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Started Work On A Z-axis Bellows Mount

Milling operations generate a lot of swarf, that tend to get into every possible nook and cranny. The Sieg SX3 is a great machine for what it is, but at that price point there are many compromises and omissions, and one of them is proper swarf protection, especially for the ways.

Consequently, most everyone owing a Sieg mini mill and other Chinese benchtop mills end up devising a number of guards and covers to keep swarf from getting into table ways and other unwanted places. My initial approach was a simple Plexiglas shield to keep swarf away from the table and ways. This helped quite a lot, but I decided that something more was needed.


The first part was a bellows cover for the Z-axis mounted using two custom aluminum brackets and 8 rare-earth magnets to keep everything in place. By using magnets for non-critical applications like a bellows mount I avoid drilling and tapping any unnecessary wholes in the mill.

The Google Sketchup drawing I used for the design is attached. I ended up making many minor corrections that weren't brought back into the drawings, but these were mostly to improve the overall fit. The drawings will work as-is.


The project ended up costing $60. Cheap quality bellows like this can be had for just $10, but I decided that since this would become a permanent part of the machine, I wanted a nicer solution. Overlapping metal way covers are the ideal solution, but that project is pretty involved, so instead I opted for a better quality bellow. Since I live in Europe my options are pretty limited, but Arc Euro Trade carries a nice version that is almost tailor made for the Z-axis way on the SX3. It does, however, cost nearly $40. Add another $10 for the magnets and $10 for the three pieces of aluminum.

In part 2, I'll cover making the top bracket ...

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