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  • Another mystery tool

    Well.... only a partial mystery. It's a cutter I made a long time ago and just recently surfaced. The observant amoung you may remember a similar thread by me about two years ago bemoaning these mystery tools that we make, use and put away thinking that they will be handy at some point in the future for the same job.

    But we don't factor in our ability to move on quickly and totally forget what the tool was made to do and why.

    I like to think that I'm getting better at bagging up such tools and putting a description on a slip of paper in the sandwich bag along with the tool or tool group made to do some job or other. ...... And then I'm minding my own business just being blissful in my ignorance and THIS turns up....

    It's a taper cutter obviously. Tempered to a medium brown and with a tasteful touch of rust after some many years of being hidden in plain sight in my lathe and shaper tool cabinet. I measure the included angle at 41°. But it's likely intended as being 40° for some odd reason. It's made from 3/8" drill rod and about 4 inches long. I tested it on a scrap of aluminium and it still cuts keenly... Of course it does. It likely only got used for the one job that only needed one to four such tapers.... And don't ask because I don't remember at all.

    Is this what we finally come to? Getting so blasé about making tools at need that we just do them and move on forgetting all about the special needs of the moment? I feel like this should be able to tell me a story. But I can't connect it with any of the more odd things I've made for myself or friends over the years. I did do a lot of paint ball marker mods for a number of years. Perhaps something for one of those jobs.

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    Chilliwack BC, Canada

  • #2
    I have got round part of this problem by vibro etching the details on some obscure things we have made at the museum. Another thing I do is to mark the inserts which fit a tool, this helps other people, also the thickness of shims for boring bars.

    I noticed my mistake, it should have been "I mark the tool with the insert codes, some have more than one set if, for instance, CCMT--- and CCGT---.
    Last edited by old mart; 05-25-2021, 04:06 PM.

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    • #3
      You're wise. Stuff like that can really help out others.
      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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      • #4
        I thought I was the only one. What a relief. Now I can come out of the closet. I can walk down the street and know that I am not alone.
        Sarge41

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        • #5
          I wonder if that could handle milling a small quantity of silver steel. I want to try make a small gear and remember John Stevenson showing a way where he used tapered end mills which would be hard to find where I live. I cant tell you how often I come across a strange jig which I can see took a long time to make and just cant recall what its for.

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          • #6
            wonder if that could handle milling a small quantity of silver steel.
            Plunger, it certainly can and would. I've made tools like this from silver steel, hardened and tempered them to a light straw and used them to work on other annealed stock silver steel. It stands up just fine. But use lower speeds than you would think and some cutting oil.

            Just how small of a tapered mill cutter are you thinking? What about using a little larger diameter stock and with some offset center work make a two or three sided cam lobe sort of shape. Then cut the gullets for two or three teeth and some relief to give yourself a two or three tooth gear cutter that looks like a woodruff key seat cutter.
            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #7
              For my large bandsaw project I replaced the motor and controller entirely, they were missing or rusted into oblivion. The zip loc bag inside the box has a reasonably clean copy of the circuit I designed, including color codes and terminal numbers. Not complicated, just a couple of contactors, switches and transformer, and connections for the motors and external momentary contact switches. However, they are crammed in there and you'd likely have to pull things out so see what was going on otherwise. I figure this machine will outlive me, and may in any case outlive my aging memory.

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              "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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              • #8
                I made some rotary broach cutters out of silver steel, polished and hardened them, or hardened and polished them, and tempered them at the top of my gas oven. I managed to get them to dark straw, and they worked well on mild steel and aluminium. The downside was that I put them on a china teaplate and it cracked during the tempering.
                When I got the VFD, a Schneider Altivar, I printed out the instructions and settings used and they are in the mill folder.

                The keys which fit under the vises for milling are marked which vise they are for and which way round they fit.
                Last edited by old mart; 05-27-2021, 04:19 PM.

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                • #9
                  Old mart, for next time it might help to know that most toaster ovens can reach 450F which just happens to be a light brown just a hair over the light straw color often suggested for silver steel to be used for machining other steels. So no need to decimate the china collection if you can pick up a working example at a second hand shop or thrift store.

                  Ever since I figured that out I've tended to just do the cutting tools made from drill rod / silver steel with a preheat of my old toaster oven I keep for this sort of thing to full power. Then in the tool goes on a small size tray and I let it soak for around 20 minutes to a half hour then shut it off and retrieve it after it cools. For a light straw I just turn it down to a little mark just over the 400F mark.
                  Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                  • #10
                    Try finding a toaster oven in the UK! Pop up toasters yes, by the million but you will only succeed in launching your parts with those!!!
                    West Sussex UK

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alan Smith View Post
                      Try finding a toaster oven in the UK! Pop up toasters yes, by the million but you will only succeed in launching your parts with those!!!
                      Catching them while hot would certainly result in some interesting moments ! ! ! ! !

                      Perhaps they are there but known by some other name? Counter top ovens? Yes? No?

                      I don't know what I'd do for cooking the frozen pizzas I have about once or twice a month when I'm too lazy or hungry to make a proper meal.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        Hi BC, I know what you mean having seen them on YouTube videos but they don't seem to exist over here.
                        West Sussex UK

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                        • #13
                          I had wrongly assumed that because china plates are subject to kiln temperatures well above ordinary gas oven temperatures during manufacture, that finding a metal container was not necessary.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alan Smith View Post
                            Hi BC, I know what you mean having seen them on YouTube videos but they don't seem to exist over here.
                            How is that possible? How can a whole market segment be absent? My wife would have a fit without hers, not to mention how would I make toasted cheese on a bagel? I even use it for making oven fried plantains for a snack.

                            This one would serve very well for treating, has digital temp settings. Best. Toaster. Ever. Ours is like 14 years old.

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                            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                              Catching them while hot would certainly result in some interesting moments ! ! ! ! !
                              I have visions of running back and forth under the sailing part, clutching a quench bucket!

                              Nope, definitely not seen anything like that over here. Got a Panasonic microwave from way back when that has a grill element in the top for browning but that's the closest I've seen. Mostly the pop-up toasters and for grilling the electric oven in the kitchen has a grill element at the top - same sort of thing but fully integrated into something that would invoke the wrath of the wife should she find it with bits of metal in it

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