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What do you do in the shop?

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  • What do you do in the shop?

    Lane made an interesting comment in another thread. He said, more or less, "them as can, do, them as can't , bitch".

    Evan posts his work, we see it, and whether or not he cherry picks it for the better work or not, what we see is good. (anyone who doesn't blow it big sometimes isn't trying anything)

    We know perfectly well what John Stevenson does, as far as work volume. He pays the bills with his, and we see a small corner of it.

    Others also post their work.

    There are, however, a few here who make a good deal of "noise" , but have never posted a single piece of their work as far as I can recall. I am NOT going to call their names. If you care, you can think back and probably identify them.

    Last time I checked, this was a machining forum. You'd think that most everyone here would have a shop and work in it. So post some!

    I am NOT supposing that there should be a pecking order (there does seem to be a "pecker order") according to the volume of work. Some are retired, some are more motivated, some may do many things, others may work a long time on a single item, maybe a clock, a watch, a locomotive, telescope, etc. Not necessarily showy projects, not obvious large volumes of work.

    I have enjoyed seeing Brian Rupnow's work recently, for instance

    I'd like to see more people posting stuff they do. It's been mentioned before, this is nothing new.

    And I surely would not make possession of a digital camera into an entry ticket, nor posting work a requirement for credibility. I'd just like to see more of what folks do. Big projects, lots of little ones, repair projects tooling projects, whatever.

    Pictures of work can be very interesting, they can encourage others, I find they often contain good ideas, neat features, etc. It's just interesting, and it might raise the tone a bit as well, we have had a lot of contentious threads, which I will admit to have posted in. Lots more pictures of work will be refreshing.

    But it would be nice if some of the more vocal people who have never posted any pictures would post things that they do............. yes I admit I am curious if some do more than "bitch"........................ inquiring minds want to know..... But I'd like to see as many as possible post work, even (maybe especially) ones who don't post much at all.
    Last edited by J Tiers; 11-18-2009, 10:03 AM.

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

    Everything not impossible is compulsory

  • #2
    "What do you make on all these machines anyway?"

    It's a common question and of course the true answer is;

    "I make swarf!"
    Paul Compton


    • #3
      Evan posts his work, we see it, and whether or not he cherry picks it for the better work or not, what we see is good. (anyone who doesn't blow it big sometimes isn't trying anything)
      Cherry picks? I sometimes show stuff that isn't my best work but I rarely show my failed attempts to make something that works. What would be the point? I do a lot of experimentation in materials and techniques. Naturally they don't always work. It comes with the territory. When I get it working to my satisfaction then I post about it. If I can't make it work I don't.

      For the most part the things I build now work pretty well. That's because I have a lifetime of experimenting building things that didn't work at first.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


      • #4
        I was hoping you would lead it off with some pics Jerry. You've only ever posted one that I've seen!

        Here is a set pf pulling and installation tools for the hard turned 4"ID bushings below.

        These are 4340, rough machined, heat treated and drawn back to two different tempers, ground to size, mag inspected,hard chromed, and finish ground. It's all certified work as they are for aerospace use.

        Just some misc small parts.

        Last edited by Glenn Wegman; 11-18-2009, 10:59 AM.


        • #5
          Mostly I make marts used in my personal research. I rarely take the camera out to the shop. I'm attaching a picture of a mold I made from A-2 tool steel for Epoxy and Epoxy Granite test samples.

          The mold has the two platens and a spacer ring with o-ring seals on both sides of the spacer ring. It is vacuum tight to at least low vacuum to allow for resin infusion. The platens were precision ground by a local mold shop and then I hand lapped them to 3000 grit diamond. There's a hint of my ugly mug reflected in one piece.

          One platen is drilled through and counterbored to accept 1/4 20 cap screws to hold the mold together and the other side is tapped for these to screw into. There are also numerous holes for 3/8 dowel pins to keep the parts from sliding and disturbing the orings when it is buttoned up though I use only a fraction of the dowel pin holes I overengineered it for.

          The spacer ring is the second attempt. The first attempt used A-2 bars to make the ring welded together and ground. Originally, without a rotary table, I had problems eyeballing the round corners on the o-ring grooves and this led to more welding. The entire part cracked at the welds between the bars so that it would not hold vacuum.

          The part shown is the second spacer ring which I did by trepanning the center out of a piece of solid plate by making zillions of passes around the square on my bridgeport mill with a 1/4 carbide endmill from Maritool and then drilling all the holes to line up with the other part.

          I believe I have posted this before come to think of it but:

          I've also made a really cheesy stand for an ultrasonic disperser converter and probe head. (Note, I need to make a video of doing Liger Zero's coffee mixing by ultrasound experiment. From ultrasounding other things with my 750W ultrasonic disperser, I suspect the time to thoroughly mix coffee would be about .1 seconds. The power is intense enough to cause wear on the titanium probes by cavitation!) The stand is low quality work so I'm not posting a pic


          • #6

            The speedo housing has been done for awhile, I'm working on the face. The one in the picture was done on decal paper with an inkjet and it is very washed out looking. Needs to be done on a laser I think. I zeroed the odometer, the 3 tenths are from testing it. The guts are from a Honda trail 90 speedo.

            The piece on the right is a locking gas cap with a sort of hidden lock feature. It is made from an original plastic cap turned down and surrounded by my machined pieces. There is a small hole in the side that a pin is inserted into so that the plastic piece can be made to turn. The locking feature was not planned. After I got it done and screwed it on the tank it would not come off. The plastic cap inside just spun. A carefully drilled hole in the side lets me put a paper clip into it so it will turn.


            • #7
              Now why, pray tell, would I want to post pictures of my sorry attempts at machining, to be compared to some of the beautiful machinings that are shown on here? It would be like looking at a 1950 plymouth and then looking at a 2009 Corvette.
              I guess I'll just keep my bitching mouth shut.



              • #8
                I mostly work on educating myself. I don't do projects nearly as much as I experiment with materials and techniques. I'm a true hobbyist student of machinery with a historical interest in first principles and "the old ways". I still need a couple tools like a dividing head and rotab so I can fiddle with more complex shapes. But I've posted a lot of what I've done at a couple web sites I run. I've begun a metal working at home site to offer a place to capture my interests. Oddly enough it's called and is in it's earliest stages of evolution. I'd like the format to come close to an online magazine and I'll be soliciting contributors.

                I have to admit I don't recall you posting many projects or shop activities.


                • #9
                  Neat site

                  I visited your site dp and I can say that I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the link!


                  • #10
                    What do i do in my shop?

                    Since late last year, i was bringing back to life, a model vertical steam engine, nice old vertical boiler, and horizontal steam boiler pump for the latter two mentioned These nice old engines &boiler dated from circa 1890, and bore symptoms of having been made by a man with possibly the simplest &most basic of plant, So saying they were all well made in their day
                    Now for the problem, they had been beaten to death over the period of years, So bringing them back to life &when i opened the stop valve &they both ticked over smoothly was to myself praise enough, When i returned them back to a personal friend of mine who is their owner, we had an afternoon when we ran them for four hours continuous, These old engines had been purchased by his grandfather who was a principal of a well known Clydeside marine engineering firm, So as one can expect, not letting the side down was of the essence
                    For the limited time i have to spend in my shop, i am at present, refurbishing a vintage 1920 period Colchester lathe


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      For the most part the things I build now work pretty well. That's because I have a lifetime of experimenting building things that didn't work at first.
                      Ha ! ! ! That makes me feel a little better.

                      Here is what I machined yesterday, and one of the solid grooving tools used. The length is 1.05" and hole is 0.243" (it is bigger in places but the boring bar has to fit through the narrow spots, which are 0.243"). The grooving tool shown in the picture has an L/D of 8.27. It's a challenge to machine with a tool that is about as stiff as a fly rod.

                      And BTW Lane, I do work in tenths.
                      Last edited by MTNGUN; 11-18-2009, 03:31 PM.


                      • #12

                        Parts for my bike!



                        • #13
                          I don't usually post pics because my stuff is often too boring, or will never be seen and aesthetics are not a concern. Anyone want to see pics of a bronze bearing/bushing and other simple gate parts I made weekend before last? How about the tie rod I'm threading? Or some spacers I made to shift a bracket to align a pulley. Or perhaps some "top hat" bushings to adapt late model large hole seat belt mounts to an older chassis that used smaller bolts? The only thing that might remotely have been worth posting is that I finally got tired of "packing" long shafts and made an aluminum 4 bolt slip-on spider for the back of my lathe. But what is the point? A simple stepped collar turned in the lathe, and indexer used to locate 4 drilled-n-tapped holes. So that's a laundry list of most everything vaguely "machining" I've done in the last month (that I recall at the moment). Simple/boring enough that a camera/post never crossed my mind. Some of my fabrication projects might have been vaguely more interesting, but again, I was focused on the project, never thinking to take pictures.
                          Master Floor Sweeper


                          • #14
                            What do I do with all those tools? Well, besides the continual learning process, I make tools to make tools to make tools to - you know - to make tools. I have a good deal of it chronicled here:


                            Here's a recent one, a "slo-mo" diamond grinder:

                            ALL ABOUT THAT GRINDER

                            Frank Ford


                            • #15
                              Here is a link to my current project which is making SLOW progress. A HasBrouck #8 double acting steam engine.


                              Errol Groff
                              Errol Groff

                              New England Model Engineering Society

                              YouTube channel: