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Non-tradition uses of equipment.

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  • Non-tradition uses of equipment.

    My brother did something today that I thought was pretty clever.

    He needed some glass plates cut to a precise dimension so he used my mill. The glass cutter was fitted in a collet and put in the spindle just like an endmill. The glass was placed on the table and fastened with the usual clamps which included some scrap wood to soften the force. He then raised the table as to attain a desired pressure on the cutter and used the table's lead screws to pull the glass cutter's wheel across the surface. This way he could use the dials to measure the cut. It worked perfect!

    Do any of you have some clever "non-traditional" uses for some of your equipment? Now I don't mean the time someone used your expensive calipers for a hammer!

    [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 09-20-2003).]

  • #2
    Not very odd, really, but everytime I go into a dollar store, I look at the tools, with an eye towards making an unusual use out of one. I typically will modify a pair of pliers to do special jobs. One pair became a specialty hole punch, another has grooves made to hold wires for soldering, without crushing the insulation. One pair became a relay case popper. Another is a crimp tool now, some are modified to do special sheet metal forming jobs.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


    • #3
      made a washing machine out of a shaper attachment once.


      • #4
        non-traditional uses of equipment? An experience instantly comes to mind.

        Melding my musical background with my machine shop and engineering experience I diagnosed a bad gear in a Bullard CutMaster spindle transmission.

        The excellent repair manual gave tooth counts for every gear in the transmission, the table tach gave me RPM, and my pitch pipe gave pitches - which with a little math gave me frequencies I could match with the faulty gearing.

        The machine had been recently rebuilt and had a horrible gear noise which the contractor passed off as a bit loud but normal. Machine tool drive grade gearing does not cause the sheet metal to go through resonances.

        I stuck my neck out and wrote a paper detailing my analysis and pinpointing the guilty gear pair. The sound analysis guys and shop management scoffed at it but my boss who was a fine amateur trumpeter concurred. The contracter was notified to send out a crew which was done with much grumbling and threats of lawsuits. The transmission was opened up and whattya know!! The tooth flanks of the gear I targeted looked like a moonscape. New gears were found and all was made right.

        Thanks to my boss's faith and non-traditional uses of equipment (pitch pipe)and some high school physics the Gummint got leverage on a swindling contractor and made him remedy shoddy work. And my stock as a machinery guru went 'way up. The word went around the Gimmint IPE community that I could fix a Bullard with a harmonica. I swaggered and strutted disgustingly for days. Gloat, gloat gloat! Then it was discovered I screwed up some travel forms. Sheesh! One trivial Aw Sh*t wipes out one miricle.

        [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 09-21-2003).]


        • #5
          I have cut glass circles on my lathe doing about the same thing only I mount the glass cutter in a spring loaded tube which is being held in the tool post. The lathe chuck has a flat piece of wood chucked in it and trued up each time before starting. In the tail stock is mounted a coil spring with leather on the side facing the head stock. The glass is held against the wooden block by turning the tail stock until the spring compresses enough to hold the glass firmly. I then move saddle over so the cutter contacts the glass at the correct diameter, compressing cutter spring so a good score is made and then hand rotate the chuck 360 degrees completing a full score on the glass. I have cut 50 lens in less than an hour using this set up. I use the lens in a light I reproduce for antique fire trucks.


          • #6
            The two glass-cutting examples were unique, very interesting reading. Both of those techniques should be of interest to those who build scale models.

            Forrest, your anecdote was cool ! Similar audio techniques are used in aerospace/defense industry for a different purpose: to locate vibration resonances (helicopters are especially hard on precision electronic gear).

            I bought a cheap chinese drill press, X-Y table and plunge router. Cut up the router and fitted it to a through-bored block to allow it to slide over and clamp to the drill press post (drill motor removed).

            With the X-Y table mounted to the drill press base, I make various semi-precision parts from wood. Typical examples are drawer handles, small decorative boxes and inletting rifle stocks.


            • #7
              I been working one a remote stylus attachment for plunge indicators that allow for checking items on transfer machining lines with the power on and the safety gates closed. Building them out of remote camera releases and RC plane control cables
              Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


              • #8

                I like your idea of using a spring loaded glass cutter. Raising the table on the mill to "just" the right pressure to cut glass is a bit tricky.

                Actually I'll carry it a bit farther! I'm going to make that spring loaded cutter fit on the end of a square shaped bar; attach it to a fitted center with a set screw - thereby attaining a variable radius. This whole thing can then be placed in the mill. Now I can have the best of both worlds - square cuts and round cuts. .......Gotta have some way to top may brother!


                [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 09-21-2003).]


                • #9
                  Good idea Mike ! For small circles, you could insert your spring-loaded cutter into a boring head.


                  • #10
                    I use a large CNC vertical mill as an automated bender.

                    This makes a very fast method of bending large quantities of identical parts.

                    This bending is the type of work typically done on a Di-acro bender, 1/4" rund rod. But after you do a couple hundred pieces on the Di-acro it gets to be work and not fun anymore.


                    • #11
                      Last night I needed to drill and tap a 10-32 hole in the end of a 14" long 3/4"x3/8" aluminum bar, pretty accurately (centered and straight to the bar.)

                      My first thought was to shift the drill press table to the side, clamp the bar through the DP vise and just let it hang over the edge.

                      I wasn't real happy with that idea, so I clamped the end of the bar in my QC toolpost on the lathe (in place of the actual square-stock tool, of course.) Then I used the cross-slide and toolpost height adjustment to center to my scribe marks.

                      Problem was, my six-jaw will only close down to about 3/16", too large to hold a 10-32 tap drill. So I took the mill's drill chuck and clamped down on the chuck's R8 arbor, chucked the drill bit in that, and drilled the hole.

                      Then I just used it as a holder to get the tap started straight, and voila`, as they say.

                      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


                      • #12
                        Cut a lot of wood on my lathe, making banisters for people stairways. three and four piece banisters as length and chatter is a problem. Form tools with neutral rake work best.

                        Make "woodruff" keyways on my cnc lathe, which just frys the minds of many people. Made a little tool years back, and use the same principles of a shaper. Stop and lock the spindle, do little circular interpolation cuts with IPM feed rate programmed in. I also do straight internal keyways the same way, but G1 cuts. Helps to know how to use a shaper I guess.

                        I made a set of 15 raised panel cabinet door fronts on my CNC mill, made a tool shaped as I wanted for a fly cutter, made the fronts, milled the slots and such. beautiful job. Used Maple.

                        made a Radio control "cigarette boat" for a friend. Done plastic bending, many things. Even polished rocks in a four jaw chuck, but will never do that again.

                        never cut glass though, that is clever.
                        CCBW, MAH


                        • #13
                          Toolmaker Extrodinair,

                          You can't get by with a statement like ".. made a washing machine out of a shaper attachment once." and let it go with that!

                          Fill us in!



                          • #14
                            I made an oscillating spindle sander out of a washing machine.


                            • #15
                              Then it was discovered I screwed up some travel forms. Sheesh! One trivial Aw Sh*t wipes out one miricle.

                              ..should have told them filling travel forms out is secretary work, not machinist work...

                              I can't walk and chew bubble gum either!

                              You know that they are reaching higher machining rates through vibrational analysis. I suspect in 5 years new CNC machines will have built in DSP's to optimise cutting speeds and detect worn/broken tools.


                              mmmm maple!

                              OSS! Cool - you should submit that to Neil. I would find that very cool to make.