This is another project that has been on the to do list for quite awhile now. I’ve been needing a slitting saw lathe carriage stop every since I bought my first lathe and have managed to put it off by using a mag base. It was time to make a proper carriage / indicator stop for the Standard Modern 12″ Utilathe. I designed up the stop so that you didn’t have to be constantly reaching for tools to adjust it – all the items that need to be adjusted regularly have integrated handles. I’m using a 2″ indicator.
As Max Phillips would say I kinda went all watchmaker on it. I didn’t intend to get this carried away but as I was working on this project I questioned myself as to why (as a society) we seem to always want to rush though things just to get them done. Isn’t the journey where all the enjoyment comes from? Isn’t it enjoyable and satisfying to create things that you are pleased with?
Deep within all of us is a need to be creative and make things (both tangible and not) to the best of our ability. We are not robots. This not a spiritual blog but I am a reformed Christian and I believe that every single human being is created Imago Dei (in the image of God). God creates and since we are made in His image we also create.
Back to our project. I roughed out the lathe bed profile on the bandsaw:
and finished that portion up on the shaper:
The rest of the project was simple lathe and mill work.
This was made specifically for the Standard Modern 12″ Utilathe. The drawings that I made up reflect that particular lathe. But it should be very straight forward to adjust the drawings for your lathe if you wish. If anyone wants the solid model send me an email and I will get the data to you somehow.
Also I’m considering a run of 5-10 or so of each of the tools I make for myself to sell for others. If you want to purchase one of these stay tuned – I will update the store portion of the blog to reflect that.
This is a project that has been on the to do list for quite awhile now. I’ve been needing a slitting saw setup since day one and have managed to put it off by using the bandsaw or hacksaw for most of my work. It was time to make a proper slitting saw arbor.
Most of the “low end” slitting saw arbors you can buy are terrible. The spring loaded ones that can utilize multiple arbor sizes are particularly bad. I wanted a simple design for a 1″ diameter arbor size so I machined up one in less than an evening. I utilized a 3/4″ straight shank so I could use it in the milling machine or lathe. If you were running very thick saws, or horizontal milling cutters (not the greatest idea in a cantilever R8 setup?) you probably would want a keyway in the design in which case I would probably make the shank taper integral to the design.
But this one is for thin slitting saws and as such no keyway is required and being held in collet is my preferred setup.
There is nothing complicated about this at all. But to save you some time sketching or drawing here are the drawings I used: Body – Rev 01 and Cap – Rev 01. I didn’t add a flat on the arbor for removing and replacing the saws at the bench – I might do that at a later time if I find I need it. If so I’ll update the drawings.
For Christmas a few months ago I made a diamond dressing tool for my brother in law. He is a woodworker and uses his bench grinder for the initial sharpening of various wood working tools.
The tool is made up of 4 parts. The body is a piece of steel with an angled lip (one on each side) that is used as a guide against the tool rest on the grinder. It has a threaded hole for the diamond. The diamond is an industrial diamond held in a steel rod – commonly used in surface grinding dressers, modified with threads along most of its length. There is a lock nut and o-ring (to provide some cushion when tightening the nut down) and a handle nut to adjust the distance from the lip to the edge of the diamond.
The tool is useful for most sizes of standard bench grinders as the body has 2 different lip offsets. The threaded diamond is also allows for generous positioning.
After giving him the tool I explained a few of the benefits of such a tool versus a traditional spur style tool:
The amount of grinding wheel material removed is easily controlled as the distance on the single point tool is adjustable.
A single point diamond tool does a better job at getting the wheel round in the first place. This is because the forces involved are significantly less than traditional spur type tools, or even the newer T style diamond tools. Forcing traditional tools up against the wheel isn’t a very steady process and the entire tool floats on the surface of the wheel. In addition your hand can move back and forth with the high and low points on the wheel. As such I’ve found single point tools create a wheel that is rounder, which helps with balancing. (Grinder balancing always happens after a wheel has been dressed).
Unlike spur tools or the cheap T style dressers a properly used diamond tool lasts a long time on a bench grinder and also is very durable for various wheel materials.
I’ve also had a fair bit of interest in people asking if they could buy one of these tools. I’m making up a number of them for others so if you are interested send me an email: email@example.com. I’ll be posting additional information shortly.
As usual I made up a video of making the tool and it also shows how I use it:
A few weeks ago I finished a project that I had on my mind for a number of months. There was a lot of play in the cross slide feed screw on my import bench lathe. This showed up as backlash in the feed screw – when you grabbed the toolpost and applied force in alternate directions you could see the entire cross slide move back and forth. Some of it was from backlash in the feed nut itself, but most of it was between the feed dial and the support casting itself.
I tried tightening up the nuts themselves tor reduce the amount of clearance – but then it bound and you couldn’t turn the feedscrew at all. This wasn’t the best design from the get go.
The first thing I did was modeled the entire assembly up in Fusion to get a clear picture of what was going on – and to give a good starting point for the modification: The nuts aren’t shown on the end of the feedscrew but you can see where the assembly is constrained for axial movement – at the right side on a shoulder machined into the feedscrew itself and on the left side the inner bushing of the dial. These are just 2 plain bearing surfaces – and they weren’t machined the best to begin with. No wonder it wasn’t the best!
I thought about doing what Stefan Gotteswinter did. If this was my main lathe I would copy what Stefan did as it is the best solution by far. Angular contact bearings are the way to go in this situation. Since I’m keeping this lathe around primarily for cutting metric threads (the Standard Modern now in the shop doesn’t have a metric transposition gear) I decided to scale back the project and see if I could just stuff a deep groove axial bearing and a roller thrust washer into the space without having to modify the leadscrew, or make up a new dial.
Below is what I came up with:
I incorporated a deep groove ball bearing (6900-2RS) and a 10mm needle style thrust washer on the opposite side. This required a new housing and the old cast iron bearing support to be shortened up. The new housing was doweled to the cast iron block for location. 2 counter bored cap screws hold the entire assembly together. The cross slide screw required minimal rework – a shoulder had to be turned for the bearing to sit against. I also turned down the shoulder on the screw that previously was a bearing support.
The ball bearing is preloaded using the existing nuts. Care needs to be taken not to overload the ball bearing as deep groove ball bearings aren’t primarily designed for axial load. In retrospect I should have flipped the positioning of the deep groove ball bearing and thrust washer around when thinking about cutting forces as the cutting tool pushes away from the work piece. If I have problems I can always make a new bearing housing.
The cross slide now is super smooth with no backlash due to the support. There is a bit of backlash in the screw, but I don’t get too bothered by that on a manual machine. It is significant improvement with not too much effort or time required.
About 6 months ago I purchased a digital readout off eBay for the Rong-Fu mill drill. Originally I had planned to purchase either iGaging scales or standard import calipers and utilizing a tablet based DRO. Once I started looking at prices however I was shocked to find that for less than the price of either the iGaging scales or the import calipers I could have a full blown 2 axis DRO complete with proper glass scales.
I went ahead and ordered the scales off a eBay seller. It was a typical Chinese eBay seller that sells everything from DROs for machine tools to various useless cell phone and house gadgets. The total for the order was around $200 USD plus about $30 for shipping. I then communicated the scale lengths I needed via email. In about 2 days I had a shipping confirmation including a tracking number.
I was excepting to wait about 3-4 weeks for the shipment to arrive, typical of most stuff ordered from China. I was shocked at the end of the week when I received an email from DHL that my shipment was to arrive on the following Monday – about a week for the entire process! Sure enough Monday afternoon a DHL driver dropped off the 2 boxes.
The one box contained the DRO – a JingCE JCS900-2AE 2 axis DRO unit. The other box contained the 2 glass scales both of proper length. Also included was a large amount of hardware, mounting brackets and associated items you would need to install the DRO.
I spent the next few days thinking about how to mount the scales. The X axis was easy – I decided to mount it to the front of the table using the T slot already present. I thought about mounting it to the back of the table but I didn’t want to loose any Y axis travel. The Glass scales are rather bulky – something to note if you are considering installing them on a smaller mill like the X2 mini mill. The Y axis was a bit of a different story – there really isn’t anything to fasten the scales to. I decided to make up a bracket to hold the Y axis scale. That took a fair bit of work to do.
After mounting the scales and trying out the DRO I also fitted a inexpensive import digital caliper to the quill to get a .001″ resolution readout for Z depth. This also took a few hours to do properly. 2 brackets were made out of aluminum to hold each end of the caliper. I modified the caliper using a Dremel tool. I drilled mounting holes using a standard off the shelf masonry drill bit – a poor man’s way of drilling hardened steel. High speed steel usually won’t touch hardened calipers.
After using the DRO for 6 months I can say that it is a very good unit. I haven’t had any issues. As far as accuracy and repeatability is considered, I really don’t have the proper measuring tools to qualify the DRO but I will say that I tested it using a dial indicator over the travel of the table. At each point where I tested the DRO it corresponded to the dial indicator – within at least .0005″ (as best as my judgment permits). I also ran the table up against a hard stop several times to test the repeatability and each reading was easily within .0005″. I probably should do a proper gauge R and R study on it, but just with the general testing I’ve done it’s easily within .001″. And to be honest doing work closer than .001″ on a Rong Fu mill drill is unreasonable.
I filmed and edited a number of videos showing the install and finally a video review of the DRO. The first video shows the hard part: the installation of the Y axis scale.
The second video shows the installation of the X axis scale and also the mounting of a digital caliper on the quill.
The final video is me talking about the DRO itself and contains much of what is written here.
If you are interested in reading the manual, I scanned a copy of it and it is available here.
One thing to note is that you will get little to no support with the DRO. To me this isn’t a big deal at all when you consider the price. The next closest DRO in price in the North American market is approaching 4 times the cost. And the unit looks suspicious like this unit. If something breaks I am willing to try and fix the unit myself or simply replace it.
If I had a high end knee mill I would probably buy a Mitutoyo DRO and be done with it. But putting a Mitutoyo DRO on inexpensive import mills is a bit like putting lipstick on a pig.
It was a $200 well spent. Having a DRO on a milling machine is exceptionally handy. I won’t say it is a necessity, but it greatly improves your efficiency – especially on larger mills or making larger parts. Time will tell how durable the unit is but I think it is an excellent addition to a home metal shop.
A few weeks ago now I finished a quick change toolpost for the Schaublin.
The design is based on Andy Lofquist’s MLA-23 toolpost. Andy is the man behind the wonderful Metal Lathe Accessories kits (http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/). While I’ve never ordered any kits from Andy, I’m told that they are very high quality and are exceptionally thought out.
After quickly considering a Tripan toolpost and changing my mind after I saw the prices on those I ordered a set of drawings for the MLA-23 toolpost. The original design is for 9″-12″ swing lathes. The Schaublin is an 8″ swing lathe. After drawing up the original toolpost in Fusion and drawing up the Schaublin cross slide it was evident that it was too big. I decided to design a scaled down version, making some changes along the way.
The largest change is in the dovetail size and the shape of the body itself. I wanted something that would match the Schaublin’s size, but also look, so I manufactured the body out of round material instead of square. The toolpost is optimized for 1/4″ HSS tools, but 5/16″ will fit.
The internal workings are that of the MLA-23 toolpost. The design is exceptionally rigid and works very well. It is also a wonderfully simple in design. Part of the reason I really like this design is for its simplicity. I believe the best design is one that doesn’t allow you to take anything away. This design, in my opinion, is one of those designs.
Some people don’t like that the toolpost doesn’t repeat in angle position – that is once you loosen the locking handle you completely loose the rotational position of the toolpost. This is a downfall of the design if you truly need rotational position repeatability. When I work in the shop I’m constantly moving the toolpost around to allow for tool clearance. So much so that I made a handle for my Aloris clone on my 10×18 lathe a number of months ago. I do have provisions in the design to allow for graduations on the base to allow for visual rotational positioning. We’ll see if I add it.
The build was interesting and fun. I learned a number of things along the way including how to cut dovetails on the shaper. It took a bit of time, but it reaffirmed the very useful nature of having a shaper in the shop. Instead of waiting for a dovetail cutter I could grind up a simple tool and cut nice dovetails, at any angle, and get a super finish. I’m told you can build the entire toolpost with a lathe, but there is a fair bit of milling work so even a mini mill would be a huge help.
Since the design borrows heavily from Andy’s design I don’t want to release drawings. What I’m planning on doing is forwarding a set of drawings to Andy to include with his prints if he is interested. So if you want to build the smaller version, which is a perfect size for the mini lathe, send me an email and I’ll try to get you a set of drawings.
I made a build video of the entire toolpost in montage style format as well.
Although I’ve talked about it with Max on the podcast, I’ve never announced on the blog that I picked up a made in Switzerland Schaublin 102. 102 is the turning radius in millimeters (about 4 inches). The lathe was in pieces, but in very workable condition. I dragged it home and it sat for a few months until I found the time to get to working on it.
This week I finally managed to get the 102 making chips. It took some work mostly in the drive area. I didn’t have access to the proper voltage to drive the existing motor so I decided to replace the original Schaublin motor with new 3/4 HP Baldor that I picked up a year ago for $50. I also wanted to keep the mechanical variable speed drive working. I could have got the old motor rewound, and I might do that some day, but the $800 that I was quoted was a bit rich.
After modelling up the existing motor in Fusion I designed up a pulley to fit the Baldor, spacers to place the new motor in the same location as the old one and a motor mounting plate. I used old school methods to make up a plate to mount the VFD and associated electrical components.
I made a montage type video of all the work:
I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Here is an animated gif showing a test cut that I did with the lathe:
Aside from making up the required parts, I spent a fair bit of time cleaning out the bed, cross slide, tailstock and the interesting air – oil lubricating unit for the spindle bearings. I also have several hours fishing the air – oil lubrication lines back into place in the headstock.
I’ve never used a plain turning lathe before, and quite frankly until I did I thought they were a bit of a joke. In the past no carriage or leadscrew caused me to immediately write off plain turning lathes as useless machines. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as I used my import lathe more (which has a carriage and leadscrew) I realized that I do 80% of my work without such features. If you have the chance to pickup a plain turning lathe in good condition, jump at it! Many people devalue such machines and as such you can sometimes get a very good deal on a lathe that is exceptionally capable – and a joy to use.
Next up is a proper toolpost for the lathe, a backing plate for a Buck 6 jaw chuck I picked up, and probably a faceplate. That is unless I manage to pick this stuff up used somewhere. I really don’t count on that happening though. Parts and associated tooling for Schaublins usually demand high prices.
After getting confused as to what podcast they are recording, Max and Justin talk about hauling machine tools home. Of course the stories keep getting better and more ostentatious the more they are told. We also talk about:
Max’s work on his Trent Pinion mill
Change gears on the lathe – you don’t need that 127 tooth to cut metric threads all the time. Max finds a really well done gear calculator on the internet: http://geargenerator.com
Justin gets a Delta Rockwell surface grinder for the home shop and tells the story about dragging it home in his father in law’s truck
Max can’t be outdone: 7 Hjorths, an overloaded van, pouring rain and a flat tire
Any other Hjorth owners out there? Send us some info!
Max and Justin invite Dan Sherman on for some general shop talk. We started talking about what is going on in the shop but in true home shop machinist fashion this episode heads off on several slightly off topic tangents. Within this episode:
Welding and machining, is it a left brain right brain sort of thing?
If you are depressed about what is in the news just listen to this podcast and you won’t have a chance to listen to the news again! In the longest episode to date Max and Justin talk about 10 tools that we find essential to our shops. Buried within this episode:
As usual Justin forgets to edit something out that Max says
Max tells us more about his Trent Pinion Mill that arrived from the UK via some sort of beaming machine
Gearotic and Max’s Orrery build (say that without sounding intoxicated!)
Why the Brits put the carriage wheel on the right side of the carriage
Maintenance on cars, 3D printers, and terrible instructions
Max tells a joke
Fecal material on cell phone screens
The 10 tools in the shop that we find useful … which turned out to be 8
It’s been more than a month since our last episode where we said we would try to record an episode 2 times a month. To make up for it we snagged Stefan Gotteswinter for an interview. Thankfully he hung around long enough to answer our questions and didn’t seem to be too put off by our antics. In this episode
Stefan is looking at Onshape.
Max geeks out over Wine for Linux (sorry) and thinks you can easily run Autodesk’s Fusion in Linux.
Max gets a Hemingway kit, the Trent Pinion Mill, and now he has to machine it!
Chinese machine tools really are not that good, but are great for home shop machinists!
Stefan suggests to think of most imported machine tools as casting kits.
How to get banned in less than 5 minutes on Practical Machinist.
Germans have a lot of home shop machinists, who mostly use CNC. Germans and their tech!
Stefan uses carbide in the shop. We’ll make him listen to our first episode again before we invite him back on.
Stefan would be happy on a desert island with a Deckel FP1… and all the accessories. Who wouldn’t?
Max happens to think German is an eloquent language.
How could you interview a German and not ask about beer?
Plus a whole lot more. We managed to trim 10 minutes off this time to get our 1 hour podcast down in 1 hour and 20 minutes!