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  • Last Chance

    The End is Near

    The last day for submitting tips for the Forum Tipbook will be Sunday, August 1st. On Monday, the book will begin the publication phase. I'm still in need of material.

    Feel free to post anything you like. You never know who you may be helping out in the future. Not only is this a chance to help fellow machinists, but to get something for free to boot! Don't be shy!

    Thanks in advance for your help, and have a fun and safe weekend


  • #2
    A small tip that can save a lot of trouble.

    When trying to remove a bolt or nut in an impossible tight spot, like on a typical auto engine, where you can barely get the wrench on. You can't use a cheater bar as there is no room and you can't hammer on the wrench as you can't even get the hammer close.

    What I did was: place the box end of the wrench on the bolt, placed a long wrench down into the bowels of the auto with the open end over the handle of the other wrench (perpendicular) and hammered on the box end of the large wrench.
    After moving a few degrees I reset the box wrench for a few times till it was loose enough to spin off.

    A pickle fork would be a better choice to strike on if its long enough, or you can make a special purpose tool, just a piece of bar or pipe of suitable length with a slot at one end.


    • #3
      Another small tip.

      Those plastic soda crates make a great tool rack when turned over and fastened to a wall with drywall screws driven right through the plastic or for heavier tools, held up with a couple of shelf brackets.


      • #4
        I'd be afraid to total the money I've spent on this hobby -- especially on machinery and related things that I swiftly out grew, found were unsuitable for one reason or another, or just purchased unwisely. If I had it to do over again (knowing what I know now), I'd have had more patience and a goal oriented savings plan, waited for a while, and bought a top of the line machine to begin with.

        If you buy something that you have to shim up with other contraptions to get any work done, this hobby will nickel and dime you to death. Some rules I've concocted/stole:

        1. It is possible to do accurate small work on an accurate large machine. It is hellishly difficult to do large work of any accuracy at all on a smaller machine, no matter how accurate.
        2. The lathe size required is not dependent upon the size of the work to be held -- this is a fatal mistake. It is actually calculated by the holding space necessary to hold the jigs and fixtures you will need to make the jigs and fixtures that will ultimately hold the work. Jigs and fixtures are the most important part of the process - skimp on those, and you'll be punting throughout the entire process. (football sound heard in the background)
        3. There is no substitute for quality. A good machine will generally be more forgiving about your mistakes than a bad machine will be about your good skills. US tool bits really are different than Chinese.
        4. If you can't get key parts, it's not a good deal. Period. There is, of course, the thought that you should make it yourself, but if you only have room for one lathe and it is broken, your options are limited.
        5. If it doesn't cut screws or have feeds, think twice, no matter how "good" the deal. (see 1. above)
        6. Do what works for other people who know what they're doing, even if the reasons aren't clear. They've already figured it out, and have endured the pain. Why not just follow their example?

        I'm sure others more knowledgeable and experienced than I have much more to add....

        Bob (who'd have lots more money if he followed his own advice)


        • #5
          You can use a dowel pin as an edge finder by putting a thin coat of layout dye or marker on the surface, and then touching it to the workpiece with the spindle running. when you see silver instead of blue (or black or whatever color) you know that you are just touching the surface. The same principle can be used for surface grinding. when you just grind off the color you know that you are just touching.

          Another tip is for parting of in the lathe. It's not extremely precise, but it works good when you have several pieces to part off. Using the tailstock and a drill chuck, chuck a piece of rod into the chuck to act as a stop, then lock the tailstock in place. next, feed your bar through the headstock spindle until it hits the stop. The thickness of the part is determined by the distance from the stop to the edge of the parting tool. From then on all you have to do is move the stock up to the stop for each successive cut.


          • #6
            When trying to get a screw down a long slender hole and get it started but it keeps falling off the driver just at the moment of impact.Try this!
            Heat a candle dip the screwdriver in the wax for a second then fix the screw to it with the wax then carefully lower it down the hole then start the thread slowly.
            It will break off eventually when it is started ,but it usually is enough to get the threads going Alistair
            Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


            • #7
              Another tip is to use hot melt glue and a false front made out of mdf on your lathes face plate this can be bolted on your lathe. And the article needing faced etc glued on to this can usually be easily removed later but will hold a tremendous amount against oposing pressure of the tool Alistair
              Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


              • #8
                Something I do on the lathe or mill to see if I have machined a complete area is to use a regular wide black felt pen to cover the surface. It can be applied all over or just specifically to one area. It won't overspray such as spray blueing and doesn't have much smell. I also will mark pieces in the lathe before touching with the cutter as it is hard to see a shiny mark on shiny metal, but you can see a shiny mark on a black piece of metal.



                • #9
                  Maybe been mentioned before, but anyway. While organising some of my scraps, I wished I knew for certain what alloy I had in hand. Even for a small cutoff, it would be nice to know what it is for sure. Keep a chart and a set of colored felt markers handy, and make your own legend, following your suppliers' coding if you can. Near the bandsaw is a good location for it.

                  I just discovered that aluminum knitting needles make a good source for small diameter tubing, and it's already anodized. Car antennas are a source of small diameter chrome over brass tubing. Some rabbit ears, especially what comes with tv's, also a source.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                  • #10
                    Need to clean up steel swarf? Magnet in a baggie works well. Also, if you have a spare old switchable magnetic indicator stand switch it on to pick up the swarf and switch it off and it falls off.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                    • #11
                      Not sure if this has been mentioned before. I kinda hit upon it myself through trial and error. I route sheet aluminum 1/8" and a little less with a trim router and a 2 flute flush bit with a bearing. It follows a pattern or template. I constantly had problems with the chips melting to the cutters. I tried lots of things, but the thing that eliminated this is candle wax. I rub a standard candle along the path where I am following the template on the aluminum surface. The heat from the bit melts the wax in the immediate area and lubricates the bit and prevents this cutter clog.
                      I also drill a lot of aluminum. Hit the spinning bit in the drill press once or twice with the candle and the pig tails don't stick to the bit either. There are many uses for candle (parafin) wax in my shop. It is a fine cheap lubricant. You can even use scented candles, just don't get caught.


                      [This message has been edited by Lee (edited 07-31-2004).]


                      • #12

                        Beeswax has long been used as a lube for cutting and especially drilling aluminum. I use commercial wax sticks to lube my bandsaw when cutting aluminum. It doesn't mess with the tires.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          my tip. when threading to a shoulder using a die,start die as usual and run up to the shoulder. then turn the die around to finnish the last few threads.looking forward to the tipbook. rick


                          • #14
                            At the entrance to my shop areas I place rattan door mats, the kind with bristles all over. It works best to use two. You wipe off most of the swarf on your feet on the first one and the second catches most of the rest. They are very effective at keeping SWMBO happy. Shake them out from time to time.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                            • #15
                              A couple of simply made punches can make driving steel backed bronze bushings, needle bearings and other thin things from an inside bore. The have a forged foot on them are hardened and then ground with a radius so as to more easily conform to a bore ID. I make mine rather long to reach into deep bores from the back side.

                              a simulated view of there use.

                              Necessity is the mother of Invention