Tooling and Component Help - Newbie
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    Default Tooling and Component Help - Newbie

    Long story short, Iím really good at getting myself into projects I have no business being involved in, got to start somewhere.

    Iíve acquired myself a ďJ HeadĒ Bridgeport and a Le Blonde Regal Lathe with a 36Ē bed (donít quote me). Iíve finally got the garage expansion project done with my dads help and a buddy helped me by wiring up the machinery with a phase converter. Everything is clean and the world is at my fingertips, but Iím afraid to pull the trigger on buying any (really expensive) bits and kits when Iím not sure what MT or standards my machines use.

    So Iím here asking for some help on what is the correct standards for my machine. Iíve got no plunge handle for the quill and the lathe is missing the tool post from the carriage.

    Any insight or advice on what I should start out with would be very appreciated, and brutal honesty is all I like. Wonít hurt my feelings. Iíve learned to accept that if you know nothing, you can begin to learn everything.

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    Go search your questions on YouTube

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    Don’t really have the time between work and other responsibilities. Was hoping someone with some experience would take a new comer under their wing and try to extend the life of a dying breed. Take care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethanhagle View Post
    Don’t really have the time between work and other responsibilities. Was hoping someone with some experience would take a new comer under their wing and try to extend the life of a dying breed. Take care.
    Ah yes, the new breed.

    You want us to write up a couple of paragraphs just for you .....Lazy

    we've done this before, so check the archives.

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    I’ve been searching around the internet and before spending boat loads of cash all I’m asking for is if I’m buying the correct components.

    I spend time showing younger kids how to shoot a bow, how to weld, etc. I thought you guys would appreciate a younger mind looking to dive in head first. Be sure to put some hemlock on your dinner salad, parsley is for us lazy guys.

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    I see this thread is not going to go well...

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    I tried to tell you guys up front that I’m ignorant to the machining world and I’m eager to learn. Made myself vulnerable so you could stroke your own ego and shed some light on my dim brain.

    I’m sure there’s some decent human beings that wouldn’t mind explaining to me why to buy R8 collets instead of something else. I’m in need of understanding if I can buy just any old tool post for my lathe, a four jaw chuck with just a standard back plate to mount, what’s the largest size end mills I should be using on my machine?

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    Look at Frank Mari's website, I think it's called maritool. He's got lots of stuff you need at good prices. Buy carbide tools, they last longer and cut better. Insert tools for the lathe. I like the trigon insert for general turning and boring.

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    Seriously .you ll get better info from a hobby turners forum......there are some very suitable Chinese tooling and carbides ,at budget prices .....No point paying a fortune for features you wont need.

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    As far as a tool post goes, buy a genuine Aloris of the proper size for your lathe. Buy American for the part that is going to become a permanent part of your lathe, that will be used every time the machine is operated. Others may have different recommendations, but I only use the highest quality American tool posts and holders on my lathes.

    As far as perishable tooling - lathe bits, end mills, carbide inserts, some of the import stuff works fine, and can save you some money. Buy yourself some HSS blanks for your lathe and learn how to grind your own tools. You can often find lots of these, either already ground or brand new on ebay for reasonable prices compared to buying from an industrial supplier. You learn a lot that way, plus you can make custom tooling to reach into a difficult area, cut tiny internal and external grooves,do internal and external threading and so forth without having to spend the money on specialized tooling. Other stuff you can buy as-needed

    Mike

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    Take a look at Joe Piezinsky on you tube. Follow all the links he mentions as well. With more experience you will start to understand a lot of the details necessary to become an excellent machinist.

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    Ethan, can you see that your notes kind of say "I'm too busy to do the homework needed to actually fix up and run the machines I bought, can you guys do it for me?"

    I know of no universe in which things work that way. If you want those suckers running, do an hour or two of research. Compare pictures. Read basic instruction manuals. Then post a picture of each machine and outline your thoughts on proceeding. Once you've done that (and a lot of the benefit isn't coming up with the list, its learning enough to understand what is needed and what's not. And writing it out in an organized way. Stuff you think you need now, you may not and vice versa.

    Even if some guy gave you a list of ten things, by doing your own HW first, and writing a tentative plan, you will save time. Yours, and the experts here.

    If you need manuals, you might try lathes.co.uk, or (preferably) see if the brand is serviced by someone now.

    Good luck.

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    This forum is more or less devoted to professionals. And they do not appreciate answering the same beginner's questions over and over again. Many of these questions have been answered both here and on other, more suitable forums. I would suggest:

    1. Do spend some time with the search function here. Go to the advanced search for a better experience there. Search for specific items of information, like "Bridgeport spindle taper" or "how to measure a taper" instead of looking for broad advise on getting started.

    2. You do not have to abandon this forum, but spend some time reading the posts first. Get the flavor of the BB before asking questions. And when you do post questions here, remember most of the folks here are AT WORK and their time is valuable both to themselves and to their employers. So don't waste it on things that you can find for yourself.

    3. Try some other forums which are more beginner friendly. One such forum is here:

    General -

    The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop Magazine's BBS


    Some, perhaps many of the people here are also on that forum. But you will get a more friendly response there.

    4. You apparently have purchases some used machines. But that does not mean that you can not get a manual for them. I have a lathe that was probably manufactured in the 1930s or so. But I was able to search and find a manual for it. There's more on the internet than you may imagine. There are even parts available for my 80+ year old lathe. But I have to search for them.

    5. For your used machines it would be better to go to a forum for each of them. There is a Bridgeport forum on this BB. Use the "Quick Navigation" button at the bottom of this page to get there. I am sure that there must be a Le Blonde forum somewhere on the web: search for it.

    6. Finally, a tool post is not often considered an integral part of a lathe. There are many types, styles, sizes, and brands of tool posts available and many of them will work on your lathe. It is important that it be a suitable size for your lathe. You can even make your own tool post, but you will probably need at least a basic one for that. Quick Change tool posts are popular and there are different designs as well as numerous manufacturers. I will even suggest my own design, quick change tool post which I think is very good if not the best.

    Quick Change Tool Post for Lathe - HomemadeTools.net


    Good luck.

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    Rule Number one on this forum Is never ask a question that you want a straight forward answer on and never ever say you are new! People on here will happily spend time to type out all the ways you are horrible for ever asking but never spend the same time and effort to answer you.After all why ask a simple question and hope that someone will take 5 minutes to answer it to help save you countless hours and hours of research. Why would anyone on a machining forum want to answers the most basic of machining question? It's exactly like an elite shop that only hires journeyman. They are happy to pull from the pool of journeyman but never contribute to it by teaching an apprentice. That should be done in the someone else's shop. Only come to this forum once you have all the answers and no questions then you to can rip into anyone who asks a basic question. That is your final step to joining this elite club

    Now lets see if my limited knowledge. I don't know what your budget is so you can adjust this to suit you. Lets start with the lathe. Since you don't have a tool post that's the first step and really for starting out is based on budget.

    A lantern tool post is probably the very cheapest but is a pain in the but to use especially as a beginner I have a few and personally would avoid that option.

    Next up would be a 4way tool post this may also have other names. It's basically a cube of steel with a slot on all 4 sides that you tool goes into and is clamped with set screws from the top. it is held onto the compound with a large bolt/stud through the center into a tee nut. There are pros and cons to this set up as well. The biggest pro is that if your on a budget it is a great beginner project and depending on what you have available there are many simple ways to build it. Two ways include either starting with a solid chunk and milling out a slot big enough for you tools plus some extra space for shims to get the tool on center. Or make it out of 3 thick pieces stacked up the center piece being a smaller square than the top and bottom and bolt it together. This type of tool post needs to be sized to your lath so the slots put your tool on center usually with a few shims. It is easier to use than a lantern tool post but not as easy or convenient as a quick change tool post.

    And this brings us to the quick change tool post. This is where budget come in. The sky is the limit to how much you can spend starting at decently priced and going up to the moon form there. There are many types and styles to choose from and pros and cons to each but it really comes down to personal preference. The Aloris style is the only one I am familiar with. You can spend the money on a actual Aloris or there are other cheaper options some of them are cheap and some are perfectly adequate for the home shop. They come in to types wedge type and piston type. the piston type is cheaper but not as rigid I believe. The wedge type is what I have and is usually the preferred type if budget permits. The quick change is nice because every tool is easily adjustable in height and once it is set it is repeatable every time you remove and install or switch between tools.

    Now onto lathe tools.This I will break down into 3 type High speed steel (HSS), brazed carbide, and carbide insert tooling.

    HSS has been used for decades and decades ever since its discovery in that year it was discovered This is the one I recommend. It requires a bit of learning to grind the tools to get the results you want but that is very valuable and useful knowledge to learn. It is the cheapest option and offers an infinite amount of possibilities. I started with HSS when I got my first lathe 12 years ago and it is still my go to for lathe tools.

    Next up is brazed carbide. basically I look at it as a cross between HSS and carbide insert tooling. It is a piece of carbide brazed to the end of a square steel shank usually the same size as the common HSS blanks. These can be sharpened on a special grinding wheel. They come in preformed shapes ready to cut. cheap ones sometime need a bit of touch up on the grinder with the special wheel. I have some I use sometimes for chamfering.

    And then there is carbide insert tooling. This uses carbide bits that are bolter of clamped into the end of a tool holder. they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and types. every shape of insert requires its own holder. If you are going this route my advice is research they best types to suit your needs and then buy used until you find what works for you and what you like. I don't know enough about this type of tooling to make a suggestion. But others on this site do and can hopefully steer you in the right direction.

    On to the mill.
    End mills come in many types and sizes all with there uses. Or so I am told as I have not yet tried every size and type. Some say for beginners and hobbyist that cheap import end mills work. This however has not been my personal experience. Your mileage may vary. I recommend buying a few decent quality ones in the sizes that will best suit you needs and start with those. Or picking up some used good quality ones if you can find some at a good price. They also come in HSS and carbide. I have no experience with carbide end mills yet. But my understanding is they stay sharp longer but are harder and therefore more brittle and more expensive. Hss end mills can be sent out for sharpening or sharpened at home if you feel ambitious and want to build a jig for that. I would imagine that carbide cold be sharpened as well but I don't know for sure. End mills also come in 2 flute and 4 flute but that will depend on what your needs are.

    Next we can get into larger mills like face mills for when you have a large surface and don't want to make 22 million passes. To start with a fly cutter is the cheapest and easiest route and leaves a very nice finish. They are cheaper than face mills to buy or make an excellent beginner project. They also require less power for their size compared to face mills I believe. Face mills use carbide inserts (not the same inserts as the lathe tooling). Face mills can take a deeper depth of cut than a fly cutter or so I believe. I don't have a face mill because fly cutters have always met my needs.

    I am not an expert and not a professional machinist but I was a beginner and asked the same question so I hope this helps. All this information is my opinion and I hope others will way in with their views and correct it where needed. I am a strong believer is asking questions and sharing information. As well as If you pull from the pool of knowledge then at some point give back to it. When I was a welding apprentice it really bothered me the big companies that would pull from the pool and only hire journey men and refuse to train apprentices. Sadly that can be what this forum is like at time. Hobby sites are good but some people want to learn from the best to become better and not from someone who who is at the same level as them so to speak. There are good people on this forum who are willing to share their knowledge you just have to be willing to stick around long enough for them to reply and sift through all the negative comments to find the answers.

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    Bravo to Mega Arc.

    Additions:

    On import milling cutters, I have purchased a set from what I considered a good importer. They were usable, but no where near as good, as sharp as new cutters that I have purchased. They are not my first choice when doing something.

    I have purchased used cutters on E-Bay and, as I expected, they were USED. For the most part, they, like the import cutters, were usable, but not sharp like new cutters. I would suggest that you buy a few new cutters in common sizes, like 1/8", 1/4", and 1/2" and stop at that point for now. Do get two of each as accidents are common, even for experienced people and almost certain for beginners. Just get going on your projects and get additional cutters as you need them. Unless you are a lot richer than I am, your pocket book will thank you.

    On those lantern style tool posts, I have one and use it from time to time as it solves some problems that my quick change holder does not. It offers a lot of flexibility. But is a PITA to set up and must be completely set up each time you change tools or even the angle of the tool you are using. I would suggest getting one - suggest, not recommend. You will need the tool post itself, at least one tool holder (several would be best), and the square (HSS) tool bits that fit the holders. The tool holders are called Armstrong Holders and are always available on E-Bay as are the lantern style tool posts. HSS tools can be purchased from a wide number of sources.

    Be aware that tool posts usually do not come with a Tee nut that will fit your lathe. All lathes are different and require different nuts. If yours came with a nut, treasure it. If not, well you have a milling machine.

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    R-8 spindle on Bridgeport mill. The plunge handle is a simple part to make. Determine thread , thread a length of rod and make a knob at the end. Wood is fine for the knob, either tap the knob or pin the knob to the rod.
    You can make a tool post or buy one with tool holders. There many types of tool posts. Wedge types are better than piston type. Wedge type tool posts cost more but are worth the extra cost.
    Assuming you need a manual for the Bridgeport , it is available online with all the specs.
    Do a search for your lathe, probably can print a manual online.
    mike

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    Welcome aboard, Ethan!

    This place can be rough for beginners, but that will pass.

    Do a search for mill/lathe tooling and get a couple of catalogues from suppliers. There will be a lot of things that you may not understand, like a clamping kit for your mill, or the difference between a 3-jaw and 4-jaw chuck, but that will come.

    As mentioned, Joe Pieczynski is a very good teacher, but I think many of his videos are a bit advanced for you. I'd recommend that you start with mrpete222 and This Old Tony. Abom79 is another very good one, but perhaps above your current level.

    The catalogues will show you hundreds of types of tools, the videos will show you what they do.

    There are many things you don't need yet. Ball turners, threading bits, rotary tables, etc. are better purchased after you determine that you have a need for them.

    Lastly, PLEASE search here and elsewhere for safety tips! A lathe will KILL YOU without batting an eye. Avoid long sleeves and gloves! Avoid mounting long stock in your lathe without proper support. Wear goggles.


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