Amateur Machinists' Tools, Techniques and Materials

Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

VersaTapper Rebuild

Posted by hammerscale on February 23, 2016


Finding info on this or any other brand tapping head is getting hard to come by, as these pieces of tooling are becoming obsolete in our new CNC world order.

I did a clean and re-assemble on my Rigid Versatapper, (1 pair clutch plates shown below), but got stymied by what kind of lubricant to use inside the tapping head. The best reference I could find was for a highly viscous oil, trade name/number which was NLA (no longer available.)




I figured the oil weight was mostly an issue of preventing weeping of the product over time, and substituted automatic transmission fluid (Dexron was what I had in stock), filling the inside of the head to the fill line.

The tapping head has been in use for quite some time and performed fine with this substitution.


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YouTube – CNC machining

Posted by hammerscale on November 18, 2015

Another fine piece of family entertainment:

Really nicely done video series I only recently got hooked on.

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Latest Addition to the Family

Posted by hammerscale on September 20, 2015

Delta 17″ drill press.  1 horsepower, single phase motor.


It’s been sitting around in bits and pieces for the past five years, and finally got to putting it all together !

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Bandsaw Arrival

Posted by hammerscale on April 26, 2015

This is from January 2nd, 2009 –  the arrival of a 20″ Rockwell bandsaw, bought locally at the time I lived in Richmond, VA.


And here we go, lifting it out with the cherry picker.


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Old Stuff – Lathe Arrival

Posted by hammerscale on April 26, 2015

Here’s some old (but good) stuff, mostly images stored on the hard drive of the computer.

In this instance, dateline December 16th 2006, you see the arrival and unloading of the Rockwell 11 inch metal lathe.

Picked up the lathe in Michigan, just 1/2 mile from the Chrysler proving grounds. Here it is, after a foggy night, over 24 hours driving time, 1431 miles and 6 states:

Rockwell 11

The lathe is lifted free and clear: (The famous garage door shot..)

Rockwell 11

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First Warm Day

Posted by hammerscale on March 31, 2015

The first warm day for quite a long time. I was at the lathe and shortly after starting it remarked to myself how smoothly and quietly it was running. Is it magic? Is it good Gremlins? Did someone add Seafoam to the headstock? Or has the warmth softened up the V-belts?

Perhaps that extra 30 degrees Fahrenheit helps?

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Cross Feed Screw problems

Posted by hammerscale on March 27, 2015

Following quote is from a relatively recent thread on the Home Shop Machinist forum. The subject matter is the quite frequent “crashing cutoff blade” theme, which comes up a couple times a year.

Your problem may very well be directly related to any play you have in your cross slide screw and has nothing to speed, lubricants or rake angels of your cutting tool.
Most of my parting tools have a positive rake as Dian shows in his above picture, helps to curl the chip and gives a nice sharp edge.
I replaced the cross slide screw and nut on my Clausing for this very reason. It had .080 play in it, I had the same problem your having……. every time I went to part something regardless of material, speeds, feed rate, cutting oils etc. I always crunched the parting tool. I was so afraid to part anything I just quit doing it. The reason was the play in the screw. As the parting tool, especially a positive rake was fed in it would want to pull it’s self into the cut and with .080 of play in the screw it would just dig it’s self in and break. I tried negative rake tools which didn’t work well and still would crunch, neutral rake cut a little better but would also be pulled in and crunch setting the tool height made no difference either.
Once I replaced that screw and nut I never had that problem again. I can part any material at any speed with or without cutting oil and even use the power in feed and it works perfectly, haven’t crunched a parting tool since then, not even my .060 ones.


For the complete thread, please follow this link

I can well believe the above is the issue in many problems related to lathe operations. My crossfeed screw has a great deal of play (haven’t measured it, yet) and I’m sure is well past due for a replacement for both screw and nut.

That will be the subject of a future blog post.

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Cold Air Guns

Posted by hammerscale on January 11, 2015

These are cool, (no-pun intended) and start at about $300 range from McMaster-Carr and other sources.

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Real Tool Reviews

Posted by hammerscale on January 1, 2015

I enjoy Youtube and love tool reviews the most. Here’s a product I was unaware of, but have several Wera tools and I like the quality of them.

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Chapman Tools

Posted by hammerscale on September 29, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever owned Chapman products, but Jay Leno’s always entertaining;

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