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Old 07-23-2004, 03:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lathes and Mill uses?

As I am new to metal working and machining, I am curious as to what types of parts/things are people fabricating with their lathes and mills for their rigs. Also, what sizes and brands of lathes and mills are people using?
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Old 07-23-2004, 03:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i have a 9" x 48" bridgeport variable speed mill. uses ? just about any metal part you feel so inclined to make. from notching tubing to drilling holes to making adapters to surfacing heads, cutting splines........just about every thing can be made on a mill.

i am in the market for a 12 x 36 tool room lathe.
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a JET 1050 Electronic Variable Speed milling machine (10" x 50") and a JET 3HP 40" x 14" lathe. Like Camo, I end up fabricating all sorts of parts on these machines -- from simple brackets to complex gear-box adapters. With practice, I have gotten better with cutting both external and internal threads on my lathe and now make tie rods, link arms and all sorts of fittings.
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't even have my lathe yet and I've already though of TONS of uses.

If you had a mill and a lathe, you could just just about anything!
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Old 07-23-2004, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Any good recommendations on starter units to learn on before maybe trying to find a closing machine shop selling off their equipment? How's Grizzly equipment or is it comparable to HF?
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Old 07-23-2004, 07:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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really no sence in going out and buying a new mill. i would rather own a used bridgeport then a new import.

i have owned some grizzly wood working machines ( spindle shaper and a pop up cut off saw ) and they were ok stuff.
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Old 07-24-2004, 08:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm a machinist, I can make just about anything you want with a Bridgeport, a smallish lathe, some tooling and my tools limiting factor being size. I've made prototypes in several different industries, from sattelite powerplants to a new throttle-by-wire pedal assembly for a commercial vehicle manufacturer (One of the "set-up" pedals-slightly modified- is going in my Jeep ). Seriously the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and skill (or your friendly machinists skill ) As for learning on something Southbend lathes are belt-driven and CHEAP, you won't have much power at your disposal, but it's somewhere to start. You'll soon learn that carbide-inserted tooling is the way to go, and with 3/8 boring bar kits going for $100+ it can get quite expensive. I am looking to have a decent shop (a mill, lathe, band saw(s) and essential tooling) within a couple of years at my house.

Measuring is a whole subject of it's own, several machinist have thousands of dollars tied up in their personal measuring equipment (including me). The difference of have parts that fall together versus some pretty paper weights can be a matter of .001" depending on the application it can be as little as .0001" (you hair is ~ .003" in diameter)

I've been through 2 years of trade school and machining for 10 years and I'm learning everyday, so don't expect to be able to make threads that will screw into your threaded links the first time out. But if I can be of any assistance I encourage you to PM me. Now go make some chips.
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Old 07-31-2004, 01:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Check out Virtual Machine Shop and Engineering Fundamentals for an introduction to all sorts of machine tools and machining processes.
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Depending on your location inthe country, some very good condition used industrial machines can be had for insano prices. around here, people think they have gold. I have a friend on the east cost who bought a huge lathe, with a TON of tooling, in awesome shape for $150. all he had to do was go pick it up, and this was an ebay auction. (within driving distance for him, btw).

one thing to watch for on used industrial stuff is do have, or can you convert to (rotaryor static converters or frequency drives) 3 phase power to run the motors on the equipment?
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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http://lindsaybks.com/ has some books on old school machineing. They cover the basics, and if you get an older maching they apply well.

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Old 07-31-2004, 09:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I use one of my four lathes, (er, five if you count the unimat) on an almost daily basis. While everybody else seems to find more application for fabrication, I find that I spend far more time making tools than fab parts. With a lathe, a mill and a welder, you limitations are time, cost of materials and skill.

As for buying new versus used, you can end up with junk if not careful, something that is less likely to happen with new, with vendor support, etc.

As for size of machinery, I can do almost everything with my nine inch South Bends that I can do on my 14" Clausing, but cranking the tiny handles on the South Bends gets old after awhile. If I need to make more than one of something, it's to the Clausing we go, now to get it moved to the big shop...

Tooling-EVERYBODY whines about the expense of tooling and I'm at a loss as to why. Realistically, I spend more money on bandsaw blades and cut-off wheels than I do for lathe tooling. I just bought three tool holders and 30 carbide bits for the South
Bends for <$75. Collets and mill bits are similarly cheap if you're willing to use less expensive tooling. For our uses (non-production), the cheap stuff is fine. If you're making 500 of something and need them done tomorrow, you need expensive tooling, but I don't, in spite of using this stuff in the shop.
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Old 07-31-2004, 04:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you ever use "expensive" tooling it is awefully hard to return to the "cheap" stuff, let alone HSS bits or cemented carbide. PTS does make a good point though for what we need the import stuff is good enough.

One thing I was looking at was making my own Model 3 bender, I figured for the $250+ I would spend on just the bender I could make my own bender and a couple of dies out of 7075. The problem is I just changed jobs and I'm not sure about G-jobs on company machines, although I've had a couple of buddies (who worked with me at the old shop-different story for Chit) tell me they could do it for me along side some parts they are proving out on the CNCs
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Old 07-31-2004, 06:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Great responses. Paul, thanks for those superb links, I have searched high and low for websites just like that but with no luck.
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Old 07-31-2004, 06:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Great responses. Paul, thanks for those superb links, I have searched high and low for websites just like that but with no luck.
Here's a couple more links:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/ubbs/Ultimate.cgi

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/cg...i/Ultimate.cgi

http://www.angelfire.com/ks/mcguirk/mwlinks.html
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Old 07-31-2004, 10:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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@ our shop we can make just about anyting. We have 2 Haas cnc machines one with a 4th and 5th axis table, 1 Matsurra cnc, 5 brigports, 1 prototrak, 2 engine lathes, 1 chucker and prety much everything else you could need in a fab shop.
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Old 07-31-2004, 11:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Ebay is a really good suggestion when looking for used engine lathes and mills. At our shop (we build oil tools) we have many many Okuma and Mazak CNC lathes...but only a few manuals.

Like Camo said, buy used, and buy a Bridgeport if you are looking for a mill...those crappy imports won't last...Enco I think? I would also definitely look at getting a mill with digital readouts on it. Its really a must. Its also possible to get some of these 3-axis tree mills with CNC controls on them. This works very well when fabricating brackets, adapter plates, you name it.
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Old 08-01-2004, 10:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I have to comment on the crappy import ones. I and the old man bought a crappy import one, we have about a grand invested in it and tooling. I don't regret spending it at all. We both had no machinists skills whatsoever or experience, but you know what we learned and we learned at what I feel was a minimal expense to get started. Are we going to replace the import, more than likely. It'l happen when we find a deal on a used bridgeport or something similar. I'm glad we spent the money, because know I have learned what to look for in my future machine. The point of my post is I didn't want you to mark import's off your list just yet. They do have their place, even if it's in the corner in dim lighting.
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Old 08-02-2004, 07:48 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Point taken. I can see the imports as being good alternatives to starting out...especially because you won't be doing "alot" of machining...ie not production work. Then as your experience improves, so does the machine.

I just remember my experiences with Enco's vs Bridgeports. We had one Bridgeport and about 6 Enco's. It was always a good day when I came into work and got put on the Bridge. They are just built to last and work well.
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Old 11-25-2004, 06:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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What are other good brands aside from bridgeport? Are there any good mini mills or are they all junk imports
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Old 11-25-2004, 09:23 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I have 24 years in tool & die / model making and have owned 5 import mills and well NEVER buy a copy ever agion,,, some I got new and some used but all of them sucked ,,, I just got a new bridgeport before they closed up shop and could not say enought about them,,,,, I had some used up bridgeports in the past and even they were better than the new china junk....
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Old 11-26-2004, 09:15 AM   #21 (permalink)
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So do any american companys make the smaller ones similar to the grizzy mini mill? For now a small one is all I can get, since it will be used in my shed I cant get some 1000 pound or more machine that needs 3 phase power. I dont really want to buy an import but I cant find any us made minis.
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Old 11-26-2004, 09:45 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I have to comment on the crappy import ones. I and the old man bought a crappy import one, we have about a grand invested in it and tooling. I don't regret spending it at all. We both had no machinists skills whatsoever or experience, but you know what we learned and we learned at what I feel was a minimal expense to get started. Are we going to replace the import, more than likely. It'l happen when we find a deal on a used bridgeport or something similar. I'm glad we spent the money, because know I have learned what to look for in my future machine. The point of my post is I didn't want you to mark import's off your list just yet. They do have their place, even if it's in the corner in dim lighting.
Hey Hillbilly, keep me in mind if you ever sell your import mill. I would be interested in buying it to learn on. Then after I get a little skill, I can upgrade to a bridgeport and pass the import mill on to another hobbist..

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Old 11-26-2004, 11:54 AM   #23 (permalink)
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have 24 years in tool & die / model making and have owned 5 import mills and well NEVER buy a copy ever agion

LOL.....soo true
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:05 AM   #24 (permalink)
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My dad bought one of those Grizzle import mills...2hp...works OK for now...great for home shop...i learned on a bridgeport stuff and want to get one but $$/Space are limiting factors right now...The table top grizzle is deffinitly good to learn.

I would look for a 9in southbend lathe to learn on...cheap and lots of parts on ebay ect.

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Old 11-29-2004, 01:00 PM   #25 (permalink)
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What are other good brands aside from bridgeport? Are there any good mini mills or are they all junk imports

Check you local library for old copies of HOME SHOP MACHINIST. Frank McLean covered what to look for and how to check it before buying in some of his old articles. He passed away a couple of years ago, so 2001 / 2002.

NOTE: There is a book called "The Shop Wisdom of Frank McLean". I *think* those articles are reprinted in that book, which is a collection of his articles that appeared over the years in Home Shop Machinist.

I have a INDEX brand milling machine. Full size knee machine. About a 12" x 44", power feeds (X, Y, Z), DRO. Nice machine with a DRO (digital readout) for X & Y. Paid about $2K for in '95 or so. It's paid for itself many times since. (Currently sitting in a crate, waiting for the shop to go up!).

On the Lathe, found a LeBlond. 13" swing, but only 18" between centers. You can not kill this thing. Originally built in 1941 (?) for a liberty ship, it got placed between bulk heads. Yep, in those days they took a bunch of metal, machinist, machine tools, and blueprints. You made what you needed.

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