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  • Lane,

    Nice file work was an understatement, you must have the arms of a gorilla. Using a drilled hole and a file did occur to me but I soon dismissed that as a choice. I agree, nice (outstanding) file work.



    • The vice bins are a nice idea. Maybe we should have a Chip Control thread?

      I am building a very small air compressor. Not sure if it will be a legit useful tool, but should work. I've only finished the cylinder bore and piston blank so there's not much to look at.


      • Re: Small compressor- ok, but we'll need some pics!!!


        • Originally posted by flutedchamber

          What is the reason for the depression on the top of the Armstrong style tool bit holders? I have seen that on some holders and not on others.

          I cannot say with 100% certainty, but I strongly suspect the radius is there to reduce stress and to decrease the likelihood of cracking during heat treatment.


          • Never thought of that reason. It makes sense when you think about it.


            • Is too hot to work in the shop (garage) so I read all 133 pages and got pretty involved.
              Heck I have build tools too, sometime making tools get me far astray from the project.

              I do not know how to post pictures but here is a link.
              Picture have caption describing the purpose.

              Mauro Gaetano
              In Austin TX

              munged email
              capialized need be replaced with symbols


              • Interesting picture and projects, thanks for posting them.


                • home built lathe

                  Has any one ever built a lathe from scratch? Would like to hear from you if you have.


                  • I don't know if this qualifies as being scratch built but this small lathe was cobbled together from a number of parts 20 some years ago.

                    The rotating part of the head stock is from an import 5c collet spin fixture. The OD of this part happens to match a metric ball bearing (210 I believe). The DC motor and controller are from a defunct bearing tester from work as is the main machine slide. The cross compound is from an unknown lathe and I machined dovetails into a piece of cast iron for it to slide on. A piece of rack gearing is attached to the main machine slide and the black hand wheel on the left lower side turns a pinion gear engaged in the rack. I have since substituted a cog belt speed reduction for the black hand wheel to give better control. The tail stock is unorthodox, utilizing another smaller machine slide that was also cast off at work. The Aloris quick change tool holder is overkill for this little machine but it was also a cast off from work.

                    There are a heap of things that fly in the face of making a good lathe, the excess use of aluminum for one. It is surprisingly rigid and for small parts it does a good job for me. The variable speed is quite nice and it was a real luxury 20 plus years ago.

                    Sorry for the messy look, I was facing off 3 inch diameter pieces of UHMW plastic as part of a little machining job I had. I think I took the picture to document my setup.

                    Last edited by ironnut; 07-18-2011, 03:12 PM.


                    • If that doesn't qualify as "lathe from scratch" I can't imagine what would.
                      Proud machining permanoob since September 2010


                      • Home made lathe

                        I'll have to get some photos of my project! Its been in the build /process for a couple of years, I did cast some of the components out of zincalloy and aluminum and the rest are being milled out of 1018 on a friends CNC, when its complete it will have change gears and back gears, which are in the making.


                        • Home built lathe

                          I removed some of the swarf and took a few more pictures last night. You can see the upgrade (speed reduction) for the carriage traverse. The lathe is a bit less than 30 inches in length. I am guessing it weighs around 150 lbs. The motor is 1/4 hp and depending on which set of sheaves you pick, the spindle will rotate 2-3 thousand RPMs. Just the ticket if you are working on a small scale steam engine. If I tried to run my old 10" Atlas at that rate I think it would have thrown a rod, which was my motivation to make this lathe.

                          Last edited by ironnut; 07-19-2011, 02:18 PM. Reason: made the title match my earlier post, same lathe


                          • Power Tapper

                            I have went through all 133 pages of the postings and there is a wealth of information here. Some of the items are flat incredible and kudos to their makers. Mine is much more modest though I find it quite handy.

                            I don't know if power tapper is the correct term for this tool and the tool certainly is not original with me. Previously I made a version of this to hold the little 1" diameter dies and I finally got around to making the tap version. I re-purposed the black anodized handle. Many years ago the handle was being discarded at work and being the pack-rat I am I hauled it home. Sadly they don't make physical stuff any more at work, just software.

                            The handle played hide and seek around my shop for quite some time and recently it was discovered again. It seemed the perfect item for the power tapper. I had some cheap import tap handles so I made a steel plug, bored a hole in it and pressed the tap handle into the plug. Then I pressed the plug into the end of the black handle. The other end of the handle had internal threads which turned out to be 18 threads per inch, the same as a coarse thread for a 5/16 inch bolt.

                            I cheated in cutting the threads on the bronze plug that is threaded into the handle. I tapped a 5/16-18 thread in a small plug of steel (~3/8" diameter) and pressed it into the bronze part. Incidentally the bronze part was also re-purposed. It was a hydro-dynamic bearing for a 5 1/4 inch disk drive that HP used to make years ago, and its original shape was not a great deal different than the finished part in the photo.

                            With the threaded plug in the bronze part, I chucked the bronze plug into my little lathe (See my previous post on scratch built lathes). I threaded a 6 inch long piece of 5/16-18 all-thread into the plug and attached the other end to a bracket on the lathe carriage. Now as the part rotated in the lathe's headstock it would pull or push the carriage. I put a threading bit into the quick change tool holder and dialed in a .010" cut and turned the lathe motor on real slow and cut the threads. Stop, back out the bit, reverse the motor, then take another .010" cut and repeat until I got my threads cut. Granted the threads aren't very deep but they didn't need to be. I pressed out the threaded plug, bored and reamed the hole to 1/2" in the bronze plug. I added a keeper to the one end of a piece of 1/2 rod.

                            To use it, you chuck it into into the tail stock and insert a tap. 1/4" tap is about the max. Position the tail stock and start the lathe up, low speed, grab the handle and insert the tap into the hole to be threaded. You can easily feel if the tap is binding or working too hard and just let go of the handle. Reverse the lathe to clean things out and repeat.


                            • Home built lathes and tools

                              Great photos and great machines and tools! I dont think a day goes by that some one doesn't arrive with some sort of project that is beyond the norm. I'll have to admit I was feeling pretty smug on the progress of my lathe when after a browse through the hundreds of sites I found another "lathe builder" in Belgium! Needless to say, his work and design is very similar to mine and vice versa with the exception, his is "up and running" and I am still under construction! Its safe to say that I could have puchased a bench top lathe for the amount of money that I have invested in this project and be turning material months ago! What promted all this was a "click onto" Lathes UK and in the "homebuilt" section, a machine, called the Elffers, the workmanship is really outstanding and the builder was 83 years of age at the time! I need to get busy!


                              • Impressive workmanship here guys,, and agreed about the "Elffers" lathe, a beauty.

                                My thanks to everyone again who post their skills and talents, ideas here!!

                                Very much appreciated!!!