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If you can't buy it, or its too expensive ---make it!

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Giles

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#1
I have repaired small engines for over fifty years.
Now I mainly work on small two stroke equipment.
Some time back, I bought a Tanaka chainsaw that would not oil the chain. I discovered the plastic drive gear was damaged and only available with complete pump assembly and was over $140.00 !
Upon inspection, I decided to try an repair plastic worm gear. I had other photos but can't find them. Only photo shows specially ground bit picking up thread profile and pitch.
I made an aluminum gear and pressed it onto the plastic assembly after removing damaged outer thread.
Still working beautifully!
It took a lot of figuring and close machining, but it worked beautifully. Chhainsaw gear 007.JPG
 

talvare

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#2
This is probably the most use my machinery sees......fixing my other stuff. A few days ago I made a little part for one of my motorcycles that took about 20 minutes (a good machinist would have done it in 10) and about $.05 worth of aluminum. Saved me having to spend $40 for the replacement part. So now I can amortize the ridiculous amount of money I've spent on machinery and tooling by another $39.95 :grin big:

Ted
 

Giles

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This is probably the most use my machinery sees......fixing my other stuff. A few days ago I made a little part for one of my motorcycles that took about 20 minutes (a good machinist would have done it in 10) and about $.05 worth of aluminum. Saved me having to spend $40 for the replacement part. So now I can amortize the ridiculous amount of money I've spent on machinery and tooling by another $39.95 :grin big:

Ted
I repair a lot of chainsaws and I can test ignition coil on lathe. With some bad coils, they can be "revived" by spinning flywheel @ 2K RPM. With a revivable coil, you can watch the spark go from dull red to intense blue/white. Some can be revived and some can't. I have no idea why? ? Coil Reviving 001.JPG Coil Reviving 002.JPG Coil Reviving 003.JPG
 

KBeitz

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#4
Bake your coil... When your wife is not home....
 

Latinrascalrg1

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#5
Bake your coil... When your wife is not home....
Why would he bake the coil? I understand why the need to get it done while the wife is not home but I have no clue as to why one would bake their chainsaw coil in the first place and your comment left me very curious as to why!
 

007

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#6
Years ago before the internet I needed stainless steel hardware for my truck that I was restoring. I tried several stores for the hardware needed then decided to just make it all myself. So most my machines do now is fix stuff I can't find parts for. Sometimes I just spend an extra $$ because I don't want to work 2 hrs for that $10 part needed. I guess times are changing.
 

hman

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#7
Why would he bake the coil? I understand why the need to get it done while the wife is not home but I have no clue as to why one would bake their chainsaw coil in the first place and your comment left me very curious as to why!
Wild-a$$ guess: If moisture has seeped/diffused into the coil, baking it will drive the water out (?)
 

John281

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#8
I agree, it's really satisfying to be able to fix something. What really motivates me to make a replacement part is that I don't like replacing a poorly-designed part with an identical replacement of the poorly-designed part from the manufacturer - and usually at a high cost.
A colleague of mine had the handle of his sliding glass door break and could not get a replacement (die-cast aluminum). He was faced with replacing the entire door. I made a replacement part for him from solid aluminum and he was absolutely thrilled. The new one won't break.
 

GunsOfNavarone

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#9
I have been able to save all sorts of things from the trash heap by MacGyver-ing since i was single digits old. The whole building a machine shop was to do this on a whole new level (if i can learn the skills) i watch many people here and on YouTube and im just fascinated. I can watch this stuff for hours. Diagnosing, buying and installing a magneto on a lawnmower is a great skill, but building instead of buying? Priceless!
 

KBeitz

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#10
Do a google search on baking small engine coils.
 

Suzuki4evr

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#11
I have repaired small engines for over fifty years.
Now I mainly work on small two stroke equipment.
Some time back, I bought a Tanaka chainsaw that would not oil the chain. I discovered the plastic drive gear was damaged and only available with complete pump assembly and was over $140.00 !
Upon inspection, I decided to try an repair plastic worm gear. I had other photos but can't find them. Only photo shows specially ground bit picking up thread profile and pitch.
I made an aluminum gear and pressed it onto the plastic assembly after removing damaged outer thread.
Still working beautifully!
It took a lot of figuring and close machining, but it worked beautifully. View attachment 254590
I totally agree on making stuff yourself and it is a lot of fun.
 

tjb

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#13
I've done a fair amount of work building street rods and, occasionally, I found it necessary to have a small doodad made by a machinist. Once, I was re-purposing a billet aluminum steering wheel bezel to be used on a gas filler neck:
111225-5.JPG

I was able to watch the machinist modify it, and that fascinated me! Not too long after that, I had a Smithy 3-in-1, which was soon replaced with a Bridgeport-clone milling machine, a lathe, drill press and loads of tooling. I was hooked.

I live in a farming community, and I've found that most of my 'necessary' machining has been making parts for tractors and other farming implements that are not readily available anymore.
For example, here's an example of 'CAN'T BUY IT'. Once a guy handed me this:
IMG_1403.JPG

And from that - I'm serious - he needed me to make this:
IMG_1406.JPG
It's a bearing bracket for a cultipacker.

And here's an example of 'TOO EXPENSIVE' (sorry, no pix yet). This past week, a good friend needed to replace a master cylinder and brake chamber on a heavy rubber tire loader. I think the price would be pushing about $2K. But he could get functionally compatible parts from NAPA for less than $200. Only problem: Those parts couldn't be attached to the existing mounting bracket which was integral to its functionality. Three DAYS later, I was able to hand him one that matched the new parts exactly. (It only took about 3 HOURS to build it, but quite a bit of time measuring, checking and re-measuring to make sure it was fully compatible. Kinda like somebody giving you a key and asking you to build a car around it.) Of course, if he had to pay a machinist, it probably would not have been worth it, but he does me a lot of favors, so we essentially bartered away the labor.

Occasionally, I take some scrap parts from car and truck re-builds and tinker with making something interesting out of them. For example, here are a couple of clocks I've made:

IMG_1074.JPG IMG_1075.JPG

The smaller one is made from the instrument cluster off of a '54 Chevy 3100 pickup (my avatar); the larger is a pressure plate for a small block Chevy engine. Right now, I'm working on making a clock out of the speedometer unit that is the companion to the '54 instrument cluster.

If I had to do this stuff for a living, I'm sure I'd starve. Like many participants here at H-M, I'm only a hobbyist and have never had any formal training. But I'm having a ball! Thanks to all you seasoned veterans that share your wisdom and make this hobby possible for the rest of us.

Regards,
Terry
 

hotrats

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#14
I agree, it's really satisfying to be able to fix something. What really motivates me to make a replacement part is that I don't like replacing a poorly-designed part with an identical replacement of the poorly-designed part from the manufacturer - and usually at a high cost.
A colleague of mine had the handle of his sliding glass door break and could not get a replacement (die-cast aluminum). He was faced with replacing the entire door. I made a replacement part for him from solid aluminum and he was absolutely thrilled. The new one won't break.
Agreed. A friend is a engineer for a large appliance mfg. Said it's the only job he's ever had where they "reverse" engineer parts to actually not last as long (and be cheaper to mfg.) All my machinery is my "hobby". Just been learning the last 3 or so years. So far it's been invaluable in my attempts to restore/update a old car.
 

Downwindtracker2

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#15
My mill/drill is half paid for, just in parts for a couple of shapers, one wood, the other metal. It was bought used, so it's not much of stretch. The wood shaper is a light duty, 3hp clone of the Powermatic #26 . The big problem with wood shapers in dainty class, under 1 1/4" arbor, is the poor quality fences, even brand new. The after market fences are $700 plus. I was able to machine the fence into something easily accurate.
 

C-Bag

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#16
More often than not I need something that nobody makes and that's why I got into machining. It's also really satisfying to fix something that just needed a part and the whole machine would be functional again instead of being scrapped. Case in point is a guy had a couple of old Rockwell PortaBand's that had the guide bearing mount broken off. So basically the bandsaw was junk. I grabbed the one that ran the best thinking oh, all I need is the one part. Well it's an obsolete design that was sold to Porter Cable and parts were special order and shockingly expensive. Plus a bad design. My boss said why not make one on the mill? I think that was my first big project. That was 20yrs ago. I don't use the old saw everyday, but when I do I'm glad I fixed it. But it totally demonstrated why I needed a mill and a lathe.
 

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GL

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#17
Agreed. I have no idea how people survive without a lathe and a mill to fix stuff. Even really odd things like putting a knurl on a lamp knob that's too slick to turn. Or building special tools to work on most anything you own. As Mr. Pete says, anyone with 10k plus worth of tools (and a brain?) can build a $5 part - but now is always good. And it feels good to be independent.

tjb - nice work on the clocks
 

MrWhoopee

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#18
I went to the JC to study machine shop because I wanted to be able to fix and build things. I never wanted to work as a machinist, much less own a machine shop. After a 40 year detour through the trade, I am finally there. I recently spent 3 hours making a replacement foot for one of those $20 collapsible camp chairs because I hate to throw things out.
 
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