View Full Version : Making tiny parts

02-07-2012, 03:11 PM
I made 20 of these today. For clamping a PCB into a case. 4 per, 5 cases.


That's a Canadian nickle for scale.

I wouldn't want to make anything much smaller. I guess I'm lucky that Lexan was specified.
What do you guys do to make small parts easier?
Smaller vise? More precise vise?

02-07-2012, 03:24 PM
I use a small machinists vise clamped in the Kurt 6".

Seeing that part reminds me, I need to make a part that is almost identical to the ones that you posted. It is a clamp for the bezel on a Mututoyo dial caliper.


Harvey Melvin Richards
02-07-2012, 03:34 PM
I design a lot of small parts. Sometimes my guys complain about their size. It's funny, they all look big on my computer.

02-07-2012, 03:45 PM
Some guys make REALLY tiny parts.
This is functional lathe, posted here by member mklotz.




02-07-2012, 04:00 PM
I use a small machinists vise clamped in the Kurt 6".

Seeing that part reminds me, I need to make a part that is almost identical to the ones that you posted. It is a clamp for the bezel on a Mututoyo dial caliper.


I'm guessing your clamp is a lot smaller.
Do you have a pic of your vise in a vise setup?

02-07-2012, 04:49 PM
A couple of years back I made a lot of RC heli parts. My mill is a TOS FNK25, like a proper grownup bridgeport.
This thread (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=886694) on another forum details the alloy head upgrade I made for the Walkera 4-3 Heli.
This is my heli with the prototype head on it, sat on the kitchen worktop:


All up weight is under 50g ready to fly.

The hardest part of those was cross drilling the 2.5mm thick alloy through a 1.4mm hole with a 0.8mm drill.
Jigs are your friend if you want to make more than a couple of anything.

The bit to hold the flybar is originally 2 tophat shaped bits of brass, and a plastic piece.
These could disappear if you crashed 'properly', so I made a few one piece ones in brass.
1.5mm dia, cross drilled to take 1mm CF rod!
Again jigs ensure the alignment of the part and cutter (once the jig is correctly setup of course...)


Of course then I decided to make a CCPM version of the same Heli, so I made a controlable pitch head for it:


Around this time the office I flew in at work got people in it, so I graduated to a Gaui 200 (200mm long main rotor blades).
Of course I crashed, and the weak point on these was the mixer arms to mix the flybar and swashplate signals to the main rotor.
Diecast pot metal I think. Anyway the helifreaks I hung out on the internet with wanted a stronger version, and I wasnt about to buy spares when I can make them, so this is a mixer arm pair I made:


The Large hole is a bearing seat for a 4mm o/d bearing, the smaller ones are threaded M1.6.
Controling the pocket depth was a bu**er, as there is a spacer, 0.8mm IIRC which fitted between the bearings inner races so you could tighten them down to have no slop, but they wouldnt bind.
I ended up modifying a 4mm endmill to cut undersize, and then modifying a 4mm reamer to cut a square blind hole.
Then using the quill stop to cut the intiial pocket, and the quill stop with the reamer in the spindle, but turning by hand I managed to get a repeatable process that didnt take overly long to do.

I made a lot of those, without snapping a single M1.6 tap. I used my TOS as the worlds most rigid tapping guide.

Looking back I used to make a lot of tiny things on my 'full sized' equipment.
Sensative feel is important, and low run out with tiny cutters.
I think a big heavy, properly built machine thats designed to take heavy, but precise, cuts is a good place to start.


02-08-2012, 01:24 PM
For making small parts by hand (when no lathe work is required), I have a couple of sets of fairly inexpensive needle files (one regular set, and one diamond coated set that I tend to use on brass) as well as a small selection of high quality escapement files, a small Nicholson screwhead slotting file, an old pivot file (it is such a fine cut you need good light to even tell it is a file), and a very small home made burnishing file ( details here: http://joyofprecision.tumblr.com/post/11833625959/making-a-burnishing-file ). A good selection of small files really makes things a lot easier. I also have a very small vise (jaws are just a little over 1" wide) that I use for holding square work, and I have some pin vises that I use for holding small diameter round work.