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Reamers box and trays 

A (relatively) cheap set of stray reamers was crying for shelter. 

A suitable box was easy to get and refinish, then I made two trays from iroko wood on the milling column. 

Could I have 3D printed these? Sure. Would I have then liked them? No. 

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ER25 collet chuck spanner

I have found that the cut to hold the body on the chucks above is not standard. I have two of these, on one the cutout is a bit less than 29mm, and on the other some 28.5, maybe an English size.

Sure one could use a mechanic's spanner, or even an adjustable one, but when it comes to machine work I dislike both. There is a subtle satisfaction when using "really right" tools to accomplish something, and even more when making your own.

So I bought an extra ER16A spanner, which has an opening of 1", and milled to the new size. Material is good steel, fortunately not tough like an alloyed one, as that is not needed. For the rounded portion I used my rotary table for the 1st time on steel, since it's a small one the setup was not immediate. Very happy with the result.

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My first keyway cut

I didn't really needed these spacers for the lathe changewheels, but I was curious to see if the 'alternative' way to cut a keyway is really doable. Answer: yes and no.

Typically that is done pushing a cutter ground for the task into the work with the carriage and advance the cross-slide a bit each time. The chuck is jammed steady with a wood wedge or the like.

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Here's my findings in case anyone wants to try doing it without watching any YouTube video first (both propositions would denote some weirdness).

  • Grinding the cutter (5mm keyway in my case) on small motor like mine can takes quite a bit of time and wheel diameter.
  • Do drill a slightly undersized hole for the keyway, before drilling the hole for the arbor. I did not, and regretted that all the way through.
  • Set aside some time (forever should suffice) for the work.

I used "free machining" leaded mild steel for these, and it has been very slow anyway, at least I did cut two at once and then parted them off.  Material and cutter couldn't agree to an optimal depth of cut and suffered much stopping where I had to back off the tool. Anyway, my objective was reached 100%. Original spacer in the middle.

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4 hours ago, jdm said:

Set aside some time (forever should suffice) for the work.

🤣 an approach that is so relevent to pretty much anything in watchmaking, and so much more beides if you want to do the best job that you can....

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Spindle spider part 1

I want to make an headstock spider, that is something that supports a long piece of stock at the back of the spindle. In my case M39 x 1.25 female threading is needed to mount it. I completely botched the first to two attempts, which motivated me to study more about thread geometry. The problem is that on a female threading is very difficult to judge when the cut "is enough" without a reference, and the work can't be removed from the chuck to try it on the back of the spindle. So I started by cutting a test screw. Fortunately it came good at the first try.

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I have it turned "YouTube mini-lathe videos", that is compound at 29 deg on the left, motor in reverse, cutter upside down and cutting toward the tailstock. On top of the recipe I added a live center due to the long overhang. Fortunately I could try the spindle nut on it, that was a save because math says 0.77mm depth of cut, but at 0.70 on the dial test indicator it was already fitting just fine. And my eye was telling me that It was about right anyway.

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Please post a link...I want to watch!

 

Queen (sp ?) is a must watch, always funny and resourceful..

 

I think she explains that in the video, but in any case the reason why one takes the mouthful of a setup above is that small machines have not enough torque to cut at slow rotation below 250 rpm (can be remedied, but that's a whole different story). So you need to spin faster, which means you can't stop them fast (there is no brake either), reason for which you need a "runout lane" cutting toward the tailstock. 

 

 

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Well...it is out of my league.  I would need yet another rather large tool.  Would love to have it, but I have run out of space!!!

All I have is WW lathes.  There are probably attachments to turn them into thread cutters.  Anyway...it is beautiful work!

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5 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I would need yet another rather large tool.  Would love to have it, but I have run out of space!!!

I recommend that you add or swap for a 7x12 mini lathe which is small by any standard. It will let you make accessories for watchmaking lathes, and a lot of other things, even household ones.

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Hmm...this looks very interesting!  There are various brand names but all seem to come from the same source.

How small of a screw is possible with this.  I see that accuracy specs are 5 mil which is about 125um.  Looks too rough for watch screws!  Like you say...useful for making tools and such.

I feel like I want a mini mill as well. I wonder which would get more use?

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1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

How small of a screw is possible with this.

Watch screws are made with dies or plates, however threading even M1.6 should be possible. And even if you thread with dies and taps on the lathe with holder and guide respectively you would be very facilitated because the work and tool is held precisely. 

 

1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I feel like I want a mini mill as well. I wonder which would get more use?

With a vertical slide attachment you can do limited milling on the lathe, like small brass or aluminium parts. It's cumbersome but a good compromise before committing to a milling machine. Some people does everything that way, I call them lathing diehards. 

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58 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

The Unimat 3 has a totally different set up when it comes to cutting threads.   

Correct, the Unimat 3 uses master screw and follower to thread. While being the first method introduced see https://freechaptersinbooks.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/screw-thread-cutting-by-the-master-screw-method-since-1480/ it also has disadvantages.
It requires a dedicated set of accessories for each pitch to be cut. These are now rare and very expensive. Also someone devised quadrant arm and gears for the purpose, but I think he's the only one, as a thread cutting mini-lathe can be bought very cheapy now. From Google groups "C0-lathe"

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Yes the parts are very expensive. I'm building up my accessories as I think its a good investment the prices are all ways going up.   

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Spindle spider part 2

Work done. I managed to re-use the same ring I got wrong before, just threaded it on the other side. That is tough steel tube, nothing like the leaded one I used for the test screw. Either it splits a visible chip and lights a tiny spark at times, or nothing.

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The inner threading got me baffled when the dial test said I had already cut enough, but the test screw didn't even started in. So I re-sharpened the cutter, which was ground for the purpose, after very many small cuts it fitted perfectly. I don't think I could have made it right without the test screw.
I left the outside untouched by purpose because I find the raw texture from the steel mill to be beautiful. I also want to make nice thumb screws, but was exhausted by the long fighting today.
 

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Thumb screw obsession 

You know that you are beyond cure when even for a trivial part you do things like blending chamfers to round grooving etc. Luckily I only needed two of these otherwise I would still be playing exploited machine operator down in the basement. 

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Lathe carriage stop

This is my first milling project. I'm fond of it not just because it's a very useful accessory, but because the Chinese sellers, knowing that is not widely available, ask about Euro 50 for it.

The included angle for the way is not 90 deg, and requires a bit of attention. I experimented with a radius cutter for chamfering the edges, as one can see I can improve on that. And I haven't fitted yet the screw for fine adjustment.

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A bit of woodworking

The case (was a 1.5L wine bottle box) for the big drill bits which I gost as part of a "lots more stuff" is finished. These have Morse taper shanks, so need to host adapting sleeves, drifts and a chunky extender for MT3 to 2. For the latter. I made a sort of round nose cutter for the top tray, and did everything by eye on the milling machine.

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Then two hands of wood stain conceal most mistakes and make everything look vintage good.

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