Getting started and tool reccomendations

I have been doing a fair amount of woodwork, and am considering doing a bit more metalwork. Any hand tools or small machines that you love/can't live
without?
I know this is a broad question, and should probably bring about counter response like "Depends on what you want to make." I think I just want to be able to do the most that I can as I learn the necessary skills. I have no specific projects in mind, though I guess things involving bending and shaping will be most difficult without some sort of aid.
For now, I have lots of files, a dremmel, and a bench grinder. I have been considering either picking up a micro-mill or perhaps a cross slide vise to use on my drill press. Any advise or suggestions are welcomed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

bit
be
to
In my opinion the machine tool that you can make the most use of and use to complete some interesting projects would be a lathe. Depending on what materials you want to work and the size of these projects a suitable lathe could range from a 7X10 import to 13X40 old American iron. In my own case I first purchased a 9X18 import that was used, after a year or so I purchased a 11X20 Standard Modern. The idea of a cross slide vice and drill press is not really a viable way to mill. A micro mill will be much better as long as the material and work piece size is suitable.
Jack Hayes
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

to
I
purchased
as
In all my searches, I see lots of lathes as well. I am not certain what I would do with a lathe. Well, that is a bad statement. Perhaps I should merely ask, what types of things, am I obviously overlooking that I would fabricate with a lathe?
When I think of lathework, spindles and handles and such come to mind, as would threading but I am thinking of it as a pretty "specific" tool operationally, as opposed to something that could do many different things. Maybe I am just not understanding the capabilities of a metal working lathe. In my wood working shop, my wood lathe is the least used tool I have, (Have been considering selling it off for space recently because of that.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The lathe is one of the oldest and one of the most important machine tools ever developed. It is used for straight turning, facing, parting-off, thread cutting, taper turning, necking, knurling, and (turn) forming. It would be critical in fabricating parts for almost any type of working model or mechanical contraption imaginable. It is considered a basic tool to metal working.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Absinthe wrote:

I recommend a 4x6" horizontal/vertical band saw e.g. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber7151 see http://www.tinyisland.com/4x6bsFAQ.html for the FAQ for that machine
I also recommend a 4" angle grinder with a sanding attachment and a few wire brush heads for it.
I also recommend a little buzzbox-type stick welder.
Personally, I did a whole lot of work with a cross-slide vise mounted to my drill press, until I got a milling machine. I still have my old CS vise if you want to make me a deal for it.
Some things you can buy cheap, like wrenches. Some, however, you have to get quality, like taps and dies. Cheap taps and dies are sheer misery.
Learn about the industrial suppliers like Enco, MSC, J&L and McMaster-Carr.
Subscribe to the magazines "Home Shop Machinist" and "Machinist's Workshop". Start looking for back issues. They normally go for current face value ($5/copy) so be prepared to pay but when you get ready to sell them you'll be pleased that they have kept their value.
Read this NG.
GWE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 08:14:30 -0500, "Absinthe"

A lathe.
You can turn things on it, and you may mill things on it. You may drill things on it.
A mill and a separate lathe is prefered....but
Gunner
Rule #35 "That which does not kill you, has made a huge tactical error"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Well it is no secret that I am a newbie, so I will not be revealing my ignorance by asking this... how does one mill on a lathe?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 11:21:02 -0500, "Absinthe"

heres a couple of pictures of the attachments: http://www.cuttingtoolmall.com/catalog/standard_large.cfm?FamilyID%0v http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID81
The end mill goes in the lathe spindle.
Your lathe has to be really rigid though, to take any appreciable cuts.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Absinthe wrote:

a bit

live
You did not mention a large vise. Also on my list is a 4.5 inch angle grinder, wire brush for your bench grinder, 1 by 42 inch belt grinder.
Dan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 08:14:30 -0500, "Absinthe"

For me, it's the bandsaw. I think you will find, after purchasing any other tool, you'll be wanting the bandsaw.

The way I see it there are two paths in metal working, "fabrication" and machining. Building model engines, clocks and mechanisms, or gunsmithing are examples of primarily machining type projects.
Structural type projects, sheet metal and ornamental work (wich would probably be nice if you already do wood work), are primarily what I call "fabrication" projects (for lack of knowing any better) where you cut, weld, bend, shape, etc...
Based on my experience of having bought them in a different order- my personal tool choices for machining would be :
1. Measurement tools (caliper, micrometer set,square, small surface plate and guage, v blocks, etc...), 2. Bandsaw, 3. Drill Press, 4. Beltgrinder, 5. lathe ( this is going to have to be a hefty machine to be able to do any reasonable milling on), 6. Milling machine.
The lathe and mill will keep you busy buying accessories for them for some time :-)
I'm not much of a "fabricator" so the only personal advice I can offer is avoid 110V welders. That said some of the tools I use are:
1 Bandsaw 2. Square 3. Lots of clamps 4. Angle grinder . 5. Die Grinder and I hope to soon have a bender with scroll attachment.
I would suggest you locate a couple of projects that interest you, and then figure out which tools you will need to complete them. There are alot of very interesting Yahoo groups on metal projects. Magazines would include Home Shop Machinist, Machinist Workshop, projects in Metal (out of print), and old popular mechanics and popular science magazines (pre 1970). For welding type projects, the Lincoln project books are pretty good. Do browse the Yahoo groups though.
Hope this helps some.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ok, the bandsaw keeps coming up. Which raises the question: I already have a bandsaw.. for woodwork. Can I just buy a special blade for it to cut metal?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The blade speed has to be much slower for metal. About 100 fpm. Some saws have a way to switch to metal speeds. Some saws have been modified to have slow speeds for metal. At your slowest wood speed, you may be able to cut aluminum. Metal vertical bandsaws are generally more rigid than ones made for wood.
Do you have a propane torch and some silver solder? With that you can braze bandsaw blades together from stock material.
Dan
Absinthe wrote:

have a

metal?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yes, I do have a propane torch.
Looks like a no-go on the wood bandsaw :) Hmm, think it may be a time to step back and slow down a little. Space will be at a premium, and I don't really want to give up my woodworking capabilities.
I believe I will have to add these abilities slower, perhaps focusing on hand tools and *small* machines at first.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 15:10:18 -0500, Absinthe wrote:

Advice I got here says to get a really good hacksaw, not the bent metal frame thing from the hardware store.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Australopithecus scobis wrote:

I'll second that opinion. My favorite tool is my Nicholson hacksaw. Next favorite is my 4 lb. ball pein hammer. This from someone with $1M worth of CNC to play with <G>.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

    Hmm ... there *are* good bandsaws with switchable gearing which can do both metal cutting and wood cutting. (It is a good idea to vacuum out wood chips before working on steel, as the chips from steel can be quite hot.
    Or -- if the metal you are cutting is mostly long rods (such as round stock for work in the lathe or angle iron and channel for welding projects) then a 4x6 horizontal bandsaw (once called "the $200.00 bandsaw", but now typically cheaper) may be all you need for metalworking, and it can be wheeled under a workbench between uses. (If you have a garage door on the shop, locating it so it can be set up with the back side facing the door, so *long* stock can be extended outside while you cut off the length which you need to work with will make life easier. These are lightweight, with wheels on the back end, so when it is lifted at the front end, it can be wheeled out of the way. The 4x6 bandsaw claims to have a vertical mode, but it is rather a kludge, and you can't cut very far from the edge of flat stock anyway, so keeping the woodworking bandsaw for that work, and for cutting aluminum plate makes sense.

    Small machines will help you to learn things with less danger to you and to the machines. For lathes (without built-in thread cutting capabilities), something like the Taig or the Sherline will give you some experience which will help you later in bigger machines. Even the little cheap (Asian) import machines can be good for this, but they will also teach you how to take them apart and fix problems in the finishing of the working parts.
    The same applies for a small benchtop milling machine.
    One of the problems with small lathes (such as the 5x12" ones) is that while they may be set up to cut some threads, the spindle speeds are too high to make it easy. They demand already practiced skills at starting and stopping each cut at the right moment.
    The "5x12" designation refers to:
1)    The maximum diameter workpiece which may be turned over     the bed of the lathe. (Over the carriage imposes a greater     restriction, so the 5" might become a 3.5").
2)    The maximum length "between centers" (one way of mounting a     workpiece which allows removal for test fitting and then     re-mounting without loss of accuracy). Mounting in a chuck     risks the inability to return it to precisely the same position     in the chuck, so it requires more careful planning.
    Your measuring tools will still be good for use with the larger machines which you get later, though you will want to augment them with larger measuring tools.
    Personally, I find a drill press to be good to have -- though not for milling, as this puts stresses on it for which it was not designed, and is likely to pop loose the chuck from its taper, sending a rapidly spinning mass with a sharp tool held in it bouncing and skittering around the room -- perhaps resulting in damage to you (or someone else in the shop, if present).
    For smaller internal threads, taps are a very good tool to have, and cheap taps are likely to make you swear off threading. Dies for external threads serve a need, but are not good for making a long thread on a shaft, as they tend to walk off center unless controlled by a machine tool designed to do this. They are good for short threads, if started carefully. Given a choice, I will make external thread on the lathe. (Though a die can sometimes be used to follow up lathe-turned threads to improve the finish and the precision of the size. There, the pre-cut threads will guide the die, so you do better than using a die on plain rod.)
    If you get into making things from sheet metal, then three tools will be quite useful -- though good ones are *very* heavy. These are a "stomp" shear (driven by foot pressure on a pedal). Ideally, you will want one somewhat over 48" (perhaps 52" at a minimum) to allow cutting down large sheets which come 4' x 8' as a standard size. After that, a finger (or box) brake, to allow bending the workpieces, and corner notcher. I've got a 24" finger brake, but not an appropriate size of shear, yet.
    For welding -- I can't really tell you what you will need, because I have not yet acquired those tools or skills.
    If your interests lead you that way, there are tons of specialized tools, but the basic starting point is measuring tools, and simple lathe and mill.
    If you get into larger used tools, you will find better prices on those with three-phase motors, because three-phase power is quite difficult and expensive to get in a home. However, in combination with an objet known as a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive), you can synthesize three phase, and a the same time vary the frequency, so you vary the speed of the motor.
    Just some of my opinions.
    Good luck,         DoN.
--
Email: < snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Second the good hacksaw frame; I like the style with a tension rod above the frame. And files. The amount of metalwork you can do with files (especially good sharp files (see boggs tool if your files are dull) is amazing. Keep your files sharp by never letting them touch each other - store them in a box, rack or roll that keeps them all separated. If that's more than you can manage right now, wrap them in paper, at least. Files that bang into other files become dull files, and dull files stink.
--
Cats, Coffee, Chocolate...vices to live by

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

A good way to protect file is to over them with cut up bicycle inner tubes. Any bike shop will give you a few, ask for the skinny ones (700 x 20) they stretch to accommodate large files.
Starret, Kurt, Palmgren, vises to work with
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 28 Feb 2005 01:54:54 +0000, Kent Frazier wrote:

I'm planning to buy a good hacksaw tomorrow. Searched for good hacksaws, found mention of one company I don't know about: Klein. I don't like the tubular top bar, but it has the top tensioner you mention. The Cooper/Nicholson high tension hacksaw looks like it's reasonable. (Not the 4-in-1 Nicholson gewgaw.) The Stanley and cheap clones won't do: the tensioning screw bottoms out too soon. Readers' favorites?
Anyone have problems with the blade retaining lugs snapping off, on any hacksaw brand?
I borrowed SWMBO's sewing machine and made file sleeves from old blue jean legs. OP: don't forget to put good handles on your files. Drill a hole in a chunk of broomstick--works just fine. Oh, and don't waste your money on Indian or Korean files. Get US-made Nicholson at least.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article <pan.2005.02.28.17.35.25.826178

The top two on this page...
http://www.lenoxsaw.com/handhack.htm
There are quite a few other makers of frames with the tensioner below the handle like these - much nicer than those with the tension rod on top that I'm familiar with. I have similar Starrett that's pretty good, but I prefer the Lenox.
Ned Simmons
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.