Jon, My approach is to buy them from this guy:
All sides are machined
I like to ream a slip fit for a 1/4" dowel so that if I have to reuse a set that
I can line the two halves up easily.
That's certainly a good price.
When we're slow we'll cut up a couple of bars, helix some counterbores
and then have two sides blanchard ground. If a pair need to be aligned
we either do the pin thing like you do, or machine the bandsawn ends so
they can be indicated next time.
Here's another micro tip that doesn't deserve its own post. We were
doing some long slotted parts in a Fadal and everyone knows how the
blown chips can get inside an open bottom umbrella tool changer. Well,
one of the manual guys running the machine came up with what I thought
was a good idea; He got a plastic trash bag and a couple of button
magnets (those 1/2" dia. strong ones), and covered the front of the
tool carousel with the trash bag held on by the magnets. Now you can
blow off the chips without them getting up into the carousel.
Haas uses those spring loaded tool pot covers, excellent idea. Fadal
makes some plastic tool pot inserts but in a shop that changes a lot of
tools per day for different jobs or operations, they're more trouble
than they're worth. For production use I can see where they would
pretty much be indispensable.
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