• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

HSS Lathe blanks

Investigator

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
158
Likes
60
#1
Does it matter where I order HSS 3/8 lathe bit blanks? Is there any difference in quality? Where would be the best price?

This will be for a 12" Logan
 

T Bredehoft

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
2,128
Likes
1,473
#3
There are differences. If you can get MoMax Cobalt, as opposed to no-name you might be able to tell the difference, but possibly not. Maintain the surface feed of 90 feet per minute, (I always have to figure it out, or look it up, the only one I know is 900 fpm for 1/4 inch) your tools will last for ever. (well maybe not forever, but you won't be sharpening them daily.)

I bought some 3/8 HSS lathe tool bits New old stock, last Saturday for $1.00 ea.
 

Investigator

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
158
Likes
60
#4
Just because the price is so low, what do you think of these from Wholesale Tools:
HSS 3/8x3/8 M2 $1.95

Not trying to go the cheapest way based on price alone, but wondering if there is $4 per bit difference and is it worth it?
 

T Bredehoft

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
2,128
Likes
1,473
#5
As hobbyists, I believe that any true HSS lathe bits will be good enough for our use. Its production, where a bit may be used 16 hrs a day that the differences show up. That's why carbide tooling was developed. The story I heard was that when Henry Ford changed from 4 cyl to V8 engine blocks ca. 1932, that he bored the cylinders with carbide tooling, a new product at that time.
 

Bob La Londe

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
237
Likes
127
#6
I get the small stuff usually from Little Machine Shop. I've made a number of specialty tools from small bits I got from them. Both turning and forming. I don't recall them having anything over 5/16th though. I was going to post a link, but I am struggling to find HSS lathe blanks on their site right now.

While I don't trust Bolton Tools completely on their import machinery I did get some larger HSS bits from them at a good price and they have performed well enough. I wanted to make a heavy right hand turning tool for interrupted turning down keyed shaft. Worked fine and held up as well as could be expected. I even pushed them a bit on my PM1440 and they worked pretty well. I don't recall now, but I think they were M42 and the price was good. Here is one they show in 3/8 http://boltontool.com/12-121-HC014?search=M42 The ones I got were 1/2 I think. They are certainly hard enough. It takes some patience to grind them.
 

Z2V

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
198
Likes
152
#7
I obviously could have got blanks for less but I was getting a few other things from MSC also. Unless you buy Cleveland the rest probably come from China anyway so it's a crap shoot.
 

Bob La Londe

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
237
Likes
127
#8
Wasn't picking on MSC, although their stuff is often a Chinesium crapshoot too. I am a long term MSC and Enco customer. With my pricing my way oil and cutting coolant is usually the best price from MSC. Just giving my own account of some bits that worked as expected at a pretty good price. (The m42 from Bolton) So far that heavy right hand turning tool for interrupted turning has only needed to be lightly touched up and honed. I have not had to regrind it. I bought a few just in case, but the others are still blanks in the drawer.
 

Z2V

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
198
Likes
152
#9
No Bob, it's all good. The bits I got from MSC have China stamped all over them. I was just there for other things and put them in the basket at the same time. Just convenience. I haven't had a chance to use them much as I'm setting up a new machine.
 

ericc

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2013
Messages
240
Likes
56
#10
For the beginner, almost any bit will work just fine. I have some old plain carbon steel blacksmith drills that I am always goofing up. I made a special holder to use these as lathe bits. Just keep them sharp and run them slower than HSS, and they work better as lathe tools than as drill bits. They are easy to burn, though. As for cheap Chinese bits, I hear that somebody did a spark spectrograph on some old Harbor Freight bits and found out that they are really not HSS, although I hear that newer ones are fine. If they don't work well, pay attention to the spark. Get one or two good bits so that you know what to expect. Garage sales are the best. A good HSS bit (M2 is OK) is worth $5 just for the learning experience. Once you learn, you can break all the rules.
 

woodchucker

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
1,021
Likes
645
#11
I want to say yes. I notice how often I have to touch up a tool. I find the higher quality takes heavier cuts (hotter) w/o dulling as easy. When I started I used mostly small tooling, but as I started to realize, heavier tools take heavier cuts, don't heat up as badly, don't chatter as much. But related to quality is how often I need to touch up the edge. The lower quality tools don't hold the edge as long. Price is not the only reflection of quality. There are a few low cost HSS tools that can compete with the brand names, but I buy a lot of my tooling at Garage sales and the farm show I was just at. I paid $2 for MoMax this past weekend at the farm show. Also many times it's already got a shape to it, and only needs touching up. Sometimes I get blanks (perfect). I'll add to the list when I get home, as 2 of the brands I look for are gone from my brain right now.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
3,031
Likes
2,948
#12
Does it matter where I order HSS 3/8 lathe bit blanks? Is there any difference in quality? Where would be the best price?

This will be for a 12" Logan
I feel that for the average hobby guy who isn't pounding out parts every day, a reasonably priced Chinese tool bit is fine. M2 bits will do for most work and they are the cheapest. Cobalt bits are available in 5, 8 and 10% formulations. Like their M2 counterparts, you won't know the formulation of these bits really is because it isn't documented anywhere but I suspect you won't be able to tell; they work well enough.

If you are nervous about the quality aspect, buy the house brand from one of the big supply houses like MSC or Travers. WE don't know what these bits are made from but you can bet the supply house does and they will not use a crap bit as their house brand. For example, Travers had a house brand that is made in Israel, not China. I have some of them and they are good quality M2 HSS.

I have also been using Chinese bits for decades, mostly for experimental tool grinds, but have found them to be more than adequate for hobby shop use. Some don't hold an edge as well as a quality US-made tool bit but that is an inconvenience, not a deal breaker.

My best advice: buy some reasonably priced tool bits from MSC or Travers and use them while keeping an eye out on ebay for high quality bits from the major makers - Cleveland, Latrobe, Crucible/Rex, Morse, Doall and Vasco. I usually pay far less for these high quality bits than I do for cheap Chinese bits from a supplier.
 
Container Above bottom breadcrumb