Machining Parts at Home

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Winginit, Apr 23, 2017.

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  1. Apr 23, 2017 #1

    Winginit

    Winginit

    Winginit

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    There are a lot of pros and cons as to what someone may want or need in their shop (assuming they have a shop).

    You don't have to be a full fledged machinist to get some basic tools like a drill press and make some parts. Its inefficient usually, but people do it for the enjoyment of having made something on their own, something they can use. Sometimes they even save money...but thats often in how you look at things.

    The point here is that if someone purchases a drill press, they should get one with adequate size and ridgidity as a basic requirement and then they can bolt or fasten other attachments to it. I would recommend a flat rectangular table most of the time, but it depends on what you may want to do with it. If it has slots for T shaped nuts, you can fasten things down solidly for machining. Thats why its sometimes better to move up to one of the small mill/drill machines. I DON'T recommend one of the machines that is both a mill and lathe. I haven't seen one yet that is worthwhile. (May be one, but I haven't seen it). One of the videos here shows how a guy converted a drill press with a milling table adapted to it. Pretty neat if you can get what you need. Of course the best situation is a full on milling machine because its much more ridgid, but most people don't want to spend that much money. Here is one thing to consider. Having a digital readout will enable you to make moves MUCH more easily than manually trying to measure your movements. Since most aren't going for a real milling machine with a digital readout, you will be much more limited in movement accuracy sometimes.

    I'm attaching some videos that range from entertaining to informational. If you are inexperienced with machinery, take what is presented with a grain of salt, and just try to glean what you can from it. In all cases of trying to do this stuff you must be diligent about wearing safety glasses and any other needed safety gear....but ALWAYS wear safety glasses.


    One of the best tools you can use in conjunction with a mill/drill is a rotary table. It will allow you to drill bolt patterns, machine holes of any reasonable size (up to maybe 6", or make the outer surface of something become round. Its all about familiarizing yourself with whats available and how you can adapt it to your needs. So hopefully people will see other good videos or present other good ideas here for using in your shop. Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIogUQB6SGo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuqTzOpDCEA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY-wXcFhx5w


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzqcOuE7AJY
     
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  2. Apr 23, 2017 #2

    Winginit

    Winginit

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  3. Apr 23, 2017 #3

    Winginit

    Winginit

    Winginit

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    Dial Indicators

    You will need two different types of dial indicators

    Dial indicator 1.jpg The first one is mounted on a magnetic base and is used for aligning parts parallel to your axis that you will be moving in, or for verifying how far you do move each time. You want one with at least 1" of movement. Most you will see have maybe .050 (fifty thousandths). The one inch (or two if you get lucky) are much more usable in a home shop.


    Indicator 2.JPG The second one can also be used for aligning parts but also allows you to center a part under the spindle. It should come with a small adapter or adapters or you can't use it. Look on craigslist or Ebay and find used ones for reasonable prices.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY2crpjhL3E

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR9tLu_nGxg

    (Note : Starrett "Last Word" is just a name brand. Any indicator brand is usually fine)

    If searching Craigslist, search for "machinist". Lots of guys retire and end up selling thier tools reasonably. You just have to be patient and you will find good prices. Oh, and the cheap Chinese micrometer sets work just fine. As long as they look ok and not abused, they work just fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  4. Apr 23, 2017 #4

    vtul

    vtul

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    If the last video guy had chucked up a chunk of something in the lathe and bored a morse taper in it, he could have installed his adapter arbor in that, and then bored it out to 1/4". No problem with an out of center three jaw or tailstock adjustment issue and he'd still end up with a concentric part.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2017 #5

    Winginit

    Winginit

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  6. Apr 23, 2017 #6

    Dana

    Dana

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    I have a Jet 15 mill/drill. Bought it (used) because it was a good deal, now I don't know how I managed without it. I can even turn short parts on it (I don't have a lathe).

    Dana
     
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  7. Apr 23, 2017 #7

    vtul

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    I built this lathe and milling attachment from scratch 15 years ago from my own patterns and castings. I didn't use any machine tools to build it except a drill press. All parts were cast in a homemade charcoal furnace.
     

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  8. Apr 23, 2017 #8

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

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    WOW! That's dedication DIY. Did you pack your own sand frames? Vents, sprues? I have a LOT of cast iron design and pattern making background. This is a massive effort. We are not worthy. Now we can directly print sacrificial wax for patterns from 3D models. It's an amazing world we live in now.
     
  9. Apr 23, 2017 #9

    Tom Nalevanko

    Tom Nalevanko

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  10. Apr 24, 2017 #10

    Winginit

    Winginit

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    I would have to say that what you did is pretty remarkable. It does however illustrate the things that can be done at home if someone wants do something. I think most builders will see that only imagination limits what the home builder can do.
     
  11. Apr 24, 2017 #11

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    I didn't look at the video but here's my 2 cents cause I see people trying to do this as an alternative to a milling machine. Please don't try to mill on a drill press with an x-y table attached to the drill press table. The spindle on a drill press holds a chuck (or whatever else one might try to use as a cutter holder) by means of a tapered spindle - that's it. Applying a side load with an x-y table can cause the taper to loosen and whatever is in the spindle can fly out with potential for bodily harm to the operator and/or damage to the work. Any milling should be done with the cutter firmly secured in the spindle with a drawbar. The mill/drill machines or anything that is marketed as capable of milling will have a spindle drawbar so just spend a few more bucks and get the read deal. Then you won't need a drill press.

    I have used the mill/lathe machines and don't have any complaints other than they are kind of expensive for what they do. Before I had a milling machine, I used my lathe as a mill for a couple jobs until I got a dedicated milling machine.

    In another life I was trained and worked as a journeyman machinist. I gave it up to go fly airplanes but I have continued machining as a hobbyist. It's a lot of fun and doesn't have to be expensive. Used machine tools are plentiful and cheap because manufacturing moved offshore. I'm pretty old school and I don't use DRO's and other fancy stuff but a milling machine with a DRO can do a lot, including bolt circles or other flat layout patterns. Much easier than the old way of using a dividing head or rotary table.
     
  12. Apr 24, 2017 #12

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    That's cool. Did you use any of the Dave Gingery books to learn the skills to do this?
     
  13. Apr 24, 2017 #13

    vtul

    vtul

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    Thanks Jay, Tom, and Winginit

    Jay, yes to homemade flasks and greensand for casting.

    Ferg, I did use the Gingery books to do the lathe. And I highly recommend those to anyone who wants to get into machining, can't afford to buy one and doesn't know a lot about it to start with. Those books are a wonderful course in both history, and metalwork in the most fundamental way. Not to mention self reliance.

    The milling attachment with vertical rotary table in the second photo was my own design, built so I could mill ports in a Tesla disk turbine I made back then. The rotry table re-used the lathe's faceplate. I started building anther lathe a few years ago to my own design, but have yet to finish it.

    I've cast iron as well as aluminum in a waste oil furnace I built a few years ago. I do own a used ENCO Asian circular post mill drill, which I use all the time. The new lathe was supposed to have expanded milling capabilities, and use an electronic leadscrew for cutting threads, though not a full CNC lathe. I like manual work, and don't need to make a living doing production turning, so that's what I wanted. Just got tired of change gears, and didn't want to make a box.

    The couple of drill press to mill conversions I've seen videos for used some method of securing the Morse taper in the drill quill. One used epoxy, the other used a heat shrink fit (above video I commented on) I don't know how effective those methods were over the long term, but they may have worked. I'm sure they weren't probably useful for for much larger than a 1/4" end mill. Still, that's better than nothing, and I'm in favor of that kind of thing -- if it works!
     
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  14. Apr 24, 2017 #14

    Winginit

    Winginit

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    What you are saying is correct, but you should have watched the videos.I selected two of those videos because they demonstrate exactly what you said.Morse Tapers are not for milling that creates side loads. One of the fellows modified the spindle itself by drilling/reaming the inside of the spindle to 3/8 diameter and adding a set screw. This allowed him to install a variety of tools with a 3/8 shank. He modified a drill chuck to have a 3/8 shank, or he can directly insert end mills, and other tools. Yes its limited to small tools, but the lack of a really ridgid setup limits the tool size anyway.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIogUQB6SGo

    The second fellow is kinda comedic and worth watching. He tries to adapt the morse taper and ends up with an adapter that doesn't turn true. Its a good video for someone thinking of trying it because it shows what can go wrong. He reinstalls the original drill chuck and it runs true. So he puts an endmill in it and machines some soft brass. Now, my suggestion would be to either emulate what the first video did, or to leave the chuck in the spindle and indicate it to see if it runs fairly true. If so, remove the spindle from the drill press with the chuck intact and weld the chuck tang to the spindle thru the drift pin slot. Wrap the spindle with aluminum foil or something before welding to protect the round surface from spatter. Then grind the spindle smooth and reinstall it. The weld should hold the tapered shank in the drill press. Of course, if you ever ruin the chuck, you now have a nice shop decoration rather than a useful tool. Watch the video, this guy is a character to listen to. (Notice, he does use "rather colorful" language.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY-wXcFhx5w



    Note: If you use a drill chuck to hold small end mills, you may also need to weld the chuck where it mounts on the tapered holder. Check to be sure there is room for a weld, and then Tig it for a small bead and keep the heat down by proceeding in slow interrupted welds. Everyone has a Tig, don't they?
     
  15. Apr 24, 2017 #15

    Autodidact

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    I have an old 1950s or 60s Delta drill press that I refurbished (there is a guy on the net who makes new bearings for it at what is actually a pretty reasonable price...). It has an easily changeable spindle, and I was able to find a used accessory spindle (lucky there) that can accept end mills as well as other types of bits that can be held in place by set screws (or grub screws) instead of the usual drill chuck, and so with this type of spindle there is no taper to fail as the result of the side load that the milling bit experiences. But this spindle is pretty small diameter and long as per the regular one, and so any milling it can do would be very light duty, but nothing like the 125 passes that I had to take with a regular drill press (cheap Harbor Freight one) - and had to listen to the sound it was making as well - to mill a 1/8" deep slot (and a pretty crappy looking one at that).
     
  16. Apr 24, 2017 #16

    vtul

    vtul

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    I wouldn't suggest welding the milling spindle to the quill, because welding heat distortion at about 3000F is fairly likely to end any hope of getting a decent runout.

    If I were to do it, I'd try the epoxy method, and use a low temp epoxy like W.E.S.T system epoxies, (NOT JB Weld with its 600F rating). Or a Loctite bearing locker (not the same as their thread lockers).

    The low temp epoxy would offer the possibility of heating the parts to about 200F with a heat gun to soften and release the epoxy if you wanted to remove the milling spindle for some reason. Gougeon Bros specifically mentioned the heat method to remove bonded metal hardware on boats.

    I would be cautious of trying the same heat method with Loctite, at least indoors, as isocyanurates can release cyanide with heat.

    From what I saw in the second video, the major runout problem was not the seating of the taper, because he indicated that part of his milling spindle and it was okay compared to the tool, which was wonked. The big problem seemed to be his drilled and reamed hole, mainly because he depended on the trrueness of both his 3 jaw chuck and the concentricity of his tailstock setover.

    As I said he could have avoided all these problems by chucking up some raw stock, aluminum or maybe even a chunk of hardwood, and using a small boring bar to bore a morse taper into it. This would set it concentric with the lathe spindle axis, no matter what the three jaw's problems. Then by putting his milling spindle into that taper, he could have carefully bored his 1/4: cutter hole again with a boring bar. He could manage runout of less than a thou, easily.

    That boring bar would have been a very small bar, I'd grind one for the purpose out of drill rod, and it would have been slow going, but it's doable. I'd probably have gone to 3/8" to make it easier and then used a sleeve adapter for smaller end mills. Wo knows maybe a 3/8 mill would work on aluminum or plastic. The boring would definitely be easier.

    Anyway, lots of ways to skin a cat.
     
  17. Apr 24, 2017 #17

    vtul

    vtul

    vtul

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    One other possible way to do the whole thing without a lathe would be to mount your XY table, and install the epoxied in milling spindle in the press.

    Then make a small aluminum block that can be bolted to the table, and accept a small homemade boring bar. Use that boring bar to bore out the hole in the end of the milling spindle by using the drill press itself. The XY table will be used to open up the hole a little more every pass. This will guarantee no runout, within the precision capability of the drill press itself.
     
  18. Apr 24, 2017 #18

    Winginit

    Winginit

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    Like you say, lots of ways to do things. I wouldn't be afraid to weld the tang in solidly thru the small slot in the spindle. I would only do so with a Tig or even a Mig welder. Heat shouldn't be a factor as it can be done with several small welds that don't create a problem. Its probably the easiest ,cheapest, and simplest way. Once done it should be permanent. The best way though is to take the money to be spent on acquiring a drill press and a cross slide table and put it toward one of the small readily available tabletop milling machines like Dana has.

    It really gives a builder the ability to drill and machine parts without the hassles of finding and converting. If you ever decide you don't need or want it any more it will have some resale value. They work pretty well for machining small brackets and hole patterns, and if you add a rotary table later, they will do a lot of other things too.

    Here is an example from searching Craigslist Nationwide: https://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/tls/6089360961.html

    Remember, most sellers are open to OBO offers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  19. Apr 24, 2017 #19

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    Part II of what I am saying is before wasting a lot of time and effort to improvise, shop around for the real deal. Machine tools can be picked up very cheaply. If you find it's not your cup of tea, sell and recoup the cost. Can't do that with something that was improvised. It goes to the scrap yard.
     
  20. Apr 24, 2017 #20

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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