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  • Getting to know you...

    Hey Everyone,
    Newbie here. I just bought my 3-1 mill/lathe last week. I love building, repairing, being self sufficient to be honest. You all seem so knowledgeable, so please be patient with me. I have no clue what are the best bits, angles, speeds, etc. What i would like is some good start up advice. "These bits are the best", "Watch out for this". I am sure you all have advice so any is appreciated.

    Also i love seeing ppls projects. What you have done, how you did it etc. I find it amazing the things you can do with a lathe. So if you have any pictures, send em to me or let me know where i can see them. Thanks in advance spkrman15

  • #2
    Part of the hobby is learning (always). The craftsmanship comes from your own undestanding of your abilities and applying them to what you have on hand.

    If your machine came with manuals read them first and go over them until you understand all the machines functions. You must do this with any machine. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.

    If you can get a machinist friend to help get you started. Or check for classes at local schools. Se if any live steam clubs are in your area or machine shop clubs. Books and video tapes abound. Village Press, the advertisers in HSM, MW, & Live Steam, www.lindsaybks.com to name a few.

    Above all else, be careful and follow shop safety procedures - have fun!

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    • #3
      I've been at this hobby 25 years and I'm still learning new stuff all the time. I'm sure others who have been at it longer than I have will say the same thing, so don't expect quick/complete knowledge. It takes a while.

      First: READ. A lot. The best lathe book I know of is "The Amateur's Lathe," by L.H. Sparey, a British guy. The Argus Worshop Series (from England) has some excellent titles. Closer to home, Lindsay Publications has some that are good. Personally, I've found the content of some of his reprints not all that great, but I've also found some of them to be really good.

      And develop extreme patience. Put a box under your bench for your "learning experiences." You will have plenty of them. We all have.
      ----------
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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      • #4
        I bought my first 3 in 1 lathe/mill a few years ago and I have the same fix it myself make it myself attitude as you. I found that "picking the brains" of the older machinists at work to be an invaluable source of info. The older guys had the most "been there/done that" experience and were the most patient in teaching a newbie like me. I just recently discovered this board as well as the Home Shop Machinist magazine. I'm in machine shop information heaven now.

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        • #5
          1st tip is never let your guard down. If you notice alot of old timers have a missing finger or two! I've been doing this for 20+ years as a toolmaker,a cnc operator, and the last 7 in a jobshop. You break it, I can make it!
          I'm still learning something almost everyday, have patence and plan on screwing somethings up. Just be careful.
          Always take care of your equipment. Oil and maintian everytime you use it. Your only as good as your equipment!
          one more thing , I still have all my fingers!

          Have fun!

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          • #6
            Ditto on the fingers. I still have all mine but almost shortened 2 of them over that last few years. I got lucky. Divert your attention for a split second and BAM....spurting blood. Be careful. I also hung a sign that says "No Hurry". I've screwed up too much stuff being in a rush to do something then having to do it all over again. Take your time!

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            • #7
              I had the oportunity to watch an old fellow cutting tapered threads on some oilfield pipe one day.He never measured anything or slowed down. I asked him how long it took to learn how to work like that. He said he went to technical school after the 8th.grade and upon graduating from tech school,the instructor told him "You'll be able to get a job anywhere in a shop!".He went to a big machine shop with his papers and was put to work cutting the same threads. He said 7yrs.later he could cut threads just like this one here. Some things just take a lot of practice! George

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              • #8
                Hey Guys,

                Thanks alot. Patience seems to be a virtue. Something i am lakcing. Well now i know where to improve. The other night it took me an hour and a half to bore the center of a piece of metal. An hour of sharpening, shimming and finding the right way to do it. Once i got all that figured out then i spent the next 15 minutes machining.

                Luckuly i have already started with some good practices and i have been roomouving my chuck key religiously. Face sheild on all the time. All the safety stuff is a cary over from work. I am always telling the boys to weear gloves, put the sheilds on etc.

                Thanks for the advice and the encouragement. Spkrman15

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                • #9
                  sprkman15,
                  I've been a machinist for about 35 years now and have worked on all kinds of machines and equiptment, from Evil Kniveal's motorcycles to the big generators at Hoover dam and most everything in between. The main thing I can tell you is SAFETY. Yes, I still have all my body parts. I do have a few scars from being sewn up due to my own fault.

                  Set up is 90% of the job. It sometimes takes days to indicate a part in and an hour or less to make the actual cut. If you don't take the time to do an acurate set up you may ruin a million dollar part in a matter of seconds.

                  Pop

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                  • #10
                    I SECOND, OR THIRD THE FACT THAT...BLOOD MAKES POOR CUTTING FLUID. AND ROLL THOSE SLEAVES UP AND WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.

                    JAY

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                    • #11
                      Worst thing I ever got was a paint sliver in my eye.

                      One guy on my shift changed the setup on his press to "his" liking after I had left for my own machine. An hour after I left I had people looking for thumb parts all over the shop while the abulance arrived. His thumb blew off and the bones that were left looked like a little daisy (cool!). I packed the parts in a lunch bag and put the lunch bag on ice - if you pack the body parts in ice directly it will kill the cells. He was lucky, the microsurgeons reconstructed his thumb and he never even lost the nail. It is amazing what 50Tons on a 1"x2" area can do to a thumb...

                      Nope, does not pay to be stupid, lazy, or not pay attention around machinery! Do not take chances!

                      Dave

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                      • #12
                        I WAS A JOB SHOP MACHINIST FOR 12 YEARS AND I'M IN MY THIRD YEAR OF A MOLDMAKER APPRENTICESHIP.I THOUGHT AFTER TEN YEARS I WOULD KNOW EVERYTHING. GUESS WHAT? YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING IN THIS TRADE. LISTEN TO YOUNG AND OLD,YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THAT PERSON MAY POSSESS FOR KNOWLEDGE.EVERY SHOP HAS A DIFFERENT METHOD TO THEIR MADNESS.REMEMBER THE GOOD IDEAS AND FORGET THE BAD.YOU WILL DISTINGUISH THAT WITH EXPERIENCE. I'VE READ BOOKS FROM LINDSAY PUBLICATIONS AND I AM AMAZED AT DIFFERENT SETUPS INGENIOUS PEOPLE HAVE COME UP WITH DUE TO LACK OF EQUIPMENT.HAVE AN OPEN MIND.ARROGANCE IS YOUR WORST ENEMY.MOST SETUPS ARE BASED ON A FEW SIMPLE PRINCIPLES WITH DIFFERENT TWISTS TO THEM. GOOD LUCK AND BE SAFETY CONSCIENCE.I HAVE SEVERAL BATTLE SCARS, BUT ALL BODY PARTS INTACT.

                        [This message has been edited by Matt Barthel (edited 10-06-2001).]

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                        • #13
                          Hi,
                          My one cents worth. I've been at it for 50+ years. In my youth one old phart said:

                          "No matter how fast and good your work, If you can't count to 21 at the end of the day, "YOU LOSE"
                          toff
                          P.S. Read,try,think! The only reason I still have a job is the youngsters are production oriented and I can think and solve problems!
                          To know by reading is different than knowing by doing. OR:
                          What you have going into a situation is knowlege..What you have coming out of that situation (providing you survive!) is wisdom.

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                          • #14
                            I second what you say, toff. We have had a lot of younger "machinists" working in our shop. Most of them can barely read a mike, let alone the math necessary to make calculations. Without their trusty calculator they would be lost.I don't know what is wrong with the youth of today but they just seem to appear at the job site and expect to be paid, whether or not they do anything.

                            Pop

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                            • #15
                              I agree with pop, except for the part about the calculators. Many a mistake has NOT been made because of those little devils. And the ones with sine tables built right in are a godsend. IMHO

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