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Radius Turning Tool...

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The_Apprentice

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#1
I have been waiting for months for this item to be back in stock:

https://www.micromark.com/product/8059

Now it is available, I am curious for anyone else who is experienced with these, if this one is worth it, or if there are major issues that may become apparent. I don't have all the tools available to just make one myself (yet).
 

rgray

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#2
I have one I made like that. I have a 12x36 lathe so the steel is 3/4 thick.
It does the job.
They are not the most rigid so have a sharp cutter.
The price seem real good.
 

jcp

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#4
I also have the same cutter. Does the job but is a bit tedious.
 

The_Apprentice

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#5
The price seem real good.
Thanks. I was afraid you all were going to say the price is a rip-off or something to that effect. LOL.

I will see about ordering it later today. Thanks again.
 

The_Apprentice

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#6
So! I finally attached the ball-turning tool to my mini-today. Now, for the good and the bad…

There were a few issues apparent when trying to get this right into my toolholder post. Most notably, is that the shaft to hold the tool is extremely short. Even on my mini-, only 2 of the 3 screws can screw down to hold the unit firm into place.

This seems unacceptable to me, as rigidity is a key point for any lathe. Even if there is no loss in rigidity, why have only 2 bolts do the job that is designed for 3 at a minimum? I am not sure if there is any good reason for such a short shaft. If my carbide tipped tools all are used by 3 screws, why should this tool use any less?

Another thing I did not like, the unit is off-center. This MAY BE because looking at the SLOT in the tool (where the round HSS bit swivels through) causes a weakness. If the unit was moved higher up to keep the bit on-center to the item to be turned, the slot would add more weakness to the tool over-all.

A problem for me now is that I’ll have to shim-up the whole tool somehow, and I already don’t like I can only grab it with 2 bolts. Even worse, I am not so sure my bolts have enough grip for something shimmed up so high.

Ohh, and a little other issue… Notice the handle for the tool, gets into the way of my tool-post handle as well. Another issue. At least I can unscrew my other handle for a temporary fix. So not the end of the world there.

Ohhh and another problem… I’ll have to adjust my compound somewhat, as even when pulling out the max, I can not get the HSS bit far back enough to cut my material. It is still too far out front of the toolpost.

My solution, was to just cut the material from BEHIND it, forcing me to reverse the direction of the material’s normal cutting rotation.

Ohh, and another problem. My material was only 15mm max (going from memory here). yet you can see that is ALMOST too big, and comes close to rubbing into the actual tool itself. A problem that can be remedied though if I can somehow shim this up.

Ok….

That said, I did do a test today, and at least somewhat of a positive result. I was expecting a total disaster here, but it did cut rather well for me. Granted, we are only cutting into aluminum here, and not Stainless Steel, which is what I would prefer if I can push limits high enough.

I have a result to show, and will do more tests and trials during this week. Cutting was actually a bit of fun, maybe because I was not even expecting this mikey-mouse unit to even manage that. Granted though, I am not an expert on using these tools, so this post is just ramblings from an amateur so far.
first issues.JPG
first cut.JPG
 

T Bredehoft

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#7
You might have had less chatter/problems with the work extending no more than twice its diameter from the chuck.
 

roadie33

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#8
Definitely need to lift it up so HSS tool is at center.
I bet if you do that it will clear the other handle also.
 

The_Apprentice

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#9
I didn't have much chatter problem (yet). But I am also wanting to cut grooves with this tool, so I can't have it too close to the chuck.

That said, this may not be the best radius tool for cutting grooves, but if someone knows of a good groove cutter for the mini-lathe, I'm willing to listen.

BTW, ahah, just realized that yes, shimming up will probably give clearance with the handles. I still am a little annoyed that the product didn't at least come with it's own shim of sorts, I'll have to find some pieces.
 

jcp

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#11
This "mickey mouse unit" did manage to produce this part.

IMG_0487.JPG


Altho I did read the instructions on how to set it up ............
 

The_Apprentice

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#13
Unfortunately for me, the instructions were the size of a match-box. :) So that's my excuse.

I did some more trials today. And just now I realized if I mount the tool at a 90 deg to the way I normally cut with tools, I can get enough space in to rotate my material in the normal position. At least in theory. Only figured that out after I also had a clever idea for something else I want to try tomorrow...

I will do more trials then.

I also thought of some more mods for this, I may end up doing later down the road. For now I tried to takle the shimming issue, but the feeler gauages I ordered from China just for this type of occasion (last year) still never arrived yet!

what is it?.JPG
 

Ken from ontario

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#14
Great thread Apprentice, I'm very interested in all the upgrades and improvements you're making for this jig, please keep us up to date.
 

The_Apprentice

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#15
So! Today was a partial success...

I mounted the tongue parallel to the workpiece. This now gives me room to round the nose and have the material rotating in the standard direction. Now why didn't I think of this before? Oh wait, because I have yet to drill or bore on this lathe, so I got too tunnel visioned on how tools are to be mounted.

That said, I then tried my experiment to get some wide grooves going along the shaft. This worked, as can be seen on the right side of the pic. I basically reversed the tool-bit, and then swung the yoke out in a verse direction than normally used for radius cutting. Well.. it works!

Now the problems... I wanted to cut a really narrow groove. I was able to do this, after re-reversing the toolbit and cutting into the side of the material. You can see this in the left-most cut operation. It's a success, but I can not continue to cut narrow grooves like this down the length of bar because the side of the yoke-frame will collide against the workpiece the way it's mounted...

If I try to change the frame 90 degrees, I run into the same problem as before... not enough clearance to work with... I need at least a cm or more...

I have another idea for something I will try tomorrow to see if I can get around this...

Still not sure what I'm making here, but if worse comes to worse and I forget to buy my GF something for valentines again, I can at least tell her I've been working on a shiny new aluminum dildo? Maybe I won't get yelled at again :)

first_grooves.jpg
 

The_Apprentice

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#16
So today was a success! With a few minor issues...

I adjusted the 4WTP to be at a 45 Deg angle... and this gave me just enough room to get the tool in along the length of the bar, and get my narrow grooves into it. In the pic you can see I put two of these narrow grooves right beside each other as a test... ouch, SHARP!

I am happy with that.. what I am not happy though, was with my live-center I imported from China. First thing today I did was some testing with a center-drill bit on the end, (my arbour was almost too long, I had to unwind the tailstock sooooo far out to just hold the taper in. LOL). But looking at the Live Center I purchased Brand New from China was a disaster. This piece is damaged, banged up, and has rust on it. What the hell, this is what you call something NEW? And the bearings are rather harsh.. this is definitely not using Swiss or German bearings. And to finally slap me in the face... the damn thing of course did NOT turn when I was working with it today. I instead ended up using some oil and used the live center as a dead center. Ughhhhh.

Trump, you better damn well make America great again, because this Chinese import s*** sucks! LOL. If I can't settle for the old functional Made in USA anymore, I'm going to have to switch to the over-engineered European machinery, and German stuff is way too out of budget for what I was hoping for hobby wise.

Ohh, and in case you haven't noticed, I'm using one of my rulers as a shim, (ahah) and even then it's far too off center. I'll see about going to a CHINESE dollarstore tomorrow and finding something else to shim with, these places are taking over the country over here....

I also want to experiment with some polishing plans... I will try a few methods maybe starting tomorrow.

IMG_7520.jpg
 

Ken from ontario

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#17
I adjusted the 4WTP to be at a 45 Deg angle... and this gave me just enough room to get the tool in along the length of the bar
It sounds like you're in dire need of LMS extended cross slide travel kit. or maybe there's another reason for having the tool post at 45°,anyhow, the test pieces look good.
Did you try to fix the live center? mine has a shield that is screwed on and can be removed to get access to the bearing(s).


https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=4450&category=
 

The_Apprentice

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#19
Did you try to fix the live center?
It is just cheap-junk from the China boat, so not sure if there is anything to fix. I may try to take an examination of it and SEE if I can even get it apart... not sure if that is possible. I guess I will have to head off into another adventure of live-centers next :p

Either way, I should check out who I bought this from and really give them some thoughts on my Amazon review!

The nice advantage of having a milling machine to go along with your lathe, is you can use them to also make more parts for your lathe or milling machine... sort of like a perpetual paradox!

I will do more research later on today.
 

The_Apprentice

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#20
So, for today I turned the piece and removed quite a bit of the diameter... I also did a lot more little groove test cutting... and also finally brought my radius tool a lot loser to center. I had to use a bunch of pieces I cut from a door-frame brush to shim, and mixed with a metal ruler, and it's still not quite on spot, but I can fine-tune that with a regular tool later on.

My live-center worked (sometimes)... I did forget a few times to lock the tailstock, but even when I did sometimes the live center had a mind of its own when to turn or not. Haw!

I didn't get anywhere near doing my polish testing I wanted to do, and it probably wont be for another week at this rate. Tonight I started to hear a weird rumbling squeek noise every few seconds. It's getting worse so work will have to stop. I'll open up the gear box to see whats going on tomorrow and investigate, but with my luck it's probably from somewhere else in the head not so easy to find. I may have to take the damn thing apart all over again.

Other than that, I sort of had some fun tonight. Used the apron wheel at first for my turning, but the cuts/finishes with that did not look good at all. Tried to engage the half-nuts and it did a much nicer looking cut, so I just stuck with that for a while.

Ohh yes, I was getting a huge collection of swarf, so decided to just keep scooping it all into a paper bag for now.

bizarre.jpg
 

The_Apprentice

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#22
I will have to re-order my feeler gages that did not arrive... Amoung other things as well.

Yesterday I didn't get much done, tried to identify some squeak sounds... some were from the gears but there is something else going on I still need to identify.

Today, I finally did my first ever polish test. Started using up to 3000K sandpaper, with WD-40 since I have been told that works. There was minor difference but nothing near as good as a mirror polish. Tried using the Mother's method, that did a WORLD of difference. Perhaps not as perfect as I'd like but getting there. I will try to use a wire, or bambo stick method to maybe tackle the inside of the little grooves to get more of a perfect machined look & finish.

I guess a partial success for today. I think perfect polishing may be more of an art than a science... I'll probably have to do a lot of trials on this..

Definitely need to get collets soon to minimize damaging the aluminum. I think I will also experiment soon with boring... as soon as I order some boring tools!

polishing.jpg
 

Ken from ontario

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#23
Hi apprentice, did you try to turn a ball with this tool yet? I have the same radius tool and it looks like the biggest diameter it can do is 5/8" or maybe 3/4",it took me a while today to learn how to center the cutting tool on it but have not succeeded in making a complete ball with it yet.
I set up mine parallel to the ways (like post#16) ,seems to be the best position for it.
 

The_Apprentice

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#24
I've only done about half-a-sphere or so... I do I think I know what you mean that you will run into issues of the tool rubbing, etc, if trying to do more. I guess one will have to use a regular cutting toolbit to remove some extra stuff first behind the ball-to-be first...

I was also having my own issues in wondering how best to align the tool to the piece just right, not just height here, but getting it horizontally center (if trying to turn a ball on the end of the shaft). I mostly just eyeballed things, but I really should try to use a straight edge ruler or some other mechanism. Still so much to learn here...

Since the weather isn't too bad this week, I may drive down to MetalSuperMarkets and pick up some more aluminum for another begginer's test project I want to play with... But I still need boring tools for that (which I don't have). I can see how tooling costs 1000x more than the original lathe given enough time :)
 

The_Apprentice

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#25
So, it's been a while (too long), so time for an update. I added a small collet chuck, and did some more tests. Was a little bit of a learning experience. I also tried a test of PARTING-OFF with the radius tool. I turned it a little side to side to give a couple mms of clearance to prevent binding. I still wouldn't do this at home folks! But I did part off a chunk. And then I turned a new radius.

Before that though, I experiemented more with drilling through the workpiece. Started with a 1/8", but noticed the bit was so short that I wouldn't be able to drill a 5" hole even when swapping the piece to get into it from both ends. Hence, I later parted off a chunk.

Switched to a slightly larger drillbit, and had a success with complete drill through. Though, the hole is a bit rough, nothing that looks euro-engineered. I will probably try to find a kit of those reamers (I think that's what you call them), to get that perfectly machined look on the inside. I also want to explore with some taps & dies and see what attachments I can make to screw on here.

One problem I am having is trying to get a really smooth and polished look on the half-spheres I've been cutting. The rigidity issues of the lathe are not helping any... I will try to do further testing tomorrow. So far my tests with sandpaper and files are not very promising.

continue.png
 

Ken from ontario

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#26
I really like my radius turner ,I managed to make a few balls for the speed handle I'm working on.the biggest diameter I could turn was 1/2".
I still think for the price , it was a good buy.
 

The_Apprentice

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#27
How did you polish them?

I will TRY to resume more on this later today, big IF.. I get all my other stuff done. And then to order more stuff from LMS too...
 

Ken from ontario

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#28
I just used a green 3M pad and some car polish. I'm not too fussy on polishing aluminum, if the tool I make is functional ,that's what matters to me .
 

The_Apprentice

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#29
I'm on the different side. I want to make the nicest looking piece ever and be proud of it. In any case, this morning I have been looking at LMS again in trying to check out the collet chucks that mount on the spindle itself. Good thing I really went back to check measurements. I always thought from what I read my King is a vamped-up clone of the Grizzly G8688, but after checking in detail, I see not only is the motor stronger, but the spindle size is actually a whole inch larger. My chucks are 4"! No WONDER I was confused why my lathe seemed much more heavier than the Grizzly G8688 version.

Will order the 4" ER-32 chuck, and also a SHORT MT2 to JT33 arbor. The one I have for drilling is much too long, making me wheel out the tailstock which probably isn't good for rigidity (and I have limited space as it is).

Dear god, once you buy a lathe, you are stuck in a lifetime of tooling and other gimmicks! LOL

And I haven't even touched on getting the mini-mill yet. That said, I have a lot to do today, and just hope I can finally later tonight try to do some turning... Once the mini-mill arrives I am seriously going to try to make my own tooling, particularly in a way to get more rigidity for a radius turner. There has to be a better way... I want to be able to put balls on steel sometime.
 
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