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Author Topic: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)  (Read 3624 times)

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Offline D6c

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LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« on: May 20, 2017, 12:21:47 pm »
For several months I've been looking into what it would take to add hydraulics to my '87 WM LT40 and finally jumped in and started the project.  After some discussions with WM about parts, and convincing them I could handle the work, I ordered a 2-axis log clamp and a log turner.

I'm sure some will tell me I'd have been better off trading the mill for a newer model (including WM), but here's my reasoning.  I don't saw for a living, and unless I get to doing a lot more, this mill will do the job.  The other thing is, I essentially have no money in the saw to start with because it was inherited from my dad's estate.  The clamp and turner cost a bit but still a lot less cash outlay that trading mills.
The other thing is I just enjoy working in my shop on projects like this....almost reason enough in itself.

Here are pics of the process so far.  I'm done with the first phase...mounting the clamp & turner.

Original frame arrangement with hinged center log rails:
 

 

Clamp & Turner as Received:

 

 

 

 

New style rails similar to what WM uses now:

 

 

First small problem....vertical cylinder on log clamp was crooked.  Ended up being the mount on the cylinder was welded on crooked.  Not a big deal, just put it in the mill and re-cut the face of the mount.

 

 

 

 

Test fitting the clamp...took lots and lots of measurements for both the clamp and turner before I did any modifications

 

 

Made up a frame insert to jog the frame out 4" to accommodate the log clamp and welded it in place....Before cutting out the frame.  Notice I've removed the outer part of the original log clamp box to make room for the frame insert. 

 

 

Cut out and boxed in the frame jog

 

 

Welded in the new log rails.  I welded the end to the main frame tube first, allowed it to cool, and then welded the rest of the rail to try and minimize any "pull" on the main tube from weld shrink.

 

 

Cut out the angled braces after the new rail is welded in.

 

 

Test fitting log turner....many more measurements to be sure.

 

 


The sides of the main frame tube have quite a bit of convex curve which makes mounting the new parts flat kind of difficult.

 

 

Ended up putting the log clamp in the mill and facing off the mounting surface at about a 1 angle to match the frame tube.  This also flattened the mounting plate which was bowed quite a bit from the welds on the back side.

 

 

Drilled mounting holes in main frame.....over size on outside because I was installing spacers in the frame to prevent the bolts from squeezing the sides of the frame in.

 

 

Spacers in place for welding...

 

 

Welded and ground smooth

 

 

Same thing done on outside of frame

 

 



Continued on next post................

Offline woodworker9

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 12:45:33 pm »
Nice job on the fabrication work.  Sounds like you're having a lot of fun working out the kinks, so that alone makes it a worthwhile project to me.

New mills are great, but very expensive, too.  I think it's great that your modifying your dad's mill to suit your needs.  I'll be watching this with interest.....
03' LT40HD25 Kohler hydraulic w/ accuset
MS 441, MS 290, New Holland L185

Offline D6c

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 12:49:18 pm »
More Pics......

To adjust the fit between the frame rails for the log clamp I machined a recess in the outer clamp support.  (only about .040" deep)
 

 


The mounting plates for the log tuner go the same treatment as the clamp to fit them to the main frame tube.  Note the curved edge of the plates where they mate up to the frame.
 

 


Tacked in place
 

 


Frame mods complete and primed.... In this pic I've also added the two plates on either side of the log turner that tie the frame rails together.  Hard to see in this pic but I spaced them out 1/2" wider because the outer cylinder mount pin was wide enough to hit the plates as the turner swings up.
 

 


Clamp and turner in place and top log rails on.....starting to come together.
 

 


Notice how the log turner swings down between the tubes on the axle framework?  To get this to work I had to move the axle assembly forward 2".  The original log clamp box is still usable after the modifications.
 

 


Made up 1/2" plates to move the axel forward.  Much simpler than I thought it was going to be.
 

 


Pile of leftover parts.....
 

 


That's phase one complete.  It was quite a bit of work but actually went really well.  No major fitting problems and I think it turned out well.  In projects like this you're always waiting for the "Oh crap" moment when you realize you did something bad wrong but I was lucky and avoided that this time....so far.

One comment about this old mill: It was put together with mostly grade 2 bolts which I despise....weak, rust-prone bolts that should, in my opinion, be banned except for use as a shear bolt.  I was surprised when I got the log clamp and turner that WM is STILL using that grade 2 junk...seriously?  OK, rant over.

Next phases:
* Add linkage and cylinder to two of the side stops
* Build a pair of roller toe boards
* Add hydraulic pump and valving (yet to decide on WM style or go for separate gas powered unit)


Any and all comments welcome.....more to come.

Offline Skip

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 12:50:36 pm »
Great fab work obviously not a rookie .

Offline grouch

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 12:53:18 pm »
You are meticulous. I don't think I'd worry about buying a machine you modified.

Are those hand scrape marks on the milling machine table?

Offline D6c

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 01:06:32 pm »
You are meticulous. I don't think I'd worry about buying a machine you modified.

Are those hand scrape marks on the milling machine table?

Thanks for the vote of confidence.  Yes, the mill table has a ground surface but like a lot of machines they "flower scrape" the surface afterwards.  On the mill table it's more cosmetic than functional.  On the ways of a machine the final flowering scrape acts to give small depressions to hold oil for better lubrication.

Offline Davek603

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2017, 01:16:03 pm »
Awesome job! 
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Offline flatrock58

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2017, 01:25:35 pm »
I'm impressed.   Looks like a great job!
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Offline D6c

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2017, 03:54:32 pm »
Did I mention I took lots & lots of measurements....and made sketches?
 

 


A couple of years ago I had raised the log deck 2" so that the blade would cut down to 1" on the last board.  Originally the thinnest it would cut was nearly 2 1/2".  Without having the deck raised the modifications I've made would not have worked out very well.

One thing I haven't decided on yet is how I want to set the stop on the log clamp.  On the newer mills I think the tall side stops line up with the short side stops on the ends of the rails.  On this older mill the tall stops were 2" inboard of the short stops, which is where the stop on the log clamp is located.
 

 


I'm trying to decide if I'd rather move the stop on the clamp out to match the other short stops or move the rail stops in to match the clamp and tall side stops.
Moving the rail stops in will reduce my max. cutting width by 2" but I don't know if that's a big deal since the tall side stops are 2" in already.

Modifying the stop on the clamp wouldn't be too difficult.....either weld an extension on the top plate so the dog can be move out or cut the original top plate off and weld on a wider one to move the dog out....same difference.


Don't know why WM designed it this way, but there is quite a bit of offset between the stop and the clamp jaw.  If I modify the clamp dog I could line them up better.
 

 


Another mod I did recently was build a dust chute and bought the dust hose from WM.  Hopefully that will keep a little of the dust from flying around.
 

 


I will have to trim the old chain bracket on the carriage because it hits the mounting bolts for the log clamp.  Not a big deal since the bracket isn't used anymore.  There was an update kit that changed the carriage chain from a double "moving" chain to a single "stationary" chain which eliminated the need for the bracket.  I think it was a safety issue that they did away with the movable chain.
 

 


Lastly, since I've raised the bed rails 2" it effectively shortens the side stops by 2".  I made a couple of slip-in extensions to make them taller but I'm considering rebuilding the side stops to be a solid steel stop similar to newer mills instead of the square tubing mine is made of.  The vertical stops the new mills have would be nice but they're around $350 ea. and I don't know if I have room to mount them.

Next on the list is to mount the power strip....I bought it so I might as well put it on even if I end up with a gas powered hyd. pump.  One or two mods will have to be done to get it mounted as the carriage doesn't have the mounting holes and the battery box may need tweaking.

More later as I make progress....

Offline Magicman

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 04:10:19 pm »
Why the expanded metal?  Also you will probably have some sawdust buildup in that corner because the sawdust will have to turn 45 to be directed downward.
 

 
My clamp will hold 3" but not 2", so I use my handy dandy 1" X 2" "stick" as a spacer.  It is seen above in it's sleeping spot beside the outrigger and ready for action.
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Offline grouch

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 05:37:17 pm »
D6c:

Have you read the  Useful sawmill mods thread? Full of practical tips from the field by Bibbyman, Magicman, and a whole host of folks. A sort of index of the first 58 or so pages.

I have yet to see your ambidexter thermostropter adjuster. This could be critical.

Offline fishfighter

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2017, 06:38:59 pm »
Outstanding work and a real nice upgrade.

Offline D6c

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 06:56:43 pm »
Why the expanded metal? ......

Originally the whole bottom was closed off with expanded metal to keep you from getting your fingers in the blade.  I just cut out the part over the dust tube so small chunks wouldn't get caught in the mesh.

Offline D6c

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2017, 07:00:40 pm »


.....I have yet to see your ambidexter thermostropter adjuster. This could be critical.

It's right next to the turbo encabulator.

 And thanks for the link.  I saw it a while back but had kind of forgotten about it.

Offline Larry

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2017, 07:41:30 pm »
Excellent fabrication and thanks for taking the time to document on the forum.  Your pictures are great and the post is a valuable resource for others.  I enjoyed reading and viewing.

Did I mention I took lots & lots of measurements....and made sketches?
 

I also do the same.  About 2/3's on paper but I learned Sketchup 10 years and often draw to scale just to insure it all fits when complete.
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Offline grouch

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2017, 08:41:07 pm »
I'm curious. Why did you conform to the curved sides of the rectangular tubing instead of forcing it to flatten, or simply filling with weld?

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2017, 09:34:05 pm »
I was also wondering that. I would have just wacked it a good one.
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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2017, 09:43:39 pm »
As methodical as D6c has been with this project, "non whacking" is of no surprise to me.  Whacking would not be controllable. 
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Offline derhntr

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2017, 08:15:47 am »
Nice workmanship! Just wondering why cut the frame to fit cylinder. Unless you needed wider clamp opening. Cutting end off cylinder would quicker. Am I missing the the reason/
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Offline mad murdock

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Re: LT40 Mods...Phase I complete (pics)
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2017, 12:18:35 pm »
As methodical as D6c has been with this project, "non whacking" is of no surprise to me.  Whacking would not be controllable.
All he needs is a "calibrated and certified" hammer for those precision whacks ;D seriously though, excellent work on the mods and thanks for the detailed pics. Your work is topshelf!  That will be a first rate mill when you are done.
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