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  • Essentials for a newcomer's tool box.

    I have agreed to help a newcomer to Model Engineering get organised to begin building a 3 1/2" gauge loco ( LBSC"S Juliet ) We already have a lathe and a small bench top milling machine available. My friend already has a bench with a good vice and a wide selection of wood working tools. We have an empty machinist's toolbox simply waiting for the necessary measuring and other tools needed. What would the group consider to be " Essentials" to be able to build such a model.? I am sure that not all the tools I have are "essentials" and I do not want to overwhelm my friend with a list of unnecessary items., or encourage spending on items which while " Nice to have" are not basic essentials. That's why I am asking here.

    Regards David Powell.

  • #2
    I know bupkis from ModEng, but anyone with a lathe needs a micrometer, a decent set of calipers, probably some small hole gages, a reference flat which need not be large (6 x ) a test indicator and a dial indicator with stands to start.
    Also an old copy of Machinist's Handbook. All mine were handed down by fellows that retired and the oldest, published c.1914? still has salient info.

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    • #3
      For a mill, as a minimum, you pretty much need parallels, an edgefinder, an indicator, a clamp kit and if possible a vise. Drill bits, endmills and other tooling can be bought as needed. A set of Model Engineer magazines from about 1935 to 1985 would help too. It went for a crap in the '90's.
      The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

      Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Carm View Post
        I know bupkis from ModEng, but anyone with a lathe needs a micrometer, a decent set of calipers, probably some small hole gages, a reference flat which need not be large (6 x ) a test indicator and a dial indicator with stands to start.
        Also an old copy of Machinist's Handbook. All mine were handed down by fellows that retired and the oldest, published c.1914? still has salient info.
        Carm "Model Engineer" is an British Term for a machinist (frequently an amateur) that builds models like live steam trains, gas engines etc. at home. Not to be confused with the term "Home Shop Machinist" which has a machine shop of some kind at home but doesn't necessarily build models.
        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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        • #5
          Divide it up into 3 categories, Inspection tools, Tools and materials

          Inspection:
          Mike, Caliper (6") ,12 inch scale and square head,telescopic gauges, Mag base W/Dial Indicator. Flat plate of some sort, and maybe (?) a depth mike

          Tools
          End Mills, Drills and Center-drill and a C'sink. Lathe Tool Bits , Taps and dies , small files and a hacksaw and parallels, Machinist Clamps, Abrasive cloth/paper

          Material
          Small flat bar and small round stock, in both brass and steel. Misc. Aluminum for fixtures and an assortment of fasteners.

          Just a start on a 20 K $ investment
          Rich
          Green Bay, WI

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          • #6
            Originally posted by loose nut View Post
            Carm "Model Engineer" is an British Term for a machinist (frequently an amateur) that builds models like live steam trains, gas engines etc. at home. Not to be confused with the term "Home Shop Machinist" which has a machine shop of some kind at home but doesn't necessarily build models.
            Aha. Thanks for the definition.

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            • #7
              The first thing in the tool box should be a good set of tweezers!

              The first thing to buy is a good pair of tweezers and a small magnifying glass along with band-aids. Some antiseptic wouldn't hurt either. I find a 18 gauge hypodermic needle is the best for digging out the slivers. I have boxes of them because of our horses so they are readily available.
              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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              • #8
                A lever action indicator for centering stock.
                If aged over 50 a jewlers eyeglass for reading - well everything.
                A scribing block (home made) not a heaight gauge.
                Plate glass or granite kitchen offcut for surface plate.
                A vernier calliper is adequate - no need to get anal about micrometer accuracy and the spike on the back end is the depth gauge.
                Small holes are measured by seeing which drill fits, not special gauges.
                Model engineers don't make big holes so no need for telescopic gauges.
                No need for parallels as tool bits and bits of stock are adequate.
                Tissue paper still works where ciggy paper used to as an edge finder.
                Access to the internet to replace all those fusty old books.
                Felt tip instead of marking blue.
                No messing with sets of carbide tools or inserts, just a couple of bits of 1/4 in HSS as we can assume he has a bench grinder.

                Remember that half the people who built Juliet when it first came out probably didn't even have dials on their lathe's handwheels and measured everything off a rule with dividers.

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                • #9
                  I would add an optical enter punch to the list.there are many holes to be laid out in such a project, and many need to be quite accurately placed. I wish I had learned of these earlier in my life, would have saved a lot of filing. Bob.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Baz View Post
                    A lever action indicator for centering stock.
                    If aged over 50 a jewlers eyeglass for reading - well everything.
                    A scribing block (home made) not a heaight gauge.
                    Plate glass or granite kitchen offcut for surface plate.
                    A vernier calliper is adequate - no need to get anal about micrometer accuracy and the spike on the back end is the depth gauge.
                    Small holes are measured by seeing which drill fits, not special gauges.
                    Model engineers don't make big holes so no need for telescopic gauges.
                    No need for parallels as tool bits and bits of stock are adequate.
                    Tissue paper still works where ciggy paper used to as an edge finder.
                    Access to the internet to replace all those fusty old books.
                    Felt tip instead of marking blue.
                    No messing with sets of carbide tools or inserts, just a couple of bits of 1/4 in HSS as we can assume he has a bench grinder.

                    Remember that half the people who built Juliet when it first came out probably didn't even have dials on their lathe's handwheels and measured everything off a rule with dividers.
                    I think you've been a bit stingy with your list--sounds like what you'd find in a shop back in WWII. I think the world has moved on since then. I haven't used a scribing block in a long, long time; I haven't done a layout with dye in almost a long a time. A DRO on a lathe and a mill is a far more accurate way of doing things. Small surface plates can be had for pretty reasonable prices.

                    To some of us, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right and accurate measurements are the foundation of a well-built project. To that end you can buy Chinese micrometer sets for pretty reasonable prices and they'll be a lot more accurate--and easier to use--than a vernier caliper. Hell, if you don't want to spend the money on a set of mikes at least buy a decent digital caliper.

                    And yeah, we've all used "bits & pieces" instead of parallels but a nice set of ground parallels is sure nice to have. As to the tissue paper thing...ciggy papers are pretty damn cheap and work a lot better. A decent edgefinder is not that expensive and works even better.

                    HSS tool bits are OK if you've got nothing else but there is a lot of really good insert tooling out there right now. Some of the high-positive inserts in the smaller sizes will work as well as or better than HSS and last forever to boot.

                    Sometimes there's more to this game than the projects themselves; some of us enjoy purchasing and using good, quality tools. There's something about the look and feel of a tool in your hands; it just feels good to pull open a drawer and put your hands on "just the right tool" for a particular operation.

                    Since the OP is in Toronto and I'm sure there are lots of local suppliers (KBC, Kar Tool, Sowa, for example) I'd suggest maybe buying a few basics but then adding more tools as the need arises. This way most of what is purchased will be "needed" and it will also help to spread the purchases over a longer time frame...
                    Keith
                    __________________________
                    Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It may be helpful to write up an outline of all the machining operations that will need to be done, and identify the tools needed. I just finished doing that for my wobbler engine project, and it helped me to organize the work. There are many ways to do things and there is ofen no "best" way, as that depends on the tools you have, your budget for new ones, skill level, time constraints, and reasonable tolerance and finish. Like most things, you can do a job fast, cheap and well. Pick any two.

                      Here is my preliminary machining process outline, in Open Office format so you can edit it to your project details:

                      http://enginuitysystems.com/files/CA...or_Project.odt

                      If one or both of you can drive down from Toronto to Cabin Fever in York, PA,, you can pick up a lot of tooling for cheap, and get inspiration from the many model engines.
                      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                      USA Maryland 21030

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                      • #12
                        The most essential item: patience! This is a hobby that can't be hurried.
                        ----------
                        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

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                        • #13
                          It went for a crap in the '90's

                          maaan thart be constarpashon.Fuhr yahr bro.Dat es ah long taim needing a shirt brovahr.Jamaicahh ehh.Alistair
                          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                          • #14
                            Many thanks to all of you for your advice.

                            My friend will have the use of my shop and tools for this project, but she wants to have her own equipment at her home to be able to get on with it when I am not available. I do not want to overwhelm her with advice and unnecessary tools. She still has her late father's fabulous home made machinist's tool boxes but , regrettably, most of his tools were passed on to a relative who was beginning a career as a machinist. Some of my duplicate tools will help refill the boxes, and we will purchase others as needed, hopefully second hand quality stuff at club sales will fill some gaps. regards David Powell.

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                            • #15
                              If you're building from LBSC's words and music, one of the first things you probably should have is a list of threads you'll be using in place of M.E., BSF, and BA.
                              Last edited by cameron; 03-06-2015, 06:35 PM.

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