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  • Gang Tool Blocks

    Several months ago, I picked up an Omniturn CNC lathe, which uses gang tooling. The purchase of the machine itself took pretty much all my spare funding- and then some - so I've been having to scrape together what I can for tooling.

    I only got two 3-hole tool blocks along with it. Blocks are available from the factory, but the small handful I wanted was going to knock on the door of $900. And that is, unfortunately, just too rich for my blood right now.

    So I hit up my local metal supplier for some 1.375" square stock, cut more or less to length...



    Did a BUNCH of drilling, boring and tapping...



    And, after a few hours stolen here and there, had a shiny new array of tool blocks, hopefully enough to keep the thing in operation for the time being.



    I still need to finish the T-nuts, and I may go buy a couple bottles of cold gun-blue and give 'em a dip, just for giggles.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Looks fabulous ! ! !
    Waiting for someone to tell you that you can't make those.
    They need to come from a factory. Ha ! ! ! ! !

    -D
    DZER

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    • #3
      Now you have to make some tools for the holders. If you already have a manual lathe, you could get some tooling with a shank size equal to or bigger than the bores and hold the end in a 4 jaw and turn the middle to size. The tool shanks would probably need a flat, but you would need to get the angle setup before finalising that.

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      • #4


        Gang tooling

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        • #5
          I have been running a new lathe for the last 8 months or so, it currently has a 4 position automatic tool turret.

          The software will support gang tooling as well but the majority of the work that this machine does is unsuitable in that application.

          I like gang tooling, if making several thousand identical small parts with many features it is quite fast.

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          • #6
            Don't you have to adjust the cross slide to the axis of the lathe every time you switch tools with gang tooling?

            I thought the big advantage of boring on a lathe is that a drill in the tailstock was automatically aligned with the axis of the lathe.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jammer Six View Post
              Don't you have to adjust the cross slide to the axis of the lathe every time you switch tools with gang tooling?

              I thought the big advantage of boring on a lathe is that a drill in the tailstock was automatically aligned with the axis of the lathe.
              This is for a CNC lathe.

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              • #8
                Aaaand done!



                Found I still had a half bottle of Casey's gun blue, so I degreased the blocks as best I could (not well enough in some cases ) and mopped 'em up with a flux brush.

                Also found the bolts I needed at the local Fastenal, and got most of the T-nuts drilled. (Still need to do the two doubles.) So count this little project finished!

                Doc.
                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jammer Six View Post
                  Don't you have to adjust the cross slide to the axis of the lathe every time you switch tools with gang tooling?
                  As noted, this is for a CNC lathe. It "knows" where the tip of each tool is, and when you tell it to change tools, it simply moves the slide to the starting point for that (next) tool.

                  Doc.

                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                  • #10
                    Ah, I see.

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                    • #11
                      I see, so right and lefthanded boring bars would be suitable candidates for tools.

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                      • #12
                        You may do short OD turning with a RH boring bar from the back of the part with the spindle in reverse, simply move the tool to the bore and reverse the spindle direction when boring, 1 tool doing 2 operations.

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                        • #13
                          Very nice Doc. Did you tap with a tapping head, if so what make and model? I think a tapping head is going to be one of my next purchases. Also, been trying to get some of my projects done so I can come down and take inventory of your shop since you've acquired some new machines.

                          Ron

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                          • #14
                            So.... this is sort of like the CNC equivalent of a manual turret lathe?

                            Any chance of some pictures of the turning tools used with this unit? I'm guessing that even the OD cutting tools look like mirror image boring bars. Is that the case?
                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by old mart View Post
                              I see, so right and lefthanded boring bars would be suitable candidates for tools.
                              -That's basically the recommended tool.

                              There are, of course, several ways to skin that particular cat. The machine, for example, is perfectly happy running in 'reverse', so you could easily use a standard right-hand boring bar, either above the part or below. There's also dovetail tool posts sort of like a typical Aloris (though without the QC handle) that take similar tool blocks, that can in turn hold standard square-shank tooling.

                              But ideally, having the tools out on a bar is, in my opinion, the most efficient on space, keeping slide travel times down, and are easiest to set up. (Most are "plug and play".)

                              Did you tap with a tapping head, if so what make and model?
                              -No head, by hand. Certainly wished I had a tapping head, though.

                              Any chance of some pictures of the turning tools used with this unit?
                              -Certainly! My Omniturn Video.

                              Doc.
                              Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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