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I'm only a hobbiest

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  • I'm only a hobbiest

    I probably did something that's unorthodox for a professional machinist, however since I'm only a home shop hobbiest I guess I can get away with this, last night I was working on my new project and I needed a 1/2" end mill to finish a flat bottom hole only 2 min. of work the most to finish this step, however my chuck in my mill drill is a 3/8" I got some extra end mills (bargain brands) form HF that came in a set with both 3/8" shanks and succeding 1/2" to 7/8" shanks so I can only use up to thwe 3/8" shanks the rest are set on the side in a box only to use in my 1/2" chuck on the tail stock on my lathe, so I chewcked the innernet for prices on 1/2" end mills 3/8" shank,, and found them up in the $15.00 to $25.00 range but also I needed it now,,so discouraged about the pricing and the time to get here, I decided to chuck my 1/2" end mill 1/2" shank in my lathe and turn it down to 3/8" shank, after being up all night doing this to my surprise it went really easy and smooth, I used my bargain brand carbide inserts, and once (trial and error) I got the speed the angle for the bit, and the feed it cut as smooth as butter, however now and then thre would be a lot of smoke from the steel, so I compensated for that a bit and it chucked up in my mill drill really smooth able to cut mu flat bottom 1/2" holes with no wobble or anything and seen that I can actually cut more than just aluminum on my tools, up to then I only worked with aluminum, now i see it is easy with the right tools to work with steel too...Saved my self about $20.00 to $30.00 by doing this..

    Have a great day..

  • #2
    Interesting. We've all done this with drills but the shanks of drills are not hardened so it's easy. I've (reluctantly) even turned down the OD of a socket before to enable fitting it into a tight space.

    Never heard of anyone turning down an end mill shank, but whatever it takes to successfully complete the project !

    Sounds like you didn't have much to lose - if the cutter proved to be too hard for the carbide, you could have stopped before permanently damaging it.


    • #3
      Being able to exercise one's ingenuity is one of the great things about this hobby.

      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


      • #4
        Nothing unorthodoxed about altering tools. I just paid 100 dollars for a carb. tipped core drill and the shanks was slightly larger than the flute which would cause the tool to rub at depth. I just put it in the OD grinder and made it right for the job. Did the same to the 100 dollar ream for same job. You can not buy perfect tool for every job of the shelf so customize as needed. Nothing unorthodoxed about it.


        • #5
          Good one dvk! That feeling of surprise and satisfaction that you experienced as a result of your success will be repeated many times over as you continue with this hobby.
          To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


          • #6

            Way to go. You have discovered something about machining - if it is made of metal it can (almost always) be machined! What a great hobby, eh?

            Don't try that with Carbide endmills - you need a Diamond wheel on a tool grinder for that. Also, the inside corner of the reduced shank should have a slight radius to prevent stress fractures and failure of the tool.

            Have Fun - be wary of all safety concerns!


            • #7
              Next time you need a flat bottomed hole, make up a "D" bit from a short piece of Drill Rod that you have turned to the correct diameter. It's cheaper by far than End Mills, even the cheap ones. Since I am also a hobbist, I use them quite frequently.


              • #8
                I was thrilled over the weekend by being able to turn down the decorative plastic tip of the screwdriver that was just a little too short to reach a screw... With the tip beveled down, it fit.

                There's a substantive difference between having metalworking tools and woodworking tools. With a woodworking mindset, I would have bought a longer screwdriver.



                • #9
                  DVK: Friend gave me set of those Horrible Fright end mills (in a wooden hinged box). So far the ones I have used worked well in mild steel. I might even BUY a set if they continue to perform- but if they do that, I don't need to buy any.