Clamping Sets For A Mill/drill

Hi, I'm new to this group and wanted to ask a question.I'm getting a gearhead mill/drill next week and can't decide about these clamping
sets they sell for $40-$50 bucks.I'm getting a mill vice with the machine but have been told I should really at least get one of these cheap clamping sets.I don't have a lot of money to spare so don't want to waste a cent.Of couse that is the case for most of us I guess<g>.Well what do you all think about them?Thank you for your help. Tom Munroe
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...

The sets are real nice. But a good first project is to make your own "T" nuts. The bolts can be replaced with a length of all thread. The cross bars can be any old longish scrap piece of steel - mill a slot in the middle for the hold down bolt. And a stack of anything handy will do for the other side of the hold down assembly. Put a hold down set on your Xmas list - beats the heck out of another shirt from your mother-in-law.
Karl
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 09:05:52 GMT, "Karl Townsend"

I wholeheartedly agree with Karl. This is one of the first projects that will teach you the use and operation of your new machine, and allow you to get a feel for how it cuts, how much you can push it and where the weak points may be.
You can make em out of steel, aluminum or even brass and this is a good "scrap metal" project.
Gunner, who has done this with EVERY mill he has scrounged up, even though he has about 100lbs of actual industrial clamps etc.
"In my humble opinion, the petty carping levied against Bush by the Democrats proves again, it is better to have your eye plucked out by an eagle than to be nibbled to death by ducks." - Norman Liebmann
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It really depends on what you will do, but at your stage I'd hang onto the money ! You can make a clamp or two quite easily as needed - machine a T nut or two, or just a piece of bar in the slot, tap for a suitable bolt.
The only thing I wouldn't skimp on is a decent milling vice - something really solid with accurately ground surfaces will always be useful.
Dave

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It really depends on what you will do, but at your stage I'd hang onto the money ! You can make a clamp or two quite easily as needed - machine a T nut or two, or just a piece of bar in the slot, tap for a suitable bolt.
The only thing I wouldn't skimp on is a decent milling vice - something really solid with accurately ground surfaces will always be useful.
Dave

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It really depends on what you will do, but at your stage I'd hang onto the money ! You can make a clamp or two quite easily as needed - machine a T nut or two, or just a piece of bar in the slot, tap for a suitable bolt.
The only thing I wouldn't skimp on is a decent milling vice - something really solid with accurately ground surfaces will always be useful.
Dave

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Have to agree with Dave. Hold on to your money. You'll have plenty of opportunity to spend it.
If the milling vise that comes with the machine is the standard tilting vise, plan on saving your money immediately to get an actual milling vise. I think that a genuine Kurt is overkill for your machine. I have the import clone that I've used for years with great satisfaction. I use the 4" on my mill/drill and it's the "right" size. I have the rotating base, but don't use it to save on Z-Axis space.
Carriage bolts with the head slightly ground make dandy clamping bolts and come in a wide variety of standard sizes. The little step gizmos & clamps can sometimes be handy, but I still end up augmenting with packing, such as handy blocks of steel. (blocks I happen to have handy).

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I want to second that notion! I made do with the stock tilting one that came with my mill/drill for a year or two, and it was a horrible mistake. There is simply no way to get things square or true on it, no matter how much time you spend trying to indicate it in. Use it as a doorstop and get a decent mill vise.
I got a 4" mill vise from Enco for about $90 and it has made everything SO much easier. Like John, I removed the rotating base to save on height.

Personally, I do find that having the clamping kit is helpful, for a newbie like me. If you go that route, make sure you get the right size... some mill/drills, like mine, have skinnier tee-slots than the norm. The first kit that I bought (over eBay) was too big to fit in my tee slots.
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G.Tom wrote:

Well, people have already suggested that you make your own T nuts and such to get a feel for the mill. Good idea, especially in Aluminum to start. AL will make you feel like you are making chips quickly and won't be as frustrating as steel to start. A good part of the "feel" is not just he cutting but the set-up/take down/bit changing, etc. It would make a good project.
However......
Depening on your intentions, I almost guarantee that you will find the one thing you NEED to clamp just won't work in the vice. At some point springing for a cheap clamping set will save you aggrivation trying to scab something together. I'd also put some really cheap 123 blocks or similar on your list as these can really help to use as spacers and such for that weird set-up.
A couple of really good quality standard sized endmills to get started will save you a ton of aggravation also. Skip the cheapo endmills as you will never be happy with the work you can do.
The face mills that generally come as a "freebie" with mill and drills are pretty pathetic also. They'll get you by in a pinch but don't blame your skills when they give frustrating results. If the mill vice you are getting is the standard that comes with the machine, start saving for a real vice. Those included vices are more like a drill press vice and are enough to start but again, will end up lowering the quality of your work.
When you get the thing going, try and remember that, like painting, good results require more time being spent in the set-up/prep than the actual work. Practice getting your set-ups square and doing good locating of points like holes. It's more fun to be spitting chips out but the results of taking the time to learn good set up practice will reward you in the end.
Koz
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Here's the tooling that has been most helpful to me, as a newbie with a mill/drill, feeling my way along. I'm writing this NOT because I know what I'm doing - I don't - but because as a newbie, my experiences might be of some value to you. ("You" meaning the original poster, not Koz.)
- Clamping kit (studs, tee nuts, step blocks, etc.) - I dunno, I guess I could have made my own tee nuts, but there's kind of a chicken-and-egg problem, how do you clamp the clamps? And you still need the step blocks and the straps. And the taps to tap the holes in the tee nuts cost near as much as the clamping kit would, and I'd probably never use them again because I don't do much work that big.
- Collets or endmill holders. I got endmill holders, but in retrospect I guess I wish I'd gotten collets. Either way, the difference in quality it makes over trying to hold the endmill in a drill chuck is ENORMOUS. You only need holders in the sizes of the shanks of the endmills you have, at first.
- A couple of end mills. You don't need every size in the world, because you can always use a smaller bit and make more passes. I don't know what work you're doing but for what I'm doing (light duty, mostly soft materials) the import HSS mills have served me just fine for now.
- Face mill for roughing material into square blocks. I used the face mill that came with the mill/drill, but I had to buy an arbor for it; it cost way too much money, and I would have been better off just buying a fly cutter head, maybe.
- Milling vise. I wish that my mill/drill hadn't come with a vise at all, because it would have saved me from making a lot of scrap until I got my real vise. A 4" vise was PLENTY for my Jet JMD-15 mill/drill; a 6" would have been too big.
- Dial indicator, and holder for it. You have to have this, because otherwise you don't have any way of getting something square to the axis of movement of the table.
- Parallels. I actually got two sets, one thin and one thick, but I probably could have just gotten the thick ones. You need these to hold small stuff up off the bottom of the vise, and they're also useful for getting stuff set up.
- Bits of scrap metal, both round and bar stock. These are helpful for supporting and clamping.
- The book "Tabletop Machining", by Joe Martin (Sherline). Helped get me off the ground.
I'm now taking a milling class at the local technical college; it's helping me a lot in sorting the wheat from the chaff in terms of what tools I do and don't need.
Hope that helps!
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On 24 Sep 2004 00:19:38 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@auracom.com (G.Tom) wrote:

A clamping set will be very useful. You're likely to find lots of things that are difficult or impossible to hold in the vise. The cheap sets are fine for this purpose.
Gary
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Hi Guys, Thank you all for your advice.I think Walter gave me a lot of good stuff that I was looking for.I have already ordered a 4" Kurt type vice for my mill.I have a good collection of mills to start with along with a couple cheapy ones to destroy first<g>.I'm getting a set of wavy parallels.I just found out how they work and they seem to be the best for me.I'm certainly looking for a good book on milling.I was considering"Vertical Milling in The Home Workshop" but the one Walter mentioned I don't know about.I sure don't want more books that don't tell me "how to".I bought a lot of books for my 10" SouthBend Lathe a year or so back and wasted a lot of money on them.What do you think?My mill is due in the store early next week so I have been planning the best way to get the machine off my trailer and into my garage shop.I only have the help of my wife and I'm not so good anymore being partially disabled due to an illness.I think I can do it but I'll find out I guess<g>.If anyone has any more advice for a newbie please let me know.I'm a steam engineer of 28 years but that was almost all in front of a control panal.I wish I had the opportunity to have trained on some of the machinery we had at my workplace.Not like the old days I guess.I should mention I have a good assortment of tooling for the lathe and the correct measuring equipment for laying out etc..I'm just new to milling and not so great at turning yet either<g>Thanks again. Tom Munroe Canada
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Your question is a familiar one, but only now has the thought occurred to me that it could be very useful if you could find a small shop using manual machines to just "visit" a few times and observe some setups being made, noting how parts are held, what tools used, etc.
Good luck!

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I have "Vertical Milling in the Home Workshop", and it's pretty good, although you might be surprised how thin it is ("Spindles" and "Screwcutting in the lathe" are much longer). I'm planning on ordering WPS 34: "Lathework - a Complete Course" and WPS 35: "Milling: A Complete Course" since I like Harold Hall's articles in MEW.
I have another milling book that I like, although I can't remember the title (author was Colvin). I think it was reprinted by Lindsay. It's less hands-on practical and more survey, although the dividing head section is extensive.
Pete
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snipped-for-privacy@auracom.com (G.Tom) wrote in message

What mill did you end up buying? Was it from a Canadian Shop? If you're close to me (Toronto) I'll help you move it Good luck and enjoy it!! Tom
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Howdy Tom, I live in the Sarnia area so help from you wouldn't work outtoo well Tom.I really appreciate the offer.I was going to get my gearhead mill/drill from Wholesale Tool in Warren Michigan(Detroit).It's actually closer to me than Busy Bee in London.I have been looking at the Mill/drill with the column but have been crunching my numbers to try to find the extra to go for a dovetail column and maybe even the rotating table model.It has a micro switch of some kind but I can't understand how that works just yet<g>.I'll call them on Tuesday and get some better info.I know from what I have learned so far from the groups that a dovetail column is better.Now to convince the "Boss" it is a better machine for the buck<g>.She has been pretty good about all this so far.I have been trying to get as much as I can into my shop before she yells stop and means it<g>.I bet a lot of you know just what I mean.I wanted to tell any other newbies out there I have found a wonderfull site to learn the basics.It's the US government site under "metalworking .com" It has all the important machines and practices you could want in one site.Great reading!You can download the whole lot and have a real library of machinist's information. I'm still studing the milling section and have a lot of others to get to.Better than shelling out all that cash for "skinny" books<g>Check it out if you haven't already.Thanks again to all you guys for the advice.I'll let the group know how the buy goes if and when the time comes.:-) Thanks Tom Munroe
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (surftom) wrote in message >

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Hey Tom,
While Wholesale Tool is a good place to deal (very nice helpful guys and they have a "Buy-it-by-the-Pound" bin!!), don't bet on it that they are closer to you than London. Driving distance only is 90Km versus 110 to London. By the time you get medical coverage and do the border crossing, time-wise London would be closer by a little bit. And you won't "save" the PST & GST either, because they now collect that at the border coming back from the USA into Canada. (That started about when the duties came off with NAFTA). Plus you also pay Michigan Sales Tax at Wholesale Tool, or spend time doing a form for them indicating/declaring "Export".
A quick peek at the Wholesale Tool catalogue I have, indicates that some of the Mill/Drills are sold "FREIGHT ONLY". I'm not real sure what that means, but if it means what I think it means, you'll pay shipping and the broker fees across the border too. Look into that first. Quality wise though, WT might be better than BB.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
On 28 Sep 2004 02:41:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@auracom.com (G.Tom) wrote:

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    Just to clear things up -- that is *not* a US Government site, but rather a site which happens to have copies of US Government publications of interest to metalworkers. They were written for training Army personnel, but are free (downloads) to everybody. You could also obtain hardcopies by buying them (for relatively little money) from the GPO (Government Printing Office). I have seen some in which certain photos were not included in the scanned one -- because they were owned by some other company, and the Government can print them for "in-house" use, but can't distribute them via the internet.
    The reason that Steve set copies up on his "http://www.metalworking.com " website is that some systems (especially those from outside the country) are blocked from accessing the actual Government sites on which they are normally found. There is no reason to not make these particular publications available to the world, but since the main site is owned by the Army (or some Navy ones as well), *those* have to worry about attacks, or attempts to access other documents of greater restriction, so they simply block any out-of-country sites from access.

    They are excellent books on the basics.

    One book (pair -- a two-volume set) is _Machine Shop Practice_ by Moultrecht. It covers a lot of different factors of machines, both common ones and uncommon ones for the hobbyist, and is where I go to help figure out a new tool.

    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Hi All, I'm not sure what is happening to my replys but they aren't showing up.I want to thank you all for your advise on this question.I will get a clamping set.Thay are only $35 and I value my time more than that right now.Don't get me wrong here.I understand the need to learn and making your own tooling is a good thing but I'm not well and can only get into my shop a few hours a week at best.I want to use that time to work on a model steam engine I have had for ten years.It's the Stuart 10 horizontal.I will take some time to learn on scrap for a little while,can't get around that can you:-)Thanks again. tom
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    I think that the problem is that you are posting from Google (based on your headers). As I understand it, google, while very good at archiving anything ever posted is very slow about getting new locally-posted articles into the news-spool where you can see them. (It may be in an attempt to control spam being posted through their system, or it may be plain inefficiency.) Anyway -- expect your new articles to not show up for several hours.
    You probably should consider getting an account with a real news server (yes, it will cost you, but not very much, and you will get faster confirmation that your articles really made it out.
    And consider getting a real newsreader program, instead of using a web browser for the task. (And *don't* use Outlook Express as a newsreader -- it opens you to the potential of yet more virii if you are on a Windows system.) Yes, you can keep on top of it with sufficient anti-virus software, but why provide a known open door for them?
    Best of luck,         DoN.
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