats' meow.. Vibration is an electronic killer, as it is many other things, but with hydraulic controls, trouble shooting when needed is reduced to a manageable level.  As to manuals, and adjustments, if no manual is present, this does present some obstacles, but it's not the end of the world,. The main thing I see, is that one has at least a basic knowledge of how things work, this goes for hydraulics and other mechanical adjustments.  All I know is making small adjustments is better than big ones.  This can lead to a lot of tail chasing.. Being on a (level) playing field is pretty import in my opinion for starting any trouble shooting.

Offline Cutting Edge Saw Svc.

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 08:17:06 PM »

I will second the notion of getting an owner's manual and following the alignment to a T with no shortcuts and taking all the time needed to do as perfect a job as you can.  It will pay off several times over down the road.  You will know that you're starting off perfect and can now judge more effectively if and when anything goes wrong where to look and how to fix.



Ox is 100% right.  Start off with everything as"perfect" as you can possibly make it.  Saves hours down the road trying to troubleshoot issues.  Don't ignore the fact that parts wear and need replaced and/or serviced...

1.  Roller guides are at the top of the list.
2.  Make sure you're steel wheels are crowned... if they are flat in the center, then it's time to get them machined.  They are only cast steel so expect to be doing so, especially if tracking issues become prevalent.




The main thing I see, is that one has at least a basic knowledge of how things work, this goes for hydraulics and other mechanical adjustments.  All I know is making small adjustments is better than big ones.  This can lead to a lot of tail chasing.. Being on a (level) playing field is pretty important in my opinion for starting any trouble shooting.



x2   ;)


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Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2017, 09:11:25 PM »
Thanks guys, I had called Cooks the next day to ask a few questions, but it was late in the day and they were unable to get back to me.  They did call back and ask for my e-mail and asked if I had gotten an owners manual when I bought the mill.  I told them no, so they immediately sent me a PDF format owners manual.  They also called back the next day, but I had changed the blade by then and it was cutting great.


Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2017, 08:34:25 PM »
We've been making a few adjustments, trying to clean out the drip system etc..  I filled the tank with water and sulfuric acid to try and dissolve the rust in the drip system tank.  It turns out the tank was full of junk that looked like "grease", like you would find in an old fashioned "grease trap".  The sulfuric didn't touch it.  So we tried hot water and Dawn dish detergent.  It took about 2 days of boiling water and scrubbing with a 36" bottle brush but finally got it cleared out.  Got that cleared out and decided to "crudely" check the alignment on the roller guides.  The "good" roller was out 1/2" over a 20" straight edge.  I got it level and just started cranking on the "bad" roller that looked like it was out.  It was still out 1/2" when I put the straight edge on it.  It is cutting so much better now.  We cut more lumber today than we did in 3-4 days last week.   8)

Offline Ox

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2017, 10:29:03 AM »
Good news!  You just learned you can adjust your mill with minimal tools and nothing special.  Straight, level, plumb, square.  These are all important for mills to cut well. 

You also learned how some mill owners are clueless as to why their mill doesn't work as well as they think it should...
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Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2017, 04:48:19 PM »
Yes, I had known the left roller was out since I bought it.  I could look at it and tell.  Also every time there was a problem the left side of the cut would always take a nose dive.  Also knew we were cutting extremely slow to make decent cuts or the mill just wanted to lay down.  I know it's an AC-36 and usually comes with a 40+HP motor, but it shouldn't have been struggling on 12-16" logs.  I've seen much smaller mills with half the HP cut faster.  I knew it had to be like Tim Cook says "adjust the blade flat and straight away and that's the way it wants to cut".

It just took a little while to build up enough courage to do what I knew needed to be done.  I was afraid I was going to make it worse some how instead of better.  I actually used a short piece of broken blade as a straight edge on the blade and a piece of 1/4X2" flat bar as the straight edge across the bunks.  It's used to lock the log loader in transport mode.  Can't get much simpler than that.  Who needs a $20 clamp on tool to measure the blade????

It's like your signature K.I.S.S.

Offline Ox

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2017, 05:44:07 PM »
Bingo!  KISS is usually best.  Keep your money in your pocket where it belongs. lol

Your method is the way I align and there's nothing wrong with it.  Just be sure to either pick a tooth that doesn't have any set or lay your lightweight straightedge across a gullet.  I usually balance at a gullet just so I know there's no tooth deviation happening to give me a false reading.

The good news is you shouldn't have to align your mill again for a long time if everything is tight and in good running condition.

The saying "adjust blade to flat and it'll want to cut that way" is pure gold.
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Offline starmac

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2017, 07:23:15 PM »
It makes one wonder how come it was so far out of alignment?

Offline Cutting Edge Saw Svc.

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2017, 05:29:42 AM »

I actually used a short piece of broken blade as a straight edge on the blade......

piece of 1/4X2" flat bar as the straight edge across the bunks.



customcutter,

Just to be on the safe side, double check your alignment using the ruler insert from a 18" tri-square.  Blade stock has a natural curve to it (camber) and if it was a broken blade, there is a good chance it was not straight.

Take the tri-square insert and use a couple 1/2" nuts on each side to help keep it standing upright.  Then you don't have to worry about the pressure from your hand/finger influencing it in any way.

Same thing applies for the 1/4' x 2" flat bar you used.  Substitute a known good 4 ft. level across the bunks and check in a few different locations.

I only mention this because using (2) materials that have a high likelihood of not being dead straight can still not have the blade aligned dead flat.  Doesn't take but 1/32" difference front to back to make a blade not want to cut stright, especially in knots and grain changes.

Also, take a pair of calipers and check your blade guide rollers.  With the mill being as far out of alignment as you described, there is a darn good chance that the rollers are worn in a convex shape.  Worn rollers are one of the most common overlooked items on a band headrig.  They are a consumable.  A pair of calipers will determine what condition they are in.  Doesn't take but a few thousandths of an inch wear front/back to allow the blade to deviate in the cut.  Also gives a false reading when aligning the blade to the bunks.

Don't forget to check blade roller alignment left to right. 

Congratulations on taking the plunge into learning the meat-n-taters of your machine.  The more you do this, the better you will become at recognizing small issues before they become major problems... and will enable you to make better lumber.   ;)

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Offline Ox

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2017, 11:05:41 AM »
customcutter - listen to this man.  This is very detailed and a better way to do it than I mentioned.  My way's pretty quick and dirty compared to this one.
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Offline customcutter

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2017, 01:13:46 PM »
Cutting Edge Saw Services,  thanks for the tips I do have some "reliable" straight edges here at my house, in the garage.  I was simply using what I had on hand.  I will take the time to find them and take them with me to make sure that the saw is 100% correct.  I'll also revisit the video by Cooks on how to set up the rollers, seems he touched on how to horizontally align them as well.  However, I don't remember what he used as a reference.  I'll also take a pair of calipers, yes I wouldn't doubt that the tip is much more worn due to the downward pressure on the one roller.  I wonder how hard the rollers are?  I have a 14x40 lathe, 2 milling machines, and a 6x18 surface grinder in my garage.  Toys, err I mean equipment I've been collecting for 30+years when I used to make custom knives, waiting on retirement. 

thanks, Ken

Offline mountainlake

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Re: Tried doing some milling on my new old Cook's AC-36 today???
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2017, 06:56:24 PM »
 
 I've taken rollers to a machine shop and had them trued up, they did complain about how hard they were,  Also they are not hardened very far in so they will wear faster after machining them .  Steve