The good (or sad) thing is so much of that stuff is so inexpensive these days that it is now worth your effort to make them. Things like v blocks, parallels and the like can be bought very cheap compared to the cost of buying the material, doing the machining, heat treating them and then grinding after. When I was an apprentice 50 years ago if you wanted it you had to make it. You couldn't afford it. Just my opinion.
Micrometer stop for the lathe. Spring loaded tap guide for the tail stock. Handle for holding needle files. As mentioned above, it's tough to justify the time for the tap guide (for example) when you can buy one for under $20 from Enco, think I've seen them for $5. However, the more we work in our shops the more proficient we get. It's not all about efficiently spending money vs. time, sometimes it's just FUN to make something you can show off or better yet use. I still use a small ball peen hammer I made in shop class as a 7th grader. I have a set of HF ball peen's for under $20, but still go to my shop made one for center punching.
"... As mentioned above, it's tough to justify the time for the tap guide (for example) when you can buy one for under $20 from Enco, think I've seen them for $5. However, the more we work in our shops the more proficient we get. It's not all about efficiently spending money vs. time, sometimes it's just FUN to make something you can show off or better yet use. I still use a small ball peen hammer I made in shop class as a 7th grader. I have a set of HF ball peen's for under $20, but still go to my shop made one for center punching.
I agree, sometimes its just more (fun) to make it yourself in the spirit of 'Hobby machining'. If I don't have it !right now!, its machining at it's best to machine my own. But then...I'm not that far from HF. (Decisions, decisions.)
I would be willing to bet anything you make will be better than HF has. That being said, if you're making for fun and/or practice, make something that requires more precision like parallels, 1-2-3 blocks or even a V block. If you're making out of necessity, then obviously make what you need at the moment. I think once you get started the ideas will flow. You'll never stop making shop tools...
Whatever you do, post it up so we can all enjoy the experience.
Anything you make for yourself is going to be more enjoyable to use. There is a certain satisfaction about that. I bet Bruce wouldn't take $50 for that ball peen hammer made years ago and I certainly get it. That's one reason I like my little lathe so much. First project I ever did was to make the tail stock lever arm more comfortable and usable. It's just a turned down bolt really, something you guys probably wouldn't use as a paper weight but it's still there and gives me a certain satisfaction.
See how this guy made things to modify his lathe from the stock item. I can imagine that is a source of pride for him.
Ideas of what to make will come to you. My wife works in the sports and automotive section of the store where she works. She needed some way to put holes in the gun catalogs (they develop feet) so that she can put them in binders. I made a jig to use on the drill press. Better yet, when she gets new catalogs, she happily drills the holes.
The way I see it, if you have to pay for the material and heat treating, sometimes it is cheaper to buy something than to make it. If you work at a place that will cover those costs, then go ahead and make it!
Thumb thru a MSC or Grainger catalog and find what you need or desire . Then go for it ! There are thousands of projects you could choose from , time and $$$$ being the only consideration . Anything that was ever made by myself always gets first preference over anything purchased as was stated by a previous poster above . It's what is known as " sweat equity" . ( just get ready to buy lots of storage boxes )
Yes things can be bought cheaply nowadays. But thats not entirely the point. The projects we were assigned as apprentices' was not because we could make the item cheaper than a bought item, it was for the LEARNING experience. Basic hand tools through to quite elaborate hand tools and machining aids. Sure if you want to go out and buy a hammer/chisel/punch from HF or similar you will get a tool that will quite possibly last a lifetime. But what did that shopping experience teach you about turning a ball radius, taper turning, hand filing a smooth finish, basic heat treating? Or the satisfaction of using a tool that you can pick up and say, "I made this"