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Side Projects... How they multiply ! ! ! !

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  • Side Projects... How they multiply ! ! ! !

    We've all been there. The ubiquitous side projects needed to make some tool or jig to deal with what we're trying to do.

    For me it came yesterday with the need to flute a small sub 3/16 custom tap (vintage .22 rifle screws needed) to permit making a die to thread the screws to finish the original job of getting a few old pump action .22's up and running.

    And before you suggest it don't bother telling me about Numrich or any other possible source. I need a surprising number of them (8) and they want the world for them. And it's a hobby, right?

    So here's the situation. 3/16 x 48 sticking out about 1 inch. Wobble and bend city if I try to mill them without support. Notice the small dainty center drill in the end which was used during the single point threading.

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    The little angle plate was a first thought about rigging up a support to fit into the center drill. But this one is too small and would not really work out very well. Next size up is a monster and would foul the spindle and end mill.

    But then I thought about the mill table work stop I made a few years ago. Set it up and put a dial gauge to it and pulled. It flexes a little too easily and too much. Close though.... So I cast around and found a couple of handy lumps that with some cleaning up and machining gave me the heavier option. That's a 1.25 piece of cold rolled polished up and checked for size which was press fitted and bolted into the base block that is 3 x 2 x 1.25. So that ain't going to flex enough to notice ! ! !

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    And a couple of shots of it after drilling and counter boring holes for the post and retaining bolt and the securing bolt.

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    Chilliwack BC, Canada

  • #2
    I did the hole and counterbores for the post in the lathe using the 4 jaw. The hole for the hold down bolt in the drill press. The mill scale and chamfering was all done with my shaper. Played around with shear cut finish tools and the new shape is actually doing better than the older one. I can feel some roughness with a finger nail but to the fingers it's smooth. And the resulting faces look great too.

    In this first picture I have mounted the vise I prefer for my shaper up on it's side for an easier go at doing the ends. This way I can use the table feed. The other faces are already done with the vise mounted flat.

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    I cut the bottom face on the lathe so I'd get the very slightly concave shape that a good lathe is supposed to give. That way I'm sure the contact points that take the load are at the outer corners. No picture of that, I was hurrying to get it done so I could get onto dinner....Food is a bad clouder of the mind....

    I might just have found a great use for my shaper..... Cutting chamfers! Down side is that it had to use the hand feed on the top slide. I didn't go crazy either. These are only about 1/8" wide.

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    Coming up next is the slider block with the insertable separate centers. I want to do an offset point and an offset cup to cover any and all options.

    This one won't replace my tail stock I got for the rotary table when used in vertical mode. But that tail stock is only adjustable over a very small range. In fact I think I had to lengthen a hole to even let me use it with my RT. So it's just way too tall to use with the vise and collet blocks. This new version will be much more flexible. And likely for more than as just a tail stock. With other clamp on blocks I should be able to do a few things.
    Last edited by BCRider; 02-21-2023, 04:00 AM.
    Chilliwack BC, Canada


    • #3
      Looking good so far.

      When asked "what are you making in the workshop?" the answer is often "tools to make tools" ... it is amazing how deep into side projects a simple "if only I had" idea leads.

      When the original project is completed, eventually, I find as much satisfaction in the tools made as in the original project, especially if they can be used for other projects.



      • #4
        This small tap fluting is a good fit for a spindex with a matching tailstock. I have both of them, but they need work to be useful. Another side project... I am tired of them.

        Cannot wait to see your completed support. Keep us posted.


        • #5
          I am in the same situation with my Spanish Destroyer bolt project!
          Now that we a getter warmer weather maybe I can make some progress!


          • #6
            Nice work BC!
            Ontario, Canada


            • #7
              Originally posted by ATW View Post
              Looking good so far.

              When asked "what are you making in the workshop?" the answer is often "tools to make tools" ... it is amazing how deep into side projects a simple "if only I had" idea leads.

              When the original project is completed, eventually, I find as much satisfaction in the tools made as in the original project, especially if they can be used for other projects.

              It's a standing joke with my friends that when I do a project which isn't a tool their first question is "how many other things did you make to make the "insert widget name" this time?" And metal or wood, it seems to be rare when the answer is "nothing".

              Thanks for the compliments so far from all of you. And yes, the idea is that this will serve more than just the collet block option.

              Mikey, you mentioned the spindexer. The tail stock that is high enough for my rotary table is too high for my spindexer. And in fact of the three setups that need occasional tail stock support the spindexer is the lowest at roughly 2.75 inch center height the collet blocks are in the middle at 3.2 to 3.5 depending on square or hexagonal and how the hex block is held. And finally the RT in vertical mode is the tallest at just a whisker shy of 4 inches. So part of why I wanted to go more "solid" with this tool is to serve for both collet blocks as shown and also it's tall enough to work with the spindexer. And in fact it'll even work with the RT.

              The base and post were done without any official drawing just using handy size pieces I had on hand. The base was intended to be turned into an AXA tool holder. And the cold rolled round was about 2 inches longer than shown. Just enough of a stub to hold in the lathe for the cleanup with emery then got cut to length. Truth be told these are likely more burly than needed. But better burly than just turned into chips on the floor....

              Chilliwack BC, Canada


              • #8
                I've got a box of jigs I made, some of which I can't remember what they were for. One of my favorite things to do at estate sales where the deceased was a machinist is look through the jigs to see it there is something I can't repurpose.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by junkaddict View Post
                  I've got a box of jigs I made, some of which I can't remember what they were for.....
                  A couple of years ago I started a thread about exactly that.

                  It's easily done. The point of a side project is to get the primary task done. If a custom whatzit or doohickey is needed and made up in a rush then it's not really out of the question that we'd soon forget what the item was for.

                  I've got a box of such things too. Cutters made from heat treated drill rod will come in handy at some point. But I've got a few "whatzits" that clearly have a fair amount of time in them and I can't recall what they were for. One in particular is a rather nice tube with a custom made collet. The collet being sized to 7mm... And I don't normally do metric stuff. You'd think something like that would stand out..... Color me

                  Chilliwack BC, Canada


                  • #10

                    Worked on it a little earlier today and some more this evening. Holes are drilled, bored, threaded or reamed as needed and now the outer shaping to lighten it up is all that's left. It's only on about 1/8" and until the split is cut and permits some spring that's all I want to engage it. And it was a fight to even get it on that much and back off.

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                    I managed to surprise myself and nail the bore for the post. As near as I can tell after three tries with the telescoping gauge and mic I was perhaps 3 to 4 tenths under size. A little careful polishing with a stick and a bit of fine emery and after another three tries it's dead on with in a tenth either way. And the super squeaky tight fit seems to support this. The intent is that when the rear of the sliding block is split for the clamping function it is supposed to ease things up enough to permit a nice smooth rub sort of sliding action. And if not? A little more careful polishing I guess.

                    I'll mostly get in with a rotary tool and sanding drum and relieve the middle so I ease the fit and retain a nice sized upper and lower collar so it tends to clamp up true each time. And in due time it'll wear in a little as well of course.

                    The bit of round bar is some 7/16 drill rod. It'll be given a tapered end and then hardened and tempered. Another one of similar length will be given two different sized center drill hollow centers for the very small diameter stuff.

                    I've got what I hope turns out to be a clever idea for a center drilled hole in the side of the rod and the push forward and retention screw having a 60° cone on the end as well. When loose there will be some play and then as the screw is forced into the conical hole the tapers will push the center rod forward a small amount just to set the support pressure. And at the same time the conical feature will stop the rod from turning. I'm not planning on a lock at this point. But perhaps I should... And it would be easier before I make it all coffin shaped.... OK, so one more hole to drill and thread before I shape the tapers......
                    Chilliwack BC, Canada


                    • #11
                      I have just looked at my tailstock to recall how it is made. Here is a picture (from Amazon).
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                      It is a decent design and I would recommend getting it regardless of the outcome of your own project. The knob in the back moves the center forward and back. The side knob locks the center. Both spindexer and tailstock should be squared and matched in height and table clamping provisions should be made. This is what I had in mind by saying they need work to be done.

                      Anyway take a look at the flat at the front top of the center. It is needed for a mill cutter relief. You can make a couple of them with different sizes for your project. For a small work the flat should go almost to the axis of the center.


                      • #12
                        Instead of a flat like your picture I'm going to actually offset the center of the point. Same end, different path.

                        I looked at some options for similar tail stocks but with adjustable height. THIS ONE was close. The range of heights would have worked for me. But with the mounting slots would have needed to use extra clamps to permit setting it up to mount to the table other than directly over a T slot. The collet blocks in the vise and how my spindexer mounts puts their centers all over the map at a bunch of spots other than over a slot. So while close and I considered it I thought I'd try this idea with the round post and ability to angle the base and align the pin with just about any height and line up. If it doesn't work out I'll go for that Amazon deal and figure out a way to make it so it can mount easier and with more options.

                        Chilliwack BC, Canada


                        • #13
                          All done and ready for its first job. Total time invested is about 6 hours.

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                          The cone in this pic is made from drill rod. I'm going to go ahead and harden and temper it. But for the job in this instance and others like it I'm going to also make up a few double ended mild steel cones and consider them as sacrificial. And certainly for this job it will be impossible not to cut into the point at least a little.

                          The fit of the center block on the post eased off with the split cut. But it was still pretty stiff. So I polished out the bore in the center block a little with some extra efforts on the middle area. It is still self supporting but it moves easily. And just a few inch ounces on the clamping screw locks it solid by way more than enough. Similarly it only took maybe 3 or 4 ft-lbs on the hold down screw to prevent the steady rest from pivoting.

                          Now the only problem is that I need to recall what I was doing that brought this up! Such is the confusion surrounding Side Projects ! ! ! !
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada


                          • #14
                            Heh.... side projects.

                            I just had one. I spent some time making a multi-diameter alignment pin to get some parts to be perfectly aligned when put together.

                            When I used t, I found out that one of the parts that the pin fitted into was out of spec. The pin accurately aligned the parts off-center!
                            CNC machines only go through the motions.

                            Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                            Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
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                            • #15
                              Hey! The pin was doing ITS job! Can't help it if the rest of the team was letting it down!

                              Chilliwack BC, Canada