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Setting stock onto parallels - brass hammer, lead hammer, dead blow ???

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  • Setting stock onto parallels - brass hammer, lead hammer, dead blow ???

    The Battle Shaper is almost ready to make it's first cut in the new home (pictures will be coming soon).

    I've been reading lots of manuals about shapers. One thing they stress about setting stock into the shaper vice is to gently seat the stock onto the parallels using a copper or lead hammer. They stress that hitting it too hard can cause bounce back and the part won't be seated on the parallels.

    What about using a dead blow hammer instead? Would that work better?

  • #2
    Have not tried brass or lead, but a dead blow hammer works awsome. One hit and it's done. One of the most usefull buys for my shop.

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    • #3
      I have lead, brass and every other sort of hammer, but almost always use a dead blow as the preferred hammer.
      It's really NBD, they probably say that ('stressing against hitting it too hard') to keep the clueless from beating the hell out of things for no good reason. Just lightly snug the vise, and tap away. Make sure neither end of both parallels will wiggle after seating and final tightening. If they don't really want to move, you are good to go. It won't take you long to see exactly what it takes.
      Location: North Central Texas

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      • #4
        It isn't the hammer material it's just how tight the vise is. No matter the hammer if the vise is too tight the work won't move and if too loose the work bounces. So get the vise just right. It only takes a little experience. :-)
        ...lew...

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        • #5
          I use my fingertips.
          "...do you not think you have enough machines?"

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          • #6
            Dead blow hammer is just the ticket. When shapers were common I don't think the dead blow had been invented yet.

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            • #7
              I do not like the dead bow for that.

              You know, you do not whale away on it, you snug the vise and tap, tighten and tap. A "tap" can be a solid hit, but with the lead hammer, it usually can be lifting the hammer off the part a few inches, and essentially letting it fall, maybe with a little extra push. It is not "blacksmithing".

              The good part about the lead hammer is that it has mass, it delivers a solid hit, and does not rebound. The dead blow does not rebound, but is lighter, and does not deliver as solid a hit. it is also usually bigger, and so is clumsy to use with smaller parts, easier to deliver a hit somewhat "askew", etc with the bigger deadblow.

              When you tap with the lead hammer, you can HEAR when the part seats, and even feel it in the hammer, it becomes "solid", and "sounds solid" when it hits bottom and stays there. You know when you have the part "down" and do not have to guess, no need to give some extra whacks "to be sure", etc.
              CNC machines only go through the motions

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              • #8
                Dead blow with a tap is fine. It's a job they are perfect for. Rubber mallets just bounce, and lead or brass can mar or ding your parts. I have an Armstrong dead blow with replaceable faces that I use everyday. Works perfect.

                Tighten vise, tap part, check parallels with fingers. If you can wiggle them, tap again.

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                • #9
                  A dead blow will work fine. Lixie has been building dead blows for more than 60 years and has been in business for more than 70 years, in my opinion the only hammer needed in the shop. I have 3 different sizes and bought my 1st one 36-37 years ago when I started building molds. i have my fathers Lixie that he had from about 1960, finally had to replace the hickory handle about 3 years ago.

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                  • #10
                    Never had a problem with dings and mars. Not with lead. Copper and brass hammers can definitely to some "inadvertent forging", or "upsetting", but lead does not.

                    You do need to be reasonable in how you use nearly any striking tool.... The "hit" with a lead hammer may be just dropping onto the part from 1 or 2 cm above.... no need for an overhand swing.....

                    A good dead blow hammer may be fine, mine is not, it has too soft a face. No ability whatsoever to "feel" or hear how the part is setting. But every lead hammer works the same way....
                    CNC machines only go through the motions

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                    • #11
                      No matter how hard or how easy you tap, if the moving jaw on your vice can "kick up" at all as the vice is tightened, it won't matter. The tap serves to knock the material down onto the parallels and the moveable jaw which is partially kicked up will go down as well. Then immediately following the tap, the jaw will jump up again taking the part with it. I have 3 different mill vices and two of them do this without fail. The third vice is a tool makers grinding vice with a "pull down and wedge" type of action, but is inconvenient to use.
                      Brian Rupnow
                      Design engineer
                      Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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                      • #12
                        My favorite tool for this purpose is an ingot of babbit bearing material. It weights three pounds and is conveniently sized to use in the close quarters of a milling machine. It is used as Jerry suggests, allowing the weight of the piece to do the work.

                        A frequently found tool in many tool collections is a lead "egg" used for the machinist for this purpose. A hammer is just too cumbersome to deploy in many cases.

                        Dead blow hammers have been around for years. Maybe they were not called by that name until relatively recently, but they have been in existence like forever. The more common are made with lead or plastic heads. My favorite is the rawhide hammer with replaceable faces. Chicago Rawhide and Saco are two of the manufacturers. The three pound version is my favorite flavor. I have several conveniently located in my shops.
                        Jim H.

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                        • #13
                          My dead blow hammer is a plastic one with loose shot or something inside. It really does stop and almost does not bounce.

                          The plastic faced hammers with solid weight as not what I know as a "dead-blow" type.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mcruff View Post
                            A dead blow will work fine. Lixie has been building dead blows for more than 60 years and has been in business for more than 70 years, in my opinion the only hammer needed in the shop. I have 3 different sizes and bought my 1st one 36-37 years ago when I started building molds. i have my fathers Lixie that he had from about 1960, finally had to replace the hickory handle about 3 years ago.
                            <in my opinion the only hammer needed in the shop>
                            :-) I guess you never have to peen a rivet. :-)
                            ...lew...

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                            • #15
                              Hell I put 2 roofs on with my Lixie hammer and yes I have peened rivets with it, albeit decent sized rivets. It just takes the right colored head to do the job.

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