Newcomer seeks advice

Greetings, gentlemen.

I am in the process of retiring and setting up a workshop. I have a little theoretical knowledge of model engineering gained from reading, but my practical experience occurred forty years ago! I would really appreciate some advice from experienced practitioners.

(1) Allowing for ease of use, access for maintenance etc. how much space should I allocate to a lathe of, say, Myford Super 7 size and to a small mill, say Sieg X3? I have an idea of the dimensions of the machines but I do not want to plan a cramped layout which I would later regret but neither do I have space to waste.

(2) What are the advantages/disadvantages of M3 versus R8 on an X3?

(3) I have been told to start with replaceable tipped lathe tools as opposed to HSS. What are the differences (apart from price) between Glanze (Chronos) and Sandvik (Greenwood Tools)? What is best for a raw beginner?

Thank you for any help you may be able to give me.


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I have a Super 7B, Wabeco 1210E, Cowell ME90, Off hand grinder. linisher and small drill press in a workshop 8 feet by 8 feet. Built in benches down each side and door at one end. Lots of shallow drawers for tool storage, and cupboards for the Quorn, material storage etc. It is a bit cramped, but I have been using it for 12 years or so and find it OK.

Use HSS - far more versatile - and cheeper, but you'll need to practice sharpening

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You don't say if it's allocated space in another area, like a section of part of a garage or outbuilding but you really want to aim for 8 x

10 minimum although many manage with less.

That's down to legacy tooling. If you have loads of MT3 gear from previous machines then it's favorite to go this route. Same applies if you are downsizing from a Bridgy or similar that uses R8 tooling but by the sounds of it that doesn't apply in your case.

The advantages and disadvantages are rapidly leveling out at this time. Advantage of MT3 was it was cheap and plentiful but with the newer imports the R8 gear is very affordable. Disadvantage of MT3 is it's a self holding taper and requires a sharp knock to remove it from the spindle. R8 being a steeper taper releases easier. At the end of the day it's personal choice based on what you have and what you need to buy.

Nice to have one for certain jobs but they are not really suitable for small lathes like the Myford as they don't have the speed or grunt to make full use of them. For a beginner they are not very forgiving and chip easily. If you do buy one get the ones that use the triangular TPUN type insert as you get three bites of the cherry and they are the cheapest inserts you can buy. Some of the other types only have two edges and can cost about £5.00 an insert.

Best to start off with High Speed Steel [ HSS ] tools as these can be readily re sharpened with just a bench grinder with a little practice.

-- Regards,

John Stevenson Nottingham, England.

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John Stevenson

Ron, Hi (again) glad to have you with us. Your not unlike myself when I re-started a couple of years ago after early retirement. Although involved in aerospace engineering I hadn't used my (own) hands for 35 years or so but to be honest it soon comes back.

I'm sure that you will get a good deal of advice that bigger is always better and that is no doubt correct, however we haven't all got that much space. Although I work in a double garage I've just been out and measured the space taken in the corner by my Myford S7, RF25 mill, small drill, bench and grinder. It takes up 8'x6' but allowing for room to move and some storage space with those machines I personnally would look for 8'x8' as absolute minimum, 10'x8' to allow for a bit of comfort/expansion. As John says if you are sharing space in a garage or whatever it is easier and I worked for a number of years across the end of a 20' single garage and shared it with a passat estate which I moved outside when I was working. I've seen Myfords used successfully in some very small spaces as well as one plonked on it's own in the middle of a

30' square stable. Ron the advice has to be if you are building new go as big as you can fit in/afford, you will be surprised at what you might eventually need to fit in.

John has covered this one but I would add that if you are starting from scratch then go for the R8. I have used M3 for years but it can be difficult to release and I hate taking the lead hammer to expensive equipment. Although I have now got a Bridgeport I am looking for a small mill to complement it, I will most likely go with the X3 mainly because it has the R8 spindle available.

I can only give my personal experience but avoid the cheap brazed carbide tooling at all costs. Unless you are going to work with some exotic materials HSS will work very well with the Myford. The replaceable tips are fine when you have a bit of the feel back but when starting they chip extremely easily and do need ot be worked hard to obtain the best performance. I use a lot of HSS ground on a cheap bench grinder and also use a lot of tipped tooling particularly for roughing and heavy metal removal. Have a look at these two recent discussions for some good points on tooling.

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I use the TPUN that John suggests and it is very good.

Many thanks to you as well Ron, what part of the country are you in? If you are anywhere near South Wales you are welcome to pop in for a "look see" I could even run to a coffee.

Best regards


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Mike cole

Who told you that? IMHO, that's nonsense. Especially on a small lathe that is not a production lathe. Learn to grind your tools, you'll need it more when your jobs get more demanding.


Reply to
Nick Mueller

Thanks for your (unanimous) advice and time.


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