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New-to-me HF 7x10. Few Questions Re Set up and Tools

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willysp

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Hi all,

After a few years wondering if I should buy a mini lathe, I found one on the web for a really good price so I decided to buy it. My background with lathes if pretty sad: I have used big lathes but always the owner would set it up for me and I would be cutting. So I don't really know much about lathes.

Anyways, here come the questions:

1- The lathe has never been used and has the thick grease that was packed with. What should I use to clean it? I have a lot of denatured alcohol. Can I use that? I am planning on taking apart all the parts that are covered with that thick grease and then put it together. What should I use to lubricate: white lithium grease or motor oil? When I am doing the cleaning, is there anything I should look for? I have read that it is a good idea to check that everything is straight (for lack of a better word) but I am not sure what to look for...
2- quick change: I found on Amazon a quick change for 31 dollars. The tool post is aluminum and the holders are steel (I believe). Do you think it is worth it? I am on a tight budget so something like littlemachineshop has for 130 is out of the question.
3- I bought the 6 piece cutting tools from harbor freight. My experience with HB is that consumables are not good so I was wondering if I should buy HSS blanks and make my own tools. If so, what blanks do you recommend?
4- I used the lathe today and I noticed that the carriage was moving backward when using the auto feed. Is that common? is there a way to fix it besides using a carriage lock?
5- drill chuck: should I buy the harbor freight one or the one from little machine shop (or any other supplier)?
6- videos or books: is there any book or youtube video out there that you would recommend that starts from zero? for example, I have watched several videos but none explaining the types of cutting tools and the position they should have (all say that they should be aligned with the center of the piece though)

Anyways, pretty excited about my new toy/machine and looking forward to starting my first project.

Willy
 

Z2V

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Welcome to H-M first off. Congrats on your new lathe.
If denatured alcohol cuts the grease them use it. As for the QCTP I would hold out and go with the Little Machine Shop offering when the funds were available. They are a good source for tools for the smaller machines.
There is a great thread on grinding your own HSS cutting tools here
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/models-for-grinding-hss-lathe-tools.62111/
@Mickey does a great job explaining the grinding process and how the different angles all come together to make a cutting tool.
There should be a lever to change the carriage feed direction
As YouTube video go, pick a topic and you will find multiple videos. Tubalcain, this old tony, Joe Pieczynski, just to name a few, all offer great instructional video.
Show us some pics of what you have, we all like pics!!
 

The_Apprentice

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What should I use to clean it?
For my mill, which was far better greased than my lathe, I used paper towels, scotchbright pads, and WD-40. No issues.

white lithium grease or motor oil?
Depends where you are lubricating. Generally, oil is for the ways, and grease is for those inner areas near gib strips (but not always).

I have read that it is a good idea to check that everything is straight
Well, you can start with the rollie-dad's method. Plenty of videos on youtube showing this.

I found on Amazon a quick change for 31 dollars.
I found one on Amazon like that a year ago, and it was a scammer who took people's money and RAN with it. Had to file a complaint to Amazon but did get my money back. Later I ordered the same one from AliExpress. Just haven't got around to installing it (yet).

I was wondering if I should buy HSS blanks
Sure, you can buy those dirt cheap from HB as well. I'd use the ones you bought for now, and after you do enough research, feel free to cut your own blanks and see the difference. A really good cut HSS will work better than your carbide. But there is no rush...

I used the lathe today and I noticed that the carriage was moving backward when using the auto feed.
I'm not too sure what this means, as it can be interpreted in different ways. Could you clarify it first? Backward is to where, how is it backward, and continuous?

drill chuck: should I buy the harbor freight one or the one from little machine shop (or any other supplier)?
You can buy from anywhere, I have both the HB and another version from Amazon. I think I wish I had the one from Little Machine Shop, as it's very hard to find those SHORT arbors. But you can always CUT off some of the length on a standard arbor if you need.

6- videos or books:
As mentioned, Tubalcaine has tons of educational vids for machineshop on youtube.

And if you look on Amazon, there are a bunch of mini-lathe books, I have a few.
 

royesses

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Welcome to the forum.
1: I use mineral spirits to clean the protective grease off. Paper towels or rags to wipe clean and dry.
2: The LMS QCTP is high quality all hardened steel. The low cost one of aluminum may be ok for light cuts on soft materials, or may be all you need.
3: The 1/4" indexable carbide tools from HF are decent and are made for aluminum. They will work on steel but may chip or wear sooner. HF also sells a set of round and square HSS blanks in 1/4". You would need a 1/16" shim if you use the original tool post. The machine uses 5/16" tools at center height. LMS has many HSS blanks and pre-sharpened tools.
4: I'm not quite sure what you mean. There is a lever in the rear to change the carriage feed direction when using auto feed. If the carriage is moving out from the chuck the lever needs to be moved to the opposite position. 3 positions are forward, neutral and reverse. A carriage lock will prevent any movement of the carriage. You can make one or buy one. It is not used when using auto feed.
5: The HF drill chuck works ok for most drilling. So if it save you some money get it. I use one all the time.
6: Tubalcaine video's. The Sherline web site has some good info. There are many good books and manuals on the forum in the downloads section.
Mickey and the other members here are a wealth of information also. Read through the stickies in the beginners sections.

Roy
 

Latinrascalrg1

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A heat gun or hair dryer and paper towel will do a great job removing the bulk of the protective shipping grease. Then use the alcohol to clean up the residue that remains before applying the proper work lubricant to the correct areas.
 

mikey

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Welcome to HM, Willy!

Just wanted to add on to the great advice you already got here. Your tool post has to sustain the forces when cutting so you need a decent one. Aluminum QCTP work fine on really small lathes like a Sherline or Taig. Above that, a steel tool post will be better and it pays to get a decent one. I think the LMS steel post would be fine for your needs; I put an OXA on a Emco Compact 8 lathe and it works really well.

I would agree with using HSS on your lathe. You just don't have the speed, power or rigidity to use carbide tooling well. It will work, but not as well as a good HSS tool.

As for the carriage moving backwards in auto-feed, I assume you mean that this happens when the tool contacts the work piece. The only thing I can think of that will allow that kind of movement is a loose or warped cross slide gib. It might be a good idea to take it out and have a look to be sure it is flat. If it is, put it back in and adjust it properly. @royesses knows these lathes well and can give you some good advice on how to do that.

I do understand that you're on a budget but keep in mind when choosing tooling that there are some foundational pieces for any machine that should be chosen with care. Your QCTP holds your tooling and has to sustain all the cutting forces the lathe produces. Aluminum has 1/3 the modulus of elasticity of steel and while an aluminum post won't break, it may not hold under load as well as a steel post will. Your drill chuck is another important piece of tooling. I don't think you need a Jacobs Super Chuck or an Albrecht keyless chuck but you can find a used Rohm Supra keyless chuck on ebay for under $60.00 that will work really well on a mini-lathe. Most important is your choice of turning tools. I highly recommend you learn to grind and use HSS tools; they will allow your lathe to work to its full potential.

I'm happy for you, Willy! That lathe is going to open up all kinds of doors for you - enjoy!
 

willysp

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Thank you, all, for the advice. I tried denatured alcohol and works great. Regarding the tool post, I will wait and see. I asked about the carrier moving backward. what I think was happening is that with the vibrations, the handle was moving but I am not sure if the carrier was actually moving. I will clean everything, put it back together, and report back.
I don't have any pics. I have the lathe in my shed, which does not have power so I don't have lights.
Thank you again, you will hear back from me soon.
Willy
 

homebrewed

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I own a 7x12 lathe, which is just a slightly scaled-up version of yours. If I'm doing some operation that doesn't require moving the carriage, I lock it in place by engaging the half-nuts. This might seem like a futile effort because the OEM lead screw+mounting blocks have some slop that allows the lead screw to move back & forth a bit. However, just like compensating for backlash, it can be accommodated. If it really bothers you, you can make or purchase a carriage lock.

Above all, have fun with your new lathe!
 

willysp

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thanks, homebrewed.
So I took apart the chuck, tailstock, the compound and cleaned them. There was a lot of sticky thick grease.
I noticed two things: one is that the spring that goes inside the dial and hold in place the feeding screw ( https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1773 ) likes to jump and disappear... luckily I heard where it landed and was able to find it.
The other thing I noticed is that both gibs are not straight. They are 5 dollars each (plus shipping I guess?) but I am not sure if they should be totally straight or they can be a little bit bowed and the adjusting screws can take care of the issue.
What are your thoughts? buy new ones or adjust them the way they are?

Willy
BTW, if found this page with very good pics on how to disassemble/assemble the lathe: https://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/machineguides/C3-Mini-Lathe-Dismantling-and-Reassembly-Guide.pdf
 

homebrewed

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thanks, homebrewed.
So I took apart the chuck, tailstock, the compound and cleaned them. There was a lot of sticky thick grease.
I noticed two things: one is that the spring that goes inside the dial and hold in place the feeding screw ( https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1773 ) likes to jump and disappear... luckily I heard where it landed and was able to find it.
The other thing I noticed is that both gibs are not straight. They are 5 dollars each (plus shipping I guess?) but I am not sure if they should be totally straight or they can be a little bit bowed and the adjusting screws can take care of the issue.
What are your thoughts? buy new ones or adjust them the way they are?

Willy
BTW, if found this page with very good pics on how to disassemble/assemble the lathe: https://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/machineguides/C3-Mini-Lathe-Dismantling-and-Reassembly-Guide.pdf
Hi Willy,
It's not uncommon for the gibs to be warped. If they aren't too bad, you can try reversing the bend to flatten them out. Then smooth the running face on sandpaper -- thoroughly clean it so no grit remains to wear the dovetails. I have read that you don't want to totally remove the machining marks because they help retain lube. It also has been said that the gib material is on the brittle side, so you might find yourself needing to buy a replacement anyway. Fortunately they are not all that expensive. If you have a mill, you also could try making your own gibs. Fignoggle has a design for a gib holder you can download for free.

I'm glad you were able to find the dial spring. It is infamous for disappearing into nowhere!

Good find on the pictorial guide from arceurotrade. It looks pretty good.
 

willysp

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So I put together my lathe. It was not hard and I learned a lot about it. The finish is much better now than the first time I used it, even though I am sure that with practice and learning about set up I might be able to get even better finishes. Having said that, I do not expect miracles with this little guy but I am very pleased so far.
Question: the cutting tools are the HF carbide tips; what speed should I use for aluminum? I know that carbide cuts faster but I am wondering if I can use the same speeds than for HSS cutting tools.
The other question I have is how much you can shave each pass. I am cutting 6061.
Oh, the cutting tool is a hair low so I will need to shim it. I am thinking about buying a cheap feeler gauge, that way I can raise the tools little by little.

IMG_3900.JPG

IMG_3898.JPG
 

mikey

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Cutting speed for turning 6061 is about 500-600 sfm for HSS and about 2800 sfm for carbide. To get RPM, do a simple calculation: RPM = Cutting speed for the material in sfm X 3.82 / diameter of the work piece.

So, for carbide, 2800 sfm X 3.82 / guessing 3" OD = 3565 rpm. In other words, run it as fast as the lathe will go. If using HSS, you would run somewhere close to 600-650 rpm.

As for depth of cut, it depends on the quality, type of insert and the nose radius of the insert. Your lathe is not very rigid or powerful but it should be able to take a 0.030-0.050" roughing cut. You have to try it and see how the lathe responds. With a good HSS tool, I would guess you could take a 0.100 depth of cut easily if the tool is ground for aluminum.

EDIT: I just looked at your pics again and noticed that the tool is red. Not sure if that is HF inserted carbide or HF brazed carbide. If the former, see above. If the latter then it probably doesn't have a chip breaker and no top rake angles at all - it will just be flat. Brazed carbide tools typically are not that sharp as supplied and will cut much better if you hone the edges with a diamond stone first. They also do not usually come with a nose radius and a very small nose radius would be beneficial if this is the case so stone that on, too.

As for speeds and depths of cut with a brazed tool, I would slow the speed to a little faster than for HSS to start and see how the lathe responds; use as much speed as is needed to get the tool to cut well. Brazed tools with flat tops cut with much higher cutting forces so don't be too aggressive at first. I would go small with the depth of cut and increase a little at a time to see what the lathe and tool want from you. A good starting depth is 0.020" deep (0.040" off the diameter) and then go up from there in 0.010" increments. You will reach a point where the lathe will slow or chatter and that tells you the limit for that set of gearing when using that tool bit. You can either slow the speed, increase the feed or change the angle of the tool bit (turn it slightly more toward the chuck). This always works but you may find that your motor lacks the torque to handle deep cuts. That's okay; you've just learned the limit of your lathe with that kind of tooling.

Part of the fun when learning to run a lathe is sorting out how your tools work on your machine. Play with speeds, feeds and depths of cut. Be observant; watch it run, feel it run, listen to it and the lathe will tell you what it wants. You may not understand it in the beginning but eventually you'll tune into it and things will go much better. You are about to learn that a very small lathe like yours will cut with a carbide tool. When you are ready to go further, look into grinding HSS tools to really wake it up.
 
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willysp

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Yes, those HB cutting tools are brazed carbide. I am turning a 2 inch aluminum bar and the speed is 1000 rpm. I ended up with a depth of 0.015" and the lathe was doing well. I noticed that at some point the chips were accumulating between the tool post/cutting tool and the piece of aluminum so the lathe started to slow down. I changed the tool and its angle and I stopped having that problem. Having said that, I needed to stop the lathe to clean the chips after each pass.
I cannot imagine how many little variables are for each material, cutting tool angles, etc. For now, I want to keep it simple. Having said that, I already have HSS blanks and a 30 min video to watch...

This is how much chips I get after each pass:

IMG_3903.jpg


I switched to this cutting tool (I do not know the name...) and I was not having many problem with chips anymore (let me know if I am still doing it wrong!):
IMG_3904.JPG

I noticed that the tip has some aluminum deposits. Is that common? I will look into honing my cutting tools though.
Another thing I noticed is that the top slide has too much play sideways even though I adjusted the gib strip. I bought a replacement (the original is bowed) so I will work on it.

Wilson
 

mikey

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Aluminum tends to string like that with light cuts and slow feeds. This is due to the high ductility of the material; it bends but doesn't break unless encouraged to do so by either a chip breaker or taking a cut big enough to produce a really thick chip. In the latter case, a heavy cut and a faster feed rate produces chips instead of strings. I am not sure your lathe, with that tool, is capable of such a cut.

Cutting fluid really helps with chip evacuation, cutting temps and finishes. You still string but it won't pile up as badly on you. WD-40 works well for aluminum; just brush it on. Cutting fluid also reduces a Built Up Edge (BUE), which is that deposit you're finding on your tool. The mechanism behind how this occurs is somewhat controversial but you can look at it as a welding of the aluminum onto the tool. Accordingly, it can be really hard to get it off unless you grind it off. Trying to pick it off usually results in a chipped tool. Best to take a deeper cut, use some WD-40 and pick up your feed rate.

The reason that second tool seems to work better has to do with the lead angle of your tool. See the side of the tip where the cutting is taking place? That edge is called the side cutting edge - pretty imaginative name, eh? Okay, engineers are not known for originality. ;)

Anyway, that side cutting edge is at an angle, called the side cutting edge angle. The angle of your tool's edge is canted back a bit more than the typical brazed tool and is actually angled similar to what a good HSS side cutting edge angle is. At this angle, the edge tends to cut or shear a chip rather than plow (like the typical brazed tool does) when you take a light cut. What also happens is that the chip follows a path that is perpendicular to the side cutting edge of the tool so chip evacuation is a bit better. That is why the chips don't seem to pile up - the cutting forces run perpendicular to the side cutting edge and the chips will flow along that path, perpendicular to the angle of your side cutting edge. Make sense?

Don't get too hung up on this stuff for now. What I wanted you to know is that that side edge angle on the tool is NOT how a brazed tool is usually used but it will work better for you on a light lathe taking light cuts so use it.

The other thing to note is that the tool has a very sharp corner at the nose. That is, it has no nose radius and this is typical of brazed tools. It will work better and definitely finish better if you stone a tiny radius at the very tip. Just use a diamond stone and round the nose just a little. I think you will be surprised at how much better the tool both cuts and finishes.

So, my suggestions to you are:
  • Get your tool on center height - get it precisely there, not close. I know other guys will tell you to go higher or lower or whatever but trust me, center height on a small lathe is where you should be.
  • Sharpen the tool edges with a diamond stone. Follow the angle under the cutting edges (called the relief angles) and hone them evenly. Then flatten the top of the carbide insert, then put a tiny radius at the tip of the tool.
  • Angle your tool (the one in the picture) slightly toward the chuck to rough and slightly toward the tailstock to finish. See what happens to your ability to take heavy and light cuts when you do this, and notice what happens to the finish.
  • Use WD-40 for all cuts. It helps.
  • Take bigger/deeper cuts to rough and lighter cuts to finish.
  • Play, have fun but be observant. See what happens when you vary depth of cut, speed and feed and see if you can fine-tune things to get what you want.
  • Learn to grind HSS tools. For your lathe, this will easily outperform those carbide tools.
I've been doing this for what seems like a very long time but I still enjoy watching a chip peel off exactly the way I want it to, and I still take pleasure seeing a fine finish produced on a piece that comes in on size. I no longer think much about what I'm doing to get these results but I can tell you that it is exactly what you're doing now - paying attention to tool angles, sharp edges, cutting fluids, speeds/feeds/depth of cut and so on. Basics, Sir, basics.
 

willysp

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Thanks, mikey, for your reply. I forgot to mention that although the tool and the aluminum I was turning were not hot, I used wd-40 and helped with the chips.
I have feeler gauges that I’ll use to center my tools as you are suggesting.
I watched a video from old tony yesterday about grinding now I have an understanding of the basics for tool grinding; now it’s the time to practice!
 

mikey

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I think I saw that video, too. One of the guys posted it up here. I really liked the computer graphics that made things a lot clearer for the new guys. Have fun!
 

homebrewed

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I avoided HSS tools for a long time because I was intimidated by the idea of hand-grinding them, but when I finally bit the bullet and tried it, my first effort resulted in a usable tool bit. No fancy chip breaker or the like, but it cuts metal just fine!

I just ordered some HSS and cobalt blanks from Victor to grind some more. I'm reserving the cobalt ones for situations where tool wear during a job would be problematic.
 

willysp

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Thanks, homebrewed.
So I am trying to set the tool height and it turns out that the tool is sitting higher than the center of the lathe chuck. What do you do on that situation?
 

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homebrewed

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There are a number of reasons why you want the tool to be as close to the center as possible. If it is too high, the cutting tip of the tool may not contact the work so you will have poor cutting action. If you then push the tool in harder, it could grab and, at the least, stall your lathe. Worst case, you could break your tool or break/bend the work when it tries to climb up the tool. Finally, if you are facing, an off-center tool will leave a "nub" in the center of your work. Also, If your tool is too high this will make it difficult to get the tool to the center of the work (w/regard to facing). It looks like that's what you got going, from looking at your photo.

I use the classic machinist's ruler method to set the bit on-center with the work. Gently pinch the ruler between the work and tool. If the ruler isn't exactly vertical the tool needs to be raised or lowered -- if it nods toward you, raise it, away then lower it. It seems remarkably sensitive, at least with the size of stuff I work on. Larger-diameter rods will have lower sensitivity, but that is OK -- they are more forgiving if the tool isn't exactly on center.

Of course this method won't work for square/hex/etc profile stock. I have some short (~4 inch) pieces of 1/2" drill rod I use for tool set up purposes. After all, once the tool height is set correctly it should be good for whatever you put in the chuck.
 

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#20
because I was intimidated by the idea of hand-grinding them
When I was in high school doing machine shop for the first time... I still remember us going over slides of diagrams on how to grind all the angles. But from what I recall, it went over our junior heads so we just grinded a quick simple tip and it SEEMED to do the work for us just the same. LOL!
 

mikey

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... it turns out that the tool is sitting higher than the center of the lathe chuck. What do you do on that situation?
Buy a smaller tool, mill the bottom of the existing tool so it is thinner, buy a quick change tool post.
 

willysp

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So what I did is I grinded my first tool!!! It ain’t pretty but I can cut deeper cuts. It doesn’t give me smooth finishes but I will keep playing with it. And it sits a hair lower than the center so a thin feeler gauge made the trick
26FF0437-8BBF-48F3-9443-B4F9AFA20150.jpeg
 

mikey

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Will, it looks like that shape will work but the top surfaces of the tool, called the rake angles, appear to be sloping in the wrong direction. Well, wrong when used on a small lathe. Your tool appears to be ground with a negative rake and that will cause it to cut with much higher cutting forces, something you want to avoid on a small lathe. A positive rake tool will work better for you and it is no harder to grind that what you did here.

To save my fingers, let me refer you to a few threads here on HM that discuss grinding HSS tools. You might find the info helpful:

https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/how-to-grind-a-hss-turning-tool.52581/

And a longer discussion:

https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/models-for-grinding-hss-lathe-tools.62111/

Give these threads a read and see if it helps. If you need more critique of the tool, post to the model tools thread and we'll have a go at it there.
 

willysp

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#24
Hi mike, it was hard for me to take one pic of the tool and show as many angles as I could and at the same time hide all the imperfections hahaha
D5C9BC93-7106-427A-9D0A-EB09782F8EB4.jpeg

My intention was to get the proper rake angles. I was doing this while watching that old tony video. I just skimmed your link about grinding tools and I noticed that your angles are more pronounced, which makes it much easier to appreciate what’s going on. I’ll give it a try again this weekend.
One thing I noticed is that my grinding wheels are not square, edges are rounded and there is a depression in the center of both wheels. I will need to fix that (if possible) or might need to buy new wheels. I’ll look into that too.
 

homebrewed

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You may have skipped one grinding operation. Your second photo doesn't show any modification of the side facing the viewer, and I think that is the side presented to the work. That side needs some relief as well or it could rub on the work. I think you have enough top rake. Mostly practice at this point -- keep on going!
 

mikey

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Hi mike, it was hard for me to take one pic of the tool and show as many angles as I could and at the same time hide all the imperfections hahaha View attachment 276053
My intention was to get the proper rake angles. I was doing this while watching that old tony video. I just skimmed your link about grinding tools and I noticed that your angles are more pronounced, which makes it much easier to appreciate what’s going on. I’ll give it a try again this weekend.
One thing I noticed is that my grinding wheels are not square, edges are rounded and there is a depression in the center of both wheels. I will need to fix that (if possible) or might need to buy new wheels. I’ll look into that too.
Yup, I totally understand about showing something while trying hard not to show something! Thing is, we can't help if we can't see. Look at my early tools in our model tools thread and see what my early efforts looked like - totally embarrassing! It took a lot of guts to show that to the guys, believe me.

If you look at your top rake angles, the back side of the tool is higher than the side cutting edge of the tool, or at least it looks that way in the pics. That is called negative rake and while the tool will cut, it will not cut well on such a light lathe. We also cannot see the relief angles on the side and end very well so give it another try and show us the tool so we can help.
 

willysp

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#27
Ok, this weekend I will work on my grinding abilities.
But I also finished my first project:
D604418B-5393-4E84-8E44-0FFB0F3EF6C0.jpeg

That is a part for a windsurfing mast base. It turned out pretty good, at least to my standards/expectations.
Looking forward for the next project, which I don’t know what will be.
 

mikey

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#28
I dunno', Wil, it looks like a perfectly good part to me.
 

Janderso

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#29
Looks like you did a great job. Fun too
 

mlindholm

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#30
After a few years wondering if I should buy a mini lathe, I found one on the web for a really good price so I decided to buy it
I too have joined the mini lathe party recently. I wanted to turn some bench dogs for woodworking, and noticed the HF 7x10 was jumping in price $100 in the October monthly ad. Whether a temporary jump, a response to the new China tariffs, inflation, or whatever...I felt it was time to grab my 20% coupon and buy. I realize some of these questions are already answered, or irrelevant, but I'm going to throw in my opinion/experience for others to see.

1- The lathe has never been used and has the thick grease that was packed with. What should I use to clean it?
I followed advice I've seen elsewhere, and used mineral spirits and paper towels. Cut the cosmoline pretty well, and evaporated slowly enough I never needed to re-wet a piece of paper towel I was using.

What should I use to lubricate: white lithium grease or motor oil? When I am doing the cleaning, is there anything I should look for?
I've been using what I had within reach for everything (ways, gibs, and screws), which was 5W-20 synthetic motor oil. So far, things have been sliding OK, and not rusting where I had oil. One day it must've been extra humid, and I came home to some surface rust in several places. I scrubbed that off with a Scotch Brite for metal, then wiped those (non-contact) areas down with Balistol. Either it's been working great, or it just hasn't humid like that since. I did just grab a squeeze tube of lithium grease to use on the ways and screws, next time I remove a slide or drop the apron.

2- quick change: I found on Amazon a quick change for 31 dollars. The tool post is aluminum and the holders are steel (I believe). Do you think it is worth it? I am on a tight budget so something like littlemachineshop has for 130 is out of the question.
Probably the same one I got...the Jinwen? Everything is aluminum except the set screws, main center screw, the wrenches it came with, and the height knobs & the nuts on top of them. It was inexpensive, and it works. I've been very happy to have it, over not having a QCTP. Unfortunately, the dovetail is a different width than a 0xA sized QCTP, so to get more tool holders, it seems you just need to buy a 2nd toolpost. Thankfully the additional holders I bought won't go stale before I upgrade to the LMS steel wedge holder. For now, I'm just keeping my allen key handy for swapping tools, or flipping them around. Knowing that you might eventually want to replace it (and then not use it anymore), you'll need to decide if it's worth the money versus waiting to buy just once.

3- I bought the 6 piece cutting tools from harbor freight. My experience with HB is that consumables are not good so I was wondering if I should buy HSS blanks and make my own tools. If so, what blanks do you recommend?
I grabbed the HF 1/4" insert set, and two sets of the $5 HSS set (cheap, convenient, and multiple pieces). This Old Tony's HSS grinding video was excellent for helping me get a usable grind on the tools. So far, been happy with how they work. A 1/4" HSS bit, ground like the thumbnail on that TOT video is my primary tool.

5- drill chuck: should I buy the harbor freight one or the one from little machine shop (or any other supplier)?
If you don't want to wait for the LMS short-arbor one to come in the mail, grab the HF one. It's also slightly cheaper. Eventually I'll use a cut-off wheel to take 1/2" off the end of the taper, so I can use the full range of the tailstock. As is, it will eject it at 1/2" on the scale.


6- videos or books: is there any book or youtube video out there that you would recommend that starts from zero? for example, I have watched several videos but none explaining the types of cutting tools and the position they should have (all say that they should be aligned with the center of the piece though)

Anyways, pretty excited about my new toy/machine and looking forward to starting my first project.

Willy
Frank Hoose (of mini-lathe.com) has a YouTube channel, and does have some introductory videos. I've watched some of his videos, though haven't watched the intro ones myself, but I'd watched a couple hundred hours already of Keith Fenner, TOT, AvE, and other random folks. As mentioned above, you can use a machinist ruler to set centerline on your tool, or really any stiff, thin, piece of metal. I have a $0.99 HF snap-off blade utility knife, that I'd pull the blade from and use in the same manner. If your tool is too high, your tool under the cutting edge can rub on the workpiece, limiting your DOC and affecting your finish. If it's too low, your cutting angle is more a scraping action, than a cutting one. Plus both leave nibs when facing off..cones when too high, cylinders when too low.
 
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