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Shop Made Tools

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  • Just did up a post on a pipe reducer I made. It involved a 1/4NPT male thread for which I used a die. Long ago I purchased a Hanson/Irwin tap & die set covering 9/16" to 1" UNC and UNF. It came with a 1/4"NPT tap and die. During a previous project the 1/4"NPT hex die broke. Apparently Hanson decided to make a limited run and if you broke the die, tough. I won't discuss that here. Long story short, I got a round die as a replacement. I have no holders for round dies and I'm not going to build or buy one for just one die. I dislike round dies by the way. While making the aforementioned pipe reducer I managed to get the die far enough onto the work that it jammed. I was using channel lock pliers to turn the die. Get the torches and pitchforks. I managed to get a full thread but I had to get the darned thing off the work. Sandpaper wrapped around the die didn't work, bigger channel locks didn't work... I made this.

    As luck would have it, I had a bronze, air brake s-cam bushing with an ID perfectly matched to the OD of the die. A couple of drilled and tapped holes, a couple of set screws and I had soft metal that could be gripped. Die came off. I don't like stooping to the "hammer & chisel" level but sometimes the job just has to be done and redneck tooling has to be made.


    • Through the inclement weather we've had lately, I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos. It seems the hot rod metal bashes love doodads called dimple dies. Just to say I could, I machined up a set of dimple dies to put a +/- 37 degree dimple around a 1 1/8" hole. Works great either in an arbor press or using a 1/2" ready rod.
      Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit


      • Originally posted by terry_g View Post
        Here a few items recently I made.

        This is the slotter I made.

        Here is my simple R8 index.

        some negative rake insert holders made from 5/8" keystock.

        a flycutter

        Lets keep this thread going!

        Terry, what are the chances you've got prints for that slot cutter? It'd be a huge benefit in a shop cutting a lot of fly wheel keyways!


        • I don't have any prints or plans. It was made from material
          from the scrap pile in a moment of need.



          • Can't stop chasing squirrels

            Well, I didn't fix the van, again. Be walking soon if this keeps up...

            Made a 1" arbor for a saw. I bough the saw a long time ago, on sale, but never used it as it fit pretty bad on the cheap Weldon-shank slitting saw arbors I have. I thought about carving one out of some big stock, just cutting an MT3 on it, but decided to go with an MT3 blank instead.

            Of course, the blanks have 1" stubs on them... so after some thought, I decided to cut a slot and use a split-keeper. Seems to work well enough, and I epoxied it together so it won't fall apart when changing saws.

            I machined things square in place with the stub in the spindle. Had a hard time reaching the backside of the part with the keeper and had to use a parting tool... chattered a bit so the finish is off, but it's not a reference edge so no matter. Probably should have just left it.

            Didn't bother with a key as I expect the belts will slip long before the saw does. Such is life with a lightweight machine.

            If I were to do it again, I'd make the clamping side deeper, but whatever. It seems to work well enough.

            Had fun... now I have to figure out a place to put this thing. No room left on my arbor rack. Sigh... why does one project always lead to another?



            • Mill Table Collet Mount

              Mill Table Collet Mount
              For holding round things vertically. (You can actually buy something like this, but they are not common.)

              ER32 collet holder from CTC w 20 mm parallel shank - inexpensive.
              Cut shank off with bi-metal bandsaw blade just behind the end block. Slow - very hard steel.
              Clamp off-cut 20 mm shank in 20 mm collet in collet holder, carefully.
              Put 20 mm shank into lathe chuck and clean off back face with good carbide tip. The swarf came off a bit blue. Recess centre slightly so all support/alignment is at the rim.
              Make groove for clamps with carbide parting off tool - again, a touchy business with this steel.
              The clamps themselves - bits of old angle iron.

              Um - so far I cannot upload the d*** picture. I will have to experiment.
              EDIT: Managed. Byzantine method of including photos, I must say!

              Last edited by rcaffin; 10-20-2016, 05:34 AM. Reason: add photo


              • Thanks for posting this, some light bulbs just went off.


                • The wrench that fit my QCTP's clamp nut was always AWOL so I made a new Tee nut, post, nut, and handle out of some 316 stainless scraps. The plastic knob came from the hardware store. Sure is a lot handier than a wrench, and it's always where it belongs.
                  “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                  Lewis Grizzard


                  • Nice, I like that tool post handle. I have the same tool post; the wrench it takes is pretty big, might have to make a handle like yours.


                    • Originally posted by Yondering View Post
                      Nice, I like that tool post handle. I have the same tool post; the wrench it takes is pretty big, might have to make a handle like yours.

                      Thanks, it wasn't too difficult to make. Would have been easier if not for the 316. It's not the friendliest to work with, but will resist rusting from sweaty hands in this climate. Also, I have several buckets of drops that come in handy for this kind of stuff.
                      “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                      Lewis Grizzard


                      • I got hold of a set of metric DIN6388 collets (Oz collets) and I had the back-end of a bell-mouthed camlock chuck so I got a chunk of steel and made a collet chuck for my lathe. I made a front nut that you have to snap the collet into so that it releases the taper when loosened.

                        Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                        Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                        Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                        Monarch 10EE 1942


                        • Wired cordless drill adapted to drive my mill. Does this count as shop made tool?


                          • Four years ago daGrouch posted a shop made level (#1832). I want to fine tune my lathe (Rockwell 11x42) and so it seemed like a good project. Here are some photos.

                            The level:

                            My base is made from 1" square cold rolled 1018. After squaring it up I ran a ball mill down each side to make a finger groove. I scraped the bottom until I got a nice blue transfer pattern. This is what it looks like without the blue.

                            The glass is made from a 10 ml serological pipette. I chose such a pipette because it's nicely graduated and easily replaceable. I bought 50 of them on eBay for $10. I sealed the pointy end, then cut and fire polished it just above the 0 mark on the other end. The brass end pieces were turned and reamed to size, and cross drilled to slide easily on a 10-32 thread. I drilled an filling hole, filed a small flat, tapped the hole for 6-32 and used a screw with a washer to seal the hole. The adjusters are lamp finials Loctite'd onto 10-32 all-thread. I wound the little springs using 0.026 piano wire turned around a 1/4-20 bolt. The washers are nylon washers that had the appropriate curve filed into them so that they would sit nicely on the brass rod.

                            The pipette is superglued into the brass end pieces. One lesson I learned making this - when using 5 minute epoxy it's a good idea to try to turn the graduations to the top before 5 minutes is up. That happened while I was making version 2. Another lesson - don't put round things on the bench and then bump them towards the edge. That was version 1. The pictures show version 3.

                            Instead of using butane I decided to go with a non-pressurized liquid. I chose to use ethyl alcohol colored with a little blue dye. I can easily adjust the filling level (and size of the bubble) using a hypodermic needle with a blunted 18 ga. needle.

                            The saddle in the middle is made from a bit of flat brass that has been grooved to hold a 3/16'ths dowel pin. It is just loose under the glass - the spring of the glass being pulled down holds it nicely in place. If not I would have used a dot of superglue to keep it from moving around. The point of contact between the dowel pin and the glass gives me a good zero point. I'm hoping that the strain won't prove to be too much and the pipette won't break at that point. However, I'm only bending the pipette a few thousandths of an inch and so I think it will last. If not, I still have 47 more pipettes.

                            The blue is a little intense but I made it dark because it might bleach over time. Either that or I can pull out half the liquid and dilute the color with undyed ethanol. The photos make it look like it's hard to read but in real life it's not so bad.

                            It's been fun. Now to go level the lathe !!!



                            • that is really impressive, well done!


                              • Do you have any idea of its resolution, looks like you can make a really delicate measurement