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  • Looking For Sources On The First Steps Of Reading Blueprints --

    I'm as green as they get when it comes to lathe work. However, I have started reading some beginner books, studied lots of on line videos (on lathe work and reading plans). I have now bought a couple of starter/1st project kits (materials and plans). Ive got the safety thing down and can consistently reduce bar stock (facing and cutting, etc). However, even after looking at the videos I still cant translate a drawing into the steps I need to do to even get started on my hammer (starter) building kit. Does anyone have a suggestion for an idiots guide (book or video) to reading plans or a 1-2-3 of getting started reading plans? Again, nothing is too low on the knowledge scale for someone as new as I am -- I'm open to any suggestions...

  • #2
    As far as books to read, I’m sure a online search would return something that might help you.
    I think that you might also try a community college and see what type of beginning drafting course they could have. Might be something online that you could look into.
    Are there any other like minded people that you could ask for help from? Offer to clean their shop in return???

    Sid

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    • #3
      Reading plans are not much different than reading a book.
      You need to learn how to scale the drawing and read the notes and legend, thats about it.
      For a hammer I would imagine it gives the measurements of the part and you merely have to make the part match the measurements?
      I took plans in trade school 100 years ago and it was pretty straightforward.
      https://www.wikihow.com/Learn-to-Read-Blueprints

      Cheers,
      Jon

      Comment


      • #4
        That Lazy Machinist has a lot of good tutorials, and has a few that use a machinists hammer as the example. Here's the first one on planning your order of operations. There's another where he actually does the hammer.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np9ltr0py54

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rob_martinez03 View Post
          However, even after looking at the videos I still cant translate a drawing into the steps I need to do.
          There is a difference between understanding a drawing and determining what steps to take to accomplish it.

          For the most part a drawing isn’t going to tell you how to do it, it only tells you what the finished piece needs to be.

          Sometimes there will be some notes for help but not always, and usually only if something makes a difference in the final outcome.

          Experience will help you determine what steps to take to get the final piece. This can be gained through trial and error and learning from mistakes or training under someone more experienced and learn from their mistakes.

          If you understand what the drawing wants and are just having trouble with the steps getting there and have no one to ask, I would suggest watching as may YouTube videos as possible and pay attention to what they are doing. Key here is to find some “good” people to watch.

          Don’t be afraid to ask on here either, we all started out somewhere.

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          • #6
            Chapter 1. They're called drawings. Plans are for the weekend


            sorry, couldn't resist

            I would say get a set of drawings for something you want to make and see if you can figure it out. A great deal of what a beginning HSM is likely to encounter is common sense and fairly easily understood. The hard part for beginners is often viewing the 2D projects as a 3D object. that comes from practice.

            I'm usually the one encouraging self reliance and learning - go buy a book on it, but in this case I find most books you're going to find are going be for say the first year community college technician and drone forever about all kinds of things you will rarely if ever need. They have to make a meal out of it or they couldn't charge textbook prices (said books btw are cheap cheap cheap in the used market once there's a new edition out...the great text book scam)

            I'd go in the reverse, get a set of drawings, watch a utube video on the basics of interpreting drawings then see how you do. Look up ask about any special symbols you might encounter
            Last edited by Mcgyver; 05-10-2021, 04:44 PM.
            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

            Comment


            • #7
              Machinist blueprints are different than say a set of birdhouse plans for the woodwacker. Plans are usually a detailed set of instruction on how to accomplish the task. Prints are just a detailed drawing of what the finished part needs to be. It's up to you to figure out how to get there. Every part has a path of least resistance. That all depends on your equipment, material, experience, moon phase, etc. Ask 10 different machinists how to make a part and you will get 20 different answers. Wait 5 minutes and you will get 10 more. Wait another 5 and half of them will argue that they could have just made 10 parts by now if you weren't wasting their time.

              When looking at drawings it helps to identity features, and group them into operations. A groove, taper, knurling, thread, pocket etc. Then figure out how you would machine that feature. When you've figured out how to machine all the features, then figure out what order you will machine them in and group them into operations.

              By machining one feature first it might prevent you from easily machining another, but if you did them in the opposite order it would be easily accomplished. Sometimes it helps to move a feature to the end, just so you have something to hang on to. Write it all down on a notepad as you're figuring it out. Eventually you will be able to figure it out in your head as you go. Sometimes you will still cut off a vital piece of stock you needed for another operation and have to resort to some janky setup to finish the part. It happens .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rob_martinez03 View Post
                I'm as green as they get when it comes to lathe work. However, I have started reading some beginner books, studied lots of on line videos (on lathe work and reading plans). I have now bought a couple of starter/1st project kits (materials and plans). Ive got the safety thing down and can consistently reduce bar stock (facing and cutting, etc). However, even after looking at the videos I still cant translate a drawing into the steps I need to do to even get started on my hammer (starter) building kit. Does anyone have a suggestion for an idiots guide (book or video) to reading plans or a 1-2-3 of getting started reading plans? Again, nothing is too low on the knowledge scale for someone as new as I am -- I'm open to any suggestions...
                Originally posted by Jon Heron View Post
                Reading plans are not much different than reading a book.
                You need to learn how to scale the drawing and read the notes and legend, thats about it.
                For a hammer I would imagine it gives the measurements of the part and you merely have to make the part match the measurements?
                I took plans in trade school 100 years ago and it was pretty straightforward.
                https://www.wikihow.com/Learn-to-Read-Blueprints

                Cheers,
                Jon
                Welcome to the forum. Plenty of people here willing to share their knowledge and help you on your way.

                Jon's post is a good start. From there I found: https://www.wikihow.com/Read-Engineering-Drawings which goes into more detail about machine drawings.

                What do you have for shop equipment? It will help when answering questions to know what tools you have available. Also, if you can post some photos it would help when giving advice on how to proceed with your projects.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Think the job through before you start making chips. Common sense is your friend. If you are making a ball peen hammer, you wouldn't want to make the peen end first, and then find out that you have no way to hold the part to make the head end. That's over simplified, but I hope you get the idea.
                  “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                  Lewis Grizzard

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If the person that made the drawing is good it will be simple to follow, if not it may become difficult.
                    I consider this a nice drawing, all of the dimensions are clear with a tolerance.
                    All of of the penciled in dimensions were made by me because this part is made starting from each end.


                    The GD&T symbols are freely available on the web.
                    https://www.gdandtbasics.com/gdt-symbols/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is it reading the drawing itself or figuring out the order of operations so you don't get to the place where you have no way to hold the item? Or maybe a combination of both?

                      3D CAD is so common now that I can see raw beginners faced with the usual 3 views of a part covered in dimension lines being confusing. When I, and I'm sure most of the older guys here, went through high school mechanical drawing was a thing which was taught as a standard elective. Of course these days and for quite a few years now it's been a different situation. All I can suggest is that you start by trying to look around and past the dimension lines and get a feel for the different angles of view ( called "elevations" in draughting terms) and figure out what the part looks like

                      As for order of steps if it's all a lathe project then do all the turning but don't part off the final cut. Use that to hold the part for drilling or milling. What you might do to aid with holding in the lathe is to turn a spigot that extends off the "flat" face of the hammer to use for holding in a collet that fits into a spindexer or just a collet block to permit any milling being done It just depends on the shape of the hammer.

                      In short I would say that we run over the steps in our minds by "machining the part" in our mind's eye with special thought given to how to hold an item in vises, collet holders or other work holding fixtures we have on hand.

                      That's pretty open ended and very general. But without seeing what it is you're making it is hard to offer anything other than these vague generalities.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the information. At this point I need all the infor I can get. I see now I am looking more for 'plans' than reading blue prints. However, based on the above it appears that knowing how to read blue prints is where I will learn 'how to fish' versus someone 'giving me a fish' if you know what I mean. I have been watching a number of 'that lazy machinist' videos but didn't know he had done a detailed series on the hammer. That series will allow me to practice all the skills needed and I can compare what I am doing to what the blue prints require and hopefully pick up a bit of planning and blue print reading.... Thanks again for all the help.
                        Last edited by rob_martinez03; 05-10-2021, 08:01 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Again, welcome to the forum, Rob.

                          A book you might find helpful is "Advanced Machine Work" by R.H. Smith

                          https://www.google.com/search?client...d+machine+work


                          This book has lots of examples that show a part drawing and then lists an order of operations for how to make it. Which I think is what you are trying to work get a grasp of. The full book is online here, all 1265 pages of it, you can read it online or download a PDF:

                          https://archive.org/details/textbook...ge/n5/mode/2up

                          It's an old school text book for training apprentice machinists, and while not quite a self-training course, it starts with "this is a lathe" and has lots of good info to thumb through. There are still plenty of hard copies (many are modern reprints) for sale for reasonable money if you prefer a paper book. The machines and some of the tooling shown are old but the general guidance and techniques are still useful.

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                          • #14
                            Book looks like a great resource -- thanks!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Rob, if you live in or near to a big city you might check out the public libraries.

                              The bigger ones will often have a tidy little section on mechanical engineering. And perhaps some texts on mechanical drawing (different section, do a search for "draughting" or "drafting" along with "mechanical drawing"). Perhaps if you get to read or even leaf through a book or two on the mechanical drawing side of things seeing how the drawings are composed from an actual item will help you out with reading and visualizing dimensioned plans.

                              At the same time you may run across some books on machine use. Books like Sparey's "The Amateur's Lathe" have a lot of good information on work holding. And there's others along the same lines.

                              As you dive into this hobby don't be surprised at how often you spend easily 5 to 50 minutes to set up for a cut which then takes you 20 seconds. Holding and testing the hold for accuracy is a HUGE part of this game. Life as a machinist is about a lot more than just throwing something into a vise or chuck and gromp down on it.
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada

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