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Looking for mini lathe / mini mill projects.

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#1
I have done a few small projects with my mini mill such as: a speed handle for my milling vise, drawbar wrench, ,sliding door handles,, T nuts,, etc, but in every project it was painfully obvious that I was missing a metal lathe to complete the job.

Soon I'll have a lathe , a small one mind you but still it's a lathe, so now I'm looking for ideas on what to make.

If you can come up with simple yet interesting projects, please share, this is a list simple project I've come up with :
1) a Die holder.
2)Articulating arm for a worklight.
3)two heavy duty tool rests for my bench grinder.
4)?
Please join in and give us newbies a few suggestions, also let the rest of us know what your first project was when you started .
 
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mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#3
Off the top of my head:
  • Center height gauge to set tool height. I use this every time I work on the lathe to be sure I'm on center height. Many designs out there - choose your poison.
  • A good boring bar holder, one that encircles your bar. This is, far and away, the most important boring tool you will have. Make the hole in the holder to fit the largest bar you own and make reducing sleeves to fit the smaller ones. For your lathe, 6061 will work fine for a bar holder.
  • A tailstock die holder. I prefer a tap driver instead of a dedicated tap system on the lathe so I didn't build one.
  • A dial indicator holder to fit your QCTP. You will need it every time you use your 4 jaw chuck.
  • If your cross slide has T-slots, I highly recommend a rear mounted parting tool holder. If you can fit it, you will not regret having it.
  • Consider removing the compound and use a tool pallet or plinth. Small lathes have small compounds that lack rigidity and a solid plinth will help. You can remount the compound to cut threads or tapers.
 

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#4
ferlum, mikey, thanks for the suggestions
All good projects, I have been looking for a simple carriage stop for a mini lathe and found a couple, that's another neat tool to make.
Mike, I like the boring bar holder, DI. holder, I really like the center height gauge if you mean something like this:

centre height.jpg
I'll have to search the net for the tool pallet and rear mounted parting tool and see how they could work with a bench top /mini lathe.
On top of my list is to find /buy/machine an MT#2 arbor and use it for attaching a die holder, not exactly excited about offsetting the tailstock to cut the MT#2 taper , don't know if they make taper attachments for mini lathes.
 

Dave Paine

Active Member
Active Member
#4
On top of my list is to find /buy/machine an MT#2 arbor and use it for attaching a die holder, not exactly excited about offsetting the tailstock to cut the MT#2 taper , don't know if they make taper attachments for mini lathes.
You could purchase a boring head. An example from Little Machine Shop. They sell the MT2 arbor to go with this head.

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1266&category=

Another option is to purchase a machinable MT2 taper which you would then machine to fit the die holder part. This will save a lot of time. FYI Victor Machinery have $25 minimum order and about $15 minimum shipping.

http://www.victornet.com/detail/DCA-BL2.html
 

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#5
Thanks Dave ,I like your second link, it's a good idea to have couple of them for different projects.

You could purchase a boring head. An example from Little Machine Shop. They sell the MT2 arbor to go with this head.
I don't quite understand how a boring head could be used as a die holder, this the type of die holder I'm talking about:
3d5de2009b4eeedd3b442e732911d23b--lathe-projects-metal-projects.jpg DIE3.JPG
 

Dave Paine

Active Member
Active Member
#6
Thanks Dave ,I like your second link, it's a good idea to have couple of them for different projects.


I don't quite understand how a boring head could be used as a die holder, this the type of die holder I'm talking about:
The boring head suggestion is to allow you to make tapers on the lathe without moving the tailstock, not for use as a die holder. Mount the boring head in the tailstock and then dial in the offset needed for to machine the taper. Easier than moving the tailstock and avoids re-aligning the tailstock to the headstock after machining the taper.
 

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#7
The boring head suggestion is to allow you to make tapers on the lathe without moving the tailstock, not for use as a die holder. Mount the boring head in the tailstock and then dial in the offset needed for to machine the taper. Easier than moving the tailstock and avoids re-aligning the tailstock to the headstock after machining the taper.
Can you cut a #2 morse taper arbor with a boring head? I didn't know that, thanks Dave .
I'd imagine boring out an mt2 with a BH. but that's not what I was after, thanks all the same though.
 
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westsailpat

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#9
How about a threading magazine ? I know I have never heard it called that either , I just made it up for lack of a better term . OK what is it ? It's a organizer for taps and associated drills , first start with the smallest say 0-80 thru 1/4 - 20 get the tap size hole drill and the clearance size drill . Now get a block of material to make the holder for all this stuff , square up the block and drill holes to organize taps and drills and stamp in the corresponding sizes . It's a time saver . Also a tap guide/holder for the taps , that is just a rod with a hole in one end that the tap shank fits in and allows it to turn and move in and out also make a tap handle again just a rod , drill a hole for the tap and hold it in place with a set screw . Use it on the lathe and mill . And to compliment all of this make a tapping guide block . It is a block of steel with holes drilled in it that the taps will fit into , use it when hand tapping .
 

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#10
Pat, Thanks for the suggestions, I do love my drill bit organizers , have made 8 or 9 of them to hold drill bits, chamfering bit, drill/tap holders, collet holders etc, but you can never have enough organizers right,lol.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#12
Ken, you can also cut the MT2 with your compound slide and make the shaft for the die holder integral with the taper. You cut the straight shank part first, then the taper. You will need an already made MT2 to stick in your chuck so you can angle the compound to the match that taper. Then you cut it to dimension. This way, the tailstock is not involved and you don't need a taper attachment. For short tapers, this works just fine.

Many versions of a tool height gauge. Look at the Hardinge version for an easily made but accurate one.
 

Ken from ontario

Active Member
Active Member
#13
Thanks mike, I believe that is the simplest way , at least for me it is, , I have already bookmarked and watched this video which shows how to machine a taper without offsetting the tailstock: