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Work Shop Tips (series)

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  • Work Shop Tips (series)

    Hi Guys,

    I wanted to start a series of "work shop tips." Maybe some are original and you know many are not. I've been reading the HSM BBS posts for a year or so. All you folks on the BBS have helped me greatly in my endeavor to progress from "hack & slash machining" to precision work of which I can be proud. First, here's a little background on myself…

    I've been more seriously involved in metalworking as a hobby since 1995, but have worked with metal periodically since high school. When I was stationed in Germany 20 years ago, I bought a drill press and a small metal lathe (Proxxon) and those two tools helped me get established in the hobby. However, over the last 7-years, I've bought a 9X20" metal lathe, mill/drill, large drill press, metal-cutting bandsaw, oxyacetylene torch outfit, 6" belt bench sander and various woodworking tools. All this fits (barely) into our two-car garage. The house belongs to my wonderful wife, but the garage is mine. It ceased being a "garage" soon after the house was finished. It's my "shop." Trust me; no motor vehicle has ever entered its domain….except when I had to back up the truck to unload the milling machine. Lately, I've been making physics demonstration-type electric motors and assorted other scientific items. A lot of what I've made this past year was sold and I've also done some custom work for folks. I didn't get much money for the effort and quality, but that's my fault. Here's a little about my background. I retired last year from a 20-year Army career and got a new job. My background is industrial engineering in the research, development and acquisition of weapons and logistics systems. I am now working for a private company primarily engaged in providing engineering services to the Department of Defense.

    So, in that vein, here's the first of a few tips I'd like to share. I think most of you guys know a lot of these tips, but I think they're worth repeating…

    End Mill Safety. You should remove the end mill from the R-8 collet between uses. I don't always do that. When cleaning the mill, I've cut the back of my hand on the end mill a couple of times. Some folks just don't catch on right away. So, I'm not very bright, but I am lazy. To solve this problem, I found an old plastic film can and I glued a rare earth disc magnet to the outside bottom. The film can's inside ID was a little larger than the 6-flute 1" OD end mill I use frequently. With the help of the magnet, the film can stays in place…until you remove it before milling operations. I also cut some flexible plastic tubing and put it over the small end mill flutes so their edges are protected. I didn't have to do this before when the end mills were stored vertically in a wood block, but now they are lying flat in a felt-lined drawer. And yes, I should have saved the protective tubes the end mills came in.

    Next time….Shop Clean-Up (no, not all the tips are this boring).

  • #2
    You ain't got a Shaper yet?


    • #3
      I am creating and modifing tools, much of it by hand. I followed Oscar's taping suggestions when I remade an arbor.

      I have made a couple of toolposts. One I made to hold a boring bar, did such a great job that it was too perfect, so I put an extra hold down bolt on it, in case I need to get the bar out.



      • #4
        To reduce the scarring of the backs of my hands I put a plastic (vinyl?) cap over the end mill - when I remember! I'm not sure where these plastic caps come from - they seem to be end protectors for delicate or sharp cylinders. If anyone knows where to buy them, I'd like to get more in different sizes.



        • #5
          Those are the kinds of things you hang on to, knowing some day they'll come in handy. And sure enough they do... about 3 or 4 days after you clean out and throw away all the clutter you've been saving, but haven't needed. You can't win!
          Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


          • #6
            Hi Herb. Try vacuum caps from the auto parts store.They are rubber or plastic.The rubber ones will stretch quite a bit and they come in sizes large enough to go over a 1/2 or larger end mill.For larger sizes,caps for 5/8 or 3/4 water pump fittings are rubber also and will stretch some too.Good luck,Robert.


            • #7
              Hi Al,

              No, don't have a shaper yet. Not much room left. However, if I found one of those "table top" models, I'd find a place for it, I'm sure. Herb & Robert, good idea on the vinyl caps. I'll have to look for those. The plastic tubing works well for me; it's cheap & I had a few feet on hand.