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Beginner Lathe Help Please

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  • #16
    One thing I do I have enough stock on the material is to simply take a touch and set the coumpound short of zero and take a cut, check size and do the math for how much I have to go. Now comes the tricky part,keepning track of how much you have taken off so far as you work down towards size. Have seen guys get carried away with ripping the stock off they shot right past
    Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

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    • #17
      I've been machining with my South Bend for over twenty years. The dial isn't settable. I just do the math.

      [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-26-2004).]
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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      • #18
        Cigarette papers are .001" thick. Pinch it with the tool against the work, then back off until it just slides. Eyeball it and then come forward (dial into the work) to the same slidy point and set the dial one tick short of zero. Cig papers handy for eyeballing the 60* threading angle too. a small magnet or just a dab of oil will hold it to the bottom of your tool holder, and gives great reflection for getting that threading angle set up. What everybody else said too, this is just real handy. Not being a smoker, one pack of Zigzags has lasted me over 10 years.
        I'm here hoping to advancify my smartitude.

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        • #19
          Amazing how great minds come up with similar conclusions and actions.

          After reading this post I discovered I came up with some of the same conclusions and actions as many of you did, not that I an any kind of "Great Mind".

          I had the same problems with dials as tattoomike68 but I ended up using nylon screws so I could reset, lock and not scrunch anything.

          I took me a while to decipher the terminology when I began this processd, but finally understood what stiction (stickshun), deflection, temp changes, tool sharpness, slop in the screws, etc., was doing to make things go south.

          I remember my dad talking about zigzag paper and watched him using it a few times when I was little boy. In this modern day, asking or buying Z's will get you a hard look. Now I use tape or whatever sheets of waste paper, envelopes, invoices, etc., I have laying around. Enco invoices are a nice shade of yellow and measure 0.004" thick and work great when setting up my mill.

          But for the most part now, after finally figuring out that what the gunsmith said is exactly true, and learning some of the foibles of my machines, I usually just take a light cut first, measure, then continue.

          I experimented with using a dial indicator, a dead stop and a micrometer stop, and moving the compound outward so all the slop was taken out of the screw, but then the tool would get suck in unless I had the compound locked down tight. Seemed like Murphy was alway messing with me. I use dead stops on both sides of the cross slide AND lock it down when I want to be certain. Talk about suspenders and a belt.

          For the other beginners; You might make a tool height gauge out of scrap as a project, to make it easier to set your tool bits at the correct height. Mine is nothing more than a magnet base, a piece of 3/8" all thread, a couple of nuts and a piece of 5/8" keystock that I milled, drilled, tapped and turned to fit, then epoxied everything together. It has a prominent place stuck to the side of the headstock ready for use.

          I also have several tools, basically permanently mounted, in toolholders that have the adjustments epoxied or locktited to the correct height so I can quickly swap around for whatever action I want to accomplish.

          Many of these projects started as learning processes for me, which is what newbies need to help sort out the intricacies of machining. They are also reminders of my progress or in some cases, lack there off.

          Time and practice are the best teachers, along with having forums to help when the darkness envelopes you.

          Maybe these thoughts will help you.

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          • #20
            Someone mentioned cutting to "tenths", or .0001 increments. Actually very easy. This, however, works best with a tool with a smaller nose radius though. Set your compound rest to 2 degrees off of parallel of part centerline, or 88 degrees off perpendicular. each .001 on the compound rest = .0001 off of diameter. try it sometime. I use this regularly.

            I think that the point of "actual results" and doing the math came up, and this was my point throughout. I too often come across machines where the dials are unsettable, or the readings from the dials are not exactly correct, as is the case on one of my machines. However, the final .020 are correct.

            My best tool is a red or blak grease pencil, or my little "pentel" pencil used to mark my dials starting points, and finishing points (yes, i get interrupted quite a bit, so this is an absolute necessity).

            Gauging, and the age old addage "measure twice, cut once". ESPECIALLY near the actual finish dimension.

            CCBW, MAH

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