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  • First lathe project

    Regulars have seen my various postings here. Well, I finally have something to show for the shop time with the new lathe. I got this thing a little more than 2 months ago, and have pretty much self-taught. It's a South Bend 9C, and this is my first project ever with it, done with, dare I say, billet. (Aluminum rod, actually.)

    I had a coworker whose brother was a dentist. His brother gave him a set of "surgical telescopes" to aid in some of the small work he did. I thought these scopes were pretty slick, so I found a pair on eBay. New ones are thousands, so of course, I didn't pay anything like that, but they were customized for someone with very bad eyes. I had to uncustomize them. The problem was that the adjustment threads were glued solid, and no amount of solvents, heat, force, etc could get them loose. So I made new ones. The first picture shows the frames with my new parts, and in the foreground is the two original parts. Note that one is black and the other isn't. Note also that the silver one is dented, pitted, and otherwise just messed up. This is the one I tried all my disassembly efforts on. I figured there was no sense in wrecking both of them. They were both orignally black, but one of the solvents I tried was attacking the aluminum, with the side-effect of stripping off the anodization or dye, or whatever that was.



    The second image is one of the disassembled scopes. I made the two large barrel type things. The rings that secure the lenses were secured with CA glue (superglue) which came loose easily with acetone. I didn't remake them - I used the existing ones. Oh, that's 52 TPI on those rings.



    Long ago, a neighbor threw out a 4'x8' dry-erase board, and I grabbed it and put it up in the shop. This is the drawing I made of the old parts so I could reproduce them. No, it isn't "official" drawing format, but it had the information I needed. I taped a photo of this to the wall behind the lathe while I worked.




    I wanted to share this, and yes, gloat a little. I think I did a decent job for my first time out. Now I have to either black anodize or dye these somehow, and they'll be good as new.

    Oh, I've already used them a bit. The magnification is about 7x, and being in stereo, makes it easy to work on the small stuff. Like removing metal splinters.

    -M

  • #2
    Real Slick!!!!

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    • #3
      That is nice. The SB9 is excellent for that type of job. Anodizing isn't difficult but keep in mind that it will grow the parts a bit.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

      Comment


      • #4
        Nice job! I'm a rookie also and those 52tpi threads would have intimidated me.
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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        It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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        • #5
          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
          That is nice. The SB9 is excellent for that type of job. Anodizing isn't difficult but keep in mind that it will grow the parts a bit.</font>
          Yeah, I'm a bit worried about that. The original part(s) may not have been anodized, I think. Usually, if you "scrape" across an anodized part with another bit of hard metal, like an exacto blade, it's got a kind of gritty feel. These things don't, so maybe it's some kind of dye. I don't think it's paint, either, because paint leaves residue that I would have seen in the original 52 TPI threads, at least. I'll bet someone here knows what it might be...

          -M

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          • #6
            Good job, and I like the board idea also.

            ------------------
            Gene
            Gene

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            • #7
              Yup excellent work there .
              I also didnt do any practice runs on any of my machines .
              I've found that doing the real thing first out compels you to get it right first time ..and drives you to make the best possible job of anything you try .
              all the best..mark

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              • #8
                Nice work.

                I think a kit to chemically blacken aluminium is available in the UK,but I'm not 100% sure.Similar to the metal blacking kits for steel.

                The ali looks better than the black finish to me.

                Allan

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                • #9
                  I don't know of any way to dye aluminum black without anodizing it first. You can get ALUMA BLACKآ® A14 BRUSH-ON conversion coating from Birchwood Casey but it leaves a matt finish and isn't very durable. There are also finishes that can be vacuum deposited but I suspect that isn't in the budget.

                  I don't know how close your tolerances are but anodizing will grow about .0002 - .0003 inch per surface. That may not be a problem.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    what if you heated the aluminium to say a dark red and dunked it in some oil, surely this would bluen/darken the alloy?


                    bill

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                    • #11
                      -M

                      What a cool idea. Just out of curiousity, what would one search for on eBay?

                      Sweet,
                      -SD:

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                      • #12
                        "what if you heated the aluminium to say a dark red and dunked it in some oil, surely this would bluen/darken the alloy?"

                        Nope. You would succeed in melting it though. You can't treat aluminum that way.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i like the idea! i could do with a set of these, my diabetes plays hell with my eyesight at times!, im tinkering with the idea of making a set,,very good and well done for your first project on the lathe.

                          bill

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                          • #14
                            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Smokedaddy:
                            -M

                            What a cool idea. Just out of curiousity, what would one search for on eBay?

                            Sweet,
                            -SD:
                            </font>
                            Try searching for "surgical telescopes". When I got these, I searched by the brand name, but I don't remember it now. These were made in the UK, as I recall. There are several vendors selling similar units now, but some are pretty cheaply built.

                            I showed these to a guy in the local machinist's club (cams-club.org) - he's into optics. According to him, what makes these expensive is the lenses. It's also what makes them good. He suspects that the big lense is actually two glued together - that way, imperfections can be minimized. I'm just repeating what he said, though - I'm not very smart about that stuff.

                            Allan - The biggest reason to "blacken" these somehow is to minimize glare on the inside of the "barrels". For the outside, I kinda like them shiny, too, but when I get some kind of finish on them, I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to just do the inside.

                            And yes, the 52 TPI threads were a trick. I spent a lot of time with the South Bend book "How to run a Lathe", in the section describing how to grind cutting tools. But the hardest part was getting the 40 TPI on the inside of the barrel, and the next hardest was getting the taper on the inside. I couldn't see a darn thing, so I had to measure, cut, measure, cut, throw one away, measure, cut, etc. I have only a set of handheld calipers - no thread dial and no micrometer stop.

                            Between this project and some tinkering with tool steel, I've started to learn a little about the importance of getting the cutter on center, tool angle, rake angle, and all the other geometry with names I don't know yet. I haven't seen a machine shop running in over 15 years, so the learning curve is steep.

                            All I can say is that I've realized I'm following in the footsteps of some pretty smart people - the ones that have already figured all this stuff out and more. I wish I had started sooner.

                            Finally, thanks for the kind words. Now I gotta get back in the shop...

                            -M

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                            • #15
                              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by billyboy:
                              i like the idea! i could do with a set of these, my diabetes plays hell with my eyesight at times!, im tinkering with the idea of making a set,,very good and well done for your first project on the lathe.

                              bill

                              </font>

                              Thankfully no diabetes for me. Just age. I suspect I'm not alone in that regard. Anyone else here whose arms have been getting shorter?

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