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27011RE: New to Machining

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  • superc_53
    Jan 29, 2014
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      Scott, I kind of concur with Malcom.  I think that after you finish the 9 (3 machine shop, 3 lathe and 3 mill video) classes from MIT you should have a fantastically improved conceptualization of what you have and also what you don't have but will need.  Probably everything from more T-bolts and nuts to lathe bits, different kinds and shapes of gauges, protractors, dial calipers, band saws and grinders and the list is never ending.
      One thing I am finding helpful to myself (since I already did the practice on a school's machine gig, but that was decades ago) with my own new machines as a way of learning both their capabilities and their limitations is to begin making some of what I think I will need but don't have yet myself.  For myself I found it helpful (and way less disastrous) to begin with some of the ultra hard plastics.  My first at home practical exercise employing both the mini lathe and the mini mill was the fabrication of a T bolt and a hex nut using some hard plastic cubes and rods I found on Ebay.  Thought being  best to learn what I can and can't do with a 50 cent piece of plastic before trying it with a 10 dollar piece of steel and breaking something.  Hey, it took a few tries for both, but I wound up with a fairly decent T nut and a decent hex nut (and no, there is no index table here, just an old Sharf precision vise (bad to hacksaw it down a little on the back side to make if fit the Mini table and also mill down the attachment bolt's heads so they would neatly fit the T slot)).  Then I had enough confidence to make real T bolts out of steel.  Some gage blocks of aluminum and brass followed.  I have a fly cutter, but no bit for it, so with a lot of searching I found a grind diagram for the bit and there is a 3/8 steel bar that came with the fly cutter, guess what I will play with making tonight or tomorrow?  The list is potentially endless.  The MIT videos are excellent, but as you browse some of the other videos mentioned, even more good ideas and concepts will impact you.  More tool types too.  Angle blocks, step blocks.  Yes, sure you can buy them, but why not make one?  Mini mill, so do make yours in brass or aluminum if you wish.  No one will care if the dimensions and angles are true.  That is up to you.
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