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Bought myself a mini lathe..

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
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#3
BAAAWAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHA! And I've dragged another one to the dark side of the force!

When you get it, if you like, you can bring it over to my shop, I will help you get it dialed in and teach you how to run it, that's the beauty of the mini's, easily portable.

By the way, the Grizzly's are great little machines, they do a pretty good job of Quality Control, as does Micro Mark, the other big seller of mini's. Harbor Freight and some of the others who carry mini lathes and mills , not so much QC.

By the way, lathes and mills are inexpensive, at least compared to the tooling you end up buying or making for them. After a few years, most hobby or pro machinists end up with 3x to 5x as much $$ spent on tooling as they spent for the initial purchase of the lathe or mill it is for.
 

Idaho Shooter

Very Active Member
#4
BAAAWAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHA! And I've dragged another one to the dark side of the force!

When you get it, if you like, you can bring it over to my shop, I will help you get it dialed in and teach you how to run it, that's the beauty of the mini's, easily portable.

By the way, the Grizzly's are great little machines, they do a pretty good job of Quality Control, as does Micro Mark, the other big seller of mini's. Harbor Freight and some of the others who carry mini lathes and mills , not so much QC.

By the way, lathes and mills are inexpensive, at least compared to the tooling you end up buying or making for them. After a few years, most hobby or pro machinists end up with 3x to 5x as much $$ spent on tooling as they spent for the initial purchase of the lathe or mill it is for.
That holds true for big money machines too. The shop I worked at in LV spent 6 figures on a boring bar for an old CNC for a project.
 

Pcmaker

Obsessed Member
#6
BAAAWAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHA! And I've dragged another one to the dark side of the force!

When you get it, if you like, you can bring it over to my shop, I will help you get it dialed in and teach you how to run it, that's the beauty of the mini's, easily portable.

By the way, the Grizzly's are great little machines, they do a pretty good job of Quality Control, as does Micro Mark, the other big seller of mini's. Harbor Freight and some of the others who carry mini lathes and mills , not so much QC.

By the way, lathes and mills are inexpensive, at least compared to the tooling you end up buying or making for them. After a few years, most hobby or pro machinists end up with 3x to 5x as much $$ spent on tooling as they spent for the initial purchase of the lathe or mill it is for.
The lathe cost $555 plus $123 shipping. I've already spent around $500 on tooling. I bought a quick change tool post and that alone was $160.
 

TexasJackKin

Breathng Free, at last
Forum Supporter
#7
As a retired machinist/Tool&Die maker, you're on your way. You can do a lot with a small lathe, but no matter the size you'll run into a job you just can't do, or it would at least be simple on a larger/different machine. But at that point, you'll have a good idea what to shop for. You're off to a good start, like NYECOGunsmith said, "Grizzly's are great little machines", better than a lot of the smaller stuff. Now it's all about tooling and fixtures, tooling and fixtures.....and more tooling and fixtures!
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Staff member
Moderator
#8
After making sure the lathe bed is true and not twisted, and getting the tailstock aligned to the lathe's spindle centerline, and a few other things on the lathe itself, ,then it's on to learning to grind your own HSS (High Speed Steel) tool bits, then learning to turn, face, bore and thread. That lathe has a threading dial, which makes like a whole lot easier , although you won't be able to use the threading dial for metric threads if the lead screw is of an Imperial thread pitch (SAE pitch), for metric with the change gears in it for them, you will have to close the half nuts, thread, the leave the half nuts closed, back the cross feed out to clear the tool bit, then reverse the lathe and run the carriage back to a bit beyond the start of your thread, move the cross feed back to the zero mark, feed in a bit more with the compound, and cut the thread a bit deeper. Repeat until the thread is complete.

TexasJackKin is right, you can do a lot with a small lathe, I have seen some projects completed by guys on the Home Shop Machinist , and Practical Machinist forums using lathes even smaller than this one, that I would have bet a steak dinner couldn't be done with a lathe twice the size of the one they used.

Your mindset will limit you more than the lathe or mill's size will.
Brass and Copper Sales on North Pacheco has scrap bins, they sell scraps of aluminum, copper, steel, etc. at pretty reasonable prices, pick up some various sizes of aluminum round stock and practice on it first, then give brass a try, and finally steel.

I would stay away from the "Mystery Metal" steel bar stock at Home Depot and Lowes for the beginning of your learning curve, that stuff is supposedly mild steel, but one bar may machine beautifully, the next like crap, and I have had it be that way in the middle of a bar.

For practice on steel at first, pick up some 12L14 leaded steel, it machines beautifully and will build your confidence, and you can make quite a few things out of it.

Enjoy, and if you have questions, post'em here, there are several of us now that can probably answer them for you.
 

TexasJackKin

Breathng Free, at last
Forum Supporter
#9
[QUOTE="NYECOGunsmith, post: 1248449, member:
TexasJackKin is right, you can do a lot with a small lathe, I have seen some projects completed by guys on the Home Shop Machinist , and Practical Machinist forums using lathes even smaller than this one, that I would have bet a steak dinner couldn't be done with a lathe twice the size of the one they used. [/QUOTE]

Absolutely right! That can be a great part of the hobby. Some amazing things can be done on small machines, it's mostly a matter of taking your time, and whittling away at it. Most everything you learn, on a small machine will transfer to a larger machine, and when you come up on a job to big for the larger machine (and you will) you will already have ideas on how to get it done!
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#11
If you do, ask for pieces to be cut from known alloys, the scrap bin there is catch as catch can, and for a Noobie, it's better I believe to start with known alloys and learn how they machine, if you start with mystery metals, you will always be guessing as to speeds, feeds, etc. and your results will suffer. I don't know if they have aluminum and brass there or not, never asked now that I think about it!
All I have ever gotten from them is steel in one form or another, and consumables for my plasma cutter.

Spee-Dee Metals online shop is good for small pieces of known alloys at reasonable prices, so is Online Metals Supply.

Pick up a good condition used copy of Machinery's Handbook, or a new one for that matter, although new they are nearly $100, it has tons of info on speeds , feeds, etc. for pretty much every alloy of every metal you might ever work on. Also has sharpening angles for HSS tool bits so they will cut properly on different metals and in different operations. The braised carbide tool bits are ok, so are the replaceable insert tool bits, but they are very expensive, often easily broken, and tough for a Noobie to get a good cut with especially on a mini lathe, they usually need a bit of horsepower so that you can go with a larger DOC (Depth of Cut), and get a halfway decent finish on the metal.

With HSS, you can get a fine finish with a cut that only takes off a thousandth or two, or with a deep "hogging" cut that pushes the lathe to its limits horsepower wise.
And they don't break easy, and they will tolerate interrupted cuts, something the Braised or cemented carbide or inserts don't do very well, if at all.

I suggest you watch as many of TubalCain's shop videos as possible, and also This Old Tony, both have YouTube channels, and offer lots of videos for the beginner.
Join the Home Shop Machinist forum, and the Practical Machinist forum, and the Hobby Machinist forums, all have some very experienced folks willing to help anyone, beginner to expert, with any machining project. And all three have gunsmithing sections, I'm on all three sites.
 
#12
Pcmaker,

You will have fun with that. I purchased the one below (7x12) a few months ago. The price was right. I've played with it a bit and made a few small parts. Still learning...… :)

NYECOGunsmith,

Thanks for the info you posted. I was always curious about the threading. I just have not tried it yet.
 

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NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#14
No place in Vegas that I am aware of that sells tooling like this. Used to be a place called Machine Tools Direct, but they closed up a few years ago. Grizzly sells a nice set of already ground HSS 1/4" tool bits, handy for a beginner as you can compare the ones you grind from blanks to the machine ground ones to see if you are getting all the relief angles correct.
 

Pcmaker

Obsessed Member
#15
I gotta learn how to grind out blanks. I don't even know why you gotta grind them in a specific manner, other than to get them sharp enough to cut. I got the carbide insert set with different labels on them. I don't know what one does which type of work.
 

Pcmaker

Obsessed Member
#18
It finally arrived this afternoon! I think I 'll be comin to visit you, @NYECOGunsmith




I got these carbide insert cutters, but I dunno which one is for facing, turning, etc... dunno what the codes mean



The bolt from my new quick change release post has its own bolt which is bigger/has a different thread pitch than the one on the original post on the lathe. Might make this one my first "project."

 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#19
OK,, for starters on the tool bits, here's what you have:

The "L" designates a LEFT hand tool bit, one that should be used starting near the chuck and moving towards the tail stock, in other words, it starts on the "L"eft.

The "R" designates a RIGHT hand tool bit, one designed to cut from the right (tail stock end) and move towards the chuck.

The "A" means the cutting edge has a zero degree side relief cutting angle, so if you were to set the tool absolutely perpendicular (90°) to the lathe bed ways, it would cut to a square shoulder towards the chuck for a "AR" tool bit, and towards the tailstock for a "AL" tool bit.

The "B" means it has a 15 degree POSITIVE lead angle. Being a POSITIVE lead angle means the corner follows or trails the remainder of the side cutting edge IN THE DIRECTION of the cut.

You don't have any "C" tool bits there in the picture, if you did, that would indicate a tool bit that is ground straight across on the nose, and would be used for plunging a wide groove , or you could angle the compound and use it for facing cuts. Most folks, and I am one, use them as a blank to grind some special form tool out of, and the "D" bit is often used for a blank as well for special form tools.

A "D" bit has an 80 degree included angle on its nose, and the nose comes to a point, don't confuse it with a threading tool which has a 60 degree included angle on the nose point.

The "E" tool can be used for threading, but it won't produce a really great thread. It will produce an acceptable thread for use with rough hardware store bolts or nuts, stove bolts, farm machinery bolts, etc. in the Class 1A and 1B thread fit, but won't produce a class 2A or 2B , which is what you find on machine screws, nuts and bolts from the hardware store which are of a higher quality, stuff found on cars, air planes, and even on some aero space applications. To get a class 2A or B fit with this tool, you would have to finish the threading with a good quality tap or die. By the way, the A designates an EXTERNAL thread, like on a bolt, and the B designates an INTERNAL thread, as found in nuts.

And it will definitely not or 3A or 3B thread, like is needed for fine instruments, watches, guns, etc.
For that you need a ground thread too that has the proper helix angle for the thread pitch ground into the nose as well as being ground to the 60 degree included angle. And if you are going to do a lot of word with 2A and 2B fits, it's worth the time to grind the tool bit to the proper helix angle for the thread pitch being cut, so you don't have to go back and clean it up with a tap (for internal threads) or a die (for external threads).

Now the tool bits you have above are stamped with the shank size, 3/8 inch in this case, but often brazed carbide tools (like these) or indexable tools will just have a number on them, such as BR5 or AL6, the number indicates the size of the shank in sixteenths of an inch, so a "5" would indicate that the tool's shank was 5/16 square, a 6 would be 6/16 or 3/8' as you have here.

L:ast thing about brazed carbide tool bits nomenclature, there is usually a "C" number associated with them like "C-2", this indicates the type of alloys best cut with that tool bit.

C-2 is for aluminum, C-5 and C-6 are for steel, etc.
Sometimes you find older brazed tool bits with carboloy designations on them, like 883 which is for aluminum like the C-2 is, and 370 for steel, like the C-6 is.

Brazed carbide bits are good for a lot of things, but they generally don't give you a fine finish on anything, particularly if you are trying for a light skim cut only taking off a couple of thousandths. For that , HSS (High Speed Steel) is better.

And brazed carbide bits shatter and chip easy, DO NOT drop them on a concrete floor! And they don't like interrupted cuts, such as trying to thread a piece of round stock that has a square keyway cut into it, like you would find on the end of a shaft that has a pulley slipped over it, where the keyway and key provide the driving force, but a nut secures the pulley or driven whatever on the shaft.
Using a brazed carbide bit to thread or turn something that the cut will not be continuous all the way around the circumference of the workpiece is pretty much guaranteed to chip or shatter the carbide on the tool.

As for the different sizes of center post bolt, I wouldn't bother trying to change the hole in the compound, I would make a sleeve to go over the existing bolt , with an internal diameter hole that is a slip fit over the existing bolt's threads, and an external diameter that is a slip fit in the hole of the new quick change tool post (QCTP as they are usually referred to by machinists).

That leaves the lathe in its original form, and doesn't risk a weakening of the compound by enlarging the hole in it for the new, larger bolt, and it means you can easily use either the original tool post tool holder, or the QCTP one.

That new bolt has a steel block on the bottom, which you are supposed to machine (with a mill) to fit the T slot on your lathes compound, but I don't see your lathe having a T slot, just a bolt into the center of a solid compound, so I think the sleeve trick is the only way for you to go here.

When I get out in the shop tomorrow I will take a picture of my compounds on both my lathes and show you what I mean by the T slot on the compound.

Earthquake, TexasJackkin, did I miss anything?
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#20
Pcmaker,

You will have fun with that. I purchased the one below (7x12) a few months ago. The price was right. I've played with it a bit and made a few small parts. Still learning...… :)

NYECOGunsmith,

Thanks for the info you posted. I was always curious about the threading. I just have not tried it yet.
Nice looking lathe. Little Machine Shop carries good stuff.
We may have to have a "NOOBIE MACHINISTS DAY" and get all you new to the hobby of home machining types over here for a day in the shop, answer as many questions for the most folks at one time.