Machinist tools- what should a begginer buy?

And lo, it came about, that on 28 Nov 2003 23:18:54 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking , snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Asp3211968) was inspired to
utter:

    I haunt the pawnshops. What with the downturn in the manufacturing, there's a fair amount of machinist stuff there. OF course you get what you pay for, but a set of Brown & Sharp 1-2-3 blocks in the case, still in their wrappers, for $25 beat anything else I'd seen.     Of course, _then_ I find my first set. So now I've two sets.
    As for getting a tool list - check in at the local tech school, they usually have a list of tools to have. and you cane get more or less as the mood and moolla provides you.
pyotr filipivich "We don't support "guns" ... the term "gun" gets in the way of what is really being talked about here - we want choice in personal security devices." Ann Coulter
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Randy wrote:

If you have patience and don't absolutely need all of the tools right now, don't buy anything right away. Watch ebay and strike when the listing has a poor title, or is under market for whatever reason. Of course, you have to track some items first before you have an idea of the market. In the meantime someone may give you some of the tools you need or you may find them locally for next to nothing.
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Yes I forgot to add that. Best is if you can find an estate sale and get some used tools, these can be had very inexpensively if you know what the right prices are for new, and bargain appropriately.
You also want to find a steel kennedy box to put this stuff in.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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Take the $900, put it in a savings account, and buy what you find you need as you need it. The items I use most frequently are a 6" dial caliper (bought a new B+S 20 years ago), 0-1" micrometer, depth micrometer, dial indicator (my preference is the Interapid w/ 1.5 inch face and .0005 increment), edge finder and a couple of decent 6 and 12 inch rules. Keep your eyes out at estate sales and the like, as mentioned by others already. If you're going to buy new, shop around; here's a place that has some good deals www.penntoolco.com.
-- John Sullivan Jamlab Enterprises http://jamlab.home.att.net

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I want to thank all who've offered advice on what to get. The Kennedy toolboxs have already been purchased, used, for cheap, one with the little 2 drawer chest for the box to set on. Used tools, if well taken care of are fine with me. My desire for knowing what "good stuff" is lets me know to what level to compromise to. IE: As a beginner, I may muck up a top notch $$$$ mic, but a less expensive model/brand that has good quality would work, and not hurt so much $$ when stupidity stikes. Or was that Murphy? That is what I want, not the cheap import, as I was given a chinese dial caliper some time ago, and it wouldn't repeat a zero every time the jaws were closed. Heck, it wouldn't even make a good doorstop. As one poster said, it was probably one of those poor quality runs. Before investing into a new "hobby", it pays to find out what others use & recommend, and WHY. Example, when all my carpet installation tools were stolen a few years ago, I went and replaced them all with new $$$ Crain stuff, except for the straight edge. Let the dealer talk me into a cheap aluminum one that a lot of other commercial installers were buying. Against my better judgement, I bought it. After trying to cut a straight seam by myself with it, I decided to go back and buy the $60.00 more galvanised steel one like I used to have. I asked one of the other installers about it, and they said they gave the aluminum ones to the laborers, to save money when they needed to be replaced. Still have that piece of junk on the wall, as a momento to quality. I liked the advice of buy the sizes I need now, get started, and move up as needed. And, the advice on deadblow hammers as well as a granite surface plate is something I never thought of. Auto punches vs manual. Well, I like both, and have both! :-)
Ebay is one of my favorite haunts, though, generally I prefer to buy books, & hard to find specialty items.. I really like to handle the tools in person before buying. So, please pardon my rambling, And a Really Big Thanks for the Info!!!!!!! I've been putting together my shopping list, and may still have some money left in the bank. For a while, anyway!! Randy
On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 17:48:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Randy) wrote:

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    [ ... ]

    More likely to be Murphy, if you've spent the bucks for a high-quality one. The worst is when you discover someone using *your* micrometers as C-clamps. (Yes, it *does* happen from time to time.)
    Other than that -- if your micrometers have carbide anvils, and you use the thimble ratchet or a friction thimble to limit the torque (or you develop a good feel), you will have those micrometers for life.

    Neither will a *good* one -- unless you run a piece of clean paper between the jaws, lightly close them on the paper, and draw it out, to remove various particles which can keep it from re-zeroing. The same is even more true with micrometers. It doesn't take much to keep a tenths-reading micrometer from repeating.
    Granted, if there is slop in the gears, and excess friction in the bearings, and perhaps loose gibs on the sliding head, you won't be able to ever get a cheap dial caliper to repeat, even with the most thorough cleaning. But I do have two 6" size dial calipers -- one Chinese (Phase-II) and one Starrett (actually a 0-150mm one, not a 6"), and both seem to be equally repeatable, though the *feel* of the Starrett is markedly superior.
    And for calipers, they are sensitive to where on the jaws you measure, if you are not being very careful to minimize the force applied. Calipers *bend* -- more so with the full length of the beam in use.

    Check it out again with proper cleaning of the jaw faces. That might be all that is wrong.
    Of course, if there is a tiny bit of swarf in the rack gear, the dial will jump as you pass that, showing *greatly* different values each time around. Even the best of the dial calipers can fall victim to that, too.

    Maybe -- maybe not.
    [ ... ]

    This is a case of the wrong material for the job. I can see the knife biting into the aluminum and climbing up on top if you are trying to cut along it.
    [ ... ]

    I have both, and tend to use the manual ones these days, because I am doing more precision layout than before.
    Before, when I was laying out chassis for component and control mounting holes, there was a lot less precision needed, and the automatic was a lot more convenient -- and it allowed me to use the other hand to place a bucking bar behind the impact point, so I got a proper center-punch mark, instead of a deep dimple with the lighter gauge aluminum chassis. :-)

    One thing to watch for on eBay (other than sellers who have no idea what they are selling. :-) There is a seller who is located in Connecticut, near Hartford, I believe, who keeps putting things up on auction which have been "refurbished" by a quick application of paint, and who takes forever to get around to shipping -- by which time he has likely forgotten what was described as coming with the item in the auction -- if he *ever* ships.
    It won't do much good to give his real name, as he keeps getting kicked off of eBay and coming back with a new name. The clues to watch for are:
1)    Descriptions in all one case -- sometimes upper, sometimes     lower.
2)    *Very* short descriptions -- sometimes to the point of being     useless.
3)    Terrible spelling.
4)    Usually, he is claiming an address somewhere in Connecticut,     but has claimed at least one New York address.
5)    Auctions frequently have the starting price and the "Buy-Now"     price the same -- in the hopes of completing the auction before     he gets kicked off again.
6)    Tons of auctions (perhaps 200+) set up in a very short time, by     someone who has no feedback, and thus is supposedly a very new     eBay seller.
    If in doubt, post the auction number here (or one of the other auctions which he is running at the same time, if you don't want to call attention to the item which you are considering bidding on), and ask if this looks like a "Babbin". There are enough of us here who have seen lots of his auctions so we can usually tell.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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The other reason that calipers give different readings at different distances from the tips, is that most of the work is done near the tips, and hence most of the wear occurs there. But the zeroing happens where they're tight, near the inside of the jaws. A few thou of wear front to back is not unusual.

Also seen with Mass. addresses as well on occasion. The auction photos often have blanked out backrounds - photoshopped or whaterver - to hide whatever else is around the item.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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On 6 Dec 2003 17:39:56 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

Or was that Murphy?

Randy sitting here in disbelief...........

I do like the Starrett TRXL series. Not too pricey either for small ones.

I did try cleaning them when I recieved them, but it didn't seem to do any good. However, It's possible that I may have been over tightening them when closing the jaws. I have a bad tendency to torque up on things. Can't find them at the moment, and may have tossed them. Hope not, I'd like to look into them a lot further now...........

Good to know, but the dial was smooth in operation, just couldn't get it to return to zero. Looks like my sunday will be spent looking for that caliper.........

Exactly!!!!!
Same for Sheet metal door frames. :-)

One of the things I judge a seller on is the appearance of the auction listings, just as you list, and to go further. I send an email asking questions, and see how the seller responds. Some don't, and I kiss them goodbye. Those that respond nicely and answered the questions will get the bid. The rest are evaluated according to how they answered the questions. Have to say that most transactions work really well this way. Just have to remember to ask about shipping consolodations prior to bidding. Just paid 26.00 fixed shipping for 2 auctions, for a single 10.00 package. Live and learn.
I'll keep my eyes out for the "Babin"!
Thanks for the replys. I'm still watching the posts, and the rest of the group, picking up good ideas!
I just realized that in the original posting that I forgot to say remove the first 2 m from my address to reply via email. *sigh*
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 17:48:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Randy) wrote:

Most all of what has been previously mentioned I would also recommend. Additionally, I've taken a few photos of some other tools that I absolutely rely upon:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/5C_CBC1.JPG
This is a set sometimes referred to as a Collet Block Chuck. It holds 5C collets and I've used it as a poor man's collet chuck by holding a work piece in the CBC then holding the hex CBC in 3 jaw lathe chuck or the four sided CBC in a 4 jaw. I also use it frequently to holds short work pieces in the vise of my 4 X 6 band saw. It's also very handy for indexing a work piece in a mill's vise. To do such things as creating a hex or square section on a work piece. A spanner wrench of some type will be required to tighten/loosen the CBC lock ring but it's easily fabricated. The following photo shows the spanner in use:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/CBC_WS.JPG
The following photo depicts a setup I use often to position the mill's spindle directly over the center of a CBC held work piece:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/CBC_Use1.JPG
For layout work I use a hemaphrodite caliper frequently:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/HermCal.JPG
Instead of a combination square's protractor, I find that a universal bevel protractor is more versatile:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/UBP.JPG
The following photo shows a tool not comercially available but easily made. I apply a 45 degree chamfer on the edges of many of the projects I construct and this tool makes this job easy.
HTH ... Rick Renner
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On Tue, 02 Dec 2003 20:22:52 GMT, rennerr snipped-for-privacy@.att.net (Rick Renner) wrote:

Sorry, I forgot the last photo:
http://home.worldnet.att.net/~rennerr/MetalWorkingPics/ChamT.JPG
...Rick
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