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    I recently subscibed to hsm after coming across it during a trip. I find the articles interesting. however I get lost very fast. I have never been around lathes or mills (there are none in my area). some things I understand. dro, cnc. but things like "tilt body indexer" "geared head" "swivel turret" leave me lost. I thought I might buy a used mill or lathe so that i could stumble my way through a project or something but since I dont understand the jargon i havent a clue if i'm getting ripped off. what would be a good book to read that would help a novice? is there a machining for dummies? I would like to see a section in hsm that was to my level - (very low!) but understand that the majority of subscribers are probably well advanced. any help would be, well, helpfull.

  • #2
    I suggest you study tool catologs such as the Grizzly one to get an idea of what machines are available and then try to find some high school shop text books for machine shop practice. Those books explain what basic shop work is all about. That's a good start, then when you understand the terminology, you can get a raft of books on lathe work, milling, drilling etc. Go slow when it comes to buying machine tools. Take a night school course in shop practice so you know or at least have a better idea what you are realy interested in.
    Machine shop practice is highly skilled.


    • #3
      Depending on your area high school books may be hard to find (like if they haven't had a shop course in 20 years). Lindsay publications has a large selection of bools at fair prices.
      Whatever you do, BE SAFE.
      Hope this helps, Rob


      • #4
        Thanks! I feel its important to start at the beggining. My school didnt have a metal shop class, Although they did have a shop class for arc welding and acetalyne torch use but that was just so future farmers could weld and cut on their farms. I wasnt aware that other schools had machinist related classes and therefore did'nt think that there might be shop text books, thanks again! (When you grow up in the boonies you can miss alot).


        • #5
          Here's a link to an Army training circular that I found while surfing to answer the same type questions you pose. This manual is written in basic terms and has helped me understand questions I've had. Check it out.


          • #6

            Before you run out a buy the shiney new toy, I would seriously suggest you look for night courses at a high school, trade school, or college. It will give a good grounding in the essentials and show you the safe way to get things done. They will also help you discover were your interests lay, and what kind of equipment to look for. You do not want to get something you are never going to use or is completely inappropriate for your needs - that will only get you frustrated and possibly make you give up - we don't want you to do that!

            Take your time, read lots, get some courses, maybe join a local steam engine group (some great guys & gals to help you with problems) - and have fun! Be safe above all else! Good luck.



            • #7
              You can get some great old textbooks off of ebay at great prices. I have purchased several and they would provide a great foundation for the novice. Just don't bid on the ones I want.

              When you get started use this bbs for your questions there is a tremendous amount knowledge at your finger tips here.

              Good Luck


              • #8
                I'll reiterate my favorite book -- "The Amateur's Lathe" by L.H. Sparey.

      're right. Starting out it IS overwhelming. One thing that may help is to realize that this is definitely a long-term hobby. Don't expect to "know it all" in a few months...or a few years. Take a long-term view on your education, and don't get discouraged by the long learning curve. Start with simple projects and work your way up.

                If you can find a class or a mentor to give you some guidance, it's a big help. Not to mention more fun.
                Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                • #9
                  As a newbee, a couple of things I can say are that accessories can be expensive as well as materials (unless you have access to scrap). Also, unlike wood-working, there's very little "puttying and painting" to get you out of a mistake ;-)