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Boostinjdm's Tooling Questions

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  • Boostinjdm's Tooling Questions

    I am in desperate need of a few items and thought I would start a thread for my questions. So I have one localized place for answers.

    First off I would like to purchase a few things and need some feed back.

    Mill Vise. Opinions on this one?

    Boring head.
    What should I be looking for and avoiding. Would like to be able to bore up to 5 or six inches. Will mostly be doing holes 2" or less.

    End mills.
    I have quite a few smaller sizes but I would like a set. Preferably in a box.
    I see Enco is advertising 20 double ended HSS end mill sets for less than $100. Good buy? Or avoid them.

    Face mill for smaller surfacing jobs.
    OR fly cutter?

    Carbide insert tooling for lathe. Looking for something common and reasonably priced that can be used in a variety of holders. TPG? I have some TPG inserts and boring bars to hold them. I also have a fairly large supply of CNMG inserts and a right and left hand negative rake holders.

    I don't want to break the bank here. I would just like to have some common tooling so I'm ready to go when something pops up. I do mostly farm equipment repair so milling will most likely be limited to keyways and lathe use will be mostly cutting down shafts to fit bearings.

    My personal projects are another story. I like to design things and push the limits a bit so I have no clue what I'll need for tooling there. I do like to build shop equipment though. I'm young and I figure if I build/buy the tools now, I'll have a lifetime to use them.

  • #2
    Short answer: you get what you pay for.

    "Mill Vise. Opinions on this one? "

    If you buy a $90 vise I fully expect you would get a $90 vise. There is a reason the equivalent vise from Shars (see ad at top of page) is $249, and why the equivalent Kurt vise is even more. A good vise is fundamental equipment. I don't think it's any place to cut corners.

    "Boring head.
    What should I be looking for and avoiding. Would like to be able to bore up to 5 or six inches. Will mostly be doing holes 2" or less."

    I've done okay with a 2" round "quality import" from . You can, by using the side hole and a left-hand boring bar (if that's not obvious it will be the first time you try to use the side hole), bore up to 6" holes with it. A 3" round head might be better if you contemplate doing a lot of that sort of thing. Again though, a more costly Criterion boring head is of better quality.

    "End mills.
    I have quite a few smaller sizes but I would like a set. Preferably in a box.
    I see Enco is advertising 20 double ended HSS end mill sets for less than $100. Good buy? Or avoid them."

    Don't know. They would probably work. As you get experience I think you'll find the name-brand ones are worth the money. Just starting out, however, you are going to burn up or otherwise destroy end mills faster than somebody more experienced -- everybody does as they go through the learning curve -- and it's less painful to do that to a $5 import than to a $25 Weldon.

    "Face mill for smaller surfacing jobs.
    OR fly cutter?"

    Flycutters are cheaper, and do work assuming you can sharpen the toolbit. How much facing do you plan to do? Can you justify the cost of a face mill over a flycutter?

    "Carbide insert tooling for lathe. Looking for something common and reasonably priced that can be used in a variety of holders. TPG? I have some TPG inserts and boring bars to hold them. I also have a fairly large supply of CNMG inserts and a right and left hand negative rake holders."

    I'm a fan of HSS toolbits, so I can't comment.

    One thought to keep in mind: you say you are young with a lifetime to use the tools you buy. All the more reason to get good tools. A good tool will last you your lifetime and always be a pleasure to use. Cheap stuff will break and wear out, and always be an irritation. The cost of a Shars vise (taking the middle ground on cost) spread out over the next 40 years gets pretty small. So does the cost of a Kurt vise, for that matter.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


    • #3
      You got some good answers there, let me ask some good questions.

      What kind of machines do you have? Most home shop lathes just don't have the speed and/or HP to take advantage of carbide insert tooling. If you still insist upon using it, I suggest we discuss that in detail because I have issues with TPG inserts, and CNMG's require some torque to use. If you have just the right negative rake inserts with positive geometry, it can work.

      End mills? My dad bought one of the those sets of TiN-coated solid carbide end mills from Enco. He's a toolmaker with over 40 years of experience, and still managed to have a pile of chipped and broken scrap carbide. I can imagine the HSS sets aren't any better. Look for specials on name-brand tools, and buy those when you can. Lots of deals out there on good stuff without buying China rejects.

      It's probably just me, but I prefer quality tools that I buy ONCE. In the case of "perishable" tooling such as end mills, drills and taps, if you get lucky and have a local guy who can resharpen, costs drop. Some people tool up to do the resharpening themselves. I don't machine so much that the flow of new, sharp tools in is far greater than the growth of the pile of dull tools.

      You can look around this site (and others) for some lively discussions about tooling, no need to rehash a lot of here.


      • #4
        What kind of mill do you own? That would help determine the size boring head to buy.


        • #5
          Get a decent vise.....spend at least $250 unless you can find a good used one.

          As for Indexable stuff, I've got about the same lathe you do, and I have one of those cheapo 5 piece sets that uses the triangle inserts. The inserts are cheap on eBay, and they work fine. I would also search on eBay for "tooling lot" and buy yourself a pile of hss/brazed carbide stuff for $70 or can never have enough of these, as they get ground special for a variety of jobs. The Chinese hss bits work ok on aluminum, but leave something to be desired on steel.

          For flycutters, you've got the mill and lathe....make one as big as you need. Make it accept a commonly available insert. Here's a pic of a 5" one I made:

          I should add....this can only be used with a soft steel shank the screws can bite in...I found that out the hard way.

          Endmills: once again, watch eBay. The cheapo 20 piece set will get you started and that stuff will work ok on aluminum and mild steel. I'd look for some carbide endmills and ball nose endmills, and a few with a small radius....etc for whatever you'll be doing. I've got a bunch that I bought used and a handful of new ones that will accomplish everything I need to do.
          Last edited by lbhsbz; 03-19-2011, 01:16 PM.


          • #6
            Mill Vise.
            The one you show is probably going to be unsatisfactory. Inexpensive vises tend to lift the part when tightened, a big PITA. Kurt has a much better reputation. Glacern has been suggested as a cost effective new vise.
            Glacern Machine Tools manufacturers CNC Machine Vises, Precision Tool Holders, and Indexable Milling Cutters for vertical and horizontal cnc milling machines.

            Boring head.
            If you are going for 6" then I suggest a 3" diameter head. The drawback is the larger size 3/4" boring bars. They make it harder for small holes, although you can make a 3/4" to 1/2" bushing easily.

            End mills.
            Sets of end mills are usually from import mfgrs. They are fine for Aluminum and plastics. For steels, I suggest name brand USA cutters. Buy the sizes you need.

            Face mill for smaller surfacing jobs.
            OR fly cutter?
            If you are going to be surfacing hot rolled plate, or has been flame cut, you are going to need carbide. Insert face mill would be my choice. If you have a diamond wheel to sharpen carbide, then you can get by with a fly cutter and brazed carbide. If surfacing is always small diameter, material like mild steel or softer, then a HSS fly cutter would be my choice.

            Carbide insert tooling for lathe.
            Given your stock on hand, I'm not sure what else I'd suggest. Need more info about the jobs. You say "farm equipment", that leads me to think there might be a fair amount of rebuilding shafts, after welding. If that's the case, post the job, and listen to PixMan.
            I do suggest having the proper equipment (and knowledge) to grind HSS tool bits. Stocking an insert for every possible o-ring or snap ring groove can get expensive pretty quick, on the off chance you will need such a tool bit.



            • #7
              I didn't mention the model of the mill earlier. It is a Jet JTM-1 9x42 with DRO and power X-feed. It has an R-8 spindle.

              You got it right on the repairs. Building up shafts and cutting back to size. A keyway here and there. Maybe a slot once in awhile.

              I do primarily welding and related fabrication/repair. I do not want to run a machine shop. I can't compete in that area. I want to get away from simple jobs that I have to farm out. Paying out $22 for a keyway isn't bad, but I have an hour round trip to drop off and pick up the part. Same goes for turning a shaft down for a bearing to fit. That adds quite a bit to my customer's cost. If I can do it in house, I can save my customer money. At the same time, I can use the equipment for my own projects.

              I suggested that cheap vise because I'm currently poor and it's got to be better than the 6" drill press vise I've got mounted now. You'd laugh if you saw it. I would plan on upgrading to a Kurt or similar in the future and rotating the cheapy over to the drill press. I picked the cheap set of endmills because I don't know for sure which ones I will use the most. I figured the ones I use frequently will get replaced with better quality ones as I use 'em up. Just looking to cover as many needs as possible up front for cheap and refine/upgrade my tooling as I go.

              Maybe I should post a pic of the tooling I've got and go from there?


              • #8

                You can get by with no vice for rekeying shafts simply by laying them in the table groove and then clamping them down. In fact, for long shafts I prefer doing it that way over trying to balance a 4ft shaft while tightening a vice. Vices are handy for small parts and repeatable jobs. And mill vices make crappy drill press vices, too heavy and clunky. So when you do buy a vice, buy a good one.

                If you are rebuilding ag equipment you should know what size end mills you will need. Generally 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8" will cover most shaft keyways. 1/8" and 1/2" aren't seen too often. After that, a couple 3/4" end mills should get you started. Niagara makes a decent endmill. I've had very good results with them over the years. A set of woodruff cutters would also be handy.

                Your mill will be happy with a 3" boring head. As nice as Criterion's are, save your money and buy a better quality import from somewhere like MSC. You are unlikely to do enough boring to justify the added expense.

                For facing, I would recommend a mid priced face mill of 2" to 3". Time is money, and sharpening bits for a fly cutter and then using it at the slow feed and speeds they run at make them money losers. Inserts can be quickly flipped to a fresh edge and off you go. And if you think you simply must have a fly cutter, make one yourself.

                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


                • #9
                  OK guys, I've got another question.
                  I am considering buying an 8" 3 jaw chuck. I currently have a 6" that runs pretty true, but the bore through the center is too small, too often for my tastes. I also have a 10" that I really like, but has been set aside because it does not run true anymore. I think I can re-grind the jaws, but that will be done later.
                  Back to the question.... Do you guys prefer two piece jaws that can be reversed or the one piece jaws where you have an inner clamping set and an outer clamping set? I do flip my jaws quite a bit and am worried about the fit getting sloppy with the two piece ones. My current chucks are two piece.


                  • #10
                    Two piece - then you can easily attach soft jaws.


                    • #11
                      I agree - 2 piece jaws!

                      I have 2 older 8" 3-jaw Pratt-Bernurd (sp?) chucks that came with my lathe. I only use the one with the 2-piece jaws. Not sure what I'm going to do with the other one!



                      • #12
                        If you get a boring head then you have a flycutter. No point in making a flycutter when you can have almost any diameter flycutter with a bar in the cross hole. Peter
                        The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.