A pair of 2" double Hill Acme ball heading machines


This is an XN style machine, just like the two Hill Acme machines we have today, meaning it is a cast steel bed. Note the rounded edges of the top of the bed. These cast beds are my preference. This machine is supposed to be a 2" (ours is a 2 1/2") double header, allowing double the standard ball production rate. On a double machine, the header slide has pockets to hold two dies in an over / under configuration. I saw some of these machines at Colorado Fuel & Iron years ago.

Notice the ratchet wheel at the front and the thin feed arm on the side of the machine. We long ago redesigned all this to use a feed arm with spherical roller bearings and roller clutches to make this portion of the machine reliable and to assure even feed increments (on the 4"). We would certainly upgrade this machine to our designs if the machine(s) were purchased.

Note the lubrication system appears to be intact. This is the more modern single line progressive lube system like our 4" machine has. That's nice, as there are less lines to be damaged.

Though the bed is a cast steel XN machine, the feed box and pinion shaft frame at the back appear to be fabrications. I've seen photos from the Hill Acme archives that are of machines with a mix of cast beds and fabricated accessories. In the late 60's Hill Acme was experimenting with these combinations.

Here you can better see the fabricated pinion shaft frame at the back of the machine. The bearing block just behind the bull gear is very square and you can see a gusset below the bearing. The cast pinion shaft beds look quite different.

The fabricated assembly above this that reads "Hill Acme" is a sliding arrangement that moves the motor up and down to tension the V-belts.

At the front of the machine you can see the front of the fabricated feed box assembly. The two lowest feed roll shafts appear to be pushed back out of the way or even missing. Perhaps they never used the lower die set. I understand it was a bit difficult to set up the lower die set. Note the air cylinders on top of the feed box assembly. These would be removed and upgraded to the style we designed which applies greater pressure to assure rod can be drawn off of our spools. The original design worked well for the straight short lengths the machine was designed to use.

A close up of the bull gear and fabricated motor base. I suspect the bull gear and intermediate gear set is the same as our 2 1/2" machine.

The finger pull off system is understandably quite different that our single machines.

A close up of the fabricated feed box, index shaft, ratchet pawl, and swing arm. Note the leather belt and weight hanging over the index shaft. That's the original design "brake" to keep the feed rolls from turning backwards at the end of the feed stroke! We long ago redesigned this to use either a second one way clutch (4" machine) or a second pawl on the ratchet wheel (2 1/2" machine).

Note the lower pivot pin missing in the feedbox frame. This tells me the lower moving feed roll boxes have been removed long ago and they were using this as a single blow machine.

The flywheel, clutch cage, and cast clutch & brake parts on the pinion shaft look identical to our 2 1/2" machine. Hard to tell the diameter from a photo, but given that this is a 2" machine I'm betting these are the same 24" diameter clutch and brake parts shared with our 4" and 2 1/2" ball headers.

Note the squared off bearing cap and frame under the cap. More evidence that this is a fabricated pinion shaft base on this XN cast bed machine.

This is an XF bed machine. Note how squared off the upper part of the bed frame is. The bed is made from flame cut plate and heavy welded together. It was a less expensive option available from Hill Acme, but logic says it can't be as good as a cast machine. It's doubtful they fully vee'd the parts before welding. They sold quite a few XF machines, so they must be fairly decent.

 You can better see the leather belt brake over the index shaft assembly in this view. It looks like the lower feed roll shafts have been removed from this machine too. Again, set up of the lower die set may have proven too difficult.


A view inside of the feed box. Index shaft on the bottom, a feed roll shaft above. Note missing shaft for what I think is the lower feed roll group.

A better view of the XF fabricated bed. Note it appears there is no lubrication system remaining. The cutter slide cap is missing. Vendor feels parts are there somewhere. In the bins? The drive motor is not mounted nor the motor bracket and belt adjustment. I think I am seeing a portion of the brake plate bracket at the very left, telling me the pinion shaft is intact, but it's hard to tell.

Note the large hole in the side of the bed with a small pipe or hose going in. The front end of a XF fabricated machine is quite different than a XN machine. I suspect this is where oil is fed to the front bearing of the camshaft (like our 4") or perhaps this is a way to remove/install the pivot pin for the stationary die kicker.

Close up of feedbox on XF machine.


Drive motor for the XF machine?