View Full Version : Getting to know you...
09-25-2001, 04:51 PM
Newbie here. I just bought my 3-1 mill/lathe last week. I love building, repairing, being self sufficient to be honest. You all seem so knowledgeable, so please be patient with me. I have no clue what are the best bits, angles, speeds, etc. What i would like is some good start up advice. "These bits are the best", "Watch out for this". I am sure you all have advice so any is appreciated.
Also i love seeing ppls projects. What you have done, how you did it etc. I find it amazing the things you can do with a lathe. So if you have any pictures, send em to me or let me know where i can see them. Thanks in advance spkrman15
09-25-2001, 06:46 PM
Part of the hobby is learning (always). The craftsmanship comes from your own undestanding of your abilities and applying them to what you have on hand.
If your machine came with manuals read them first and go over them until you understand all the machines functions. You must do this with any machine. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.
If you can get a machinist friend to help get you started. Or check for classes at local schools. Se if any live steam clubs are in your area or machine shop clubs. Books and video tapes abound. Village Press, the advertisers in HSM, MW, & Live Steam, www.lindsaybks.com (http://www.lindsaybks.com) to name a few.
Above all else, be careful and follow shop safety procedures - have fun!
I've been at this hobby 25 years and I'm still learning new stuff all the time. I'm sure others who have been at it longer than I have will say the same thing, so don't expect quick/complete knowledge. It takes a while.
First: READ. A lot. The best lathe book I know of is "The Amateur's Lathe," by L.H. Sparey, a British guy. The Argus Worshop Series (from England) has some excellent titles. Closer to home, Lindsay Publications has some that are good. Personally, I've found the content of some of his reprints not all that great, but I've also found some of them to be really good.
And develop extreme patience. Put a box under your bench for your "learning experiences." You will have plenty of them. We all have.
09-29-2001, 07:04 AM
I bought my first 3 in 1 lathe/mill a few years ago and I have the same fix it myself make it myself attitude as you. I found that "picking the brains" of the older machinists at work to be an invaluable source of info. The older guys had the most "been there/done that" experience and were the most patient in teaching a newbie like me. I just recently discovered this board as well as the Home Shop Machinist magazine. I'm in machine shop information heaven now.
09-29-2001, 04:34 PM
1st tip is never let your guard down. If you notice alot of old timers have a missing finger or two! I've been doing this for 20+ years as a toolmaker,a cnc operator, and the last 7 in a jobshop. You break it, I can make it!
I'm still learning something almost everyday, have patence and plan on screwing somethings up. Just be careful.
Always take care of your equipment. Oil and maintian everytime you use it. Your only as good as your equipment!
one more thing , I still have all my fingers!
09-29-2001, 05:04 PM
Ditto on the fingers. I still have all mine but almost shortened 2 of them over that last few years. I got lucky. Divert your attention for a split second and BAM....spurting blood. Be careful. I also hung a sign that says "No Hurry". I've screwed up too much stuff being in a rush to do something then having to do it all over again. Take your time!
09-29-2001, 08:55 PM
I had the oportunity to watch an old fellow cutting tapered threads on some oilfield pipe one day.He never measured anything or slowed down. I asked him how long it took to learn how to work like that. He said he went to technical school after the 8th.grade and upon graduating from tech school,the instructor told him "You'll be able to get a job anywhere in a shop!".He went to a big machine shop with his papers and was put to work cutting the same threads. He said 7yrs.later he could cut threads just like this one here. Some things just take a lot of practice! George
09-30-2001, 06:33 PM
Thanks alot. Patience seems to be a virtue. Something i am lakcing. Well now i know where to improve. The other night it took me an hour and a half to bore the center of a piece of metal. An hour of sharpening, shimming and finding the right way to do it. Once i got all that figured out then i spent the next 15 minutes machining.
Luckuly i have already started with some good practices and i have been roomouving my chuck key religiously. Face sheild on all the time. All the safety stuff is a cary over from work. I am always telling the boys to weear gloves, put the sheilds on etc.
Thanks for the advice and the encouragement. Spkrman15
09-30-2001, 08:23 PM
I've been a machinist for about 35 years now and have worked on all kinds of machines and equiptment, from Evil Kniveal's motorcycles to the big generators at Hoover dam and most everything in between. The main thing I can tell you is SAFETY. Yes, I still have all my body parts. I do have a few scars from being sewn up due to my own fault.
Set up is 90% of the job. It sometimes takes days to indicate a part in and an hour or less to make the actual cut. If you don't take the time to do an acurate set up you may ruin a million dollar part in a matter of seconds.
10-01-2001, 05:08 AM
I SECOND, OR THIRD THE FACT THAT...BLOOD MAKES POOR CUTTING FLUID. AND ROLL THOSE SLEAVES UP AND WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.
10-02-2001, 03:49 AM
Worst thing I ever got was a paint sliver in my eye.
One guy on my shift changed the setup on his press to "his" liking after I had left for my own machine. An hour after I left I had people looking for thumb parts all over the shop while the abulance arrived. His thumb blew off and the bones that were left looked like a little daisy (cool!). I packed the parts in a lunch bag and put the lunch bag on ice - if you pack the body parts in ice directly it will kill the cells. He was lucky, the microsurgeons reconstructed his thumb and he never even lost the nail. It is amazing what 50Tons on a 1"x2" area can do to a thumb...
Nope, does not pay to be stupid, lazy, or not pay attention around machinery! Do not take chances!
10-06-2001, 10:42 AM
I WAS A JOB SHOP MACHINIST FOR 12 YEARS AND I'M IN MY THIRD YEAR OF A MOLDMAKER APPRENTICESHIP.I THOUGHT AFTER TEN YEARS I WOULD KNOW EVERYTHING. GUESS WHAT? YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING IN THIS TRADE. LISTEN TO YOUNG AND OLD,YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THAT PERSON MAY POSSESS FOR KNOWLEDGE.EVERY SHOP HAS A DIFFERENT METHOD TO THEIR MADNESS.REMEMBER THE GOOD IDEAS AND FORGET THE BAD.YOU WILL DISTINGUISH THAT WITH EXPERIENCE. I'VE READ BOOKS FROM LINDSAY PUBLICATIONS AND I AM AMAZED AT DIFFERENT SETUPS INGENIOUS PEOPLE HAVE COME UP WITH DUE TO LACK OF EQUIPMENT.HAVE AN OPEN MIND.ARROGANCE IS YOUR WORST ENEMY.MOST SETUPS ARE BASED ON A FEW SIMPLE PRINCIPLES WITH DIFFERENT TWISTS TO THEM. GOOD LUCK AND BE SAFETY CONSCIENCE.I HAVE SEVERAL BATTLE SCARS, BUT ALL BODY PARTS INTACT.
[This message has been edited by Matt Barthel (edited 10-06-2001).]
My one cents worth. I've been at it for 50+ years. In my youth one old phart said:
"No matter how fast and good your work, If you can't count to 21 at the end of the day, "YOU LOSE"
P.S. Read,try,think! The only reason I still have a job is the youngsters are production oriented and I can think and solve problems!
10-08-2001, 06:33 PM
I second what you say, toff. We have had a lot of younger "machinists" working in our shop. Most of them can barely read a mike, let alone the math necessary to make calculations. Without their trusty calculator they would be lost.I don't know what is wrong with the youth of today but they just seem to appear at the job site and expect to be paid, whether or not they do anything.
10-08-2001, 09:48 PM
I agree with pop, except for the part about the calculators. Many a mistake has NOT been made because of those little devils. And the ones with sine tables built right in are a godsend. IMHO
Yeah, I sure do appreciate my calculator. I'm from the slide rule days, I can do the math, but what's the point of taking 10 or 15 minutes to do it on paper when one can do the same thing in 10 or 15 seconds on a calculator, with less chance of error?
The key thing, I think, in pop99's note is the importance of UNDERSTANDING what one is doing with the math.
10-09-2001, 06:54 PM
I don't know when I started getting interested in machine work, guess it was the machine shop class freshman year in engineering school, best class we had. I got to know the shop manager, and he'd let me do some G-jobs here and there. He was a great guy, as he knew the way to learn machining was hands on. During my senior year, after I'd finished my finals winter quarter, I built a little 30cc mini bike in 24 hrs. After I graduated, I got involved with a guy who raced out at the Bonneville Salt flats, and together we built his 3rd car, Nebulous Theorem III http://www.soft.net.uk/speedrecordclub/projects/project2.htm I welded the chassis, machined the q/c gear box, and other odds and ends. Even as an engineer, I greatly prefer hands on work, and whenever I've had a chance to get in the machine shop, I've done it.
Since starting a family, I've had precious little time or funds to put a shop together, but have done so piece by piece. I've done some gunsmithing, varied repairs around the house, and am interested in getting started in knifemaking. My kids have learned that when something breaks, papa can fix it.
I really want my kids to have a good grasp of how to build and fix things, so will be adding to the shop every chance I get, and will involve them with building model engines, and other interesting odds and ends. So far I've aquired a few sq ft in the corner of the garage, eventually I'd like a dedicated shop.
As far as how to learn, I'm a huge fan of the Lautard Bedside Reader series, great reading, many very useful projects. The Home Shop Machinist anthology books, as well as shop wisdom books are well worth buying. Read them, then read them again, then read them again.
The one overriding thing that stuck with me after building Nebulous III was, you can build anything you want, if you put your mind to it. I'd venture to say many of the folks here have a better equiped shop then Jack, but by perservearance, and enlisting the help of friends, you can achieve amazing results.
10-09-2001, 07:13 PM
The calculator is a great tool in the shop. I have a couple of them myself, but you have to know how to use it and know what to do if the batteries go dead!
I am also a firm believer in that you can build anything you put your mind to. I have built some projects that other people wouldn't even attempt.
10-09-2001, 11:34 PM
I use my HP-48GX ten hours a day and ALWAYS wave two sets batteries with me. I expect batteries to die. While at University we were expected to show all your work so that they know that you can actually do the problems.
It is indeed tragic that so many people feel so lost that they will not attempt a project - what you and I know is that the best thing to do is start somewhere and keep plugging along. Most people are so afraid of failure they do not want to even try, but that is the way you learn and grow - mistakes are just a great learning experience (had many myself)
Second cents worth.
I definitely like a calculator, saves me many goofs. Need to know what to expect for a result though. Try three times and if some thing doesn't look right try again. Cheaper than steel! Cad gives easier solutions but you still need to know geometry. Cam is real nice for prototyping when engineering can't make up their collective brain.( me once't!)Changes can be made and a LOT of time saved. Know and use any tool handy," If all you have is a hammer, the whole world begins to look like a nail!"
We have some young persons that are truely worth their salt* We even have a great 'calculating wench!' However some are not.. Some are bluster, some are toadies (smoke blowers) and without their CAD/CAM they throw a fit, won't look in a manual then break any manual machine. Have learned some machine repair and "EGO" in others gives me 10 or more hours of work a week! This in a shop of 40 persons of which only 20 can play with machines.
Be who you are! Look up and ask for what you don't know. There are still real persons around who want to pass on what they learned the hard way.
If I can't say "i don't know,but I sure will find out" Then I need to be someplace else! Over a loooonnng period God gets even and the smucks get theirs.
toff ( Token old fat F@#$%*)
*Roman soldiers paid in salt hence, salary!