Making a Dividing Plate

A dividing plate is very useful for things such as drilling holes 120° apart, milling hex flats, etc. By coincidence I had 2 hard drives fail in the past month, they had been running 7/24 for >6 years. A few minutes with a torx driver and out popped a bunch of shiny discs.

The centre hole is just under 25mm, so a piece of 1” steel was sliced off and step drilled to just under 0.25”. A reamer finished the hole to exactly 0.250. The slice was then placed on an arbor, and the circumference turned down to an exact fit into the platter’s hole.

2014-06-27 11.32.29 Continue reading

More Tool Storage

Now that I have a taste for using Forstner bits, and have a tidy supply of hardwood it is time to provide a safe home for my end mills. When I bought my tool chest/rolling cabinet, the owner kindly provided a large selection of end mills, setup rods and parallels.

The .5 and .375 shanks mean a standard hole size. A bit of work with a CAD package and I have a layout. This is glued to the wood. The centres are popped with an automatic punch and off to the drill press.

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A row of .5” holes and 2 rows of .375. The forstners drill quite accurate holes (Harbor Freight) and the mills fit very well, to the point of getting a pop when you pull one out. An air hole is drilled at the bottom of each cavity to avoid this problem.

A bit of tidying up with a counter sink and voila, another storage solution finished. Uses less space and keeps the cutter edges from getting damaged. I could get to like wood working again at this rate.2014-06-26 10.33.51

Some general add-ons for the lathe

ER16 collets are a precision item and deserve to be treated gently. I had some left over hardwood trim from something we didn’t like. A bit of doodling, some marking out and drill 10 holes with a 5/8” Forstner bit. Voila. A lovely stand to keep my collets.

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I am working up (hence all the tool making!) to building my first engine. I know that I have lots of layout to do on the mounting plates etc. There are plenty of examples of people modifying $12 calipers to go vertical. So I replaced my not-so-flat home made surface gauge with one made out of 3/4” steel bar. 

This was the first real test of my new 2” milling vise mount and it worked great. The end cuts were pushing the rigidity limit of the milling slide but with light cuts it worked fine. In fact I can’t imagine having done this work with the original vise.

Once the 2 blocks were the same length I slotted one side to capture the modified 6” digital caliper. Some Cy glue with accelerator and the unit is solid. I will have to find a bit of steel to make the hook to get the point all the way to the surface, but it is usable as is.

Now I have a usable surface gauge, for $12 instead of >$250. The surface plate it will be used on is either 1/4 float glass or the granite kitchen counter.

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A Fly Cutter for the Taig

The fly cutter is a wonderful tool for creating a flat surface. It covers a larger area than a milling cutter and doesn’t leave rows of cut marks.

Taig supplies blank arbors to fit the headstock for $3.20 (Lee Valley), not worth making that yourself. A bit of time and voila, a fly cutter. I used the compound table to get the angle and the milling vise to hold the arbor for drilling a 6mm hole for the cutter and 10-32 tap hole for the locking screw. The ER16 collet holder came into play to hold a 3/8 milling cutter for the wrench flats. I promise to start taking more photos to show the sequence of operation, though sometimes that takes longer than the work itself.

Next one I build the hole for the cutter will be off centre, the present one makes me grind too much off the cutter. The goal is for the point to be on the centre line.

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Mounting a Screwless Vise on the Taig Lathe

Having a ER16 collet chuck at last, I made a list of tooling to build. One of my recent purchases were a 1” and 2” screwless machinist vises from Shars Tools. The 2” vise is conveniently just a bit narrower than the vertical milling slide. A detailed drawing 2014-06-11 14.06.45and some machining

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resulted in the required 2 sets of parts.

The Taig slides all have small t-slots on the sides. Interestingly not quite the same dimensions on each side but close. The pegs fit in the t-slot, the block fits over the peg and a washer/screw hold the vise down. A couple of hours work, using the filing rest completed just before this project (it’s all about sequence of building tooling at present)

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When I received the 2″ vise I initially wondered if it was out of scale with the Taig but with it now mounted the size is just right. Can’t wait to get some use from the combination.

A Filing rest for the Taig Lathe

Not having a milling machine, I needed to find a way to predictably create flats, squares and hex shapes on shafts etc. An excellent article led me to my version of a solution, based on the materials and tools available.

Pretty straight forward, some drill rod, some rod from a scrapped inkjet printer, a scrap of 1” angle and voila. Tools used were the lathe to make the shafts and drill holes and my 4×6 bandsaw in the vertical position to chip away the area of support.

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Making an ER16 collet holder

Long long ago I bought a set of collets to accurately hold smallish diameter metal for machining. The Unimat resisted my attempts at Plan A, adapting an existing collet chuck. The problem is to get the addition exactly concentric to the lathe spindle. The one I built had a runout (wobble) of .006” which is way too much for precision work.

For the Taig I decided to make on from scratch. This should result in one that is exactly concentric since it is built on the actual machine it will be used on. You can buy one for $23 but this way I learn some more skills, which will come on handy later.IMGW1149

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Replacement locking handles

The SHCS used to tighten various parts of the lathe are great if you only need to do that once in a while. Now that I have a die holder, replacing those is the next project. Most implementations of the handles involves knurling but I find the t-bar style more effective, esp. when you have oily hands.

Some 8mm drill rod (silver steel), 1/8” shafting from surplus mechanical aircraft instruments and a 10-32 die result in these:


These are a joy to use, the T-bar gives very fine control over the torque you apply without requiring a lot of finger pressure. I can lock the cross slide, carriage stop and the 2 tail stock features easily without hunting for a hex key.

Chips, contain yourself

Machining in a condo/apartment brings with it some restrictions. One is controlling chips that like to fly everywhere, the other is noise and vibration. Having done some of the work so far in the hobby room 11 floors down, I would prefer to do as much work at home.

Reusing the Plexiglas from another project, I built a folding lid and support. An additional shield mounts to the carriage and lastly one on the head stock to keep stuff from going to the left. Drilling brackets is made easier with the milling attachment, excellent control of position etc.

In practice the shields do quite well. Sometimes swarf/chips still come out the front so I will no doubt do a Mk 2 version later on.IMGW1105

With that under control, I moved to the vibration issue. Noise travels in interesting ways in concrete buildings, our condo is no exception. Keeping the noise down keeps the cats happy as well.

I made silicone isolation bumpers from bath tub sealer. The mold is part of a roll-on deodorant cap. Fill half way with sealant, smooth out and let it cure for a few hours (this type of silicone air cures, nothing much seems to speed up the process). Fill to top of mold with more sealant, smooth out and let it all cure for 2 days. 3 of these do a wonderful job! 2 go on the LH side of the mounting board, one in middle on RH side. (RH side does not have a lot of weight on it)IMGW1109

The end result of today’s efforts is a tidier work environment that I can use even in the evenings.


Cross slide DRO

I did some planning for the modifications and additions I want/need to make. One of those involves turning down 8mm drill rod to .1562 to tap as 10-32 thread. Rather than cut, stop to measure, guess how much more to go, cut, etc. I wanted to mount a digital gauge on the cross slide. This would let me cut until I reached a reading of half the required diameter.

Inspiration came from Start Model Engineering. I already had the gauge as I previously built the same thing for the Unimat.

Having the slitting saw made it easy to cut some ‘mystery’ aluminum from Home Depot to size. Mounting is by super-glue for now until I am sure where to drill holes for more permanent mounting.