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Making shims

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  • Making shims

    Being a newbie to machining I've run into several instances in the past where I have needed to shim either a gear to adjust it or a shaft on a piece of ag machinery.
    So, my question is how does one make a shim (washer style) of a certain thickness. My interest right now is in the process not so much a specific part.


  • #2
    You can just buy a bunch shim stock and punch your own washers. There's a few neat gizmos available to do this very nicely. You can also buy the "peal-away" types.

    The problem I find with making my own (non-surface grinder) is that it's invariably soft material.
    Last edited by lakeside53; 06-16-2010, 12:06 PM.


    • #3
      If I read you right you want to make round shim washers.

      Easiest method is turn barstock to the OD and ID you want and then part off at the thickness you want.That's good enough for most things.

      More precise thickness requires a surface grinder,or if they are thin shim stock can be glued to a block of MDF or Masonite board and cut out in the drillpress or mill with a circle cutter.

      Preciscion shims are best bought though,McMaster-Carr has a good selection.

      To make up odd sizes order a selection of thicknesses.


      Those thicknesses used in combination can make nearly any odd thickness.
      I just need one more tool,just one!


      • #4

        I also just made a set of shims up to cover a wide range of sizes; I went with the same sizes as you see with currency denominations; 1's, 2's & 5's. This gives all possible sizes.

        As you say, chuck a 1.5 thou in there for the 1/2 thou sizes.

        All of the gear, no idea...


        • #5
          I just use shim stock and Gert's best scissors.....................


          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


          • #6
            Wad punches

            Same as John - tin snips/shears.

            If its for a "washer" just cut in two pieces and cut a 90* "vee" and push the two halves together and tighten the nut or what-ever and clamp them - no need for a hole or a ring.

            It a hole is needed I get out my wad-punches - or make one - and put the shim on the end of a bit of 2" diameter bit of bearing (phosphor) bronze bearing rod and cut the hole. I just re-face the end of the P-B rod as required.

            For most other - softer - stuff I use the end of a bit of good fine-grained hard-wood for the "backing".


            • #7
              An old machinist taught me a trick for making that "one off" special thickness, washer type shim.

              Take a piece of round stock that is slightly smaller than the OD of the washer, and turn the end to the size of the ID of the washer. Cleanly face off the shoulder and super glue the washer onto the arbor. I use the drill chuck in the tailstock to press against it while it sets up.

              Now you can very carefully take small cuts (no hogging...there are limits to super glue), until you reach your desired thickness. You can take cuts all the way across the washer, even cutting into the arbor stub, since it's glued to the shoulder.

              It's not a replacement for a surface grinder, but it'll get you very close. Unfortunately, the slightest bit of runout will give you a washer that might be .010" on one side, and .011 on the other, but it'll do in a pinch.