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Engine turning a countertop?

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  • Engine turning a countertop?

    I have a piece of stainless steel that I am going to be using for a countertop in the garage. It is 2' wide and 12' long. I was thinking about doing an engine turned finish on the top of it. Anyone think that it might be bad idea? What would you use to make the circles with? I am thinking like 4" or 6" circles. I also only have access to a drill press at this time but I would be able to come from both sides of the the sheet so I would have to come up with some sort of jig to index it.

  • #2
    Well, 4" circle and it is 24" wide. So to reach the center you will need at least a 10" inch throat on the DP: 11 would be better to allow for the overlap of the circles. If you don't have that, then you will need to do it by hand.

    As far as indexing, you could use a couple of quick acting clamps and a block of wood that is as wide as the circle spacing (perhaps 3" or so). A fence behind the DP table to line up a row. A clamp only on the sheet metal one side of the table (right) to mark where you are (against the edge of the table). Do the first circle. Block of wood against other side of table (left) and second clamp against that clamp on the sheet metal to mark the interval. Remove wood block and slide to the right. Move first clamp against right edge of table and do second circle. Repeat moving clamps in same sequence to end of metal. Then reverse it and do circles from the other edge. Then adjust rear fence for second rows and repeat all of above. Do a third and fourth fence spacing as needed.

    You will have to modify the procedure at the two ends of the strip but you can clamp to the table instead of just putting the clamp on the metal.

    Do post a picture, this sounds interesting.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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    • #3
      I thought about it and I think that the drill press might be out. I was thinking the sizing on it was how much depth was there, but I am sure it is rated like the swing on a lathe . I will have to give it some more thought about setting it up to do by hand. I also have to look at the DP and see if the head is movable on the column, I may be able to move it all the way down and rotate it opposite of the table and base and secure it to a bench with enough room to get the entire sheet under.

      What would be the suggestions for actually making the circles? I was thinking maybe one of those holders that the use the screw on scotchbrite type pads. I will have to look and see what sizes are available in them.

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      • #4
        Why not use an electric/battery drill on slow speed with an adapter made to hold a block of wood and use valve grinding compound to make the circles.
        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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        • #5
          Problem you will end up with, is it is a delicate type finish. When doing gold leaf, patent leaf or the new sign gold. The turning is down by hand with a cotton ball in silk. With a number of layers of a heavy varnish over it.

          Rarely will you see a horizontal surface with it as any scratches in the pattern will scream look at me. Unless you are going to put a layer of plastic sheet on it or the resin sold as the table top finish, bar top or some other brand. Which over time will turn yellow to brown and deepen with age.

          If any place will hold your answer it is engineturning.com forum

          Something to look at
          Not really engine turning a closer look says engine milling as it is 3D.
          Glen
          Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
          I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
          All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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          • #6
            I don't think I would be able to make the circles(pattern) consistent enough for my OCD to not have my brain go into overload using a hand drill. I am not expecting this to be absolutly perfect, but little things bug me . Besides, making things harder on yourself is half the fun, isn't it?

            What type of wood is used when doing it with lapping compound? Is the wood a consumable or will it last the entire project with the same results?

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            • #7
              PTsideshow, thats why I was wondering if it was a bad idea. This counter is going to be used, and I don't think I want the hassel of trying to seal it. It would kind of defeat the purpose of using stainless in the first place.

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              • #8
                IF IT's going to be used as a countertop, whatever you do it will not last long! If you want it to look pretty, hang it on the wall. Stainless will develop a nice patina after a while when used as a work surface Wouldn't be my first choice as a work top unless it is thick enough to resist dentingBob F.

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                • #9
                  I watched a guy use a 4" angle grinder and sanding disc to 'jewel' the stainless doors and trim on a hotel elevator. Just a bunch of overlapping semi-circles and it looked great!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oxford
                    I thought about it and I think that the drill press might be out. I was thinking the sizing on it was how much depth was there, but I am sure it is rated like the swing on a lathe . I will have to give it some more thought about setting it up to do by hand. I also have to look at the DP and see if the head is movable on the column, I may be able to move it all the way down and rotate it opposite of the table and base and secure it to a bench with enough room to get the entire sheet under.

                    What would be the suggestions for actually making the circles? I was thinking maybe one of those holders that the use the screw on scotchbrite type pads. I will have to look and see what sizes are available in them.
                    There's a guy done a engine turning on youtube and he proposes a jig with spacers that you swap round to generate each row in the right place without moving it. He also swears by a wooden dowel with grinding paste or diamond lapping compound on the end of it.
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzN7QBlnpUI

                    I did some engine turning the other day freehand-ish in the dp with just a clamped fence and some spacers in one direction as a experiment maybe for engine cases on bikes after seeing it discussed on here, and its not perfect but it does look good when the light changes direction. I used a small abrasive stone because I couldnt find any lapping paste, and by the end of the test piece it was finished. I have some crazy idea that I can use the rotary table and a index plate to do circular jeweling too.

                    Would swinging the head round get you any advantage? the limitation surely will be the column throat depth to spindle to accept the sheet, not the table, or do you propose to drop the head so much that it can extend past the base/bottom of the column?

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                    • #11
                      I'm no expert here but will share what I can remember from people in that business. The actual engine turned finish would be very difficult. The one operation that I saw had a 8 spindle mahcine doing 2" circles, seems like it was about two minutes of even pressure per circle using a leather pad charged with polishing grit. This was almost 25 years ago and I dont remember the grit size but the scratch lines would be fvery fine and subject to rubbing off easily. THe company that did this only used it in the verticle position for show areas of the machines they built because it was slow to apply and not durable. Also the overlap is really only a 1/4 of a circle so you will be doing a lot of circles and getting even pressure over that area time the number of circles you will be doing??? Gonna be difficult.

                      If you want something more durable then sanding disc with 60-120 grit would be the much faster way in a home shop. You could lay out grid with pemanent markers. If yo have been through DIA airport they have hand polished sheets wrapping all the columns in the terminal that look pretty good. A big help with speedng the process is to start with a number 4 ( 180 grit ) finish sheet as it well hide alot of errors and small missed spots. The standard 2B finish ( means cold rolled bright) is a little dull and you pretty much have to grind all that off so it does not look multi colored. With the number 4 finish thats already been done. You would have the whole back side of the sheet to experiment on

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bob Fisher
                        IF IT's going to be used as a countertop, whatever you do it will not last long! If you want it to look pretty, hang it on the wall. Stainless will develop a nice patina after a while when used as a work surface Wouldn't be my first choice as a work top unless it is thick enough to resist dentingBob F.
                        Thats what I am affraid of. I think I might be better off leaving it as is and maybe doing a backsplash with the engine turning. The sheet is only 14ga. but I am going to build the counter with two 3/4" sheets of compressed partical board laminated together then contact cement the stainless top on like a traditional formica top counter. It should serve the intended purposes pretty well, but may dent with a heavy blow. The sheet of stainless I have was free and it has a 1.5" lip bent down on the front edge. Most of the work planned for the counter is going to be light weight, mostly small assemblys, writing, mixing chemicals, ect.

                        I have a different table that I am making that will double as a welding/heavy work bench. This will see most of the abuse a normal work bench sees. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...t=53813&page=2 this will have a 1/2" or 3/4" top.

                        Originally posted by MrFluffy
                        Would swinging the head round get you any advantage? the limitation surely will be the column throat depth to spindle to accept the sheet, not the table, or do you propose to drop the head so much that it can extend past the base/bottom of the column?
                        Yes I was thinking that you would have to drop the head down far enough so the spindle would extend down past the base and then mount it to a table with a small shim under the base and offset enough to get the depth neeed.

                        To the others, thanks for the replies. As far as the input needed and outcome over time, I am really thinking that just doing a small backsplash for this will be a better idea.

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                        • #13
                          How about taking a piece of plywood and cutting a round hole in it the size of your sanding disk/pad? 4", 6", whatever size the sanding disk pad is. Then use the plywood jig to contain the spinning sanding disk so it doesn't wander all over the place.

                          A few indexing marks to consistently move the plywood jig and a easy way to clamp it to the stainless and I'm guessing you could do all of them by hand and ignore the drill press or trying it 100% freehand.

                          Also remember you have the backside of the sheet so you can try all different ways of doing it on the back until you get the hang of it. You could try different grits too. How about just sprinkle sand on it and then hit it with a spinning rubber pad?

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                          • #14
                            About 1 minute into this video:

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhLyC...eature=related

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