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Ideas On Making A Radius Cutting Tool

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  • Ideas On Making A Radius Cutting Tool

    I have several aluminum rounds that I need to face and put a 1/2" radius on one end. Rather than the bevel and file method I was thinking of making a radius cutting tool. I have some 1" wide x 1/4" thick tool steel that I would set in the mill vise at about 45 deg. and mill a pocket out with the appropriate size end mill. I know that would only give me an angle on one side but that would work fine. The flat cut side would serve a stop against the end of the round. I would then grind the top surface to get a sharp edge. Anyone have any better ideas or pics. I don't need to get too elaborate for this job.

    JL................

  • #2
    Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
    I have several aluminum rounds that I need to face and put a 1/2" radius on one end. Rather than the bevel and file method I was thinking of making a radius cutting tool. I have some 1" wide x 1/4" thick tool steel that I would set in the mill vise at about 45 deg. and mill a pocket out with the appropriate size end mill. I know that would only give me an angle on one side but that would work fine. The flat cut side would serve a stop against the end of the round. I would then grind the top surface to get a sharp edge. Anyone have any better ideas or pics. I don't need to get too elaborate for this job.

    JL................
    Unless you've got a fairly stout lathe, a 1/2" radius form tool will chatter like nuts. Do you have a rotary table? If so, I'd recommend a corner rounding endmill and do the job in the mill.

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    • #3
      Use a wood router cutter suitably mounted
      "...do you not think you have enough machines?"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Davidhcnc View Post
        Use a wood router cutter suitably mounted
        Better yet, use a wood router cutter with a bearing on the end mounted in the wood router....give things a shot of WD40 and run the router around it by hand with the workpiece a vise.

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        • #5
          Given that it's aluminum you're turning a form tool such as you suggest may work. If you get chatter you can always rough out the radius with a round nose tool and finish with the form tool.
          Rigidity of your setup will be the key. As Ibhsbz stated a small lathe may give you trouble but a stout 10" lor larger may allow you to get away with it.
          Although it isn't the same operation, a lot of people have trouble with chatter when parting on a 10" lathe and I did too initially. Once I got rid of the rocker in the lantern type tool post and replaced it with a solid disk the proper thickness to put the parting tool on center it was smooth sailing. Later I went to an Aloris type and continued to have success. Lack of rigidity was the biggest issue as I believe it would be with a form tool. You have little to lose but some time so why not try the from tool and do everything you can to enhance rigidity. The result may surprise you.

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          • #6
            I have a good solid lathe with an Aloris tool post. If I were turning steel I would have some concern about the chatter, but with the aluminum I'm not too worried. What I have learned in the past about chatter is if you turn the spindle by hand on your finish pass you can eliminate it.
            I have given thought to the other options mentioned, such as mounting a suitable router bit in the tool post but I'm afraid that it may slip and I'll ruin the shank.

            JL...................

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            • #7
              You can make a form tool or use the router bit. Either will work fine. I've done it lots of times. I use the carbide router bits exclusively now on aluminum. I only get the 1/2" shank ones. They are rigid and cut really well.
              Kansas City area

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              • #8
                If you want a fast easy way, forget making a radius tool, you can do that later when you have time

                I would fasten a radius form to your lathe ways and add a rigid pointer to the Aloris Holder. It has a threaded hole on it for mounting "stuff"
                When set up right, you can use any tool bit and feed the tool post to the right and inward .
                The radius form will keep you on the radius. You can adjust the tool slide to get the right work piece OD
                Once you get it, the tool bit can be used as a stop for placing stock in the chuck , leaving about .010 to .020 on the length.
                This way you can take a small cut, or a large one. Doing it with Aluminum makes it easy compared to steel with this method.

                Rich
                Green Bay, WI

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                  You can make a form tool or use the router bit. Either will work fine. I've done it lots of times. I use the carbide router bits exclusively now on aluminum. I only get the 1/2" shank ones. They are rigid and cut really well.
                  This was my first thought......... I have some carbide bits that have a close radius but they are 1/4" shanks, if anything will cause chatter using a router bit in this manner will aside from the risk of it slipping and messing up the shank.

                  Rich...... I can't quite picture the method you mention about clamping a piece of flat stock to the bed way.

                  JL................

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                  • #10
                    I may not understand what you are trying to do BUT…..if you have time make a version of Steve Bedair’s ball turner. Then in the future you can make any size ball or radius. I made one and it only took a few hours. Just a thought… if I am way off here please ignore me.

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                    • #11
                      Check out this video from mrpete222 on doing radius's. There are 2 parts to the videos.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQPtc5pKH7Y

                      My friend and I did this following video, it's turning wood but the principal is the same, but the radius is very large.

                      Steve

                      My youtube:
                      http://www.youtube.com/MyShopNotes

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by schor View Post
                        Check out this video from mrpete222 on doing radius's. There are 2 parts to the videos.

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQPtc5pKH7Y

                        My friend and I did this following video, it's turning wood but the principal is the same, but the radius is very large.

                        That is exactly what I had in mind. Wish I had a set of those tapered end mills, but it can be done as shown in the video by setting the piece up with a compound angle vise.

                        A ball turner would work also but I don't have one...... but it sounds like a good winter project.

                        JL....................

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                        • #13
                          #2 for a ball turner, easy to make and once set up, can do the job in minutes.Bob.

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                          • #14
                            Andy

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                              ....
                              Rich...... I can't quite picture the method you mention about clamping a piece of flat stock to the bed way.

                              JL................

                              Ok Joe, I made some pics for you to follow.
                              if I remember right, you also have an Atlas Clausing Lathe like mine ?

                              Anyway , you start with a rigid structure clamped to the Lathe bed.
                              Nothing fancy, just rigid. Here you see a simple setup . Two clamps and 3 blocks of the same height, and two bars ( Sq tubes shown)
                              Note the clamping across both lathe ways near the tail stock at 90 degrees. This makes for a very strong setup.
                              The main point is to have a parallel bar across the rear of the lathe's ways, and long enough to span the compounds movements.
                              Now, once the bar is mounted, you place a follower bar on the Aloris using the 3/8-16 threaded hole for clamping.
                              Note that I used an adjustable parallel under the follower bar to hold it straight and parallel at all times



                              Now you can add a support block, like a 123 block for height or clamping as shown ( optional).
                              Note that the Tool bit and the follower bar have the same tip radius !!!!!! This is important.
                              The follower bar can be any convenient shop material as long as it is rigid and matches the tool bit. ( sharp tips in photo)



                              Now mount the pattern you wish to follow.
                              In this case, I have a .500 radius using a radius Gage. But you can us any pattern ( Gage used because of need here , but not for production unless it's one off) . Not knocking radius tools ( I have a home made one in the lower right of the first photo !), but with this setup, you can do radius's, forms , and tapers ! There is NO LIMIT,and it allows VERY accurate profiles to be made....if you have the master to follow. In this Pic, I have aligned the tool bit to the work centerline, and the follower to the profile centerline




                              The last step is to check diameter as shown here below .
                              Done ---ready for work and simple to create for those odd jobs.
                              When loading stock, back the carriage about .01" off the right, and feed the stock up to the tool bit and away you go
                              Now just feed your tool from left to right while feeding in and the form will only allow you top go is as far as the pattern.

                              Works great for all kinds of odd stuff too.
                              Rich

                              Green Bay, WI

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