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drilled axle how to new member ?

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  • drilled axle how to new member ?

    Hello,my name is hugh hatton have been visiting this site for months gathering info on using lathes etc. ,as a member this is my first post so please bear with me as a newbie.By doing alittle horse trading+some cash back in october i now own a little used Smithy lathe 1220 model.I've followed the good vs. bad points on the BBS,but the price was right , and I'm learning as i go,so the machine works for me , now.
    My question , with more to follow as my ford hot rod project moves along ,is about drilling holes in a 40 ford I-beam axle.Can i do this with a milling cutter/bit on the Smithy?I have a floor drill press , but with 20+ 1" holes , times 4 or 5 drill sizes = 200+ holes ,you get the picture.Can i use a milling bit to cut each hole at 1" x 20, or do i have to start small and move up ?
    I have a good idear on supporting the axle , side to side , and moving it across the bed as i cut the holes.Also what type of bit would I get to do this?Hole size would be 1" or maybe 7/8", not sure yet. The axle is i think some kind of cast steel, not cast iron , because i know you can bend these for alignment .Should be soft , so cutting the holes shouldn't be to hard, thanks hugh

  • #2
    Hi Hugh,first let me say welcome aboard!

    As I remember those axles are about 1/2" thick through the center right?If so a good quality holesaw and arbor in the drillpress is the way to go.

    Layout the hole centers and drill down with the holesaw pilot bit until the holesaw teeth scribe thier path into the surface,do this for every hole.

    Next step is to take a 1/4" drill bit and drill a chip clearence hole just inside the scribed circle so that it intersects with the cutting path of the holesaw,do this for each hole.One clearence hole will suffice,but if you want two on opposite sides will work better.

    The clearence holes allow the holesaw to clear itself of chips and greatly speed up the cutting action.

    Finally switch back to your holesaw and with a little coolant or cutting oil saw on through each hole.Feed the saw only what it can take.The saw should come with a speed chart,IIRC 250rpm is about right for a 1" holesaw in MS.

    By "good holesaw" I mean bi-metal Dewalt,Bosch,Milwaukee,Lennox,Morse ect.

    You can cut fairly large holes in fairly thick steel with a low HP machine with a little patience.
    Last edited by wierdscience; 04-15-2007, 02:25 PM.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      Hi Hugh,
      Ws has given you pretty good advice.
      I have the Smithy 1220XL model. A 7/8", or 1' diameter endmill will be a bit beyond the smithys' capacity. It just isn't rigid/sturdy enough to handle the forces that will be required.(Unless you go very,very,very sloooooow) Something will give. I think the holesaw will be your best method to get it done with the least amount of time and effort. No offense to WS, I would consider the chip dump hole to be optional, with the pilot hole from the holesaw you can raise the bit off the work and blow/brush the chips aside
      and still pick up the original location with no difficulties, and also apply fresh
      oil/coolant at the same time.

      Make sure you have all your locks good and tight, and workpiece clamped securely. A lot can be done with the Smithys....they are just light duty and
      not the best to do set-ups with.



      • #4
        drilled axle

        Hey thanks for the quick reply, a hole saw never crossed my mind , and i got a set for Christmas,


        • #5
          I've got a smithy 1220 and ditto on the light duty. Decent lathe but not overly impressive mill for accuate stuff. Also, with 1/2" thick material you'll probably want a chip clearance hole. (although with a one inch diameter i suppose Uncle O is right) I had to drill through some 1" plate and with out the clearance hole it literally took over an hour to cut one. Once someone here suggested the hole it made the process much much faster.

          Also, maybe i'm just not reading this right because i'm tired, but if you were thinking of using an endmill for a drilling operation.... don't! Its pretty hard on the endmill and even harder on your smithy. I've tried once or twice when i was too lazy to cut a hole to start a slot and it causes my flimsy spindle to move all around. You probably already knew that but just thought i'd throw it out there.

          p.s. welcome aboard!


          • #6
            Hugh, Wierdscience has your best solution. Anything you can do to cut steps will obviously save you time. I drilled an axle a few years back, and it was a ton of work!

            I will add one thing to what he said, and that is the hole you cut with a hole saw will not be smooth. There will be cutting marks in the bore. To remedy this, you can use the hole saw to get your holes in the axle, then clean them up with a drill bit one size larger than the hole saw diameter. For an alternative, a boring head and bar (if you have the room) would yield the best finish.
            Why buy it for $2 when you can make it for $20


            • #7
              Sounds like a good application for a Cole drill. It's portable and you could probably drill to size in one shot. James