Amateur Machinists' Tools, Techniques and Materials

Archive for May, 2011


Posted by hammerscale on May 25, 2011

Safety; a safe work space and safe work practices are always forefront in my mind.  I’m constantly thinking of issues that arise when working in the shop, and to that end I’m building up a set of rules and warnings that go a little beyond  “don’t get killed by the lathe”   ( caution, graphic content.)

My first rule: 

Remember everything in the shop is sharp.  Even dull, it’s sharp.  Tooling is sharp, tools are sharp.  Cutters are sharp.  The edges of machine tools are sharp.  Machine accessories are sharp.  Those curly-Q’s that come off metal are sharp.  Materials are sharp.  Raw materials before they’re utilized are sharp, freshly milled or turned on the lathe they are sharp.  New, old, used, formed, ground, stamped, sheared, turned, milled, slotted, slitted, broached…… it’s all sharp.  Get it?  It’s sharp.

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Improvement for the QC Tool Post

Posted by hammerscale on May 14, 2011

A small upgrade I performed a little while back on my import AXA quick-change tool post.

The problem was, the tool post, no matter how hard I tightened it, would rotate a small but measurable amount on the compound during operations requiring a large amount of radial pressure directed against the stock, e.g., knurling. Throwing the tool post out of 90 degree alignment is not good, and can lead to quite a bit of frustration and broken tooling.

First, measure the gap in the compound.

QC tool post

Second, dismantle the tool post.

QC tool post deconstructed

Mount on the mill and make two shallow rebates in the bottom of the post. The tool post is made of hardened steel. I tried this first with a brand new HSS endmill. Didn’t even take the paint off.

QC tool post milling

Next, I tried a cobalt endmill, which cut, – slowly. The machined step was 50 thou deep, moving laterally 50 thou at a pass. Even with that small amount, the mill was shaking and protesting all the way.

I aimed for a snug, but not pressed-in fit. It came out a little looser than I planned, maybe 0.003″, but works perfectly nonetheless. The tool post can be removed and re-installed quickly, no re-aligning to the compound necessary.

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Just to re-issue this tech alert

Posted by hammerscale on May 13, 2011

A quick tip – to recharge a cordless tool battery pack that won’t take a charge. The newer (let’s say the past ten years) smart chargers sometimes won’t recognize a battery pack who’s voltage has fallen below a certain threshold.     i.e.,  plunk them in the charge stand, LED fails to light, you assume the battery is a lost cause.

Use a low voltage DC power source such as a computer peripheral power supply or a 9 volt battery to jump-start these batteries. Polarity is important, match negative to negative and positive to positive. Hold the charge source against the battery pack’s terminals for about 30 seconds, then insert pack into the smart charger for a full charge.

You’ll see immediately if the charger recognizes the battery pack.

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First Post

Posted by hammerscale on May 12, 2011

Check out and certainly bookmark my main website featuring, among other things,  reproduction parts made for vintage American machinery.

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