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a better way to use metal stamps?

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  • a better way to use metal stamps?

    On occasion I use metal stamps to put numbers and letters on blocks of aluminum. At best they come out rather sloppy and at worst they are unreadable. I'm looking for a simple way to align the stamps. One idea I had was to put a spring loaded punch in the drill chuck of my mill-drill, and feed the quill down such the the punch gives a quick punch to the top of the stamp. The force is too small. Another idea is to remove the drawbar and put in a rod. the bottom of the rod will hold the stamp and I can hit the top. This will prevent any shock from reaching the bearings of the spindle. However, I would rather not remove my drawbar because it is screwed in place.

    Another idea is to not use a shock force to drive the stamp into the metal but rather a smooth, constant pressure. I tried this idea out on my vise and like the result. As long as the metal receiving the stamp can fit into the vise, this can be made to work.

    Before I cut metal, I sure would like to kick this idea around with other free thinkers.

    Rick Sparber
    Rick Sparber

    [email protected]
    web site: rick.sparber.org

  • #2
    Hi Rick. First, liked your recent article on the RF30. I have one of those also, in addition to a Bridgeport clone. The clone now gets more use because of the drawbar issue. Will fix that with your plans soon!
    As for the stamp idea, I have used one method for abut 40 years as a gunsmith. Made up a holder for the stamps (it helps to use quality stamps that are all the same dimensions by the way) and fitted it with a "handle" that fits into the ram of my Drake 5 ton ratcheting arbor press. The holder is just a piece of CRS bar stock with a slot milled down its length for the stamps to sit in. In line with the center of where each stamp will be is a small allen head set screw to hold the stamp in place.
    I can line up the barrel, reciever, or what ever I am marking with the holder using the appropriate fixture, ratchet the ram down and make a nice clean impression every time.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve
    Steve
    NRA Life Member

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    • #3
      What Steve says: starting with stamps that have the characters consistently lined up with the bodies of the stamps helps a lot, because then you can use a guide rail or similar to at least keep the characters on an even line. I've got a set that are supposed to be high quality, but they suffer on the alignment score and are therefore a bit of a pain to use.

      As far as uniform depth: the best I've ever managed to do is to cultivate my ability to guess how much more of a hammer blow, say, a W needs than an I, which is pretty unsatisfactory. I like the press idea.....
      ----------
      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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      • #4
        Steve,

        I like the press idea - nice and controlled. My stamp set comes from Harbor Freight so the quality is probably lacking. I may have to break down and buy a good set. You must own more than one set if you are able to put entire words on your stamp holder.

        Thanks for the kind words on my article. Just don't use a pin on the top nut. Plug weld it instead.

        Rick
        Rick Sparber

        [email protected]
        web site: rick.sparber.org

        Comment


        • #5
          SGW,

          I like your sage advice: "Don't believe everything you know."

          Rick
          Rick Sparber

          [email protected]
          web site: rick.sparber.org

          Comment


          • #6
            The older I get, I find I know less and less....
            ----------
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rgsparber
              Steve,

              I like the press idea - nice and controlled. My stamp set comes from Harbor Freight so the quality is probably lacking. I may have to break down and buy a good set. You must own more than one set if you are able to put entire words on your stamp holder.

              Thanks for the kind words on my article. Just don't use a pin on the top nut. Plug weld it instead.

              Rick
              Hi Rick.
              Actually I have several sets, but they are of different sizes. 1/16, 3/32 and 1/8 inch, but each set has multiples of each letter and number, as well as some blanks for spacers. They are made by Pryor, and are available from Enco, MSC, Rutland Tool, and others. They come with a handle that will hold a number of the stamps. The number of stamps held varies by the size, 1/16" holds 18 for example, while 1/8 only holds 12. The handle has a striking surface at the top similar to a cold chisel or center punch. The round handle tapers down into a pyramid shape, wider at the bottom that is, so that the force of the hammer blow is distributed over the number of punches held evenly. A set runs anywhere from about $225 to almost $400 for the larger sizes, or for ones made by other companies.
              The handle I made for mine duplicates the original handle, with the exception of one detail. The handle fits into the ram on my arbor press instead of being struck by a hammer. Works pretty well.
              Steve
              NRA Life Member

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SGW
                The older I get, I find I know less and less....
                Ditto! Ditto!

                Also, the older I get the less I remember of what little I do know!
                But I do seem to remember that one of regular contributors to HSM, and I believe it was Glenn Wilson, presented an article (or maybe it was a serial) about a device he worked up, much like what Rick is proposing. ...a device that was mounted in a vertical mill, and could apply varying amounts of force in striking the stamps, e.g. the 'I' gets a lighter blow than 'M', etc.

                I don't remember if I saw it in the magazines (I started subscribing about '97 or '98), or one of the hardback books from VP. I'll try to find that and post the reference.

                I too liked your recent article Rick.

                (edit-added)

                Yes it was Glenn L. Wilson, a very talented man, whose articles always have really nice photos.
                It was in the "Metal Working" Book Three that I saw the article. But the article index on this website shows it was originally published in the Nov 1993 Machinist's Workshop (which was "Projects in Metal" back then). The article was "A Precision Metal Stamper". The device was a R8 body housing a spring driven ram, and to the bottom was attached the stamp holder, and to the side is a spring controlled trigger mechanism. To use you lower the quill so that the stamp is forced upward, loading the ram spring. Then the stamp (quill actually, the stamp movement is temporarily restrained in the holder in a way that's unclear to me now) is lowered to some variable distance above the workpiece at which point the trigger is actuated permitting the ram to drive the stamp downward thru the holder to impact.

                His sample stampings in the article look great. Very consistent looking imprints in the metal.
                Last edited by lynnl; 04-21-2007, 12:53 PM.
                Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                • #9
                  Are you sure it was Nov 1993 Machinist's Workshop? I have Nov 1993 HSM and thought these two magazines were always offset from eachother by a month. I do recall reading the article but only go back to December '93 in MW and it was not in there.

                  Rick
                  Rick Sparber

                  [email protected]
                  web site: rick.sparber.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rgsparber
                    Are you sure it was Nov 1993 Machinist's Workshop? I have Nov 1993 HSM and thought these two magazines were always offset from eachother by a month. I do recall reading the article but only go back to December '93 in MW and it was not in there.

                    Rick
                    Rick, I got that from the Article Index here on this website, I don't have the magazines that far back myself.
                    The index, searched by Author, for Glenn L. Wilson, shows "Precision Metal Stamper, A" -- Nov 93 Volume 6, Number 6. Apparently the index is incorrect.
                    You might want to call or email Neil or Craig or someone there at VP and see if they can locate it for you, and perhaps provide the right back issue.
                    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                    • #11
                      Rick, I,m thinking its 1988,--- PIM??

                      I built it a few months back with a borrowed mag from my friend, if you dont come up with it pretty quickly I'll get it for you............or maybe Lane Sisson will read this and tell you---I borrowed his copy....

                      Its a really neat gizmo and works quite well. Its a bit finicky to get the ball bearing trigger realease set up, but worth the effort.
                      If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Projects In Metal Dec 1993 Volume 6 number 6
                        A Precision Metal Stamper .Have It in front of me.
                        Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self
                        http://sites.google.com/site/machinistsite/TWO-BUDDIES
                        http://s178.photobucket.com/user/lan...?sort=3&page=1

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                        • #13
                          Ishimura in Japan made a simple stamping stand for stamping dials. Looks very reproducible: http://homepage3.nifty.com/amigos/st...k_holder-e.htm

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