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Boucher
10-21-2012, 06:57 PM
Ever since the discussion of John Stevensons 10-20-40 metric blocks that can be attached to one another, I keep encountering situations where I would like to do that with my 1-2-3 blocks.
Since they are hard it would probably take EDM to enlarge the clearance holes. There are 15 holes. Would anyone care to hazard a guess at the cost. If one had several done at the same time would that be any cheaper per unit?

For use in my Home Shop the hardness is not that important. What if one dropped them in the wood stove overnight?

oldtiffie
10-21-2012, 07:28 PM
Use "captive" bolts/screws - easy.

Boucher
10-21-2012, 07:44 PM
I often overlook the easy solutions but I don’t understand the captive bolt/screws you mention.

oldtiffie
10-21-2012, 08:03 PM
If your block that you want the screw through is say 2" thick, and all the blocks are tapped the same (say 3/8-unc) the bolt/screw needs to be a good quality (say high-tension) with its length needs to be say block width + 3 screw diameters minimum. Turn a plain section on the bolt shank that is at least block tickness + 1 bolt diameter (from the bolt head) from the head - screw shankplain section to be bolt/screw minor diameter (maximum).

Now screw captive bolt into the 2" long 3/8-unc tapped hole in the 2" block. The screw will be loose/free in the tapped hole with a 3/8-unc end section protruding from the 2" block. The protruding 3/8-unc section of the bolt can be inserted/screwed into another block and tightened as required. Use washers as required.

The bolt/screw is "captive" in the 2" block as it can rotate fully and move length-wise partially but cannot come out unless deliberately screwed out.

It also means that a block can be fastened to anything that has a 3/8-uns tapped hole without the need of clamps or packing.

Its use is not limited to "blocks" either.

There are numerous variations on the principle limited only by need and imagination.

I/ve seen and used this since my "early days" and it had been around for a long time prior to that.

John Stevenson
10-21-2012, 08:14 PM
What you are describing is a waisted bolt but pray tell us how you get said wasted bolt thru a plain hole into the tapped hole.

If you had ever used a set of 1-2-3 blocks you would know that only some are tapped and it depends on the configuration you want to use what plain and tapped holes can be used.

Byron, I'd be more worried about distortion than lack of hardness but having said that I have 4 shafts to go into the hardeners tomorrow once splined and I'll send a set of 1-2-3 blocks to have them professionally annealed and report back.
I also am not that interested in hardness but interested in whether they will soften enough to drill with a cobalt drill.
I have tried previously to drill this set with a carbide drill and just wrecked it.

.RC.
10-21-2012, 09:01 PM
You should just do what I did.... Got some rod that fits through the 3/8 tapped holes.... Cross drill and tap to 6mm or 1/4", then shove them in the holes and use 6mm or 1/4" bolts to hold the blocks together.

Harvey Melvin Richards
10-21-2012, 09:04 PM
Universal 1-2-3 blocks from Travers $53.

http://www.travers.com/product.asp?r=s&n=||UserSearch1%3Duniversal+1+2+3+blocks&eaprodid=84397-57-020-413

lazlo
10-21-2012, 10:32 PM
Ever since the discussion of John Stevensons 10-20-40 metric blocks that can be attached to one another, I keep encountering situations where I would like to do that with my 1-2-3 blocks.

Just buy the old stock Western (or Japanese) 1-2-3 blocks the Chinese copied. They all have the correct through-holes to connect together.

When the Chinese got the prints, they obviously confused which were tap drill sizes and which were through holes.

jkilroy
10-21-2012, 11:07 PM
I have a couple of set of blocks like those Mr. Richards posted the link to. They rock, the holes are arraigned on the blocks such that you bolt them together with simple socket head screws. You can bolt them into just about any configuration you can imagine.

Jaakko Fagerlund
10-21-2012, 11:53 PM
Or just build the EDM yourself, that way you get a new machine and invest money to a useful tool :)

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 02:49 AM
Originally Posted by Boucher

Ever since the discussion of John Stevensons 10-20-40 metric blocks that can be attached to one another, I keep encountering situations where I would like to do that with my 1-2-3 blocks.

Just buy the old stock Western (or Japanese) 1-2-3 blocks the Chinese copied. They all have the correct through-holes to connect together.

When the Chinese got the prints, they obviously confused which were tap drill sizes and which were through holes.

I think that the hole (whether tapped or not) is as much to do with ease of heat-treating and control of distortion and cracking due to internal stresses and with a reduction in processing time (and cost).

I can't see that the non-tapped holes are an issue at all.

dp
10-22-2012, 03:03 AM
I think that the hole (whether tapped or not) is as much to do with ease of heat-treating and control of distortion and cracking due to internal stresses and with a reduction in processing time (and cost).

I can't see that the non-tapped holes are an issue at all.

They're too small to pass a threaded bolt or all-thread through unless you don't care if the bolt doesn't match the threaded holes. It means you can't bolt one block to another unless your bolt passes through both blocks and is nutted externally.

All the holes were drilled to the same size and some were threaded. The holes that are threaded are a tight fit, sometimes too tight, but the unthreaded holes needed to be drilled larger than the major diameter of the bolts to allow the bolts to pass through. That wasn't done. That this error has been going on for years and that no retailer has rejected the parts says much about QA in machinist tools.

bob ward
10-22-2012, 03:21 AM
FWIW, on Australian ebay recently a trader was offering new sets of metric blocks 25 x 50 x 75 with.........3/8" threads. Sigh.

John Stevenson
10-22-2012, 04:56 AM
They're too small to pass a threaded bolt or all-thread through unless you don't care if the bolt doesn't match the threaded holes. It means you can't bolt one block to another unless your bolt passes through both blocks and is nutted externally.

All the holes were drilled to the same size and some were threaded. The holes that are threaded are a tight fit, sometimes too tight, but the unthreaded holes needed to be drilled larger than the major diameter of the bolts to allow the bolts to pass through. That wasn't done. That this error has been going on for years and that no retailer has rejected the parts says much about QA in machinist tools.

DP,
Whilst I fully agree with what you say, I question why a retailer has to reject them given there is no 'standard' on how these things should be used or what they were used for.

Now if they were advertised as being able to bolt up in certain configurations then fine but the use of these things is very obscure.
Given there is probably 1 million sets out there why is there not 1 million unsatisfied customers ?
Probably because they all use them in different ways.

As regards the proper old design it's a chance you have to take, the old Starrett blocks were fine, current new one being sourced from China or India are wrong. I have a set of each.

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 06:47 AM
Dennis,

if it bothered me that much - or at all - which it doesn't I'd make a set of aluminium ones - but I can't see the need.

Aluminium is easy to take a "passing" ("clean-up") fly cut to restore a face if needed. It would not be difficult to machine another as well to maintain "pairing/matching" if needed.

Some of those "1-2-3" etc. blocks from LittleMachineShop are very good for accuracy and price:

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_search.php?critFast=1-2-3+block&B1=Product+Search

Boucher
10-22-2012, 07:58 AM
It would probably take EDM to enlarge the clearance holes. There are 15 holes. Would anyone care to hazard a guess at the cost. If one had several done at the same time would that be any cheaper per unit?

Sir John Please do report on the effects of commercial Annealing. Surprisingly, I just discovered that there is a commercial heat treating business out here in the boonies near me. I need to get over there and meet them.

Harvey, Thank you for the Travers information.

Robert, How do you find and identify the ones that are done properly?

James, On first look I was not sure that they fit together that well. Thank you for your input.

Yesterday, I was doing a setup that would have been facilitated by being able to attach the 123 blocks together. It would have also been easier if I had more than one pair. The $53/pair for Travers kind of makes me flinch, but having the right tool for the problem at hand helps one to forget the original cost.

I am past owning my own EDM but I was curious as to what a commercial shop would charge for something like opening up the through holes.

cegreen
10-22-2012, 11:37 AM
Please forgive me — I don't mean to be impertinent, I'm simply a complete newbie — and after reading this discussion, I have some questions:

1. Why must machinists BUY 1-2-3 blocks, especially if the design is wanting? Why can't they or don't they make their own?

2. For common machining setups, how important is it that the blocks be square and parallel to .0002"? Would .0005" suffice? Would .0001" be much better?

3. Why do the blocks need to be hardened? I would think that un-hardened blocks would be more desirable, since they would be both repairable and modifiable.

To put it another way, is it unrealistic for someone with a mill (but no surface grinder) to think they can make their own, sufficiently accurate, 1-2-3 blocks?

What about making 1-2-3 blocks with Durabar and then hand-scraping them? Or simply using 4140PH and a good fly cutter or face mill?

Thanks.

-Chris

lazlo
10-22-2012, 12:55 PM
Robert, How do you find and identify the ones that are done properly?

I wasn't exaggerating -- all non-Chinese 1-2-3 blocks I've ever seen can be connected together.
I have a nice set of Moore & Wright blocks I got off Ebay for ~ $40, and that wasn't a spectacular/rare deal by any stretch.

dp
10-22-2012, 01:10 PM
DP,
Whilst I fully agree with what you say, I question why a retailer has to reject them given there is no 'standard' on how these things should be used or what they were used for.

Now if they were advertised as being able to bolt up in certain configurations then fine but the use of these things is very obscure.
Given there is probably 1 million sets out there why is there not 1 million unsatisfied customers ?
Probably because they all use them in different ways.

As regards the proper old design it's a chance you have to take, the old Starrett blocks were fine, current new one being sourced from China or India are wrong. I have a set of each.

I think it is clear there is interest in interconnecting the blocks using the intended original method - direct fastening. When I bought my set I presumed they could be bolted together, or that bolts could be found that would at least fit the threaded holes. Neither is possible with the set I bought when makes me wonder why they went to the trouble of drilling and taping any holes at all.

Ultimately there is an implied purpose of the holes but which cannot be realized because of incorrect manufacture and you have said as much here. That is fraud's next door neighbor, misrepresentation. I've since used my blocks as very large parallels as I've purchased an angle plate for operations that can advantage themselves of it. My retailer did not volunteer these holes were useless for the intended purpose and so is complicit in my receiving gear I did not want or need.

dp
10-22-2012, 01:19 PM
Dennis,

if it bothered me that much - or at all - which it doesn't I'd make a set of aluminium ones - but I can't see the need.

I misunderstood the scope of your original statement, Tiffie - you didn't indicate your opinion was not for the general case (the average machinist for whom these are targeted, and in fact the point of the OP) but for your own uses and that's fine. I also make personal exceptions to the general rule (thread testing needles, for example :) ).

George Bulliss
10-22-2012, 01:56 PM
I am past owning my own EDM but I was curious as to what a commercial shop would charge for something like opening up the through holes.

I can't help you with a specific number, but I know for sure it would cost more to EDM out the holes than to simply purchase new blocks with the proper holes. EDM is a very slow way to remove metal and then you have the need to purchase and perhaps machine the graphite electrodes. Even if you supplied the electrodes ready to mount in the shop's mounting system, I would guess the shop would still have close to two hours into drilling the flushing holes in the electrodes, setting things up in the machine, and machining the holes. Around here, that's going to push you past $100 by a fair amount.

Edited to add: Talking about plunge EDM here. The holes could be done on a wire EDM as well, but it wouldn't be any cheaper. The wire used is expensive and the time to thread and cut the multiple holes would take at least as long as on a plunge machine.

RussZHC
10-22-2012, 02:36 PM
cegreen:

I am far from expert (noob w some experience?) but I think the crux to all of your questions is how much accuracy do you need? I could whittle out something but unless what I want to use them for can be made and be out of size/tolerance by 1/4", they wouldn't do me much good.

Can they be made? Certainly and I would hazard a guess that there are more than a handful who are "here" (bbs) that have made their own. Judging from readings, they were often a project for machinist w down time or an apprentice. Same for "V" blocks.

Again, I am not certain but think the reason for grinding being the "norm" are the tolerances that can be held.

Could they be hand scraped? No reason why not that I can think of but at some point you need to measure flat and square. I mention that last bit because it goes back to tolerances. If you have to have something made that needs to be .00001 flat over a given distance or square relative to something of a given size (distance?) you need something that can measure at least that fine.

Edit: some of the other questions come down to time is money, blocks I have are import but still finer tolerance than I am likely to accomplish unless I am very, very lucky. I could see where hardened would have its value (not sure about repair and or modify coming into the picture). .0005", for argument sake is import maybe $ 20, .000001" is Suburban or Moore quality, in a matched set, who knows but its a lot more.

John Stevenson
10-22-2012, 03:08 PM
Right mine went over to the hardening shop today, got the splined shaft back this afternoon [ rush job ] but the blocks will stay in over night.
I'll then try with a Cobalt drill tomorrow.

Whatever happens because they have been heated and won't look pretty for a start I'll lick them up as pairs on the surface grinder.
I am not bothered that they are 1" x 2" x 3" to 0.0001 tolerance in fact I much prefer my packings and parallels to be undersize so the blocks don't get trapped before the work.

In reply to Chris I much prefer my packings and parallels to be tough as opposed to hard, this way if you make a mistake it doesn't cost you a cutter and you can always lick a few dings up.

lazlo
10-22-2012, 03:12 PM
Edit: some of the other questions come down to time is money, blocks I have are import but still finer tolerance than I am likely to accomplish unless I am very, very lucky.

You might have also noticed that the "corrected" Chinese 1-2-3 blocks are now showing up at MSC and Enco. I know SPI has them, don't remember the price, but it was cheap.

Harvey Melvin Richards
10-22-2012, 03:32 PM
I wasn't exaggerating -- all non-Chinese 1-2-3 blocks I've ever seen can be connected together.
I have a nice set of Moore & Wright blocks I got off Ebay for ~ $40, and that wasn't a spectacular/rare deal by any stretch.
How would you attach a set of one hole 1-2-3 blocks to each other? Or have you just not seen them?

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 04:29 PM
Make and use a set/numner of "captive/waisted" bolts - see my previous post (#4) for details.


If your block that you want the screw through is say 2" thick, and all the blocks are tapped the same (say 3/8-unc) the bolt/screw needs to be a good quality (say high-tension) with its length needs to be say block width + 3 screw diameters minimum. Turn a plain section on the bolt shank that is at least block tickness + 1 bolt diameter (from the bolt head) from the head - screw shankplain section to be bolt/screw minor diameter (maximum).

Now screw captive bolt into the 2" long 3/8-unc tapped hole in the 2" block. The screw will be loose/free in the tapped hole with a 3/8-unc end section protruding from the 2" block. The protruding 3/8-unc section of the bolt can be inserted/screwed into another block and tightened as required. Use washers as required.

The bolt/screw is "captive" in the 2" block as it can rotate fully and move length-wise partially but cannot come out unless deliberately screwed out.

It also means that a block can be fastened to anything that has a 3/8-uns tapped hole without the need of clamps or packing.

Its use is not limited to "blocks" either.

There are numerous variations on the principle limited only by need and imagination.

I/ve seen and used this since my "early days" and it had been around for a long time prior to that.

at:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/56353-1-2-3-Blocks?p=803375#post803375

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 04:51 PM
Originally Posted by oldtiffie

I think that the hole (whether tapped or not) is as much to do with ease of heat-treating and control of distortion and cracking due to internal stresses and with a reduction in processing time (and cost).

I can't see that the non-tapped holes are an issue at all.

They're too small to pass a threaded bolt or all-thread through unless you don't care if the bolt doesn't match the threaded holes. It means you can't bolt one block to another unless your bolt passes through both blocks and is nutted externally.

All the holes were drilled to the same size and some were threaded. The holes that are threaded are a tight fit, sometimes too tight, but the unthreaded holes needed to be drilled larger than the major diameter of the bolts to allow the bolts to pass through. That wasn't done. That this error has been going on for years and that no retailer has rejected the parts says much about QA in machinist tools.

I can't see that there is an issue at all here. It seems to me a lot of kerfuffle about a lot of nothing at all.

The blocks I have (up to 6") are all similar and quite functional - and the non-tapped holes have never been a problem and I can't see them being one.

In most cases I use tools etc. "as is/supplied" as I rarely have a real need to "tweek" them.

I doubt that Starrett's blocks (all holes tapped) were - or are - a formal USA standard of any kind. Starret are/were not the only USA company to make them. My guess is that Starrett saw them else where and copied them (no paternt on them?), tapped all the holes and "ran with it". Perhaps the other USA companies that made them copied Starrett - who knows and who cares anyway? Certainly not me.

The "some drilled holes not tapped" model is just as much a "standard" (or not) as the Starrett model is and perhaps just a variation on a theme.

Given that in a lot of cases a "block" is used as a packing clamp or spacer etc., I cant see that much accuarcy at all is needed and if it is surface grinding is a quick and eacy accurate solution. The normal "Chinese" blocks are quite sufficiently accurate for parallel and squareness for just about any purpose and as such are quite good enough (for me anyway) "as is" "right out of the box".

Given that the "some holes are not tapped" variation is pretty well the default it seems that a "Starrett" is a "special" and if asked for ordered will be a costly "special".

If using the blocks for the required purpose is not practical - use another of the many other methods and options avaiable in the average shop.

lazlo
10-22-2012, 05:21 PM
How would you attach a set of one hole 1-2-3 blocks to each other? Or have you just not seen them?

WTF? Yes, most Western metrology companies make/made single-hole 1-2-3 blocks, including Starrett. Obviously we are talking about the 1-2-3 blocks with 11 or 23 holes, where the through holes are supposed to be 5/16". http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/images/smilies/rolleyes5.gif

The Chinese botched the prints and drilled all the holes with an F-drill, so you can't use 5/16" bolts to make angle blocks with them.

JCHannum
10-22-2012, 05:31 PM
I doubt that Starrett's blocks (all holes tapped) were - or are - a formal USA standard of any kind. The "some drilled holes not tapped" model is just as much a "standard" (or not) as the Starrett model is and perhaps just a variation on a theme.

Starrett 1-2-3 blocks do not and never did have any tapped holes. They have five through holes that don't match each other in such a way as to make any convenient fixture.

For my purposes, I have never had occasion to bolt my 1-2-3 blocks together, and see no reason to do same.

willmac
10-22-2012, 05:46 PM
Given that in a lot of cases a "block" is used as a packing clamp or spacer etc., I cant see that much accuarcy at all is needed and if it is surface grinding is a quick and eacy accurate solution. The normal "Chinese" blocks are quite sufficiently accurate for parallel and squareness for just about any purpose and as such are quite good enough (for me anyway) "as is" "right out of the box".


I really can't let this go without comment.

123 blocks that are not ground very accurately square and to size within tenths are simply not 123 blocks in my view. The whole point is their their accuracy. Original 123 blocks did screw together easily and that is also part of their DNA. The fact that Chinese 123 blocks don't, just means that they are faulty. The fact that you can still use them to some extent even with this fault is fortunate.

Harvey Melvin Richards
10-22-2012, 06:03 PM
Starrett 1-2-3 blocks do not and never did have any tapped holes. They have five through holes that don't match each other in such a way as to make any convenient fixture.

For my purposes, I have never had occasion to bolt my 1-2-3 blocks together, and see no reason to do same.

While I agree with the Starrett statement, I see no reason to not bolt your blocks together if you can.

Actually I rarely bolt mine together anymore. But this is because I now have a couple of Suburban angles along with several other in various sizes. Before I had alternatives, I bolted my blocks together quite often.

dp
10-22-2012, 06:24 PM
WTF? Yes, most Western metrology companies make/made single-hole 1-2-3 blocks, including Starrett. Obviously we are talking about the 1-2-3 blocks with 11 or 23 holes, where the through holes are supposed to be 5/16". http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/images/smilies/rolleyes5.gif

The Chinese botched the prints and drilled all the holes with an F-drill, so you can't use 5/16" bolts to make angle blocks with them.

Mine are 1-2-3 blocks with 23 holes. Five of them on the large face are tapped 3/8"x16 which I discovered this morning by carefully picking up the thread of a 3/8"x16 bolt and shaving it down on my lathe. Even then it is a very tight fit but twists easily onto a die. I don't have any taps that will pass very far into the threads so was never sure what the pitch was or if it was or wasn't metric. The 3/8" bolt of course won't pass through any of the unthreaded holes. I think the tight fit of the threaded holes is due to hardening.

They've been very handy spacers in my shaper vise.

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by oldtiffie

Given that in a lot of cases a "block" is used as a packing clamp or spacer etc., I cant see that much accuracy at all is needed and if it is surface grinding is a quick and eacy accurate solution. The normal "Chinese" blocks are quite sufficiently accurate for parallel and squareness for just about any purpose and as such are quite good enough (for me anyway) "as is" "right out of the box".


I really can't let this go without comment.

123 blocks that are not ground very accurately square and to size within tenths are simply not 123 blocks in my view. The whole point is their their accuracy. Original 123 blocks did screw together easily and that is also part of their DNA. The fact that Chinese 123 blocks don't, just means that they are faulty. The fact that you can still use them to some extent even with this fault is fortunate.

My 1-2-3 and up to 6" blocks were bought from LittleMachineShop.com (they a re a lot more expensive when shipped here to Australia.

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1233&category=

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_related.php?RelatedID=1149188930

At that sort of accuracy its fine as I've never needed them more precise. I've run a very good 2um (2 micron) - 0.00008" TDI over them using slip guages on my surface plate and they check out very well.

I doubt that I would bother to put them under my surface grinder as they may not turn out any better.

They are very cheap and reliable and I'd guess that many would not need that level of accuracy.

Many may not have the facilities to measure/check to a "couple of tenths" either - so its based on trust and in my experience thus far it is trust well placed.

In some shops - mine included - if 1-2-3 blocks and the like were only to be used for jobs that required that level of accuracy they might never get used at all - or only rarely.

But given that they probably were bought to be used they would be used on less accurate jobs as well/anyway.

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 07:52 PM
Originally Posted by oldtiffie

I doubt that Starrett's blocks (all holes tapped) were - or are - a formal USA standard of any kind. The "some drilled holes not tapped" model is just as much a "standard" (or not) as the Starrett model is and perhaps just a variation on a theme.

Starrett 1-2-3 blocks do not and never did have any tapped holes. They have five through holes that don't match each other in such a way as to make any convenient fixture.

For my purposes, I have never had occasion to bolt my 1-2-3 blocks together, and see no reason to do same.

Jim,

that post of yours got my attention as I've rarely had to query your advice.

I went to the current Starrett catalogue for the current rang of 1-2-3 blocks - and sure enough you are dead right - drilled holes ony (ie none tapped).

http://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/Precision-Measuring-Tools/Precision-Hand-Tools/Precision-Shop-Tools/Other-Shop-Tools/706BZ

http://www.starrett.com/metrology/metrology-products/precision-measuring-tools/machinists-precision-shop-tools/Other-Shop-Tools#itemsPerPage=24&currentPage=1&displayMode=grid&sortBy=none/asc

http://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/Precision-Measuring-Tools/Precision-Hand-Tools/Precision-Shop-Tools/Other-Shop-Tools/706AZ

and a few are going to buckle at the knees at the price: US$654 each metric and US$300 each for "inch"!!!

The "Starrett blocks have all tapped holes" people may have a problem.

If they want ANY tapped holes they are going to have to buy "Chinese" at about US$30 a pair at LIttleMachineShop or similar.

I note too that Starrett do not list (make?) blocks larger than 1-2-3.

MichaelP
10-22-2012, 08:25 PM
I have a few Chinese (Shars) and Brown & Sharpe block pairs. All if them are identical: 5 out of 15 holes on the large faces are threaded so that 3/8"-16 bolts can go all the way through. All the other face and side holes are neither threaded (which is understandable) nor are clearance holes for the 3/8"-16 bolts. This later part I cannot explain rationally (that are those holes for, in the first place?).

lazlo
10-22-2012, 08:28 PM
I have a few Chinese (Shars) and Brown & Sharpe block pairs.

I have a set of the Brown & Sharpe "Ultra Precision" 1-2-3 blocks. They're made in China, and they also have the botched through holes like you describe.

oldtiffie
10-22-2012, 08:43 PM
I doubt that the "Chinese" blocks with only some tapped holes are "botched" as the non-tapped holes are not 3/8" clearance holes.

I still think that the non-tapped holes were drilled for ease of heat-treatment and stress-relief and the improve differentail cooling and cracking.

It seems that Starrett only make 1-2-3 blocks and all holes are drilled for 3/8" clearance.

If you want all "clearance" (non-tapped) holes mortgage the house and buy Starrett.

But if you want some (even if you'd prefer all) holes to be tapped - buy the US$30 a pair ones at LittleMachineShop.

If you want Starrett quality with all holes tapped (for using "captive/waisted" bolts) then get a quote from Starrett as a "special (cost)" item and be prepared to pay for it.

Otherwise, put up with what you've got or make your own or just plain go without.

dp
10-22-2012, 10:15 PM
I wanted the kind of blocks Rudy had in his video and thought that is what I was getting. http://www.polytechforum.com/metalworking/question-about-1-2-3-blocks-424731-.htm

I think that everyone else who had that expectation feels the same way. Really just that simple. To summarize this thread:

Some say they're wrong
Some say they're wrong but suck it up
Some say right or wrong they don't care cuz they wouldn't use them anyway
Some say they're useful even if wrong.

I think we're done here :)

lazlo
10-22-2012, 11:32 PM
Some say they're wrong
Some say they're wrong but suck it up
Some say right or wrong they don't care cuz they wouldn't use them anyway
Some say they're useful even if wrong.

I would say: 1,2 and 4 :)

dp
10-22-2012, 11:46 PM
I would say: 1,2 and 4 :)

Heh - well, the OP got a full answer, at least.

J Tiers
10-22-2012, 11:58 PM
make studs with the tapped thread on one end, and the clearance size plus next smaller thread on other end... screw into one block, then pass through the other one and put a nut on.

Works fine that way. And you have a shop to do the work in, right?

yes, it would be nice if they were made easy to use, but if not, so long as they are parallel, they will work with some adaptation.

Don't remember where I got mine, but they are just as you all say, tapped and undersized holes, alternating.

John Stevenson
10-23-2012, 04:15 AM
Don't remember where I got mine, but they are just as you all say, tapped and undersized holes, alternating.

And that's the next thing working out if they tapped the correct pattern :p

Can't check my set, they are still in heat treat but as I was walking over with them I noticed that if you laid one block down and stood the other up in the tallest configuration there were no tapped holes only thru holes.

Mine can't bolt into a 3" high angle.

This was one point I looked at when I designed the metric blocks that ARC sells, they will bolt in any configuration.

Jaakko Fagerlund
10-23-2012, 11:27 AM
I can't help you with a specific number, but I know for sure it would cost more to EDM out the holes than to simply purchase new blocks with the proper holes. EDM is a very slow way to remove metal and then you have the need to purchase and perhaps machine the graphite electrodes. Even if you supplied the electrodes ready to mount in the shop's mounting system, I would guess the shop would still have close to two hours into drilling the flushing holes in the electrodes, setting things up in the machine, and machining the holes. Around here, that's going to push you past $100 by a fair amount.

Edited to add: Talking about plunge EDM here. The holes could be done on a wire EDM as well, but it wouldn't be any cheaper. The wire used is expensive and the time to thread and cut the multiple holes would take at least as long as on a plunge machine.
With a ram EDM all you need for enlarging through holes is a piece of copper turned with a lathe to a wanted diameter minus the overcut. And most sinkers are CNC, so depending on a shop you might get it done for little cash.

Black Forest
10-23-2012, 12:07 PM
Why not just buy the metric blocks from Acu trade and have nice blocks. A bunch of you could buy a bunch and save on shipping. It must be cheaper than trying to make a silk purse out of your sows ear 123 blocks.

lazlo
10-23-2012, 01:43 PM
Why not just buy the metric blocks from Acu trade and have nice blocks. A bunch of you could buy a bunch and save on shipping. It must be cheaper than trying to make a silk purse out of your sows ear 123 blocks.

Cause Byron is in the 'States, so Metric 1-2-3 blocks are useless to him :)

John Stevenson
10-23-2012, 02:16 PM
Cause Byron is in the 'States, so Metric 1-2-3 blocks are useless to him :)

BUT !! checked my 1-2-3 blocks because I will have to open the holes out and the holes are on 15mm centres.

I must admit I use the larger 20-4-80-ARC blocks in preference to the genuine 1-2-3 blocks not because of imperial v metric but most of my vises have 2" / 50mm deep jaws and if I use the 1-2-3 blocks the 2" high layout takes up all the room in the jaws.
1" high is Ok but it's then 2" wide.

Using the 20-4- 80 bocks means I can have 10mm left on top of a block to grip parts.
One reason why they were made this size is for smaller shop work the 1-2-3's are just a tad too big.

Any way off to the pub,pie and pint night, post later but got the blocks back and complete success as regards softening and even got a bonus.

Later..........

lazlo
10-23-2012, 03:45 PM
I must admit I use the larger 20-4-80-ARC blocks in preference to the genuine 1-2-3 blocks not because of imperial v metric

Any way off to the pub,pie and pint night.

Ah, the irony! :)

bob_s
10-23-2012, 04:02 PM
Ah, the irony! :)

I think that you mean restraint ,,, an imperial pint being less than a litre.

small.planes
10-23-2012, 04:44 PM
What a lot of Piffle.

I really dont see why, if its a big deal, people dont just drill out the holes to a clearance size.


Wait!
They're Hardened comes the chorus!

Well...

The 'Subject':
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-57_563.jpg

Bog standard 123 block from one of the uk suppliers (cant actually remember which). Proper generic chinese, with wrong sized threads and everything.

10mm SDS masonry bit. Used because my workshop is a tip and I cant find the 'normal' masonry bits in 10mm which are somewhere in a box.
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-26-56_802.jpg

The setup. 1800 rpm (thats what the mill was already set to, very lazy tonight...), er16 collet chuck. 123 block clamped with a little help from its pair.
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-30_687.jpg
If you look closely the swarf from drilling is visible about halfway up the drill

Tada! What do you know, a 10mm clearance hole has appeared:
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-52_209.jpg

sheesh, it took longer to write than to do.

Dave

Yes the mill is a mess, Im in the middle of an actual project!

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 04:48 PM
My 1-2-3 and up were bought from LittleMachineShop.com (they are a lot more expensive when shipped here to Australia).

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1233&category=

where the accuaracy is +/- 0.0002" (2 tenths) - cost US$13 a pair (boxed)

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=2881&category=

where the accuracy is +/- 0.0001" (1 tenth) - cost US$30 a pair (boxed)

At that sort of accuracy its fine as I've never needed them more precise

If these were damaged is it worth repairing them when the cost is so low?. It puts them in the "repair by replacement" (ie "throw-away") category.

Other than Starrett has plain 3/8" clearance holes, how could a HSM-er justify buying (new) Starrett 1-2-3 blocks?

small.planes
10-23-2012, 04:51 PM
Man, the "Ultra Precision" ones even come with the screw to bolt them together :rolleyes:

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 04:55 PM
Dave,

you've certainly solved the ".... but I want all/more clearance holes" bleat/gripe in very short order.

Nicely done.

lazlo
10-23-2012, 04:59 PM
I think that you mean restraint ,,, an imperial pint being less than a litre.

Ah! One upside to Metrification! :)

lazlo
10-23-2012, 05:00 PM
Man, the "Ultra Precision" ones even come with the screw to bolt them together :rolleyes:

I know, right? They come with short cap screws. WTF are they for?

small.planes
10-23-2012, 05:01 PM
The downside I discovered in Germany is you tend to drink to much weiss beer, as 1 'pint' is actually nearly 2.
This would not be a downside if you didnt have to get up stupid early to go stand on an exhibition stand all day...

Mike Hunter
10-23-2012, 05:06 PM
Well I know its not Starrett but you can always go with Brown & Sharpe http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=601-1088&PMPXNO=950545&PARTPG=INLMK32

$68 and yes they even come with the little bolts to bolt them together.

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 05:24 PM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMPAGE=358&PMITEM=601-1088

And all of them have some non-tapped (presumably non-clearance) holes.

There are some very "big (USA) names" there and all way-way cheaper than Starrett (who preumably make their own "blocks" "in house (USA".

Why (how?) would/could that be?

They seem to have the same tolerances as the LittleMachineShop similar items (US$13 and $30) which are about half the price?

Are they made in the USA or "China"?

If they are all made in China and all similar, does it really matter in this day and age?

John Stevenson
10-23-2012, 05:58 PM
OK pie and pint went down well, even had some guest ciders on tap [ hick ]
Anyway I tried my set with a carbide end mill and just shagged the end mill up hence the annealing.

Should have gone in the stress relieving oven at 680 degrees C all night but for some reason the oven hit a snag and didn't go above 480 degrees C [all computerised ]

Any way it was soft enough to drill with a colbalt drill and then tried a normal HSS dill and no problem.

Plus side is that the scale produce at this low temperature can be removed with a rotary scotch brite wheel so no need to regrind.

Tried tapping one hole and it tapped fine, 3/8" BSW roughly the same as UNC but hardly any depth of thread.

Mine are the same as dave's, only 5 holes tapped and none on the lower array.

Fück it I'm pissed - goodnight..............

Boucher
10-23-2012, 07:25 PM
Black Forest said,

"Why not just buy the metric blocks from Acu trade and have nice blocks. A bunch of you could buy a bunch and save on shipping. It must be cheaper than trying to make a silk purse out of your sows ear 123 blocks."

Because sometimes a Sows ear is exactly what you need.

The realization that the screwed together 123 blocks would be the perfect solution to a milling setup came on a late Sunday evening shop session.

Having just the right tool is always best but sometime one just has to make do. I completed the project but the nagging Idea that “It would have been nice” remained. Hence the Question posted. The same evening an order was placed with Arc Euro Trade for four pair of the 10-20-40 and two pair of the 20-40-80 blocks. Shipping appears to be $55

Harvey, summarized the situation previously when he said “While I agree with the Starrett statement, I see no reason to not bolt your blocks together if you can.

Actually I rarely bolt mine together anymore. But this is because I now have a couple of Suburban angles along with several other in various sizes. Before I had alternatives, I bolted my blocks together quite often.”

John, Thank you for your assistance, Sleep Well!

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 07:41 PM
What a lot of Piffle.

I really dont see why, if its a big deal, people dont just drill out the holes to a clearance size.


Wait!
They're Hardened comes the chorus!

Well...

The 'Subject':

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-57_563.jpg

Bog standard 123 block from one of the uk suppliers (cant actually remember which). Proper generic chinese, with wrong sized threads and everything.

10mm SDS masonry bit. Used because my workshop is a tip and I cant find the 'normal' masonry bits in 10mm which are somewhere in a box.

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-26-56_802.jpg

The setup. 1800 rpm (thats what the mill was already set to, very lazy tonight...), er16 collet chuck. 123 block clamped with a little help from its pair.

http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-30_687.jpg
If you look closely the swarf from drilling is visible about halfway up the drill

Tada! What do you know, a 10mm clearance hole has appeared:
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn274/small_planes/machining/2012-10-23_21-25-52_209.jpg

sheesh, it took longer to write than to do.

Dave

Yes the mill is a mess, Im in the middle of an actual project!

Dave.

Did you get a sense that the blocks were case-hardened or hardened "right through"?

If they were case hardened and penetrated by an SDS masonry drill as you've done, do you think that the "under-sized" non-tapped holes could be similarly drilled out to tapping size and tapped with a common set of HSS taps?

All just for the cost of an SDS drill and a bit of mill time.

If so, other than hole positioning, it should quiet the gripes/moans and give anyone who wants to try it the maximun options - with no heat-treatment and post treatment suface grinding.

Nicely thought out and done.

J Tiers
10-23-2012, 09:54 PM
Dave.

Did you get a sense that the blocks were case-hardened or hardened "right through"?

If they were case hardened and penetrated by an SDS masonry drill as you've done, do you think that the "under-sized" non-tapped holes could be similarly drilled out to tapping size and tapped with a common set of HSS taps?

All just for the cost of an SDS drill and a bit of mill time.

If so, other than hole positioning, it should quiet the gripes/moans and give anyone who wants to try it the maximun options - with no heat-treatment and post treatment suface grinding.

Nicely thought out and done.

Who's moaning and whining? I got mine cheap, and have used them a couple times only.

As for hardening, by the time they are perforated as much as the usual ones are, a decent "case" goes nearly through them. probably hardened through, or nearly so.

Anyhow, with a tad of threading work a couple of studs can be made that will allow the blocks to be used as they are. What's the problem?

MichaelP
10-23-2012, 10:27 PM
Well I know its not Starrett but you can always go with Brown & Sharpe http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=601-1088&PMPXNO=950545&PARTPG=INLMK32

$68 and yes they even come with the little bolts to bolt them together. The problem is that you really cannot bolt them together due to the absence of clearance holes. :)

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 10:39 PM
Who's moaning and whining? I got mine cheap, and have used them a couple times only.

As for hardening, by the time they are perforated as much as the usual ones are, a decent "case" goes nearly through them. probably hardened through, or nearly so.

Anyhow, with a tad of threading work a couple of studs can be made that will allow the blocks to be used as they are. What's the problem?

The moaners and groaners were those complaining about no "through" holes when it seemed to be thought - without much justification - that the "Chinese" model were incorrectly copied from the "proper/original Starrett" model when that may not have been the case at all.

"small.planes" (dave) soon showed the quick, cheap solution to that at post #49 (page 5):

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/56353-1-2-3-Blocks?p=803739#post803739

I have to say that now that Dave has "done it", it was all too obvious - and embarrassing in its simplicity - but appreciated here at least.

So now that the "way ahead" is cleared up, it seems that any "problems" with "no through holes" is squarely in the court of those with that "problem".

I've alway just made "captive/waisted" bolts if/as required - couple of minutes work - but I am sorely tempted to drill at least some of the small plane holes out and see how I go.

So far as I am aware that other than Starrett 1-2-3 blocks (with all "through" and no "tapped" holes) the only real available (all Chinese) universal models on the market now are those that youwill find in any catalogue.

dp
10-23-2012, 11:00 PM
The moaners and groaners were those complaining about no "through" holes when it seemed to be thought - without much justification - that the "Chinese" model were incorrectly copied from the "proper/original Starrett" model when that may not have been the case at all.

When did sharing defect information about a product become whining? It was something I didn't know before buying mine and I wish I had known it. Thanks to this post it is now more widely known. Like many cyclic posts it will come up again until the vendors stop accepting these defective parts or post up front they will not bolt together. It is this kind of feedback and awareness that helps improve our lot and can save us some aggravation. I don't think that is whining.

oldtiffie
10-23-2012, 11:14 PM
Dennis.

If the 1-2-3 (and larger) blocks are bought new or used in matched pairs they will bolt together - as all of mine do.

I can't see that they are "defective" at all as there seems to be no accepted standard for them and so manufacturers (and there may be many of them) can put the holes where they like, in which case there almost certainly will be differences.

Provided that sizes, flatness and squareness are the same then provided that blocks do not need to be bolted together they are functionally the same.

A quick web scan of suppliers will soon show that matched sets/pairs are readily available.

If I had your "mis-match" problem I'd either "bin" them and get a new (LMS) US$13 - 0.0002" accuracy matched pair and perhaps I'd keep the "mis-match" pair for when I needed 1-2-3 blocks that did not need to be bolted together.

small.planes
10-24-2012, 03:23 AM
Through hardened, and watch out for the swarf it comes of *HOT*

Dave

John Stevenson
10-24-2012, 04:21 AM
Dennis.

If the 1-2-3 (and larger) blocks are bought new or used in matched pairs they will bolt together - as all of mine do.

I can't see that they are "defective" at all as there seems to be no accepted standard for them and so manufacturers (and there may be many of them) can put the holes where they like, in which case there almost certainly will be differences.

Provided that sizes, flatness and squareness are the same then provided that blocks do not need to be bolted together they are functionally the same.

A quick web scan of suppliers will soon show that matched sets/pairs are readily available.

If I had your "mis-match" problem I'd either "bin" them and get a new (LMS) US$13 - 0.0002" accuracy matched pair and perhaps I'd keep the "mis-match" pair for when I needed 1-2-3 blocks that did not need to be bolted together.

Don't worry Tiffie you don't need them to bolt together to pose with them.

First you say all yours will bolt together, then you say you uses waisted bolts, then you say you are going to try Small Planes method.

Truth is you are a wanker - pity your dad wasn't.

Black Forest
10-24-2012, 06:53 AM
Sir John I have never heard that one before. My wife wants to know what is so funny. She heard me laughing downstairs. Now how do I explain that one in German!!!!!

JCHannum
10-24-2012, 09:44 AM
I've alway just made "captive/waisted" bolts if/as required - couple of minutes work - but I am sorely tempted to drill at least some of the small plane holes out and see how I go.

Would you be so kind as to show your 3/8"-16 waisted bolt installed through a 5/16" clearance hole.

Peter.
10-24-2012, 01:04 PM
Where is the evidence that the tapped holes were originally intended for clamping blocks together? They could be used for clamping to fixtures, or have buttons fixed to them, or any of a number other uses.

MichaelP
10-24-2012, 01:08 PM
Where is the evidence that the tapped holes were originally intended for clamping blocks together? They could be used for clamping to fixtures, or have buttons fixed to them, or any of a number other uses.
Hmmm. This is actually true. :)

JCHannum
10-24-2012, 03:35 PM
In the course of buying and selling tooling, I have encountered many shop made 1-2-3 blocks. I believe many of them were made as apprentice or school shop projects as their construction encompasses many skills. Machining tool steel, drilling and tapping, heat treating, grinding and lapping to precise tolerances are all required to produce an accurate pair of 1-2-3 blocks. Others, I am sure were made by machinists in their spare time from offcuts or scrap odds and ends around the shop to use idle time on long cuts, etc.

Many of these had some combination of holes, tapped and/or untapped as well as others which were solid or only had one central hole in the large face. This leads me to believe the holes are dictated more by some requirement for training or the whim of the builder than some hard and fast rule that they be capable of being fastened together in some manner. In addition to the 1-2-3 blocks, I have also encountered any number of V-blocks, angle plates, step blocks and other workholding devices that are of original construction that show the skill and imagination of the maker.

dp
10-24-2012, 04:34 PM
Where is the evidence that the tapped holes were originally intended for clamping blocks together? They could be used for clamping to fixtures, or have buttons fixed to them, or any of a number other uses.

Where is the evidence they are not intended to clamp together? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

In fact the preferred units are capable of exactly that, and awareness and expectations of many are aligned with that fact. Additionally, some of us are less disappointed with the blocks than the lack of full disclosure by the vendors regarding what they are capable of. Rather than "binning" a vendor for this and losing an otherwise worthwhile asset, the higher road is to provide useful feedback. Some vendors (John Stevenson, for example) have responded with an acceptable product. That seems like a win.

There is no obvious downside (this admittedly is argument from ignorance on my part, BTW - there may be reasons I'm not aware of) to producing these blocks in such a way that they can be attached to each other and so no reason not to do it.

oldtiffie
10-24-2012, 04:57 PM
Would you be so kind as to show your 3/8"-16 waisted bolt installed through a 5/16" clearance hole.

Can't - as you surmise.

But a "captive" or "waited" 3/8" bolt will.

If bolting the 1" sides together, a 3/8-16" x 2" long bolt with say a 1 1/2" long section btween the head and end was to be turned down to slightly less that the root diameter the bolt would screw through the 1" screwed block with a 1 1/2" long screwed section of the bolt protuding 1/2" - to be screwed into anything the block was to be bolted to. The bolt with its plain section (less then the root diameter) would be retained in and be loose in the 1" block.

Easy.

oldtiffie
10-24-2012, 05:14 PM
Here are the "John Stevenson" blocks from ArcEuroTrade.

http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Workholding/Vee-Blocks-Angle-Plates

They are very well priced and seem to have all the benefits required for those that don't like (hate??) the normal "Chinese" ("inch") 1-2-3 blocks - except that John's blocks are (quote) "packing blocks with 8 TAPPED and 8 CLEARANCE holes allowing two or more blocks to be connected together in various configurations such as angle blocks, tee blocks, or used as a fixture to hold small parts for machining" (unquote) (which will appeal to most/all except that they are "metric" - which may upset somein the USA (ie no "inch" version and are tapped M6 and M8 (metric).

But we in Australia are "metric" too - like most of the advanced (and not-so-advanced) countries.

But all that aside it seems to be a very good product (matched pairs too!!) at a very good price.



Who - other than the "inch" people (mainly in the USA) could ask for more?

The Artful Bodger
10-24-2012, 08:28 PM
Oldtiffie, did I read somewhere you had bought some of those 'Stevenson's' blocks? What was the freight to the Big Red Island?

Davo J
10-25-2012, 12:33 AM
Oldtiffie, did I read somewhere you had bought some of those 'Stevenson's' blocks? What was the freight to the Big Red Island?

Hi John,
If you got to the site and add them to your cart it will tell you the postage price. You might need to sign up first, but it's free anyway.

Dave

The Artful Bodger
10-25-2012, 12:52 AM
Thanks Dave, half of me asks why I am even considering such a purchase, I will never get that contract from Rolls Royce and at my skill level I should really be making a set myself!;)

oldtiffie
10-25-2012, 01:14 AM
Oldtiffie, did I read somewhere you had bought some of those 'Stevenson's' blocks? What was the freight to the Big Red Island?


Thanks Dave, half of me asks why I am even considering such a purchase, I will never get that contract from Rolls Royce and at my skill level I should really be making a set myself!;)

AB,

I will answer your posts later in the day.

I don't have those "Stevenson" matched pair "1-2-3" blocks but I think I am going to.

Later.

oldtiffie
10-25-2012, 04:33 AM
Back again.

I think those metric "Stevenson" "1-2-3" blocks are very good value and very well designed and thought out.

I think I can see me ordering two each of the larger and smaller boxed pair sets - and perhaps some of those vee-blocks and perhaps squares too as they "fill a lot of holes" here.

I have quite a few items from ArcEuroTrade (AUT) - inluding some of the other "Stevenson" designed stuff too - and I am very happy with all of them/it.

I realise that the cost to me will be ARU list price plus postage to me here in Australia - but that's the costs I have to pay.