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Looking for mini lathe / mini mill projects.

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Ken from ontario

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#1
I have done a few small projects with my mini mill such as: a speed handle for my milling vise, drawbar wrench, ,sliding door handles,, T nuts,, etc, but in every project it was painfully obvious that I was missing a metal lathe to complete the job.

Soon I'll have a lathe , a small one mind you but still it's a lathe, so now I'm looking for ideas on what to make.

If you can come up with simple yet interesting projects, please share, this is a list simple project I've come up with :
1) a Die holder.
2)Articulating arm for a worklight.
3)two heavy duty tool rests for my bench grinder.
4)?
Please join in and give us newbies a few suggestions, also let the rest of us know what your first project was when you started .
 
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ferlum

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#2
A work stop is an easy project, and useful.

 

mikey

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#3
Off the top of my head:
  • Center height gauge to set tool height. I use this every time I work on the lathe to be sure I'm on center height. Many designs out there - choose your poison.
  • A good boring bar holder, one that encircles your bar. This is, far and away, the most important boring tool you will have. Make the hole in the holder to fit the largest bar you own and make reducing sleeves to fit the smaller ones. For your lathe, 6061 will work fine for a bar holder.
  • A tailstock die holder. I prefer a tap driver instead of a dedicated tap system on the lathe so I didn't build one.
  • A dial indicator holder to fit your QCTP. You will need it every time you use your 4 jaw chuck.
  • If your cross slide has T-slots, I highly recommend a rear mounted parting tool holder. If you can fit it, you will not regret having it.
  • Consider removing the compound and use a tool pallet or plinth. Small lathes have small compounds that lack rigidity and a solid plinth will help. You can remount the compound to cut threads or tapers.
 

Ken from ontario

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#4
ferlum, mikey, thanks for the suggestions
All good projects, I have been looking for a simple carriage stop for a mini lathe and found a couple, that's another neat tool to make.
Mike, I like the boring bar holder, DI. holder, I really like the center height gauge if you mean something like this:

centre height.jpg
I'll have to search the net for the tool pallet and rear mounted parting tool and see how they could work with a bench top /mini lathe.
On top of my list is to find /buy/machine an MT#2 arbor and use it for attaching a die holder, not exactly excited about offsetting the tailstock to cut the MT#2 taper , don't know if they make taper attachments for mini lathes.
 

Dave Paine

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#5
On top of my list is to find /buy/machine an MT#2 arbor and use it for attaching a die holder, not exactly excited about offsetting the tailstock to cut the MT#2 taper , don't know if they make taper attachments for mini lathes.
You could purchase a boring head. An example from Little Machine Shop. They sell the MT2 arbor to go with this head.

http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1266&category=
http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1266&category=
Another option is to purchase a machinable MT2 taper which you would then machine to fit the die holder part. This will save a lot of time. FYI Victor Machinery have $25 minimum order and about $15 minimum shipping.

http://www.victornet.com/detail/DCA-BL2.html
 

Ken from ontario

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#6
Thanks Dave ,I like your second link, it's a good idea to have couple of them for different projects.

You could purchase a boring head. An example from Little Machine Shop. They sell the MT2 arbor to go with this head.
I don't quite understand how a boring head could be used as a die holder, this the type of die holder I'm talking about:
3d5de2009b4eeedd3b442e732911d23b--lathe-projects-metal-projects.jpg DIE3.JPG
 

Dave Paine

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#7
Thanks Dave ,I like your second link, it's a good idea to have couple of them for different projects.


I don't quite understand how a boring head could be used as a die holder, this the type of die holder I'm talking about:
The boring head suggestion is to allow you to make tapers on the lathe without moving the tailstock, not for use as a die holder. Mount the boring head in the tailstock and then dial in the offset needed for to machine the taper. Easier than moving the tailstock and avoids re-aligning the tailstock to the headstock after machining the taper.
 

Ken from ontario

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The boring head suggestion is to allow you to make tapers on the lathe without moving the tailstock, not for use as a die holder. Mount the boring head in the tailstock and then dial in the offset needed for to machine the taper. Easier than moving the tailstock and avoids re-aligning the tailstock to the headstock after machining the taper.
Can you cut a #2 morse taper arbor with a boring head? I didn't know that, thanks Dave .
I'd imagine boring out an mt2 with a BH. but that's not what I was after, thanks all the same though.
 
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Dave Paine

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westsailpat

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#10
How about a threading magazine ? I know I have never heard it called that either , I just made it up for lack of a better term . OK what is it ? It's a organizer for taps and associated drills , first start with the smallest say 0-80 thru 1/4 - 20 get the tap size hole drill and the clearance size drill . Now get a block of material to make the holder for all this stuff , square up the block and drill holes to organize taps and drills and stamp in the corresponding sizes . It's a time saver . Also a tap guide/holder for the taps , that is just a rod with a hole in one end that the tap shank fits in and allows it to turn and move in and out also make a tap handle again just a rod , drill a hole for the tap and hold it in place with a set screw . Use it on the lathe and mill . And to compliment all of this make a tapping guide block . It is a block of steel with holes drilled in it that the taps will fit into , use it when hand tapping .
 

Ken from ontario

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#11
Pat, Thanks for the suggestions, I do love my drill bit organizers , have made 8 or 9 of them to hold drill bits, chamfering bit, drill/tap holders, collet holders etc, but you can never have enough organizers right,lol.
 

Ken from ontario

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#12
IN this post there's a picture of an offsetting tool for tailstock that Kernbigo had made, I can now see how something like that or a boring head could work:
101_0601.jpg
 

mikey

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#13
Ken, you can also cut the MT2 with your compound slide and make the shaft for the die holder integral with the taper. You cut the straight shank part first, then the taper. You will need an already made MT2 to stick in your chuck so you can angle the compound to the match that taper. Then you cut it to dimension. This way, the tailstock is not involved and you don't need a taper attachment. For short tapers, this works just fine.

Many versions of a tool height gauge. Look at the Hardinge version for an easily made but accurate one.
 

Ken from ontario

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#14
Thanks mike, I believe that is the simplest way , at least for me it is, , I have already bookmarked and watched this video which shows how to machine a taper without offsetting the tailstock:
 

Yester5

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#15
Here are some projects I’ve completed. ..
Tailstock tap and die holder
Several small tap holders that give better “feel” than stock tap wrenches
Jig for cross drilling round stock (Hemingway kits)
Small toe clamp block that also has a cross drilling drill guide
Tooling pallet for my mini-mill







Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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#16
Here are some projects I’ve completed. ..
Tailstock tap and die holder
Several small tap holders that give better “feel” than stock tap wrenches
Jig for cross drilling round stock (Hemingway kits)
Small toe clamp block that also has a cross drilling drill guide
Tooling pallet for my mini-mill
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Nice knurling!
 

Ken from ontario

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#17
Yester, thanks for reviving this thread, I really like all the projects you showed but one in particular I'd like more info on, what does it do?
13d7ce40786a1a95bcbee54790149d8d.jpg
 

Yester5

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#18
Yester, thanks for reviving this thread, I really like all the projects you showed but one in particular I'd like more info on, what does it do?
View attachment 264630
It’s a jig that can be used on the lathe, mill or drill press to drill cross holes in round stock. The large hole on top slides on to my lathe’s tool post shaft. The stepped groove was cut on my lathe and lines up perfectly with the center of my spindle (chuck). The round stock is clamped in place and the needed drill size is held in the chuck. The carriage is then advanced to feed the drill bit through the drill guide. I believe it was designed by Harold Hall. I first saw it on his wonderful web page here:
http://homews.co.uk/page365.html
Here are some additional photos of my completed kit...the last two show a piece of stock that I cross-drilled to use as a vise handle. The last one shows the jig in use from Harold’s web page.






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Ken from ontario

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#19
Neat project, Harold.Hall made the body from casting cast iron, what did you use ? a square block of mild steel and machined to the final form ?
Steve Jordan, another talented youtuber who uses 2 mini lathes to do all his square machining with his lathes, I have not set up my lathe to do milling work but these types of project are very inspiring.
Thanks again for your post and the pics.
 

Yester5

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#20
It's cast iron. I purchased it from Hemmingway Kits: http://www.hemingwaykits.com/acatalog/_Tidy__Cross_Drilling_Jig.html
The shipping can be a killer, but current exchange rates from here in the US gave me over a 20% discount from the listed prices (in Pounds)
And, even though the kit is made to fit a Myford lathe, I made mine fit my LMS high torque mini-lathe by simply adding a 0.1875" spacer underneath to raise the stepped groove position in-line with the center of my spindle.
 
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stioc

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#21
@Yester, I really like your tooling pallet, it's on my to-do list. What size and spacing did you pick for the threaded holes? I was thinking 1/4-20 and 1". Also are there pre-made dowel pins you can buy like the ones you show? I take it those aren't through holes either?
 

Yester5

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@Yester, I really like your tooling pallet, it's on my to-do list. What size and spacing did you pick for the threaded holes? I was thinking 1/4-20 and 1". Also are there pre-made dowel pins you can buy like the ones you show? I take it those aren't through holes either?
Thanks!
Yes, they are 1/4-20 and the spacing is 1”
The pins are 3/16” drill rod that I cut and chamfered on my disk grinder using my cordless drill. I made them before I purchased my lathe.
The other side of the pallet has a steel block that’s aligned with the holes screwed in place. It allows me to simply clamp it in my vise for doing light duty cutting of G-10 and Micarta. For heavy duty work, I remove the block and vise and clamp the pallet directly to the mill table


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Brento

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#23
What is the big dowel with the red square for?
 

Yester5

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#24
That is a 0.25 reamed hole with a 3/8-1/4" index pin. When I make scales for folding knives, I index the mill spindle to this hole. I insert the index pin through the 0.251 pivot hole in the scale and clamp it in place with the bar with the two brass thumbscrews. I remove the pin, then counter bore around the pivot hole with a 3/8" carbide end mill. That gives me a perfect round and concentric 3/8" counterbore that the stock pivot hardware to fit into. Here is a typical titanium bolster I make that uses this setup...(the red dye is so I remember which hole to use) :) (I'm distracted sometimes...getting old. LOL)
 

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Brento

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#25
Thats cool. Looks so much bigger than a 1/4" hole lol but i see what your saying. Haha had to think for a moment there.
 

Yester5

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#26
The part you’re seeing is 3/8” to fit into the R8 collet. The 1/4” part is in the pallet
 

Creativechipper

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#27
Great ideas, I feel inspired!!
 

homebrewed

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#28
Here are a few more projects to consider.

1. A jig to hold HSS bits for sharpening on your grinder. It could be as simple as an aluminum piece with a slot milled in it. For something more elaborate, see: lathe bit sharpening jig. There are a bunch of designs out there if you look around.
2. A second chuck wrench, to make it easier to adjust your 4-jaw (you will get one, right?). This one is on MY to-do list :).
3. A lantern chuck to trim screws to length.
4. Low profile work holders for your mill. See Harold Hall's web page for those, too.
5. An angle plate to accurately set your compound to 29.5 degrees for threading.
6. A Norman-style QCTP. It basically is a steel post mounted on the compound. The tool holders clamp onto the post with a bolt. I made one
and it is quite rigid. While many have made them with just their lathe, it is easier to do with a mill.
7. A crank extension for your mill's Z axis fine feed. I made one to make it easier to use my boring head, but it's so handy I leave it on all the time. Here's a photo:
Crank A scaled.JPG

I made mine with stuff I had around -- the length of the crank is up to you, as long as it is long enough to make it easy to raise/lower the head. Well OK, I did buy a shoulder bolt for the handle (so it would turn freely), but you COULD make one if you want. It looks funky but works well.
 

BaronJ

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#29
Hi Guys,

How about one of these:
01-09-2018-001.JPG

A spring center !
 

Ken from ontario

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#30
All good ideas , it would be great to continue posting these projects in this thread or maybe start a new thread just for simple to intermediate (but useful) projects so any hobbyist who's looking to get busy in shop but has run out of ideas, can find something interesting here, for example I really like the #1 suggestion on homebrewed 's list or the cantilever clamp ,and many others.
 
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