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Getting started with lathe mill combo, super basics needed

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  • Getting started with lathe mill combo, super basics needed

    I just got a Grizzly G0516 mill/lathe combo with some accessories and got it set up and running. I obtained the machinery's handbook and while it is very informative and I can clearly see its use as an aerospace engineer, what I really need is some real world practice pushing buttons and turning wheels. I am looking for advice on good sources for getting started in learning the equipment. Are there any really good "getting started" books or video series that walk you through starter projects? Are there any must have tools or accessories that I should go ahead and get? I have some ideas of what I would like to do long term but for now I would be content to just get comfortable with basics.

  • #2
    First, WELCOME to the forum!

    Take a look at the thread -

    In there is a link to a "beginners projects book" - a free pdf download. It gives plans and directions for shop made tools and jigs. Good practice for beginners.

    Beyond that, we'll need some idea of what your interests are - home/yard/garden/farm/truck/tractor/aircraft maintenance? Miniature engines? Rube Goldberg devices? Gunsmithing? There is a whole world of ideas to start from.

    More tools than sense.


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum!

      If you have any trade school/night courses available these would be my first suggestion.

      If not, there are some good pamphlets put out by South Bend Lathe Works that can get you started. I believe these are still being reprinted - but not sure.

      An important reason that I suggest classes is because schools are usually very concerned with safety and there are lots of safety issues with ANY machine tool that has a powered spindle.

      I'm sure others will chime in with their favorite YouTube or other great info and I extend my best wishes to you and a thank you for continuing the craft.

      on edit: See, Kevin beat me to it!
      Last edited by jhe.1973; 01-07-2014, 12:10 PM.
      Best wishes to ya’ll.



      "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

      "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

      Location: Bustling N.E. Arizona


      • #4
        Welcome to the forum, we'll be nice for now since you're new here. Post your general location, there may be a club in your area you might find of help. You might even find a mentor close by. Bob.


        • #5
          The title "Machinery Handbook" is quite inaccurate, isn't it?

          It should be "Mechanical Engineering Reference", instead....


          • #6
            [QUOTE=KJ1I;896350]First, WELCOME to the forum

            In there is a link to a "beginners projects book" - a free pdf download. It gives plans and directions for shop made tools and jigs. Good practice for beginners.

            KJ1I, I looked at the link but didn't find a 'beginners project book' pdf. I am always interested in beginners projects.



            • #7
              Great response, thanks! I am interested ultimately in machine tool skills related to aircraft fabrication, gunsmithing, and automotive. I want to improve some things I currently do like cutting tubing with fish mouths for aircraft fuselages and control rods etc. And add the ability to make all sorts of useful parts. And I do have an itch to try some small steam or IC engine fabrication. I am sort of working into this backward from 3D printing, I got a good understanding of how CNC works because 3D printing is the same thing only you deposit material instead of removing it so I looked at the amazing CNC conversions for the Grizzly (and other) combo units which I am going to do, but figured I should learn the manual skills first and it is all great fun.


              • #8
                When I started machining there were not a lot of guides available. I found the US Army publication Training Circular Number 9-524 (TC 9-524) "Fundamentals of Machine tools" was quite helpful. The military web site that hosted it is now behind a firewall, but I found a copy at .

                You can jump in at chapter 7 for the lathe, or read the whole thing. Virtually everything translates to current models of manual machines. Youtube videos make a good supplement if there are questions.

                At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                Location: SF East Bay.


                • #10
                  I have that same machine though I've since mounted the mill on a base I bought from the Little Machine Shop.

                  I've started blogging my projects here:

                  Here's another G0516 site:

                  It has been a good setup for the small stuff I do and fun to use.


                  • #11
                    Another G0516 owner here.

                    I'm in agreement with DP. As soon as you can, move the mill head to its own base. Its well worth the effort.

                    Its been a good starter machine and has served me well.

                    Some links to projects done with and on this machine.


                    Last edited by rythmnbls; 01-07-2014, 03:19 PM.


                    • #12
                      I started out with the Griz G0516 machine and soon found out I wanted a separate Mill away from the lathe. Bought the table kit from Little Machine shop and really liked it. You will want to visit Little Machine Shop for spare parts because you going to need a replacement gear kit before long, trust me I know. Soon after I separated the two machines I bought the Z axis extender rack which give you 2 or 3 inches more under the chuck clearance. Well as every one here will testify, your just getting started into spending all you extra cash.
                      Mostly important thing is your going to enjoy it and wish you got stared in the hobby sooner.
                      Little Machine Shop does have a section on their web site that will help you with tooling and what they are used for.
                      I almost forgot, Welcome to the forum.

                      I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
                      Oregon Coast


                      • #13
                        I'm somewhat of a newbie myself, but I would also like to welcome you to the forum. Seems like a bunch of good guys (and perhaps one or two women), who enjoy helping others with their knowledge, proudly displaying projects in various stages of design and completion, and venting when the inevitable screw-ups occur. "My Tractor Forum" has a sub-forum for "What have you broken lately?", and that is often as valuable (and sometimes more entertaining) as seeing everything done perfectly.

                        I'm not far from No. VA, just N of Baltimore, and my BIL lives in Rockville, so it would not be unreasonable to collaborate in person. I'm more of an electronics engineer but I love working with my hands and seeing chunks of metal transformed into chips that reveal the beautiful part that is hidden within (as a sculptor might say).
                        Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                        USA Maryland 21030


                        • #14
                          Do a youtube search for:

                          tubal cain machinist

                          Here's one episode:

                          This guy taught metal shop for decades. He'll teach you about lathes, mills, how to sharpen lathe bits, cutting torches, plasma, it's quite extensive.

                          You can also watch a guy run his all purpose fabrication and repair machine shop, Keith Fenner at turwright machine shop:


                          Don't blame me for all the hours you invest. Between the two of them, you can pick up some pretty good skills for the metal shop.

                          And yeah, don't underestimate the safety thing. If you need extra convincing, we can show you the gory pictures of guys maimed and killed by their machines.

                          I still have all my fingers and appendages.

                          Welcome aboard!



                          • #15
                            Bit of an electronics nut myself, HAM radio operator and collector of vintage arcade video games and pinball. Come to think of it there are even parts in that hobby that could benefit such as hard to get or badly designed collars and cams on flippers or control parts on video games that have been out of production for 30 years.

                            And @ Steve, amazing work on that turbine. I have a Kolibri which is destined for a Midwest Jetster 20 but right now is being used to drown out a noisy neighbor, I dare that woman to scream laugh louder than a jet engine. I have a back catalog in my mind of many parts in many hobbies that will benefit from having the capability to do this work. I have been meaning to take this step for a while.

                            In addition to the mill I ordered:

                            60 something piece clamping kit
                            20 piece 4 flute end mill kit
                            20 piece carbide tool bit set
                            dial indicator kit
                            123 block kit
                            edge and center finder set
                            soluble oil and spray bottle

                            Also, is something like this simple enough to consider or should I forget it for later?