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Birthday Presents - Need a machinist's perspective!

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  • Birthday Presents - Need a machinist's perspective!

    So I need some ideas on what to get my brother-in-law for his birthday. I think a little bit of background is neccessary, so here it goes:

    1) I've known him since second grade and he's like my older brother. He was the one who got me interested in metal working, taught me how to swing a hammer, etc. For christmas one year, he gave me a $600 to buy a tool chest. Thats the kind of guy he is.

    2) He's the one who is storing my lathes and in return I'm leaving one with him along with some tooling. He doesn't know anything about machining, but he's interested and he's a quick learner.

    3) He's got one of my 16 by 30 Pacemaker, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, tool post and tool holders, live center, drill chuck, carbide inserts, carbide holders, HSS square bits and 60* countersinks.

    4) He's a farmer and 99% of the work he does is for the farm. Also, the work is generally big, heavy and not very precise. More of a welding and fab shop than a machine shop.

    So I was going to get him a pair of Mitutoyo calipers because he doesn't have a pair and they are by far the most used of my tools. BUT his parents bought him an 8" Mitutoyo digimatic calipers.

    So, whats next? Maybe a dial indicator and base for "dialing in" the 4 jaw?

  • #2
    You could get him a large digital caliper. It will be able to measure on much larger OD's than the short arms of the 8" allow. I have a 12" from Harbor Freight and the quality of it is quite good. A 24" would probably be better for larger work. Den


    • #3
      Dial indicator would be nice and be sure you show him different things he can use it for. Indicating in parts in chuck Checking end play on shafts on some farm equipment and measuring to a shoulder while turning something in the lathe.
      Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


      • #4
        A DI sounds useful. It is one of those things you need but do not know you need before machining.


        • #5
          Here's my favorite machinist prezzie - it's a real present, and it makes a real impression, although it's not an everyday tool, for sure:

          Made on vintage tools by Cool Weld Studios:

          (I have no personal interest, of course.)

          I've given a couple to machine friends, and I keep one "in stock" for just that purpose, because you never know when somebody will need a serious lift.

          Frank Ford


          • #6

            How about a medium quality set of S&D drills from 1/2 to 1" in 1/32 increments?


            • #7
              How about a couple of books on machining basics?

              Machine Shop Practices Vol 1&2
              The Machinists Bedside Reader Books (Volumes 1,2,3)

              Or...a faceplate and a bunch of clamping pieces to clamp things on to the faceplate


              • #8
                a three inch dial indicator and mount to go on the bed of the lathe. i got one short time ago and love the thing.


                • #9
                  Him being a farmer probably best you could do is spend a day whittling his "To Do" list down......



                  • #10
                    Users of 4J chucks find it handy to have a second jaw wrench with very
                    short arms to go on the back side jaw when you are loosening/tightening
                    the front side jaw to take up the miniscule slack when dialing in the last
                    few thousandths. Most lathes, the standard jaw wrench won't fit behind
                    and you have to rotate the chuck 180 to snug things up. With a short
                    arm wrench you just eyeball the DI as you torque the two wrenches in
                    tandem. This would be a DIY project you can finesse up.


                    • #11
                      How about a set of those hole locating points that clamp to the jaws of his caliper. Machinery (even farm machinery) has lots of bolt holes and sometimes fabbing up something to mount on something means establishing relative hole locations to bolt it on. I figure those points are pretty handy.

                      Of course, you could argue that in rough fabrication, you can eyeball a good measurement for hole centers with the caliper and without the hole-locator points.

                      On large machinery, a pair of Starrett or other trammel points and a couple of the long, sliding steel rules to go with them could come in handy in locating more distant well as for measuring a jillion other things.

                      Paul Carpenter
                      Mapleton, IL


                      • #12
                        Your brother in law sounds like a relly niceof guy you are lucky anyway why not just ask his wife your sister or even himself or give him cash like he did for you I knw I would prefer something I really wanted than something someone thinks I might want it's not easy but you need to ask nearer to home we don't know the guy good luck kindest regards Alistair
                        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                        • #13
                          Well, sounds like this guy needs something special. I know a couple guys alot like him. The book ideas previously posted are good. Maybe a video, like about welding, tool grinding, basic lathe operation. What may mean the most, however was also mentioned already. Go help him work on his need to do list. Tell him how much his help has meant over the years. He'll probably say awwww, I didn't do much.... But he'll remember it for years.



                          • #14
                            Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. I've got some really good ideas now.

                            I already help him with his "need to do list". In fact, its really mutually beneficial because I always end up learning something and he usually gets some decent help. This weekend I went down to run a grain cart and shuttle trucks for harvest. Thats something alot of people don't have an oppurtunity to do, but I think its loads of fun.

                            To me, helping him out isn't something I do just for his birthday. He's helped me out A LOT in the past, so I'm always try to make a point of helping him when he needs it.


                            • #15
                              Plane ticket to Quito, Ecuador, and a visit to the Doll House.