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Thread: A question for Machinists

  1. #1
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    A question for Machinists

    I noticed that there are a couple of machinist's on this forum.

    The last time I looked at a metal lathe or milling machine was back in High School... 35 years ago, so I forgot more than I ever knew. I'll try not to sound to dumb with my questions.

    I want/need to do some light milling on some round cold roll steel, Can I use my drill press and take light cuts? I'm looking to make a 5/8" and a 3/4" pin chuck so I don't need precision. I made 3/8" pin chuck using a grinding wheel and it works well.

    Scroll to the bottom of the page to see what I'm talking about http://www.fholder.com/Woodturning/tips.htm

    I have a cross slide vise that I can mount on my floor model drill press, but I really don't know if the column can handle the work.

    Also, could you suggest a right type on end mill to use.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    For all that's required, and assuming you already have rod stock of the proper diamerer, it looks like you could filr the flat onto the rods in about the same - or less - time than it would take you to set up for milling.

    Also, I'd be concerned not only about the drill presses' column, but more about the bearings (not designed for side thrusts) and also the possibility of the chuck's taper letting go.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sardo View Post
    I have a cross slide vise that I can mount on my floor model drill press, but I really don't know if the column can handle the work.
    Thanks!
    Drill presses, bearnings are meant for downward thrust.
    If you push too hard against the bearings, could destroy them.

    As far as the bit goes use a point one, take super light cuts
    if you elect to use the drill press.

    Also note of caution, when you got your part chucked up
    in the drill press head, it can come loose and grab your cutting bit and you could have flying parts all over the place

    WoodWorking, Crappie Fishing, Colts, Life is good!

  4. #4
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    If you're just making one part, cut the notch in the rod with a nice sharp hacksaw and finish up with a file. It'll be quicker than you think to get this done, and actuall less work than trying to convert your drill to a mill.

    Don't be afraid of working metal with handtools - not much different than wood, just lots slower.

    Good Luck !
    "Do not wait, the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command. Better tools will be found as you go along." Napoleon Hill

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the response. I was afraid this would be the answer.

    I've turned brass and copper on my wood lathe, so I'm not afraid, just a little impatient maybe. I actually tried filing the rod last night when I thought there has to be a better way to do this. I felt like I was trying to break out of jail.

    The pin chuck in the link shows the slot all the way to the end of the rod. I was thinking of cutting a notch in the rod so the end is still round. I can't tell you how many pins I've lost in the pile of wood shavings.

    I guess I'll have to go back to work with my file.

    Thanks Again

  6. #6
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    I did it a few times and once and had the drill chuck come loose at ~ 800 rpm with a scary sharp 1/2 “ end mill in it. Tell me that wasn’t exciting!
    I sold the DP & bought a mill...

    I would just file it down.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  7. #7
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    Yes you can mill with a drill press. The biggest issue is you have to find a way to secure the arbor.

    The bearings don't really know they are being used wrong and I have never seen anyone that actually used a drill press as a mill really have problems with bearings.

    However many have had problems with the arbor falling out and that is a very dangerous and real issue.

    For the two items you want to make it seems as if a file ought to handle it in less than 30 minutes

    I would blue then scribe the items on the lines I want to cut to, and then use a grinder to get close. Maybe real close depending on the grinder. Finish up with a file and call it done.

    Garry

  8. #8
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    Thanks again.

    I've been thinking about getting a mini metal lathe and mini mill for a while. I've looked for a used Smithy and there are nowhere to be found. (just like looking for a used oneway or 3520)

    Is it worth thinking about the Harbor Freight 7x12 mini lathe for $500 and their mini mill for $300? Should I just realize it's Harbor Freight and run away real fast?

  9. #9
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    Ron I have a Sherline lathe and Sherline mill. My brother is using it now down in New Mexico. It is a pretty robust machine. I make a lot of clock parts with mine. I also had a Taig lathe that I put a 1 hp treadmill motor on for variable speed. It was a decent machine for small metal work. A guy came along and offer me $150 more than I had in it. I could see having two metal lathes.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  10. #10
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    If you get tired of filing and don't mind shipping the round stock to Minnesota, I will mill the flats for you. I made a chuck for bottle stoppers, ond for baron pens and just in case I might need it, cut a flat in a pen mandrel.

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