"homemade" tool steel



So it's OK to call carbide inserts tool steel?
Of course not!
Jim
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Harold & Susan Vordos says...

just
steel.
I agree, and I've never encountered that, but I still hear the term iron when used for the device women used to use before women's lib.
Harold
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steel.
just
steel.
In 30 years in the business, I've never heard of Stellite tool bits referred to as "tool steel." Jargon and terminology vary all over the industry, like the names of sunfish to fishermen, but that's one that's escaped me.
Usually, they just call it Stellite. In the aerospace industry, it's recognized as a superalloy.
Ed Huntress
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referred
like
Most likely because it has disappeared from the scene (in the way of toolbits, that is), thanks to carbide replacing it.

I have no quarrel with that, Ed, because it is rarely used as a cutting tool anymore, it makes more sense when you look at it that way. As you said, "Ah, terminology, terminology". I recognize that it is not steel, that was my point in posting what I did. Many of our terms are used improperly. This was an example. The way I see it, any die or cutting material is commonly referred to as "tool steel", including medium to high carbon steel.
Harold
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Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:

So? If I can pick up an old spring (which, incidently, is not just a simple carbon steel) and make a usefull and serviceable tool from it, why should I care whether it's a "modern high quality tool steel" by somebody elses criteria? It all depends on the application.

OK. But so what? See above. I'm not familiar with the steel you mention but do you know what the max tensile of the steel used in car/truck springs is? Does it matter for many applications e.g. making a counter bore to refurbish a brass valve seat?

I'm with you there on both counts but I have made a number of tools from much lesser steels all of which have done their jobs. Why should I care if some exotic steel could have been run at five times the speed?

Or those who wish to learn.
Ted
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of
on
in
The steel in car springs is pretty damned good steel, Ted. That IS modern high-quality steel. There's no way you could come within a country mile of that quality by cooking up something in a crucible out of scrap, which was the idea being suggested.

Vasco-Max?
getting
in
tool
Once again, the point was that tool steel is expensive to buy in small quantities. Tool steel is pretty exotic stuff; even the simple W-series steels require good metallurgical control to make.
You seem to be making the point that you don't need tool steel to make good tools. That's certainly true. But the poster was asking about tool steel. If you just want steel to make tools, then the first question is, what kind of tools?

There's a lot to that. However, making tool steel in a crucible at home is something like building your own refrigeration plant from scratch, without knowing anything about how it works. <g> It can be done and you can learn it but learning to make real tool steel, even crappy tool steel, is nothing like puttering around.
--
Ed Huntress
(remove "3" from email address for email reply)
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steels
iron
Sorta missed the point there, didn't you Ted? How does that relate to someone making their own steel?

Yeah, including starting with scrap stainless if I remember correctly. Hardly the same thing as using a coil spring from a '51 Buick.

The "so what" is a point of information for your benefit. If you feel you'll never have need for such information, which you openly admit to not knowing, ("I'm not familiar with the steel you mention"), kindly discard it.
> > See above. I'm not familiar with the steel you

Again, how does that relate to making one's own tool steel?

other
Would you present the same argument if you had a prolonged run and your creation from a Chev spring didn't hold up to the task, much the same way a HSS drill might not hold up the way a cobalt drill would in hardened steel? I gather your suggestion would be to continue to re-invent the wheel until you got through the job. That might work in your home shop, but industry would be DOA if it assumed the same posture. That was the point of my mention of the idea of making tool steel not a good one, and also why other materials were mentioned. There are materials out there that have been created to address particular problems that we face in manufacturing, be it at home of in industry. Seems to me it's not such a great idea to try to compete with metallurgists with unlimited equipment and knowledge in an attempt to save a few bucks on material that is readily available. On the other hand, if this gent was stranded on an island with Gilligan, perhaps it might be a great idea.

good
If
of
Learn what? That they failed miserably? The first problem with his inquiry was the concept of melting in a crucible, as if one could achieve the necessary temperatures required to melt steel in a home type crucible furnace. Possible, but certainly not done in industry, and for many good reasons. The person inquiring could buy one hell of a lot of tool steel for the cost of a furnace capable of melting the sophisticated materials without altering their physical properties. There's more to making exotic alloys than just melting them and pouring then out in a muffin tin. Lots more. I offer vacuum melting as an example.

it
Thanks, Ed. I rest my case. Melting these metals is not for the feint of heart, nor is it well suited for home application aside from experimentation. Even if one were successful in making the material, how would one go about the rolling processes necessary to convert their billet to something useful? Again, some things are better left to those with proper tooling and knowledge.
You want to learn something about melting and pouring metals? Try aluminum, and copper based alloys. They will occupy you full time for a long time if you would like to become proficient. When you master that, perhaps you could then tackle cast iron, which require higher temperatures, but still a few hundred degrees lower than melting steel.
Harold
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Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:

Actually, I didn't. You and Ed did. The OP's objective was to get lower cost tool steel. Remember? " I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the more expensive it gets so I thought would it be possible to make my own in a crucible by ..."

Read the above. Consider the OP's objective.

It would be if I had a use for it or if the OP did. You have wandered far from the topic. There are many, many specialized steels of which you pick one, probably a very expensive one, which completely misses the point which was a desire to make tools inexpensively.

I did.

Read the original post and become informed.

I am not in production and, from the sound of it, neither is the OP so your comment is almost certainly irrelevent. Unfortunately some you folk with vast production experience forget that the HSM is usually willing to spend time instead of money and typicaly wants to make only a few parts and will likely never use the tool again. I have a number of such in a box in case the problem ever comes up again.

How many pieces did the OP say he wished to make. Can you quote me a price for one 6" long, 1" diameter piece of that Vasco steel you mentioned? Does it come annealled? Can it be turned/milled with tooling likely to be available in the typical home shop? Can it then be hardened in my small propane fired 'smithing forge or will I have to send it out? Where? How much will it cost? Don't forget, there is only one piece. How long will I have to wait to get it back so I can make the three pieces I want?
If you can't answer those questions or can't be bothered, perhaps you should reconsider your position.
Ted
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wrote in message

a
I remember all too well, and his proposed method was to make it by melting scrap materials. That was the point of his message, and the reply he received from both Ed and myself was one explaining the difficulty of achieving his goal. Your introduction of scrap spring steel in no way addresses the issue of melting scrap for making tool steels, although it is a compromise on the concept of eliminating the "high cost" of obtaining "tool steel", which it is not. That you choose to make cutting tools that please you from springs is a great idea, but try putting one of your trusted tools to work cutting any material that has an attitude and tell me how well your cheap trick ways hold up. Making a few chips isn't the same thing as machining metal, and your method falls way short of that. I'd be keenly interested in hearing how well your home made cutting tools hold up when machining something like 17-4 PH stainless, a material I use extensively. Hell, just try them on some good old 304 stainless. Then lets talk.

Shooting yourself in the foot here, Ted. You're quoting that to which I was making reference. His point was making his own by melting, not using car springs instead. That was your suggestion as if it's a cure-all recipe for his problems. It isn't.

modern
mile of

was
His objective was melting, not car springs. What part of that can't you grasp? He clearly stated he wants to MELT in a CRUCIBLE. He made that abundantly clear, but never mentioned car springs.

I wandered far from the topic when responding to why one would not do well melting scrap materials to make tool steels when that was the point of the post? I'll try to make sense of that later. That you feel you have no need for a material that has particular qualities well suited to a given application is fine with me, but I don't think you're qualified to speak for anyone else. You certainly can't know that a material offered as an example of why engineered materials are superior to anything one is likely to produce at home could, or could not, be of use to most anyone, especially if they're facing a given problem with material choices. Most folks seem to appreciate learning something new, and file the information away for that special day when it applies to them. You seem to think an old rusty spring from a car is the answer to everything. It isn't .

Doesn't surprise me, not at all, Ted. But try not to speak for everyone in this case.

making
Everything in life isn't a brass valve seat, Ted. Some folks face real problems, problems that can't and won't be solved by carbon steel.

Uh huh! One of us has blinders. I'm not sure which one of us it is, though, but the finger of suspicion points at you, who is he one that seems to choose to ignore the fact that the party posting suggested MELTING scrap.

way a

steel?
And that makes a difference? What if you're trying to machine tough materials, even one piece? What do you do then, Ted, step back a few years to an older spring, assuming it knows how to cut tough stuff when the younger ones don't?
Unfortunately some you

Once again, you're drawing conclusions for everyone. I still offer you the challenge of applying your tools to tough to machine materials. Nothing short of that is going to convince you that your one-size-fits-all concepts are not valid for everyone, nor all the time. Further, where's the economy in making a tool that takes hours, yet won't do the job? I agree, it's a great learning experience, but one of the things one learns is to not do it again.

until
industry
Is there a point to this? Can't your argument be presented for any material? Regardless of any of the above, don't you think that jumping through any of the hoops mentioned above would be worth the effort if you were struggling with a project that seemed endless? You can pull the shades down all you want, there are those in the world that appreciate hearing about something that may better their lives, make a project flow seamlessly, what ever. If you want to get technical, Vasco-Max is a precipitation hardening steel, something one can do at home easily. Far easier than heat treating old car springs, I might add. It's all a matter of not thinking your so damned clever that a car spring is the answer to everything. You seem to have lost sight of the fact that high carbon materials for machining are no longer used, and those that choose to use them are hampered by premature edge wear and tool failure from heating. You're not talking to some bumpkin that just fell off the turnip wagon, I've run machines for gain for almost my entire life, and carbon steel is one thing that was gladly removed form the shops, especially a shop that wanted to get the job done at a profit. Even guys at home don't have the rest of their lives to make every tool from scrap, forge, heat treat, screw around endlessly, only to repeat the process because the tool won't come close to performing the way commercial tools made of HSS steel do. Even home shop guys value their time to a degree. None of us wish to spend the rest of our lives fighting with a tool that won't hold up. What the hell good is saving a couple bucks if you spend the rest of your life fighting one project? How cheap is that? Seems to come at an elevated cost, it's certainly not a bargain.

Get serious. You want me to take a giant step backwards so I can be up to speed with technology of 80 years ago? How is that teaching me anything? What part of ancient machining technology is there that you think would benefit me? How is that helping me achieve any objective? Why don't you try machining some titanium with one of your home made tools and get back to me. Should prove interesting. If that doesn't help you understand how poor carbon steel tools are, nothing will.
Harold
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of
on
in
Vasco-Max?
getting
The point that you're so conveniently overlooking is that regardless of the material you have chosen to use for "tool steel", these are variations of carbon steel, perhaps even state-of-the-art stuff, none of which will retain their hardness above 700 F, a temperature you can readily achieve while machining. That's called annealing, at least from where I came. There's no substituting HSS and super alloys for machining by using carbon steel, not if you're serious about machining. If that were not the case, carbon steel cutting tools would be readily available. Think of all the tools they could make from scrap springs! Aside from cheap taps and dies, and perhaps cheap twist drills, carbon steel cutting tools have pretty much disappeared from the scene, for which any of us that have worked in the trade are thankful. I've used them, and have found that their only place is in machining aluminum, and they aren't even well suited to that function. You can machine a cabbage with a carrot, too, but you'd have much better success with a hardened knife, if you get my drift. For me, machining isn't getting by the easiest and cheapest way possible, it's applying good and accepted machining practices to guarantee respectable and reliable results. I can't speak for your objective.
Harold
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OK this weekend I took one poster's advice, and made a 5C arbor for my boring head, to fit my milling machine spindle directly.
I started with a hardinge 5C center - which is a solid 5C collet item, with a male center sticking out the end. This is easy, right? Because hardinge wouldn't harden a dead center like that. Yeah right.
That thing was through and through hard. So the first item to the rescue was my set of carbide insert tools, so I could shorten the end of the center. This worked fine except for the blue steel wool coming off the part.
But then I wanted to thread the thing. Which meant I wanted an undercut at the end to run the thread out into, and also a carbide threading tool. Which was not in my box of tricks.
However I did have one "black alloy" toolbit, and remembering Harold's advice about stellite - decided to give it a try. I ground the end into a grooving tool to make my runout - and the thing got red hot during the grinding. I resisted the temptation to dunk it into the quench pot that was catching the sparks - let it cool by itself.
the amazing part was that was able to make the groove in a moment with this thing - it ate right into the stuff that the carbide was complaining about. Great I though, the threading should be easy - and reduced the end of the grooving tool into a threading tool with a couple of touches on the wheel.
Well the threading operation did not go quite as well, the end of the tool seemed to dull rapidly and work hardened the material even worse. I finally had to re-sharpen it, and take all 20 thou at one whack to make it cut rather than simply wear the end off the tool.
The threads were hardly picture perfect in the end....
But the boring head has a more solid mount now, and I can't wait to try it out. The black alloy tools have a real convert here. I bought it from MSC btw.
Jim
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That is one of the nice things about this use group. Diversity. I am usually trying to find the easiest and cheapest way. But often that is by using accepted machining practises to get reliable results. Regardless of the approach it is all recreation for me.
Dan

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Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:

Yes they can but "The point that you're so conveniently overlooking is that" it is not **necessary** to run at high speeds when making one or a few parts in a home shop. You seem to be incapable of realizing that not every job in every place is in the "time is money" environment.

That's the problem. You can't get your mind out of the production environment.
Ted
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Hi Ted,
IIRC the original post was asking if it would be practical to make tool steels at home for economic reasons, given the high cost of commercial stock.
My original thought was maybe, but without heat treat ovens that can be programmed or at least controlled manually to run the correct profiles, how would you harden and temper it in a way that would give any better performance than W1 or O1 type steels?
Ted Edwards wrote:

I doubt there are many on this list who haven't made tools from steel on hand. Sure you can make a tool from 1095. You can use low carbon steel and case harden it if you like. If you intend to use the tool on a machine you'll have to run it slower, take lower chip loads, and sharpen more often. Might or might not matter in your application. I wouldn't bother making lathe bits from carbon or slightly more complex steels though, M2 or 10 % cobalt tool bits are inexpensive enough in the smaller sizes. I don't mind grinding tools, and it often seems the shop is the hobby, but I don't want to have to regrind every couple of minutes! HSS has one really big advantage even in the home shop - if it gets hot it doesn't loose its temper. I've blued a few home made cutters pushing them too far even though the cut seemed reasonable. Now you have to reharden, temper, and grind. Maybe I'm just a wimp, but I buy my endmills.

As above, making one off tools from drill rod, 1095, etc. is perfectly reasonable provided the material being cut allows it. If I need a quick and dirty one time use tool for softer materials, I'll grab W1 drill rod and use it unhardened sometimes. Tools to last I'll make from O1 and heat treat. I don't have the ability to heat treat HSS with any sort of predictability or repeatability. Followed the arguments on this list regarding HSS heat treating at home, wasted some cutter blanks testing the results, and decided the folks saying you need more than a torch and bucket of quench were right.
Tools for hand use or low speed applications are usually fine when made with simpler steels, and are a good place to save a bit of money. Many specialized hand tools are either low quality or very expensive, but not difficult to make if you have a lathe and/or mill.

How often do you want to have to regrind, restore profile and clearance, and reset the tool? How long do want a simple lathe or mill job to take? Even as a hobby, there are only so many free hours in a lifetime. Spending them taking shallow cuts and honing the cutter every few passes just isn't effective for me.
I love old auto and truck leaf springs, circular saw blade steel, all the usual suspects for woodworking tools, and old bed rails make pretty good corner chisels, but for metal cutting tools carbon steels have limited occasion when they are preferred over more modern materials. About the only thing that comes to mind is well made carbon steel taps for gunsmithing such as those sold by Brownells. Sort of nice to be able to shatter a tap that breaks off with an automatic centerpunch.

If metallurgy and steel making is your hobby that's fine, there's room for plenty of specialized interests around here :-) If the goal is fun, and that's what you enjoy, do it up and post the results please. Making clocks from half hard brass isn't real cost effective either, but it sure is fun. You can be sure I make my gear cutters from drill rod, ever priced Thornton cutters for horology? - even takes my breath away and I'm used to the prices of clock and watch tools. Never have found a "practical" application for the steam engines I've built either, but they do make nice eye candy when running well.

Cheers, Stan
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Stan Stocker wrote:

Exactly. He didn't state what tools he wished to make and for what kind of a run but, from the sound of it, he want to make a special tool for something where the cost of having a special tool made or even buying the special steel to make it would be out of line with his objective. I offered a suggestion appropriate to an HSM with a need for a special or unusual tool for limited application. e.g.:
    I picked up two Federal dial gages reading tenths surplus for $5ea. I overhauled them and wound up with two smoothly working units. I wished to check the calibration and put them into service but they were designed to go on a dovetail rack and pinion mount which I do not have. For my purposes, I would be happy to simply have a dovetail to rod adapter. A half inch cube of aluminum with a dovetail slot, a set screw and a couple of threaded holes to allow different direction and size of rod would be nice. I needed a dovetail cutter of apropriate angle to make these. I'm sure I could order it and wait but I chose to make the cutter out of "OCS"*. It did just fine and it now sits in the "odd cutter" collection. Perhaps someday it will get used again. If you wish, you can see the finished adapter at <http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/_1999_retired_files/DGAGE.TXT
    I have two taps I made, also from OCS, one to repair the tailstock ram on my Smithy (threaded bronze bushing) and one to replace a missing (steel) wing nut from an old oak table. You can see the later at <http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/Making_a_tap.txt Neither of these were available locally. Both of these could be ordered from the US but UPS charges a *minimum* brokerage fee of $35 in addition to the taxes and duty not to mention the wait.
    My son-in-law, a mechanic, has broken a few Snap-on "Chrome Vanadium Tool Steel" cold chisels. Sure, Snap-on will replace them free but he is without his chisel until the next time the Snap-on truck comes around. Back around '93 I made him one out of OCS. About six months ago I asked him how it was doing. He said it would soon need to get its first sharpening.
    I made a set of drifts for making the handle holes in a hammer head. There are three required, a starter, an enlarger and one to make the hole egg shaped. The starter is rather slender so heats up quickly. I made it out of H-13 air hardening steel. The other two, I made out of OCS. They worked fine then and still do.
    I made a wood handled hot chisel and a hardie chisel out of H-13. I'm sure Harold would be quick to point out that A-5 or D-2 would be better for these but (big but) both those require rather sophisticated heat treatment well beyond what I can do in my heat treating facilities. (These consist of a small propane fired blacksmith's forge and a bucket each of oil and water.) H-13 is an air hardening steel that can be hardened by heating to a bright "cherry red" and cooling in air. Both of these have been sharpened a few times in the 10 or so years I've had them and are quite satisfactory.
This is kinda long but the point is that a good teacher, be it in the classroom or on the NG, needsto be able to put themselves in the "students" position in terms of background, facilities and needs. Some of our posters are unable to do that. They can only see the problem from the perspective of a production shop.

I think Ed and Harold are correct. Making your own high quality tool steel is probably not on in a home shop. At least, certainly not in mine. One of these days I want to build an electronically controlled heat treat oven but primarily for for getting small Al 6061-T6 back to T6 after welding.
* OCS: "Old Chevy Spring". teenut's term for old car/truck leaf or coil springs, usually obtainable free. :-)
Ted
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very big snip----

Speaking from your own perspective once again, eh Ted? You are the one that has the tunnel vision, the one that thinks that car springs solve all problems. They don't. Speaking as one that has years of experience in both manufacturing and tooling, you simply are seeing the world from your own little shop, where saving a nickel, regardless of the expense, is more important than acknowledging that there are better ways to skin a cat. I learned a great deal about your person when you built a tool that was swaging holes instead of punching them cleanly when rebuilding Venetian blinds. You were handed some outstanding advice that would have yielded professional results, but chose instead to go with a "die" (for lack of any other terminology, so I use the term loosely) that was drawing the material to a razor edge burr that had to be 1/8" in length. If that level of quality and precision is acceptable to you, we have very little to discuss. You clearly do not grasp what it is to do good and proper work, and you're likely never to.

Finally, on comes the light, eh, Ted? That was my point from the outset. If you'll go back and read my first post that involved your springs, my only statement was one of there being far superior materials out there for use as "tool steel" as compared to home made stuff, and I included springs. I said "Great idea, but far from modern high quality tool steel". I said it then, and I'm saying it now. Frankly, the term "tool steel" has been way over-used in this thread.
The entire point of Ed's and my posts were that making tool steel at home was likely doomed to failure. You are the one that started selling car springs. Car springs that in some cases are near failure from repeated flexing, I might add. Surely you've seen car springs broken from fatigue? And these will make great tools?
The next time you pass judgment on people that have worked in the machine shop trade, try to understand that what you do with your 3 in one machine is far and away different from the same thing as running serious machines. People that own real machine tools don't run them at three RPM, running carbon steel cutters. I have not run my machines for gain since '83, and I still prefer to run them "properly", so your production shop concepts don't hold water. Maybe what you're really struggling with is a lack of knowledge and experience, but you seem to refuse to acknowledge the idea. You're doing your level best to step backwards in technology, but I have no need to do so. I'm already far enough behind with my lack of CNC knowledge.
It's not the production concept that drives people like me, it's the concept of doing things in an acceptable manner, that yield good and reliable results, and don't require the wheel to be reinvented time and again. Perhaps you don't mind running a cutter at 20 RPM to avoid burning it, but you are in the minority. Anyone that is familiar with proper machining techniques is likely desirous of running their machine at a reasonable speed. You have immediately eliminated carbon steel, and that's as it should be.
I wonder, Ted, how you'd react to someone lecturing you endlessly concerning your particular area of expertise when they are poorly informed in that arena. I trust you'll be as good at hearing it as you are at handing it out.
Harold
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Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:

Harold, you often give good advice and you often give long diatribes about how good you are and how experienced but your perspective is rather narrow. Now you think that I think that "car springs solve all problems". I guess you never read my dropbox article on my holders for carbide inserts or the tools I've tipped with Stellite #6. The fact, which you can't see, due to your tunnel vision, is that W1, O1 and even old car springs can make perfectly satisfactory tools for some applications in the home shop.
Example: You spouted off about some exotic steel with 350Ksi tensile. I noticed that you did not quote yield, hardness or notch toughness. You may have also forgoten that *all* steels have the same elastic modulus so your wonder steel will do nothing for rigidity. This thread is addressing the home shop environment which is something you have great difficulty dealing with. How many home shops have equipment which will stress a tool to 350Ksi? Yet that is the only parameter you quoted.

THAT is the problem! Get down of your high horse and try seeing someone elses perspective.

Interesting rant. The blinds are up, work beautifully and there isn't even one word of truth in the above paragraph except the statement that I built the tool. You never saw the results so your supposition(s) about them are pure fiction. Iw ould send you a picture but I doubt if you would look at it and your opinion of the result is vastly less important than my wife's.

I don't recall anyone disagreeing with that. The disagreement was over the possibility of making *tools* not *tool steel* for various applications.

That statement mahes my point. Although we do see threads here regarding production problems, the title of this NG is REC.crafts.metalworking. Do you know what REC stands for?

Not to mention Math, Physics and Strength of Materials.

Acceptable to you.

I have read a number of your rants at myself and others so I guess I'm pretty tolerant of most of it. :-)
Ted
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all
A perfect demonstration of your practice of preaching to those about something which you are not qualified to judge. My performance record in industry speaks for itself. As for my perspective being narrow, I've noticed that you feel that way anytime someone doesn't agree with something you propose. There are times when my experience (sorry) tells me that one of your concepts, while functional, may not be in the best interest of others. That is one of the benefits of having been there, done that, something that seems to be missing from your concepts of machining.
Now you think that I think that "car springs solve all

As if I've never heard of any of this? Once again, preaching to the owner of the vineyard? I've not suggested that these things don't work, and, indeed, in some cases, have used them myself. My main gripe with you is your concept that these methods solve all problems, that a home shop kind of guy is more concerned with saving a nickel than achieving good results. It just may be for the first time that you finally said "perfectly satisfactory tools for some applications in the home shop", for which I commend you. There are many times when these suggested procedures work beautifully, and can be the best choice for a given problem.
I took exception to your post when your one-size-fits-all attitude about car springs was the answer to someone asking about melting scrap to formulate tool steel. Your answer was a nice one for getting around the high cost of tool steel, assuming that was the point of his inquiry, but it wasn't the point of his inquiry. His point was the concept of making tool steel, with the benefit of getting around the high cost of buying small quantities. Which one of us has the tunnel vision?

Notch toughness? How would you feel about a swash plate for a military helicopter that had taken a round, blowing away a portion, but was still capable of getting home? Yeah, I know, you're not going to build a helicopter so it doesn't concern you, but someone out there just may have a problem and have need for a material such as this. You, on the other hand, tell me you discarded the information? What then would have been the benefit of quoting any of the specifics? I have the information available because I have the brochures from the mill. I have also machined the product, which is readily machineable, although not likely with a car spring.

I see your perspective. I just don't agree with it. That's one of the benefits of having experience. It's also one of the benefits of living in the free world. I don't have to agree with you, and I don't.

yielded
any
material
discuss.
you're
Then the photograph I have saved in a file with your name must have been sent to me by someone else. The picture of the product, along with a factory slot, clearly shows ragged detail and an irregular configuration, especially the ends of the slots, which are anything but a radius.
Iw ould send you a picture but I doubt if

As I stated, I already have one, which you sent. I have it, along with your email, dated May 22, 2002.
and your opinion of the result is vastly less

Agreed. We must please those with which we spend our time. I do not choose to speak for your lovely wife. I may not see things the same way she does, and I'm quite certain that she doesn't see them as I do, for one of us has little to no experience in the machine shop, therefore may be incapable of making critical judgments regards machining.

home
But that was not the point of the post, and the answer, while nice to hear, was not appropriate for the point at hand. Had you voiced your opinion, good or bad, about the chance of success in making tool steel, and then offered your suggestion, perhaps I may have had a better understanding of your position. I simply did not think your answer was appropriate in and of itself. I still don't.

machine
machine is

Once again, just because one is working at home on a hobby basis doesn't mean that they choose to take giant steps backwards. How many of these guys own CNC machines? How do they (CNC owners) lend themselves to the REC part you seem to think I don't understand? I get the impression that because we do this for a hobby, that in your opinion we must do things slowly, using primitive methods and primitive tooling, making sure that we do it as cheaply as possible. You have made a point of that on more than one occasion. That someone chooses to run machines for reasons other than gain is no reason to not run them to the levels which they are capable. Certainly if that be your choice, so be it, but you shouldn't speak for others, certainly not for me. I have not run my machines for gain in over 20 years, but I don't have a burning desire to slow them down to a snail's pace and take scratch cuts off material when I know I can run at acceptable speeds and feeds and get a given project off the machine in reasonable time. I do it because I can, and because I know how. Why do you find so much resentment in your soul for that?

I am a retired machinist with a high school education, one that worked in the trade for many years, including 16 years of running his own shop, with very good success, I might add. In those years I earned the respect of my peers, which all seemed to understand and agree with my skills and abilities as an accomplished machinist and tool maker. While lacking proper education in the arenas specified above, aside from common math, with which I do not struggle, none are a requirement for being a highly qualified machinist. The rest are the realm of an engineer. I have never claimed that title, and am painfully aware that I am not qualified. That, in no way, makes me any less qualified as a machinist and tool maker, however. Thanks for the insult, though.

Yeah, me and others that understand machining in a way you may never.

informed
Doubtful. You have not been put to the test. I haven't attempted to tell you anything about your field of expertise, assuming you have one. It surely isn't machining. I would like to thank you for reading my rants, however. I would have figured you'd simply set them aside, especially with your apparent attitude about my inability to see things clearly. I must be very amusing to you! :-)
Harold
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Where does this stop?
Some other person could point out that I'm still living in the dark ages, using a flat leather belt driven lathe. And that a modern gear head lathe will grind mine up for lunch - and he'd be right!
Every home shop has at least one, and probably several aspects that are behind the times. Sometimes the owners even enjoy this kind of thing - it is a hobby after all. Like my open belt cone pulley machines. Or your avoidence of DROs. That sort of thing. Sure it's slower and older and doesn't work as well. But it's cheap and we have it.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com =================================================
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Harold & Susan Vordos says...

concept
Yep, he would be! :-)
Still, I don't hear you pushing your machines or your concepts on everyone, either! What I do see is you passing along to readers that which you feel will be of benefit to them. In spite of some seeing my posts as something different from that, my intention is the same. Witness my responses to the question about mill drills versus knee type machines, or table top machines. I have a definite bias against the round column mills, and for good reason. My recommendations are to always try to avoid them if possible if they are to be used primarily as a milling machine. That's good information for a newbie starting out that has no clue about the virtues of milling machines and what to expect from them. Some folks take offense, others are grateful for the tip. Can't please them all, and I no longer try. The tip is sound, but it may not apply to all, and certainly not in all cases. And so it is with your flat belt machines. They're not for me, I have different expectations from machines than they would fulfill, but I'm as happy as I can be that there are folks like you that love, appreciate, and own them.

Agreed. Certainly not everything I own is the best there is, nor is any of it current technology. My hone, for example (horrors, a flat belt machine!) is the old 4 speed model, a 1290-D. Far and away different from the later 16 speed machines such as the 1660 models, but I have it and I'm proud of it. I know, from previous experience, that it will serve me well, in fact. Further, I have a complete compliment of mandrels for it, starting at .120" up through the AN600 for doing large bores. How could I not be thrilled?
Back to the above, however, what you say is true. After all, as you say, I resist DRO's and even CNC machines (which I couldn't afford, anyway). I'm truly a dinosaur. The point is we don't attempt to suggest to others that they should emulate our choices. Mine of not using a DRO is a particularly good example. Had I not been trained to trust screws, I would likely be very much in favor of owning them. I am very supportive of those that use them, for they permit someone with limited exposure to machining to get around the skill level required to achieve otherwise difficult results. You don't hear me telling everyone that they are a magic cure-all, though, and I don't recommend them to everyone buying a machine, even if they have no clue as to how to run their chosen machine.
If a hobbyist is inclined to run machines, there is no better gift one can give him(her)self than to learn to run them manually, but that's an incredible investment of time if one expects speed, precision and reliability. Sad thing is, most everyone runs machines enough to make chips, even enough to turn out a project that somewhat resembles their design. Big difference, as you know, for those that do it day in and day out, who must work to stringent requirements and hold tight tolerances in many instances. For those of us that have worked in the trade, it's no secret that making chips isn't being successful. I've witnessed folks being fired because they couldn't do the work, but they sure as hell could make chips. I try to encourage folks to learn the basics and proper machining techniques, which will always serve them well, no matter the type of machine being used. Teaching the limitations of such poor compromises for cutting tools as carbon steel is very much a part of that concept. They should come to understand the limitations and know when to choose it and when not to.
My purpose in suggesting alternate materials (much earlier in this thread) in lieu of car springs was, in part, one that would have particular value to those that may be facing a tough job, perhaps some stainless, perhaps some chrome moly, where a form (custom) tool of sorts might be required, and to point out that choosing car springs for making all tools may not always be in the interest of the reader. How nice it would be to spend the time making the tool from a choice that is suited to the task at hand instead of carbon steel, which would most likely fail before the job was finished, even a small one, say a one-off. I can see that happening to someone machining some 300 series stainless (except for 303, of course) and just getting started only to have the tool fail. At some point in time all of us must know and understand the extreme limitations of carbon steel as a cutting tool, which was my point. I sure as hell didn't expect to have anyone take it so personally, as if I was attacking a family member. That sucks.
The other reason I mentioned other materials was to draw a comparison for the fellow that suggested melting scrap and formulating his own tool steel. The whole idea was to show that there are materials out there that have been finely engineered to particular specifications, and the hobbyist is likely to fall way short of coming close to anything similar, or even capable of performing in a like fashion. Conditions and equipment necessary for successful blending and melting, and the successive processing, such as rolling, eliminate those of us that might have aspirations of trying. Sad, but true.
I trust you understand that none of my statements are directed towards you, Jim. :-)
Harold
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