View Full Version : Tools vrs Projects
07-01-2007, 12:13 PM
I have noticed that, as I aquire more machines, I spend more time making tools, holders, etc than I do on projects. When all I had was a small Atlas lathe I made THINGS. Now I mostly make tools for the Logan lathe or the mill or the shaper or the drill press or the 20 ton press or for the band saw or for the welders and so on. I also spend lot's of time repairing/improving all of the machines.
Is this normal or am I tool obsessed?
07-01-2007, 12:41 PM
Seems normal to me. The more you buy, the more you need to do wharever.
07-01-2007, 01:14 PM
Fairly normal, I'd say. It's a constant struggle to stay on a project track, then only make enough accessories to do the next project or the next step in the current project. Of course accessories are projects in themselves.
07-01-2007, 03:10 PM
I'd say you're becoming a stark raving lunatic. You need therapy and soon. Ok, wait, I do the same thing- seems I make more tools than projects these days. The more machinery I have, the more accessories I need to make more tools and accessories. But that's the fun of it. I wouldn't be able to make money from this hobby if I tried- I'd be stuck making a jig to make a jig to make a $2 part.
07-01-2007, 10:17 PM
Then there is the problem of having made a jig/fixture/tool early in the learning curve and now realizing that you can make a better/bigger/neater one!
07-02-2007, 12:10 AM
Way I see it........ it's a hobby, and if I make tools or models, or repair parts, or protos for work, it's all one to me.
Usually the tooling is the most fun working out the details. One day I would like to get around to a few projects.
I have a 3 or 4 engines I'd like to do.... There is a Continental A40 kicking around in my head, a Tillinghast gas conversion engine, and a 1/8 scale Jaeger 1.5 HP (I have the big one for that) for starters.
The aero engine shown (that one without plans) in the current issue of Model Engine Builder is another, I've liked that engine since I was in grade school. (BTW, MEB is a good mag, recommended)
But, I end up fixing other machines, doing protos and tooling etc, instead.
07-02-2007, 03:28 AM
Some good thoughts on here. So far seems we're all pretty typical in our habits.
Anyone ever worked in a manual jobbing machine shop? Sometimes you just have to have that tool, attachment, or even machine, to do a job. Maybe you only use it once or twice a year. Has it paid for it's self...maybe. For instance, I have 3 lathes, 2 with mostly complete taper attachments. How often do I use a taper attachment ? Maybe once or twice a year....
As I see it, my machining hobby/ addiction is a lot like a small jobbing shop used to fix/ maintain/ modify my own collection of other crap, (trucks, bikes, boat, tractor, trailers, drain cleaning machines, sheet metal equipment, etc. Some of which is used for work.) Eg. today had to use the small lathe to make 4 spacers to mount a new rear shock on my bike. Had to whip up a bolt mandrel to hold the spacers....
Also sometimes the odd paying job comes in....Until I retire or get a nice office job, I'm too busy to stay inside & build models.
Others would see the collection of old machines as some type of strange obsession, rather than a hobby....For some of us it may just be about collecting 70 year old lathes & mills.
07-02-2007, 11:14 AM
You hit it on the head. I guess for me it's about collecting old machine tools and making them work.
I am now in the phase of spending money that I made before I retired.
I will need to be careful that I don't out live my money. LOL!
I like to design and build things. All sorts of things. I do very much enjoy making tools and using those tools to make more tools but I also like making non-tool products. I especially like to make things that are either better than what is available commercially or are unavailable commercially or both.
07-02-2007, 12:37 PM
I've only been at this a short while but I seem to be falling into the same mold, trap, etc. as the rest of you. In between 8tpi battles I've been making doodad type stuff for the shop.
There was a thread awhile ago about how even a junk drill chuck was still useful. Add a piece of mystery metal to the mix and I wanted to try knurling anyway.
The bearing is for my collet closer. The original was a swedged in affair but the consensus of the board was a press fit and snap ring would do. Please ignore the dents in the shield. My first .002 press fit and I got a little hinky when it was time to do the deed! My bro can get me a new bearing for $7.50 so we'll call that a cheap lesson.
The hex shaped piece on the indicator stand is my creation. It's hard to drop that DTI in a 32nd range so I wanted that fine adj on the post. Couldn't see a way to spin the post for threading so I made a small adapter.
A boring bar holder became necessary during the 8tpi wars. I got a little pissed when I somehow got the 3 setscrews holes out of line ... but that goes to show you how much I need a mill!
That U-shaped plate on the end of the turret ram almost gave me some blisters. I was all jazzed about having a turret but practical experience has taught me they ain't too good for working on a dead center. The primary problem is there's no way to lock the ram in an extended position. A workpiece less than 8-9" doesn't leave enough for the carriage? :mad: What's up with that?
It's crude, but that plate bolts to the turret base so at least now I can lock the ram out in it's fully extended position. But if I see a tailstock.
07-02-2007, 08:42 PM
When I first started in the machining field it was in a production shop.
Other than die heads for external threads, all the tools were made for the job
at hand. At the time I thought it was very archaic, and it was even then.
But, the skills learned as an inqusitive 18 year old 30 years ago are used
almost daily in my own basement shop. When the new tool works the first
time it's as gratifying as the completed project.
07-02-2007, 09:09 PM
I know what you guys mean I spent a couple of hours piddlin with concentricity on the ford countersink sharpener.
07-04-2007, 03:04 AM
So I can pay extremely high prices for used machines with issues. Then I can spend all my time rebuilding these beasties. And sometimes, I may actually get to make something.
One thing I have noticed about using "hard corps industrial machines". Tooling is a pain. I "don't just buy" something off the shelf but rather have to have it custom ordered and custom made. The last widget took me 10 weeks to get. I had to order it, make it, ship it, take two weeks off for some holiday and then I get to pick it up. The word instant gratification is non-existant.
This means I sometimes have one or more projects on hold waiting for tooling. Spare parts can be even worse. If one of these old iron machines goes down, I'm down! And of course now I get to pay a crash fee to the "machinist" to drop everything and fix or reproduce a part. Good thing I make most of my parts:rolleyes:. But still, it's a pain. I spent four hours yesterday working out details with others regarding this. FOUR %$*& HOURS! Who ever invented the automatic telephone help system should be promtly exceuted by firing squad on pay per view!
07-04-2007, 04:49 AM
I'll pay to watch that!
Your Old Dog
07-04-2007, 08:34 AM
So it's not Adult Attention Disorder? Hell, I'm feeling better already. Yea, I might even.........put my left hand on the monitor, lift up my voice to the heavens and proclaim I'VE BEEN HEALED !! :D
One thing I have noticed about using "hard corps industrial machines". Tooling is a pain. I "don't just buy" something off the shelf but rather have to have it custom ordered and custom made.
Try working on a 1929 shaper. The "custom ordered" part does not apply, unless you can find me a time machine. I have most of the bugs in the machine worked out but now I have to make tooling and work holding parts for it.
07-04-2007, 03:16 PM
I especially like to make things that are either better than what is available commercially or are unavailable commercially or both.
A friend of mine has the philosophy of "buy the things you can buy, and spend your time making the things you can't buy".
That of course doesn't address making things just because you want to make them, but it seems to make a lot of sense as far as "not reinventing the wheel". I've only got a limited amount of time available to accomplish things, and, within reason, it often makes more sense just to buy something off the shelf and get on with the rest of the project.
07-04-2007, 05:58 PM
...A friend of mine has the philosophy of "buy the things you can buy, and spend your time making the things you can't buy"...
It's interesting to observe how attitudes are formed by the times we live in. I grew up on a ranch (circa 1950's) and in those days if the local implement dealer didn't stock the part (and he seldom did) one would have to make the part, as it would take over a month to get it by freight. No Fedex or UPS overnight in those days - even a letter would take two weeks to deliver! That's why we had a basic machine shop and that is why I sometimes make some things I could more easily buy. I still find myself looking at new equipment with the thought in the back of my mind, as how hard would it be to repair or make the critical parts. Sheesh... my pickup doesn't even have simple cranks to roll up or down the windows.
In those days "Blacksmiths" were common and they all had a huge forge heated up and ready to go. Most of them had machining equipment too. Now days if one was to look under "Blacksmiths" in the phone book they would either get a reference to an "artist" or maybe a shoeman for horses.
I'm not saying those days were better - because they're not! We just had to be practical!
07-04-2007, 06:23 PM
"In those days "Blacksmiths" were common and they all had a huge forge heated up and ready to go. Most of them had machining equipment too. Now days if one was to look under "Blacksmiths" in the phone book they would either get a reference to an "artist" or maybe a shoeman for horses."
A lathe or mill without tooling is useless. Part of the fun of being a HMS is tooling up your machines.If a lathe cost $ 3000.00 you need the same in tooling Same for any thing else .You can buy it all and go broke are try to save some money and make a lot of it . One thing for sure the more you got the easer things will be to do when the time comes.