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Old 06-25-2012, 02:58 AM   #1
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Default victorian era machinery

hi. I need some advice.

I'm poor as poo. It's a fact. Like a lot of younger people, the economy has royally fiddled my plans for the future. I sought out gunsmithing as a plan C for income. Plan D is government help.

So, if I am to be a gunsmith, I'll need machine tools - cheap ones. And the cheapest method was to make one. Enter David Gingery - God bless 'im! With his help I aim to build my own lathe and mill, but the mill is an area of special concern.

My Dad is a machinist for a big corporation, age 65. He wants to use a large portion of his retirement money to buy me a lathe and mill (harbor freight - china - bleh). I learned, but have yet to use, all I know about mills from public domain books on google books. These books are dated 1917 at the latest.

The predominant mill in these books is the Lincoln-type miller, essentially an evolved lathe. My dad says that he wants to buy me a 'real' mill, and that using any homemade tooling, or any Victorian era tooling will always lead to a bad part and inaccuracy and an angry customer.

Bear in mind he was brought up on punch card and CNC machines and he's very stubborn. I think maybe he doesn't know what he's talking about.

I need help from someone who has experience with Victorian era machinery. If this is you, could you answer these questions?

- is the Lincoln mill or Victorian era machinery a good or bad idea?
- would a homemade machine be accurate as a chinese machine?
- are these tools accurate to .001 inches or .02mm
- do you think my dad is being an old fogy?

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Old 06-25-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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Deep subject........

Not going to try to talk you out of building equip,even when considering how cheap you can get lathes/mills.Patience,diligence,willing to travel,and networking being high on the list of priority's.....moreso than outright money.

So,for the sake of....DIY,see if this link works.

http://www.homemadetools.net/

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Old 06-25-2012, 12:51 PM   #3
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I purchased a Harbor Freight "all in one" micro mill/lathe.

To find the correct bits was a challenge and the motor did not last too long.
but, accuracy seemed to be good enough to complete most required tasks.

If you plan on making a living with it, always go with the best quality you can.

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Old 06-25-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Intheshop View Post
Deep subject........

Not going to try to talk you out of building equip,even when considering how cheap you can get lathes/mills.Patience,diligence,willing to travel,and networking being high on the list of priority's.....moreso than outright money.

So,for the sake of....DIY,see if this link works.

http://www.homemadetools.net/

I did not know this site existed, and it is now bookmarked. thx.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:01 AM   #5
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Look to used shop machinery dealers. Lots of times you can find some pretty good deals, especially if you're willing to do the work and invest some money on a "dog" they've got taking up space. Local papers and "bargain shoppers" rags can also be a source. Best bet, IMO, is visiting any/all local machine shops. If naught else you'll make some contacts to find/borrow needed tooling and you just might find a gem as well ! And, since cash is a critical factor, you might find you can "work off" some of the expense !

As for your idea of "rolling your own"; reminds me of a guy that owned a dog but was always barking himself ! IOW, you can refinish ways, redo guide blocks, tighten bearing slop, and rework chucks with patience, care and a lot of sweat equity, but you ain't gonna build a good lathe or mill from scratch ! But you can rehab a neglected machine into a precision instrument !

FWIW, I've got a bunch of collets sitting in the basement right now. Interested ? >MW

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Old 06-26-2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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A good machinist can do the same exact work on a manual machine as he can do on a Cnc machine. Right now at work I am working on a old worn out lathe from the 50's I can still hold tolerances of +.000 -.0005 it will take me longer than it would with a Cnc machine but it can be done. I do tolerances like that at least once a week. as far as a cheap Chinese machine you get what you pay for in my honest opinion. It's better to buy a American made machine.if you make your own machine I'm gonna say your gonna spend more money doing that than buying a older machine. Your ways won't be ground, chances are there will be alot of slop in your axis's your spindle will not run true and your gonna spend alot on the gears if you wanna have feeds and different spindle speeds. I would just say buy one it will be 100 times easier and you know that it will be a good machine

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Old 06-27-2012, 03:59 AM   #7
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A good machinist can do the same exact work on a manual machine as he can do on a Cnc machine. Right now at work I am working on a old worn out lathe from the 50's I can still hold tolerances of +.000 -.0005 it will take me longer than it would with a Cnc machine but it can be done. I do tolerances like that at least once a week. as far as a cheap Chinese machine you get what you pay for in my honest opinion. It's better to buy a American made machine.if you make your own machine I'm gonna say your gonna spend more money doing that than buying a older machine. Your ways won't be ground, chances are there will be alot of slop in your axis's your spindle will not run true and your gonna spend alot on the gears if you wanna have feeds and different spindle speeds. I would just say buy one it will be 100 times easier and you know that it will be a good machine
Never said different ! IN fact, isn't that what I suggested ? >MW
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