View Full Version : New to Machining

04-10-2009, 01:15 PM
Greetings. I am interested in learning new skills in Machining. I am facinated by gadgets, machines and tools. I have the desire, but I am afraid I am short on skills. My experience is limited to a machining class I took in college.

I am considering the purchase of a Smithy Granite 3 in 1. I am looking for plans and educational information that will help develop my skills. Does anyone have ideas of how I should get started (what I should work on first)? I am familiar with the web-site projectsinmetal. I plan on making the spring center tool.

Thank you

04-10-2009, 01:25 PM
A lot of people enjoy building model steam engines. There are hundreds of plans around and some are resonably simple.

If this sounds interesting you might want to look around


04-10-2009, 05:26 PM
Welcome. I started with the magazines that sponsor this board.

04-10-2009, 05:42 PM
I started just awhile ago as well, this (http://homepage3.nifty.com/amigos/index-e.html) site was where I stared from. Great plans and useful to get you started. You can see my builds in my sig.

04-10-2009, 06:22 PM
Welcome to the dark side... Get Home Shop Machinist magazine. I read them cover to cover for several years before I ever cut a chip. The photos can teach you as much as the text. I'd recommend separate machines if you can swing it. The combination machines seem like they would require an inordinate amount of reconfiguration time.


Frank Ford
04-10-2009, 06:40 PM
I've been seriously into machining for five years now, and a large part of my learning goes on right here. But really, I learn best by making mistakes out in my shop, and by photographing and writing about my work.

Please visit my site, HomeSHopTech, if you'd like to see some of my projects - I've tried to document a good number of my projects, so you might find some interesting stuff there.

04-10-2009, 07:54 PM
Take the long view.... Have patience. I can well remember how totally overwhelmed I felt when I first started. After about 10 years of flailing around, I finally began to feel a bit less ignorant.

Subscribe to the magazines, read the articles, even if you don't plan to build the projects. Follow the procedures in your head, and you'll learn how various things can be done. The magazines have to cater to a variety of interests, so some of it you won't care about, but you can learn from all of it.

I might suggest as part of the "long view" you consider separate machines, rather than a 3-in-1, even if it means you have to wait a while to buy all the separate machines. I think you'll be happier in the end. On the other hand, some guys have done great stuff on 3-in-1 machines; it's just not as convenient.

Don't take on too complex a project to start. Even a simple oscillating steam engine, if done well, can be plenty challenging.

Bill Pace
04-10-2009, 07:59 PM
First off, where in La are you? -- there are 3 of us metal nuts here in the Shreveport area, be nice to have another.

With a little effort, projects in metal are plentiful -- one reason I drifted from woodworking,-- my house had all the wood projects ir could stand:rolleyes: That site Clinton gave could keep a fella busy a long time, and as mentioned, all the stuff from our sponsors here. Inside the mag will be a couple pages of books & CD's on all sorts of goodies.

I also just cant recommend a 3in1, I must have read a couple hundred comments/threads about them and have never seen an all out recommendation for one - theres always that "it does a good jop, but "--- theres always that but describing some shortcoming -- and thare are many, with most saying they wish they had never got it.

oil mac
04-10-2009, 08:07 PM

Welcome aboard, We are all glad to hear of you wanting to learn, You are off to a fair start, by taking a machining course at college, Dont be afraid of making mistakes to begin with, Using your inate enthusiasm, you will get there, I started 55 years ago, at night school, working on an old belt driven Colchester lathe, (hobby class) I was the only one doing metal work, everyone else in the other workshop was on woodwork, And the teacher only looked in on me every 20 minutes, Nowadays the health & safety wallas would have forty fits The project i took on was a brass stand with poker, brush holder and little brass shovel for mum, I was well pleased when it was finished, and it went on show at the interschools show
Times have moved on some model steam engines built, many engine overhauls, Operated lathe with 2ft 6" chuck, big mill & planer, big 20" vertical slotting m/c, fitting work etc over the years , Served my apprenticeship as a foundry brass moulder,& took up for many years teaching at trade school, But the wonder of machining has never gone away in all these years.
Read as much as you can build a little steam engine You can do it

04-11-2009, 03:06 PM
Thanks to everyone for your input. I have not made the purchase of the 3 in 1 yet, so I will do some shopping for separate machines and see where that leads me.

Subscribing to the magazine sounds like good advise too. If nothing else, to support our sponsor!

Thanks again, and I look forward to my journey. I'm sure I will be frequently reading these forums and bugging the members for advice along the way.


04-11-2009, 03:08 PM

I forgot to mention that I too live in the Shreveport area, about 10 miles north in Benton.