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Need some help fella's: Questions about machining and milling for a complete noob.

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  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,326 Senior Member
    Not to discount what Linefinder said, but alot of people buy old lathes and mills from resalers or even private sellers, which are usually some of the best machines after a thorough clean and adjust. Some of the best machines I've worked with were pre WWII as a matter of fact. 

    But back to what I was saying before I sidetracked myself. Many of people have these things set up in their shop such as my old man did. I'll never understand how he was able to get a lathe, mill, drill and punch press into our basement, but he did and it was a fully operational shop. The majority of hobbyists also aren't going to spend a quarter million and buy a huge CNC anyhow. If you're on Facebook, you'll find some nice old machinery for a steal all day long on their marketplace. What ever you do, just take the dive and get started any way you can. Once I learned the world was made out of lines and circles, it changed my life forever. 
    I certainly can't disagree with a single thing you've said. My point was,  if someone is considering it as a "retirement income" or as a hobby......you better have deep pockets. Forget the fact that you need a foundation that'll take the pounding. Forget the fact that you'll need a rigging company capable of placing the machinery where it needs to be (usually under a low roof). The electrical you'll need is a pretty hefty expense, too. The transport of the equipment from its' current residence to its' new one often is higher than the cost of the equipment.

    And then you have the cost of tooling. I've not checked the cost of a set of parallels lately, but good ones aren't cheap. A B&S Test Indicator runs upward of $275. A carbide 1/2" 4 flute endmill ( I go through 2-3 a week) are $60 each. And I haven't even touched on 1% of the stuff one will need.

    Machining will be the second trade I've given up after leaving it.

    I don't understand how your Dad got it into the basement, either. I think I couldn't drag a single piece of machinery into my garage.

    Considering I just paid $300 to get a “free” safe from 18 miles away to my house I can’t even imagine what getting a lathe here would be... 😱
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 607 Senior Member
    Best to know someone with a trailer. Ive moved 2 lathes and a mill with an engine hoist before. Talk about sketchy.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    By "burning up" I mean dulling. A carbide end mill may be  "square and flat" out of the box. But after its' first use it isn't anymore. The radius  (or length, or flatness for that matter) it cuts on its' second pass isn't the same as it cut on its' first pass. Tool wear.  Happens with every pass. Increases with every pass.

    How much this matter depends on your allowable tolerance, though.  I use one as a "roughing" cutter to get "close". Then I use (depending on the part) a brand new one for the "finishing pass"  When the "finisher" won't hold tolerance within .003", it becomes my "roughing cutter" and the old "rougher"  hits the trash.

    It all depends on the tolerances. If I'm hogging out a block for a mold base, I don't really care. I'll take deep, fast passes and try to remove as much material as I can,  as quick as I The endmill is dirt cheap compared to my/machine time. When I get closer, after I've had a few hours invested into it, it's time to get more precise.

    Hence....new cutter time.

    You can "burn up" carbide cutters all day long. Depends on the tolerance.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Best to know someone with a trailer. Ive moved 2 lathes and a mill with an engine hoist before. Talk about sketchy.
    Tell me about it! Up until 2 years ago, we were moving 1K molds around the shop and lifting them 4' off the ground with a Harbor Freight engine hoist. I finally told them I was done with that.  And that my next complaint would be to OSHA.

    We have a really nice lift now.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 607 Senior Member
    I'm not sure I follow. Of course everything I do is manual machining, so that may be why. As long as my end mills are making a nice finish, i accommodate any wear when I mic my part and feed in accordingly to get to the spec I'm after. I don't know that I could find the "On" switch of a CNC.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,453 Senior Member
    edited July 2020 #37
    My oldest nephew was in a Vo-Tech school here where I live, and they had to learn CNC machine programming. He was doing badly. I had to take his textbook and teach myself how to do it and then 'dumb it down' for him to understand it. He did O.K. as long it was only X or Y or Z axis exclusively, but when you mixed all three together he was lost worse than last years Easter eggs. He sorely tested my temper. Thinking in 3D wasn't his thing, AT ALL! :D
    Speaking of moving equipment into  a shop, I had it lucky. My neighbor had a BIG fork lift of the type used on dirt construction sites. Lifted the mill and lathe off the trailer and eased the forklift into the shop; it barely fit through the 10 foot high doors. Also  used the forklift to set and level the machines. My machines are set on hard Linotype pads that were poured with the machines suspended above the forms in the concrete floor and final leveled with steel shim stock.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Most of what I do is manual, too. But, MasterCam and CNC will beat the crap out of anything you or I could possibly hope to do on a manual mill or lathe a whole lot faster, with more predicable results.

    While we both can control "speed", it's pretty hard to control "feed"manually. At least that's a problem I've always had.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    Most of what I do is manual, too. But, MasterCam and CNC will beat the crap out of anything you or I could possibly hope to do on a manual mill or lathe a whole lot faster, with more predicable results.

    While we both can control "speed", it's pretty hard to control "feed"manually. At least that's a problem I've always had.

    Mike
    With all do respect there is a big difference from an industrial machine shop setting than a home machine shop. The majority home shops have a lathe and a milling machine and a few other assorted machines. It's not halling balls environment like an industrial setting. The guy at home can go at his own pace and not worry about bosses breathing down your neck.
    As far as tooling expense goes it is true you'll have more tied up in tooling than you realize. A lot of guys make their own tooling or buy used tooling and make it for their needs at the time. Ebay and a couple of other places are your friend.
    Just like somedude  has to keep an eye on expenses for his work, I imagine he"s able to sharpen some of his tooling to keep expenses down. It doesn't take long to sharpen an endmill once you have the fixture. Drill bits take about a minute to touch up to like new. There's quite a few things the guy in a home shop can do that the guy in a industrial setting can't do because of cost factors.



    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    Sorry I don't mean to come off as a know it all but I was a tool and die maker for the last 30 years of my working life. What linefinder says is true for the equipment he uses but there is a big difference in the machinery used for the home shop.

    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Absolutely true.

    Until today we had a 1968 manual lathe in the shop. We gave it to an auto shop down the road from us. It wasn't a bad lathe but over the past few years it was beginning to show it's age, and holding to tight tolerances on it was getting pretty time consuming.

    Since we have a CNC lathe, management decided that rather than eat the cost of tuning it up, they'd give it away to the first person that would haul it off. An engineer made one phone call, and an hour later it was gone! Somebody got a decent lathe at a great price. LOL.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,453 Senior Member
    I still hand grind most of my square tool bits for the lathe. It's a necessity sometimes to do a job a standard carbide cutter can't fit. And with a good hand ground tool bit I've curled off 30 or more feet of what looks like a long spring if I don't grind in the chip breaker on top. Finish can be really smooth with hand ground tool bits and a HSS blank can be ground to make shapes easier to make, too, like half rounds in a round steel rod. And making a custom cutter for a job from oil hardening steel. If you can't buy it, you can always make it yourself and learn in the process. And really, the learning is half the fun!
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 607 Senior Member
    edited July 2020 #44
    Well I jinxed myself yesterday for today. I was using a carbide end mill to square up a piece of hardened spring steel. Bumped the quill when it was unlocked and it crashed into my piece, shattering my end mill and peppering my face. No damage to me or the spring steel though, just my pride...
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 607 Senior Member
    So true. I recall the one stinkin time I was doing some turning work on my lathe. Can't remember exactly why, maybe my eye was itching but I'm not making this up when I say the second, cancel that, split second that I lifted my safety glasses up, a hot chip landed in the white of my eye. Took all I had to not blink while I was rushing to disengage the feed and turn the lathe off. Never again.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    bhl2506 said:
    When I started in the machining trades the guy I apprenticed under always told us if your not learning something new every day then your not doing anything. I do believe he was absolutely right!
    So true. There are any number of ways to do any one thing, and chances are almost 100% that there's a better way to do it than the way you are doing it. I run across that daily. My forehead is flat from the face-slaps I've given myself over the years.....even on simple stuff.

    "Duh....why didn't I think of that?".....sums me up to a tee.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    edited July 2020 #48
    Deleted
    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    bhl2506 said:
    When I started in the machining trades the guy I apprenticed under always told us if your not learning something new every day then your not doing anything. I do believe he was absolutely right!
    So true. There are any number of ways to do any one thing, and chances are almost 100% that there's a better way to do it than the way you are doing it. I run across that daily. My forehead is flat from the face-slaps I've given myself over the years.....even on simple stuff.

    "Duh....why didn't I think of that?".....sums me up to a tee.

    Mike
    What used to really irritate me was to have somebody come up and ask what did you do it that way for! Cant post on here what I would say to them but it was full of expletives. Trouble was it was usually somebody that didn't know a milling machine from a drill press!
    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    My biggest regret is.....as previously mentioned, I got "tossed into" the trade through no choice of my own. Turned out, I really liked it. But my "mentor" was the jealous type and was loathe to teach anything other than the very basics that allowed me to do all the things he didn't want to do, i.e. "production runs" and simple fixtures. 

    He quit after 6 years, and in truth, as I look back, he practically wasted 6 years of my time. I have during the last 4 years worked with a couple  of toolmakers who's mindset is the more I can do, the less they have to do.

    But, I'm almost 62. I'll never be nearly as good as them. Don't have the time left to gain the experience they had/have. Really makes me regret the first 6 years.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,225 Senior Member
    Although you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, everything is on the YouTube's........
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    My biggest regret is.....as previously mentioned, I got "tossed into" the trade through no choice of my own. Turned out, I really liked it. But my "mentor" was the jealous type and was loathe to teach anything other than the very basics that allowed me to do all the things he didn't want to do, i.e. "production runs" and simple fixtures. 

    He quit after 6 years, and in truth, as I look back, he practically wasted 6 years of my time. I have during the last 4 years worked with a couple  of toolmakers who's mindset is the more I can do, the less they have to do.

    But, I'm almost 62. I'll never be nearly as good as them. Don't have the time left to gain the experience they had/have. Really makes me regret the first 6 years.

    Mike
    I was extremely fortunate to have a very good journeyman toolmaker to apprentice under. He always answered questions or showed how it was easier to do it a certain way. However you didn't want to go to him with out trying to do it by yourself first. He had an apprentice under him that was so lazy they fired him after 3 months. The guy wouldn't even try anything without be shown how to do it.
      Don't ever under estimate your abilities. You know more than what you realize and you're showing it everything you have to come up with a solution on your own. As far as being as good as they are I will say this it doesn't matter if you think they're better than you what matters is your getting the job done just as good as they can do it. They might know a little more but that only comes from being on the job along time. It's just a matter of remembering how you did something before on a different job. It sounds like your doing good work or they wouldn't keep you on for very long.
    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    jbp-ohio said:
    Although you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, everything is on the YouTube's........
    You're absolutely right. There is some very good videos on youtube. The one guy I follow quite a bit goes by the name of tubal caine. He's an old man but is a really instructor. There is a few others that are very good and if anybody is interested I'll post them up.
    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Joe Peczynski

    On YouTube. If you can even imagine it....He can make it. Simply incredible.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 788 Senior Member
    edited July 2020 #55
    bhl2506 said:
    jbp-ohio said:
    Although you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, everything is on the YouTube's........
    You're absolutely right. There is some very good videos on youtube. The one guy I follow quite a bit goes by the name of tubal caine. He's an old man but is a really instructor. There is a few others that are very good and if anybody is interested I'll post them up.
    I watch that guy all the time. Great channel. 

    Edit: I always drool at that old vintage equipment he uses. 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Although rarely mentioned, one of the toughest parts of the job is figuring out how to hold onto something.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JustsomedudeJustsomedude Posts: 607 Senior Member
    Although rarely mentioned, one of the toughest parts of the job is figuring out how to hold onto something.

    Mike
    Its all in making the right fixture.
    Also, superglue has its place in the shop.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    As does industrial grade double-sided tape. Pretty handy when working with 1/4" thick plastic. At $63 a roll from MSC, it's still worth its weight in gold.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • DrawbarFlatsDrawbarFlats Posts: 788 Senior Member
    Although rarely mentioned, one of the toughest parts of the job is figuring out how to hold onto something.

    Mike
    I watched one of Tubal Caine's vids where he was trying to secure the base mount of a little steam engine for machining. The cast piece in question had so many irregular shapes that he had just about every imaginable tool holding it down to ensure a perfectly perpendicular cut. I can definitely where this could lead to problems. Sigh.... that means more tools to buy. Lol! 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    Exactly. Quite a bit of what I work with has "draft" (or simply stated, nothing is flat or parallel), which makes holding on to it often confounding.

    JSD said that you can build a fixture to hold it and he is quite correct. But, when under the gun (as in production is "down" and 30 people are on hold awaiting you to fix the problem) it's tough to explain to them that it's going to take 3 hours to build something that'll allow you to perform a 5 minute machining job.

    Sometimes the cure is worse than the symptoms.....LOL.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,453 Senior Member
    One fixture for the lathe for barrel work that is a HUGE time saver is a 'spider' for the left side of the headstock to hold the barrel in alignment when using the steady rest is going to  be a pain, like on a barrel already blued or not a round barrel. The steady rest will scuff up the bluing on the round barrel, and the steady rest works with round stuff, not octagon. I have 3 and 4 screw spiders and all use soft brass screws to contact the barrel. The spider fits on the stub of the headstock spindle on left side of headstock and is locked in place with a couple of screws. Keeps that barrel locked in alignment when crowning or chambering. Don't want that unsupported end of the barrel flopping around when crowning or chambering. You can forego using screws against the barrel in the spider if you're willing to turn an insert to hold it in alignment, too.
    The biggest head scratchers that I've run up on are odd shaped pieces that have to be held to a faceplate on the lathe. You have either 4 or 8 slots in the faceplate to use hold down bolts and clamps. One of  those clamps will ALWAYS seem to find a way to be in the way. Same thing turning between centers with a faceplate and driving dog. Getting the workpiece stable between the dead center in the headstock and the live center in the tailstock, and the drive dog set good and tight can be a pain. Looks simple and can be right up to the point the piece to be machined is odd shaped. And regarding drive dogs, 1/16" and 1/8" brass shim stock will become your bestest buddy to avoid messing up the finish the dog screw contacts.
    And I have TWO tailstocks for my lathe. To turn a long taper requires offsetting the tailstock and using faceplate and drive dog. Easy to set the offset; simple algebra to get the offset setting. It can be a frustrating job recentering the tailstock, though. That's why I have  two tailstocks. And a precision ground 'try bar' to use when periodically checking the tailstock is in exact alignment with the headstock.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
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