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A few useful tips to know

Discussion in '++ Q & A THREADS OF INTEREST ++' started by george wilson, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I posted these in the accessories forum,but they'd be better seen here. KEEP CHECKING this long list. I'm adding to it as I remember useful stuff that might not be common knowledge,or easily found in books. These are to be used at your OWN DISCRETION. I cannot be responsible if you have an accident!!

    If you must hold and end mill in a 3 jaw lathe chuck (not the best idea,but I used to have to do it),it can slip out when cutting. Wrap a piece of brown paper bag around the shank of the end mill,just 1 thickness. Brown paper bag has no clay(which is your enemy). Let the ends of the paper meet between the jaws. Non clay paper will hold like crazy.

    I use non clay paper in my SMOOTH jawed milling vise to hold slippery metals like brass or aluminum. It never slips,provided you clamp the part with decent force.

    To check drill bits for straightness when buying them at the local store,place them on the counter and roll them back and forth under your finger tip. Look for wobble on the ends of the drill. Even good,USA made drills can be curved.

    If your drill ,especially larger size ones,leave scratches in the hole,the drill is curved. You can partially remedy this by grinding rounded edges on the lips of the drill,but if too bent,the drill will still leave scratched spirals in the hole.

    To start a drill in the lathe without first drilling a hole with a center drill(which is the best thing to do), with the cross slide,bring the blunt end of a lathe tool up to the drill carefully. If the drill starts with a wobble as they most always will,carefully advance the blunt end against the drill until it drills into the metal without wobbling. Remove the blunt end when the drill is seated into the hole. Be careful to not push the drill past center.

    I have heard that some Chinese drill sets are only hardened in the common fractional sizes such as 1/8".3/16".1/4",etc.. They think that most users just use these common sizes,so beware. I only use USA drills. They aren't that expensive unless you buy the premium brands like Cleveland.

    You can more accurately sharpen small drill bits by hand,using a hand held stone. I used to sharpen #80 drills like this,using 4X drugstore reading glasses: Hold the stone vertically in your good hand(I'm a lefty). Present the drill to the stone,carefully mating its angle to the stone. Move the stone(a fine India is good) straight up and down,while rolling the drill to also grind the relief angle which you mustn't lose. Rotate the drill 180º and repeat. This is more controllable than using a bench grinder as it is slower and less likely to ruin your drill point. One day on a Sunday,I was drilling a LOT of #80 holes,and the bit kept breaking. I stoned the bit to a flat end using a pin vise to hold it,and re sharpened it about 5 times that day since I needed it THEN.

    If you have a tool post grinder,you can accurately sharpen up large drill bots that are really screwed up: Chuck the drill in your lathe,and set the compound to the angle you wish to grind the drill's tip to. Turn the lathe on in reverse. Grind the tip until the tool post grounder has fully ground the CUTTING EDGES of your drill. The rest of the tip doesn't matter. Remove the drill,and with an India stone,or a bench grinder,carefully relieve the drill's cutting edges to very near the cutting edge itself. USE the hand held stone,and carefully continue to home the same relief angle on both sides(takes a little skill,yes). Hone until you reach clear to and including the cutting edges. A correctly ground drill will throw equal chips on each side. I have done this on 1 1/2" drills and have drilled cannon out 2 feet deep quite accurately after reconditioning the drill this way.

    Repeat: properly sharpened drills throw equal chips on each side.

    When using Dykem blue lacquer,carefully wipe the surface WITH ACETONE before applying it. If there's any oil on the metal,your Dykem will tear when you try to scribe it.

    Do NOT lean on your smaller size lathe when using it. It can cause the lathe to deflect enough to mar the surface finish noticeably. I don't even lean on my 16" lathe.

    Before you try to level your lathe,put a new,sharp center in both the spindle and the tailstock. Better yet,TURN a center in situ from a bar of steel in the chuck and leave it there. Bring them together,point to point. Look straight down on them with a magnifying loupe,about 10X is fine. Adjust the tailstock sideways till it's center is perfectly in line with the spindle center. If you level the lathe well,it should turn a true cylinder. If the tailstock is out,you will not get a true cylinder,and it is wrong to keep adjusting or twisting the bed to get the lathe to turn true. While you have the centers nose to nose,look at them sideways,too,to make sure the tailstock is the same height. If it's not,you will need to place shims between the top casting and it's base(hopefully you have a 2 piece tailstock.) After you do this,run an indicator along the top of the tailstock spindle(incorrectly called the ram,often) and make sure it's parallel. On old lathes,the tail stock spindle will often point down hill. It is also useful to check the spindle from the side. I had a NEW lathe that had a spindle which wasn't parallel in either direction. It had to be scraped in true. It is common to have a tailstock that is a few thou. too high,but the tailstock needs to be parallel to the bed in all directions.

    Most new Asian lathes have headstocks that can be swiveled a bit. The larger ones,like 10" swing and larger,have headstocks that rest on precision ground flat areas,rather than on the V ways. They have bolts that can be loosened to adjust the headstock. Often there are 2 bolts behind the headstock that you can use to make small adjustments. Take a light cut across the face plate. Adjust the headstock till it faces flat,and ALSO turns a true cylinder. MOST lathes,when adjusted to turn a true cylinder from a bar of steel not supported by the tailstock,will face about 1 1/2 thou. hollow,which is within gov't. specs,so that flanges turned will not rock against each other. Luckily,my 16" Taiwan lathe turns both cylinders and facing cuts true. That's only luck,though.

    If your gear head lathe creates harmonic "waves" when you're turning bar stock,place oak blocks under the feet if the lathe sets on concrete. This magically stopped my new 16" lathe from making these harmonic vibes. I discovered it accidentally when leveling it. More expensive gear head lathes likely don't do this,but my 16" Grizzly did!!

    Three flute end mills are a PITA to measure,especially re grinds,unless you have a special mike with a Vee anvil for checking such. I avoid them,and only buy 2 or 4 flute cutters.

    NEVER,EVER maker a brass bushing to hold an end mill in an oversize holder with. The end mill will suck out of the brass bushing with even moderate cutting. I found this out over 45 years ago when I was a newbie. You can ruin a project and possibly break the end mill. Use only steel for such bushings,and MAKE SURE there is no oil on the end mill or in the bushing.

    You can see .0001" (a tenth of a thou.) of light between a surface and the blade of a square. Tilt the work and check it against a light source.

    When you are trying to carve or sculpt an accurate curved or flat surface on ,say,a model airplane,or other object,darken the room and look at a low angle at light from a distant window across the surface to see bumps or dips. I did this all the time when making violins. I taught this trick to a company making wind tunnel models of aircraft in Hampton,Va. Some of their models were sculpted of solid wood. They were glad to get this tip. Even very small bumps or hollows are easily seen in this type light.

    Edit: They used to drill holes in armor plate in the 19th. C.,with carbon steel drill bits using soapy water as a lubricant. Still perfectly good,but don't leave it on your machines!

    NEVER,EVER slide your tailstock dry on your lathe. The bed may be hardened,but the tailstock and the carriage are not. Squirt some oil just in front of the tailstock before sliding it if you want to keep it parallel to the ways. Lube the carriage,too. If your carriage has an open back side,be sure to lubricate it,too. Asian lathes and mills seem to make everything from cast iron,even when they should be steel. These axles that gears turn on can and will break off if not oiled. Use WAY oil if you can buy it in less than 5 gallon cans. I go in with a friend to divide a 5 gallon bucket of way oil. It is stickier and tackier than regular oil. If you must use normal automotive oil,use NON DETERGENT OIL ONLY. 30 weight is o.k..

    If you use motor oil on your lathe,use NON DETERGENT. Better,use the maker's recommended oils. In the headstock of a gear head lathe,HYDRAULIC OIL is best.

    You can effectively made a good reamer in an emergency out of drill rod,preferably 01(warps less than W1.)Polish the drill rod after turning it to just over the desired dia . Grind a longish FLAT angle on the front end of the reamer-to-be,about 30º is plenty. Turn down the shank,leaving,say,1"or less bearing surface on the side of a 1" reamer. Too much bearing surface will generate friction that can seize up the reamer. Harden the reamer. It will ream a hole drilled just previously drilled undersized beautifully. This is a reamer used in the 18th. and 19th.C.,and they still work just fine,but run the lathe SLOW. Carbon steel will not stand higher speeds. That's why HSS was invented. DON'T reverse the lathe when backing out this type of reamer(or any other reamer,either). It can break hunks of hardened steel off their cutting edges.

    I make MANY,MANY special form cutting lathe and milling cutters from 01 or W1 annealed steel. I've made dozens of wire drawing dies for drawing special shaped "wire" for making silver and gold bracelets the museum sells,etc. using these tools. I made ALL the wire dies for the bracelets they sell in Colonial Williamsburg,and many special molded shape wires for the PGA trophies. Carbon steel works just fine. It needs to be run SLOWLY,though. I do not recommend the CUTTERS for production,of course,but for 1 off or small runs,they work just fine. Dies last a long time for silver,gold,copper,etc.. Harden them,and draw them to a light brown.

    You can make perfectly good special taps from 01 or W1 steel,too. Turn your thread on the drill rod,and grind the cutting end to SQUARE or TRIANGULAR. The leading edges are ground or filed to just below the thread depth. Grind the angle at about 30º. You can grind the angle shorter after tapping if you need a bottoming tap for a few holes. Harden them and draw to purple(just before blue). They will tap steel quite well. Another centuries old type of tool that still worked fine. They made taps this way in the 18th. C. commercially. No reason they will not work today for special use. I make missing parts for mechanical antiques which often have non standard or special shaped threads,many left handed. These taps work like magic for limited use. I even make Acme taps like this. You do have to know what you are doing to tap acme threads,though!! The commercial sets should come in sets of 3 to allow progressively deeper cutting. For bronze,you will be o.k. with one. Some taps have all 3 sets ground in one.

    To drill brass,sheet metal,or plexiglas without the drill grabbing,or cracking the plastic when coming through the exit end of the hole,grind or,if the bit is small,hone vertical cutting surfaces on the lips of the drill. Brass is treacherous to drill. I got a block of brass sucked right up out of a smooth jawed vise when the drill broke through. I thought the vise would hold it!! The brass cut my finger pretty badly. It took 10 years to get the feeling back into the end if the finger. Plexiglas is easy to destroy when the bit breaks through. Simply grinding the cutting edges vertical will eliminate this,and the drill seems to drill just as easily when in a machine. I have some old brass drills. They look like spiral drills that were never twisted. Sort of like the old blue drills that came in the handles of eggbeater drills,except these are HSS.bright,and in larger sizes. Too bad you can't buy them anymore. The vertically ground ends of drills are also needed for SHEET METAL,which is treacherous stuff to drill. A vertically ground drill tip will not grab the sheet metal and spin it around when it breaks through. CLAMP SHEET METAL OR PLASTIC DOWN anyway when drilling.

    The correct type of center drill to use for turning tapers has a shape that looks like a bugle seen from the side,rather than straight angles. This drills a hole that will stay 100% in contact with the tailstock center when work is presented at an angle to it,rather than the 2 point contact that you normally get from the regular configuration of center drill.

    To saw thick foam rubber in a WOOD cutting bandsaw,if you don't have a special blade,try putting a SHARP blade on UPSIDE DOWN. This helps keep the blade from grabbing and sucking the foam down the throat plate. I mean a wood cutting blade with 4 to 6 teeth per inch,not a hacksaw blade type metal cutting blade.

    To drill a NEAT hole in foam rubber,make a drill out of pipe. Grind the end of the pipe sharp like a leather punch. Add a shank to it so it cuts through the foam rather than making a mess trying to drill it. This trick stumped a company in Norfolk tears ago when they needed to neatly drill 4" foam rubber. They were glad to get the tip.

    When I am making a cannon,and need a very neat hole that doesn't have to be an accurate size,just somewhat larger than the ball is to be,I have a bunch of old drills that have had long shanks welded onto them sometime in their past. I have made some of these drills(which I only use for drilling cannon) drill amazingly smooth,reamed looking holes,by chucking their shanks in the lathe,and taking a light,kissing grind down their flutes while they rotate backwards in the lathe. Use a tool post grinder for doing this. This makes a perfectly straight,perfectly aligned drill that leaves a very smooth hole. The chuck I've done these in is an 8" Bison that had only .001" runout. Any off centered welding has been eliminated by doing this. Fortunately,the drills I've done this to were quite accurately welded onto the shank,and just a little grinding was needed. I have made holes that look like automobile engine cylinders like this,believe it or not. Scoring and scratching in holes is due to drills not quite being straight. Before I ground the edges of the drill,I had previously ground the ends with the tool post grinder and relieved them as described above.

    If you are using a gas furnace for melting metal,the type furnace where you have to pull the crucible straight up to remove it,before you light it up,place a piece of brown paper beneath the crucible. The paper is large enough to extend beyond all edges of the crucible. The paper will burn up,but it leaves a layer of carbon that will keep the crucible from getting stuck when you try to pull it out. Freeing a stuck crucible full of molten metal is very dangerous. You don't want to break the crucible or get splashed when it gets freed.

    Run your tool post grinder for 1/2 hour before you use it to grind surfaces that you want as perfect as possible. This is recommended by Themac(one of the best tool post grinders made. I love mine). This gives time for the bearings to get warmed up so their desired tolerances are reached. This is only a tiny amount of difference in the tolerances,but t makes a big difference in the performance of the grinder. You can see imperfections only 1/250 thousandths deep in a smooth surface. Therefore,you need to get those bearings properly warmed up,even if it is an inconvenience.

    In case I have not mentioned it,to use a steady rest without marring a smooth surface,such as a finished rifle barrel,use cardboard. I mean the gray cardboard that is about 1/32" thick from the back of a writing tablet. Cut a strip long enough to go around your workpiece,and have 3 or 4 inches left over. Open the steady rest. Wrap the cardboard ONCE around the piece. Bring the 2 loose ends to the hinge point of the steady. Pull it snug and clamp the ends of the cardboard in the hinge of the steady rest,screwing it down firmly. Adjust the fingers of the steady to touch the cardboard firmly,but not too tightly. Oil the cardboard WELL with fairly heavy NON detergent motor oil. KEEP the number of revolutions you must make to accomplish the work to an absolute minimum. Do not let the lathe run idly. Turn it on,make your cut efficiently and turn it off asap.



    More tips will follow as I recall them.
    P.S. just edited Nov. 15,2013.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
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  2. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    George,

    Well written.:man:

    I have to comment about one

    "Do NOT lean on your smaller size lathe when using it. It can cause the lathe to deflect enough to mar the surface finish noticeably. I don't even lean on my 16" lathe."

    I have to do this to get the lathe to cut straight!:))
     
  3. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Is your lathe worn,or needing leveling up??
     
  4. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I hope you guys are enjoying this post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  5. Chucketn

    Chucketn Toxic Lunatic & Psychotic Active Member

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    Keep 'em comin' George, I really appreciate these nuggets of knowledge. So glad you're willing to share your experience.

    Chuck
     
  6. rogerrabbit

    rogerrabbit United States Active User Active Member

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    regarding end mill holder bushings.. awesome! I didn't think you could do that.

    question though: what is the best way to make the set screw work through the bushing?

    I can think of 2 possibilities:
    1. drill a cross hole so that set screw will go through the bushing the hold the smaller endmill.
    2. slit the bushing so that the set screw clamps the bushing on to the endmill.

    other options?

    Thanks!
    Roger

    Apopka-20130125-00583.jpg Apopka-20130125-00581.jpg
     
  7. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    You can do it either way. Drilling a hole is the best way. Slitting the bushing allows for marks to be made by the set screw,which can make it hard to extract the bushing. If the holder is a collet,which squeezes the bushing,of course slitting is best. I'd recommend 3 slits. One clear through,and 2 most of the way through. It will help the bushing to draw evenly in,keeping the end mill centered better. Make the bushing as close tolerance as you can so it will center he end mill better,or your end mill will not be cutting on all cutting edges,and if off center it will mill a groove wider than it should.

    When I was young and #9 B&S taper end mill holders were very hard to find for my Burke #4 mill,I relied on shop made bushings a lot. Didn't have the money to buy much back then,either.
     
  8. 8ntsane

    8ntsane Active User Active Member

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    Thank you George for all of these tips. Passing down your knowledge is a great thing This thread should become a sticky.:man:
     
  9. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    It is, Paul. I thought so too.
     
  10. 8ntsane

    8ntsane Active User Active Member

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  11. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    In the old days,when they had to make do with less,and a special dia. drill was needed,a skilled machinist would learn to grind a drill's lips slightly off center to make it's longer cutting edge swing wide and drill a somewhat larger hole than the nominal size of that drill.

    Most of you probably know how to get a lathe cutting tool at the exact height needed: Use a thin steel ruler,or a thread gauge(the kind with "V's" in it for grinding threading tools. Place the ruler or gauge against the shaft you are turning. Bring the cutter right up to the rule,barely touching it. Adjust the height of the cutter till the rule or thread gauge stands vertical between the work and the cutter. Then,you are exactly half way up the height of the shaft where you should be. No fancy little levels needed,nor really wanted by those who use this quick,easy method.

    If your lathe cutting tool is not exactly at the proper height as described above,you will not turn a correct,straight cut when turning a taper.

    The lathe was the only machine,except perhaps a drill press,in very early machine shops. Lathes were often provided with T slots on the wings of their carriages. Odd pieces needing boring out could be clamped down on the cross slide without the compound in the way,shimmed to the right height,and bored out without having a milling machine to do it. Great use was made of the lathe faceplate for operations we rely on a milling machine for these days. Lincoln milling machines were a popular milling machine in 19th. C. shops. Their vertical adjustment was to laboriously adjust both ends of their arbors,like you do in a horizontal boring mill these days. They also sometimes had to block or shim up the parts to the needed height. Old timers had to be ingenious to deal with these primitive conditions. They determine the necessary height to bore a hole on center by simple means: A rod chucked in the lathe had a blob of clay or putty added to its end which faced the work. A straight pin,or other light pointer was stuck into the clay. The chuck was rotated,watching the pin as it went around the layout line scribed on the work piece. Shims and adjustments were added until the pin stayed exactly on the scribed line all the way around it. This got you within acceptable tolerance to bore the hole first by drilling,then by single point boring with a boring bar that reached,and was supported by the tailstock center. needless to say,these operations took skill. Brits called it a "sticky pin".

    I measured the brass cylinder on an 18th. C. microscope in the museum. The cylinder provided adjustment just by sliding in a hole to focus the lens. The cylinder was turned freehand like wood,and the diameter was made constant just by feeling with calipers. This cylinder was not even .001" out of the same diameter along it's 6"+ length. The museum had bought a POS repro microscope made in England for the Apothecary shop. It constantly slipped out of focus. It must have been made from brass bed tubing,which was grossly out of round,with poor tolerances. It looked o.k.,but was in reality not well made at all. Do not think that those early machinists could not do accurate work. I was taught to "feel a thousandth" with calipers when I was young,and taking a machine shop course by an old,retired Navy machinist's mate. I've made use of this many times over the years.

    Real early milling cutters were more like coarse files.The only way they could be sharpened was to anneal them to soft,and re chisel their teeth back on,then re harden and draw them. Must have been SLOW going!! Plus,everything was plain carbon steel without nearly the wear resistance of later tool steels like Mushet steel,and later HSS,etc.

    Pressures for sintering carbide was first done in the breeches of large old Naval guns,buried vertically in concrete. Only they could stand the pressures needed at the time.

    I knew an old,but inventive machinist who had to mill some trunnion grooves for large spot lights. They were circular arcs too large for the swing of any of his lathes to do. He strapped the head and ram of a Bridgeport down tightly on a good rotary table,got the swing he wanted adjusted by mallets,laid this assembly over the metal to be milled,and succeeded in milling the circular trunnion grooves needed. He also had invented the remote mechanical hands used when handling radioactive material,or dangerous biological samples.

    I knew an old,retired,very intelligent machinist back in the 60's who made himself an extra $300.00 a week just putting long allen head bolts in his 10" South Bend lathe,and threading them all the way up. These longer bolts are only made threaded part of the way up,and some customer needed them threaded all the way. He first center drilled them,then threaded them. Then,he'd drill a 1/8" hole and put in a nylon locking plug. He made these by the 5 gallon bucket full. Today,that income would be nearly $3000.00 a week. He also got bronze submarine propeller nuts cast somewhere and threaded their holes on the 10" lathe. I guess those nuts were about 6" in diameter,but it's been many years ago to recall. He went to government auctions and bought all kinds of equipment and machines and sold them. I visited him often,picking up many tips of information. He died buffing large monel metal bolts. His hands were greasy enough to provide insulation from static,until he touched one of them wrong and got a shock that stopped his old heart. It was a big loss to those of us who knew him. Many machine shops would come to him to get solutions for knotty problem jobs. He always had an answer.

    I prefer to only use single edge countersinks,or what some call "O" flute countersinks as they do not make the countersunk hole 6 sided. It is easy to make single edge countersinks,and I've made several,some with special angles. Turn your blank countersink and mill or grind one side flat to 1/2 the diameter. Then,file a relief angle behind the cutting edge. Harden and draw to a light brown color when using common W1 or 01 drill rod. 01 is better.

    You can made a slightly undersize reamer cut a bit larger by drawing a HSS lathe tool fairly hard across the face of one of the flutes (not the top edge of the flute!!) This will raise a small burr that will enable the reamer to ream a few more holes,but slightly larger.

    You only need to grind the angled front leading edges of a reamer to sharpen it. That is where the reamer cuts.

    If you want to lacquer polished brass,you MUST,MUST thoroughly clean off the brass. Stoddard solvent(dry cleaner's solution) is the best thing to use. It is a refined paint thinner. It is very surprising how much black crud will ooze out of a polished brass surface. Keep rubbing the solvent on till the black stuff stops oozing out. Use a very soft cloth to keep from scratching the polished brass as you go. If you do not do this,lacquer will strip off the brass like Saran wrap when it is dry. When I made the surveyor's compass I have posted here,I had to keep applying Stoddard solvent to it for quite a while. Black stuff kept on oozing out of the surfaces for a long time. I had to be careful to use a soft cloth to not scratch the finely HAND polished surface that I spent days producing. Machine buffing would have smeared the engraving.

    Packing a reamer with lard will make it cut a round hole,rather than a hole full of angles.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  12. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    360 alloy brass hates lead based solder,but does fine with lead free soft solder,and silver solder.

    Wrapping a cylinder you are boring with snug strips of rubber inner tube can help prevent the tube from resonating while being bored with a single point boring tool,producing an undesirable surface. Press on the boring bar with the eraser end of a pencil until it quiets down any resonating the bar is making while cutting. Look for the right spot to press upon. Changing the cutting angles of the cutter also helps a lot.

    The post just above has been added on to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  13. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Don't worry about turning HSS blue. It is tempered at very high temperatures in the red hot range. Do not quench them in really cold water. Don't even quench water hardening tools in real cold water. It stresses HSS way,way,way too much. HSS is an AIR hardening steel,which hardens in the air by cooling VERY SLOWLY. Water can crack it. If you must dip the tool in water at the grinder,dip it and withdraw quickly. Wait a second and re dip. This slows the quenching down some. Many do not quench at all,but I get away with it on small lathe tools. Larger tools like horizontal milling cutters should not be quenched.

    See to it that your quench water is only at room temperature,as too cold water will even warp and crack W1(water hardening steel). Brass can,and WILL split open when quenched too soon after being heated red hot from silver soldering. I've had it happen!!

    Blacksmiths heat their quench water up some on cold mornings by heating a steel bar red hot and putting it into the tub. Water should not be WARM,just more like room temperature,or a LITTLE cool,not cold.

    Brass need not be quenched after heating red hot to anneal it. It will still be annealed the same by letting it air cool,and it will be safer,too,avoiding cracking. At least let it cool well below red hot before quenching.

    If you need a STRONG joint in brass,but have no silver solder,lead based solder will be just as strong by heating the joint red hot. The lead alloys into the brass. If you pull the joint apart while it is red hot,big "stalagmites" of brass will appear because the lead has alloyed into the brass. You'll find the joint difficult to pull apart,even at red heat.

    DON'T BREATHE the fumes from overheating lead if you do the above high temperature lead soldering. And,DON'T quench the brass when it is red hot. I practically can guarantee it will split open,or distort.

    Some brass alloys wil not take lead solder. 260 will just fine,but 360 must be soft soldered with lead free solder. Both alloys will silver solder o.k.. ROUND bars of brass are likely all 360 alloy,or possibly something else. I haven't found 260 alloy in round bar stock,so don't try lead soldering round bar brass.

    IF you make something like a brass plane out of 260,and use 360 alloy brass for plugs to hold the plane together,the 360 will look PINKISH against the 260. By itself,360 looks normal. Do not mix the 2 in assembled models if you want the screws(with filed off slots) to be invisible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  14. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    You can drill holes even in solid HSS power hacksaw blades(yes,the fully hard,solid HSS ones),with an inexpensive masonry drill. I have done this many times when making kitchen knives from solid HSS blades I sometimes find(most power hacksaw blades are not solid HSS because they can shatter). Run the drill press as fast as it will go,or about 2000 RPM,actually. There will be orange hot shavings whirling about,so wear goggles!! The fast running carbide tipped bit heats up the HSS so hot it softens it and scoops it out.

    I have found it necessary to sharpen the bit for every hole,or it shatters the power hacksaw blade in half. This must be done with a diamond wheel,or a diamond hand hone.

    I'm talking about holes in the 3/16" -1/4" range. It is also very easy to drill holes in files. I do this also,to attach the files to a wooden block for filing guitar frets.

    Be careful to not get the bit too hot,or the brazing will melt and the carbide tip will fall off. You need to buy a few spare bits if you intend to drill several holes,until you get the melting point figured out.

    This can also be done with solid carbide straight flute or carbide spade bits,but they cost a lot more than a small masonry bit if your application is not critical,like drilling rivet holes for knives.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  15. JohnBDownunder

    JohnBDownunder Australia SwarfnStuff Active Member

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    Thank you very much for a most interesting post.
    JB
     
  16. doco

    doco United States Active User Active Member

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    On the subject of leveling a lathe or milling machine. I have a 16" South Bend lathe that was new and delivered to the Naval Shipyard in Virginia February 1956 and placed on board a Navy ship. Just how level do you think this machine ever was in its service lifetime?
     
  17. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I think the main reason for leveling a lathe is so that, in a non-pitching/rolling world, both ends of the ways are at the same slant. If one end were a bit off from the other one, there would be a twist in the ways. Then, as the carriage moves down the ways, it would be twisting to match its location.

    When your lathe was bolted to the machine room deck, I'm betting they made sure it had no such twists. As long as both ends pitched or rolled the same amount the lathe would stay straight. More important than actual level.

    Got to respect the man that could keep doing his job around spinning equipment in a moving room. :sailor:
     
  18. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Correct. It isn't that a lathe needs to be level,it needs to have the bed straight. That can be adjusted without the lathe being on a rigid platform. Turning a piece between centers and making sure it is the same diameter all over is 1 way,to be brief. Other things must be checked first,but the necessity is for the lathe to turn true. This has been rehashed many times on fora. Ian Bradley in "the Amateur's Workshop" discusses how to set up a lathe without a level. I did it that way for years before I had the money for expensive levels.

    Read my first list of tips for how to "level" a lathe without a level. It really is just making the bed straight with itself,not "leveling" in the true sense.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  19. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If your lathe cannot cut smoothly with a round nose or other wide type of tool,to smooth out the chatters,try using cutting oil,and with the lathe turned off,drag the chuck around by hand,slowly advancing the cutter till it smooths out the chatter marks. It works for me. I'm not sure if it will work with the little HF type 9" lathes,but it might. I had it work with a 10" Jet many years ago,although the Jet was a decently hefty small lathe. The idea is to impart extremely low RPM to the work,like 1 rpm.

    Similarly ,if threading to a shoulder worries you,turn the lathe off and drag the work around those last few turns to get exactly to the shoulder without an accident,or crash. A handle made to fit and expand into the outboard end of the spindle is a great help with this sort of thing. Remove it before starting the motor!!

    Really good old time machinists would grind a drill bit to the same angles as a 60º thread. They would drill the hole where the thread would stop,using the lightly scribed thread track previously made as a guide. Then,they would drag the threading tool by hand turning the lathe,stopping the tool in the hole for a super neat thread terminus. You can see this on old blueprint drawings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
    scwhite likes this.
  20. Ulma Doctor

    Ulma Doctor Infinitely Curious H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Mr. Wilson,
    your postings remind me so much of my grandfather's wisdom.
    i was a small boy when he passed on, i still remember small things he would tell me from time to time.
    one of my favorites was the use of bacon grease mixed with mineral oil
    i still use it very frequently, whether drilling or tapping ...it really works well.

    thanks for too many nuggets to list, but please keep them coming!
    you can never learn too much
    :man:
     
  21. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thank you! Those small things make the difference a lot of times. Is there any salt in bacon grease? I know that,in a book I often study,about fine English gun collections in the 18th.C.,deer grease was rendered down,and kept the guns looking great for 200 years on at least 1 of the large estates. My journeyman,Jon,swears by bear grease as being the best thing to waterproof hunting boots with. He's a real out doorsman. I haven't availed myself of it!! I only wear sneakers these days anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  22. Ulma Doctor

    Ulma Doctor Infinitely Curious H-M Supporter-Premium

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    funny that you mention the bacon grease..
    my best long time customers is Prime Smoked Meats in Oakland, Ca., 220 Alice ST.
    he has the BEST ham, bacon ,and sausage of any of the purveyors i service .
    his bacon is salt cured for 7-10 days, smoked to perfection and smells heavenly, i can't wait for service calls there..

    i eat only his bacon, there is a definite salt flavor i hate to think what the sodium content is. sodium nitrate is present as well.

    thanks george!
     
  23. Skip

    Skip United States Iron Registered Member

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    The next time you have to drill brass with a drill bigger then 1/2 inch try drilling by cranking the table up into the drill bit with the quill locked. Any drill bit smaller then 1/2 inch i simplu put a drag on the quill. The lathe takes a bit more caution as the brass can jerk the drill chuck out of the tail stock.

    Skip
     
  24. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The tendency to pull the drill out of the chuck,or to pull the brass out of the chuck can easily be avoided by grinding the cutting edges of the drill vertical,as I mentioned in my original post(which is a very long read)! You only need to grind about 1/32" of vertical grind on the drill. Using a drill press,lathe,or mill to drill with,I haven't noticed any decreased ability of the drill to drill. Might be noticed with a hand held drill,though.

    Brass drills with straight,vertical flutes used to be made. I have some. Don't know if they're still made,though. You can also save ruining plexiglas by grinding flutes vertical. Drills grab coming out the other side,and crack plexi.

    Also,use brown paper to line the vise jaws,or any paper(like news print) that has NO CLAY(shiny paper is full of clay). I have access to left over hand made cotton rag paper which is excellent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  25. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Another tip: When holding steel on a magnetic chuck for grinding,if the part doesn't get held firmly enough,lay hacksaw blades down each side of the work to get more magnetic flux into the piece you're grinding. Work with smallish surface area may not be held fast due to the lack of surface area. They make hold downs for grinding,but they cost money,and I've never bought any. Hacksaw blades usually work well enough. Old timers used tricks like this to save money they didn't have,and still get the job done.
     
  26. ariscats

    ariscats Greece Active User Active Member

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    In case of emergency,that is if you are short of silver solder, you can make a very good solder for brass & steel by mixing equal parts of electronics solder (Sn Pb 60 40) and brass rod solder,phosphated if i remember well.A side benefit is that the soldering temp is lower,the color is more white,to the color of steel and very good wetting.Use normal Flux for Brass rod.
    Ariscats.
     
  27. Chucketn

    Chucketn Toxic Lunatic & Psychotic Active Member

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    Ariscats,
    Can you elaborate on the substitute for silver solder, please? Would I melt the two together? How would I phosphate the brass rod solder, or does it come that way?

    Chuck
     
  28. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I may have mentioned this,but I found out many years ago that if you heat brass pieces red hot that were soldered with ordinary lead solder,the solder becomes alloyed into the brass,making the joint as strong as solid brass. If you try to pull the joint apart while it is red hot,you get long "stalagmites" sticking out of both brass pieces.

    Never quench red hot brass. I have had it crack open finding that out. Also have had it warp badly from being quenched while too hot.

    If you are a model maker,and use aluminum soda cans for metal,and need it annealed,just carefully heat the can till the paint burns off. Be careful,or the can will melt on you. I had a friend who needed to cut louvers in a model airplane. I made him a louver shaped punch,and showed him how to just punch the louvers into a block of lead,with the aluminm between the punch and the lead,of course ! . The lead snipped the louvers open at their back sides,and perfectly formed their shape. The annealing process helped make neat louvers,too.

    If you want to make miniature furniture,or anything requiring very small complex shapes,like miniature Chippendale drawer pull plates do this: Make your punch the shape you want. Take thin,annealed brass shim stock. Punch the brass into the lead. The lead will neatly snip thin brass or aluminum sheet,leaving perfect punchings that you can dig out,or in the case of brass,melt out. The shapes will just float on top of the melted lead because brass is lighter. Re cast the lead for use again. I haven't tried melting aluminum out,but lead melts at a lower temp,so it should work the same. I have low temp. "fixturing metal" that melts at a very low temp that would work even better. But,a small ingot is about $30.00.

    Note: Just noticed that the spell check put "filtering" instead of "fixturing" metal. So blasted helpful. Must have been programed by non craftsmen!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  29. ariscats

    ariscats Greece Active User Active Member

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    Yes,you melt them together on the heated piece to be soldered. No you don't have to phosphate the brass
    rod.It is made this way.The other piece to be soldered is preheated for better results.
    Ariscats
     
  30. ariscats

    ariscats Greece Active User Active Member

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    Yes George,you have mentioned this in this forum.I just wanted to point this technique. I discovered
    it by accident,trying to solder stainless steel for the modification of cheap calipers.
    Thanks for the very useful tips.
    Ariscats
     

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