steel for gingery ways continued

Today I went scouring the steel supply area in my city. Oceans of 1/8" CRS
sheet. Mountains of HRS 1/4" and more. No 1/4" CRS with adecuate
Actually I found a 3ft x 3ft plate of CRS but it was quite warped. A
major bummer.
After a whole day of walking I decided to buy several pieces of CRS of
2.5" width, just in case the stuff goes scarce. Would these be adecuate
for the ways of the shaper and the milling machine?
OTOH, I found that I can get a piece of O1 tool steel 5/16"x3"x24" for about
$28. I suppose it comes ground "flat". Can it be drilled with carbide
tipped masonry bits or do I need cobalt?.
Also inquired about S type steels, but it seems they cut the stuff from
large blocks, so it could be a bear to scrape.
Will be buying tomorrow before prices climb more. Any thoughts?

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I don't believe that tool steel comes hardened. You should be able to drill it with HSS bits. It will work harden, so you will not want to dilly-dally through any holes.
Reply to
John Hofstad-Parkhill
It seems to me you'd want the bed of a lathe to pretty flat, so why not start with ground flat stock? Tool steel is not that hard to work with its annealed.
The bigger question is why go to so much trouble? Spend a hundred or two on a decent basic watchmakers lathe and learn to turn like a real man (or woman) - with a t-rest and hand gravers. The eyes and hands are wonderful things and can be trained to work together (with brain in between) to turn out very percise work. They didn't need a cross slide back in the day and these days people are paying way too much for them. Learning to turn by hand is very rewarding and may be a simpler entree into metal working than making a little aluminum lathe from scatch.
Reply to
Rich McCarty
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Actually I'm also learning hand turning. It's a joy. Problem is, small bench lathes are practically non-existant in my country. All second hand lathes I've seen are industrial types. Way too costly for my very shallow pockets plus I simply dont have space for one of these. So building one is the only way to get one. Plus I want the experience in casting and putting together an usable device. Actually a lathe is a (relatively) simple device. Its just that I did not expect trouble finding steel for the ways (as per Gingery). Anyway $28 for a slab of tool steel is not unreasonable, given that I already scrounged all the other materials from junk. When I'm finished I'll add a t-rest so I can hand turn or use the cross slide as I please. Why getting one whe I can do both? ;)
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I wouldn't use cold-rolled for any machine ways, there's way too much stress locked up from the finishing process. Ground flat stock is the stuff, you can get it either as mild steel stock or "tool" steel, O1, W1, or the like. In the the Commonwealth countries, I believe they refer to it as "gauge plate". The stuff is supplied annealed, machines beautifully with normal tools.
I've got plans for a small screw-cutting metal lathe made with regular bar stock sizes, I priced it out once for both ground flat stock and cold-rolled. In the quantities needed, the price wasn't that much different. For about $75 more, I could get a 7x10 ready to go with a much bigger swing, longer bed and larger spindle hole, no assembly, no gear cutting or modifications needed. I'm one of those guys that wants to get projects done, not spend my time making the tools to do them, so I went that route.
Reply to
Stan Schaefer

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