Amateur Machinists' Tools, Techniques and Materials

My computer works so much better now that it’s broken….

Posted by hammerscale on July 11, 2015

A few weeks back I had a major computer meltdown, with the PC non-functional for several weeks.

I’m not sure what the cause was, nor likely ever to know definitively. It may have been the kids, it may have been June 11th  Microsoft updates that automatically installed, both for Windows 7 and MS Office.  There was also a ton of other bloatware on this system that is suspect.

Symptoms were keyboard and mouse freezing after Windows boot-up, probably within 10 seconds after loading.  Re-booting in protected mode worked, loading the operating system fine and remaining stable.  Of course, as a consequence, about half the applications were completely dead in protected mode, including MS Office, which is a daily user for me.

I tried un-installing the Microsoft updates, as well as un-installing any suspect applications, all to no avail.  I messed around with registry edit, and quite a few things, searched and searched on Google for any solutions. All with no success.The next step was a restore to previous-than 6-11 date.

That helped a great deal. System booted up, Windows loaded and held stable, but only for about 10-15 minutes before freezing again. System was like that for a few days while I was able to get some work done.

I figured Windows was fine up to and a little past the point where it finishes loading.  The issue seemed to be one of the myriad secondary software loads governed by msconfig.

I went to msconfig.  (Lower left corner, type msconfig, hit enter) By disabling all services and all startups I was able to bring up the system and it remained stable with out crashing. Success, finally !

I slowly, one-by-one, re-enabled the services, the PC’s been up and functional now for quite some time. Almost all the startups in msconfig I left disabled.  They were a collection of garbage software ad-ons that were slowing boot time and causing occasional computer crashes.

Systems been up for about 2 weeks, no crashes, and operating as fast as new.

I’ll never know what the original cause was, but suspect that it may have been an Ask.com toolbar ad-on in msconfig.  I deleted (un-installed) that software, as well as many others.

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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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Basement Shop Guy

Posted by hammerscale on February 26, 2015

Another Youtube channel I enjoy. Brad offers down-to-earth advice, tips, and projects with videos that are well crafted and fast moving.

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This tactic works for cleaning up

Posted by hammerscale on February 25, 2015

I find the following routine works for keeping a shop tidy, or even de-cluttering a messy shop.

First, on entering the shop is to put 10 things back where they belong. Ten little things – example: 2 wrenches, 3 screwdrivers and 5 pieces of sandpaper are ten things.

Second, clean a small area of the shop. Example: table saw top has stuff on it, clean it up; or a drawer is messy, spend a couple minutes cleaning and sorting.

Last, third, after the day is done, again put 10 items back where they belong.

Repeat this every time you go in the shop. After a short time you’ll find it harder and harder to locate those first ten items, and you’ll have large flat surfaces empty of clutter. Cleaning small areas will then become more an issue of re-arranging and organizing. And having everything in it’s place is a huge boost to speed and efficiency, as opposed to spending 20 minutes looking for that particular tool you knew you were using only yesterday !

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Soak it ! Soak it ! Soak it !

Posted by hammerscale on January 26, 2015

I often receive phone calls from clients, or potential clients, if I have any replacement spindles for their drill press.

Why ? Because they’ve been pounding on it forever trying to remove the chuck ( just as they were advised to do on the internet ) and now the spindle is bent.
My advise in these situations is that they would have been better off calling me before grabbing the nearest baby sledge hammer. Just a solvent soak, married with some patience, can eliminate the need for brute force
in most of these cases.

I’m amazed at how effective just soaking stubborn parts in solvent works. By soak, I mean immersed for a week, or better, two weeks. Using the solvent of your choice. There’s a lot of nonsense in the web concerning what product is better – Kroil, PB blaster, WD40, even the latest concoction composed of acetone and auto trans fluid. I find it doesn’t matter what, but rather how long.

Example; I recently encountered a Morse taper cup center stuck in a wood lathe quill. Pound, pound, pound,…… no go, of course. After a heavy spray in the threaded hole of the quill I set it aside. A few days later, I took a look and solvent was weeping thru the Morse taper at the end of the quill. Three quick raps with a pin punch and the Morse taper shot right out.

I typically use odorless mineral spirits, or whatever is in a spray can if I need to flood a hole or opening. Immerse the part(s) and let it soak. Try it after a few days. If you don’t feel something move after just a few strikes of the hammer, …. STOP ! and let it soak some more. Effective with stuck drill chucks, threads, bearings, etc., etc.

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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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