Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Dovetails with a flycutter

Expand Messages
  • slepyhed4
    Well, I ve been trying to make dovetails with a fly cutter. I m making a boring head for myself, and I thought this would be a good project to experiment with
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 31, 2002
      Well, I've been trying to make dovetails with a fly cutter. I'm making
      a boring head for myself, and I thought this would be a good project
      to experiment with dovetail-cutting flycutters.

      I'll describe my method on my webpage (when I get around to it),
      because I really need to use pictures to show the set ups. In the mean
      time, I'll give a vauge description. You know how a fly cutter cuts a
      flat surface? And you know how the cutting edge of the tool bit is at
      the bottom of the flycutter? Well, imagine putting the tool bit in
      backwards, so the cutting edge is at the top, and then fly-cutting
      along the bottom edge of your work. Now, if you hold your work on an
      angle, and use the upside-down flycutter, you are making the angled
      portion of the dovetail.

      So, how did it work out? Its a lot of work. I had to clamp my work to
      the table at an angle, cut one side of the dovetail, then turn the
      work 180 degrees and cut the other side of the dovetail. Then I would
      have had to clamp the work flat on the table to cut the bottom of the
      dovetail area. I say "would have", because I have given up before
      getting that far. Its just too much work setting the piece up three
      times, and then setting the mating piece up tree times, and each time
      just very very slowly nibbling away at the work with the fly cutter. I
      cannot imagine trying to cut the dovetails without removing the bulk
      of the material with a bandsaw first. If I accidentally move the table
      too fast while making the cut, the flycutter digs in and then bad
      things happen (usually, my work shifts under the clamps, otherwise the
      toolbit breaks). If I move the table too slowly, the flycutter won't
      really cut, it just sort of rubs and wears out. Plus, because I have
      to clamp-unclamp-move-and-reclamp my work to do both sides of the
      dovetail groove, I'm not assured that the sides are parallel to each
      other.

      I was down in the basement last night at 10:30. I had cut one side of
      one dovetail in one night, cut the other side of the dovetail last
      night, and then I was sitting there working on a third side of a
      dovetail when I realized that it will take me another night's worth of
      work to finish that third side. I was averaging about 1 side per
      evening. I have a total of six sides to do. It was then that I
      realized that this was not worth it. If I just buy the $20 enco
      dovetail mill, I can cut all the dovetails in just one evening, AND I
      would know that the sides are parallel to each other. So I gave up.

      It can be done, and the results are very nice (the surface finish is
      spectacular), but it takes forever. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.
    • philteague
      I admire your persistence. When the subject of making a dovetail cutter came up a few weeks ago(?) I sort of dismissed it as not practical. I believe that I
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 31, 2002
        I admire your persistence. When the subject of making a dovetail
        cutter came up a few weeks ago(?) I sort of dismissed it as not
        practical. I believe that I suggested that a $8.99 dovetail cutter
        from Enco was money well spent. However, a week or so ago I happen to
        come across a post on RCM with a link to these pictures and
        description:
        http://www.dogpatch.com/bobp/shop/dovetail.htm
        I haven't tried it yet but I thought it was a minor revelation. The
        size of the dovetail cutter that Bob and Ken made is somewhat larger
        than I would need but it is still a good idea.

        Phil Teague



        --- In mill_drill@y..., "slepyhed4" <slepyhed@m...> wrote:
        > Well, I've been trying to make dovetails with a fly cutter. I'm
        making
        > a boring head for myself, and I thought this would be a good project
        > to experiment with dovetail-cutting flycutters.
        >
        > I'll describe my method on my webpage (when I get around to it),
        > because I really need to use pictures to show the set ups. In the
        mean
        > time, I'll give a vauge description. You know how a fly cutter cuts
        a
        > flat surface? And you know how the cutting edge of the tool bit is
        at
        > the bottom of the flycutter? Well, imagine putting the tool bit in
        > backwards, so the cutting edge is at the top, and then fly-cutting
        > along the bottom edge of your work. Now, if you hold your work on an
        > angle, and use the upside-down flycutter, you are making the angled
        > portion of the dovetail.
        >
        > So, how did it work out? Its a lot of work. I had to clamp my work
        to
        > the table at an angle, cut one side of the dovetail, then turn the
        > work 180 degrees and cut the other side of the dovetail. Then I
        would
        > have had to clamp the work flat on the table to cut the bottom of
        the
        > dovetail area. I say "would have", because I have given up before
        > getting that far. Its just too much work setting the piece up three
        > times, and then setting the mating piece up tree times, and each
        time
        > just very very slowly nibbling away at the work with the fly cutter.
        I
        > cannot imagine trying to cut the dovetails without removing the bulk
        > of the material with a bandsaw first. If I accidentally move the
        table
        > too fast while making the cut, the flycutter digs in and then bad
        > things happen (usually, my work shifts under the clamps, otherwise
        the
        > toolbit breaks). If I move the table too slowly, the flycutter won't
        > really cut, it just sort of rubs and wears out. Plus, because I have
        > to clamp-unclamp-move-and-reclamp my work to do both sides of the
        > dovetail groove, I'm not assured that the sides are parallel to each
        > other.
        >
        > I was down in the basement last night at 10:30. I had cut one side
        of
        > one dovetail in one night, cut the other side of the dovetail last
        > night, and then I was sitting there working on a third side of a
        > dovetail when I realized that it will take me another night's worth
        of
        > work to finish that third side. I was averaging about 1 side per
        > evening. I have a total of six sides to do. It was then that I
        > realized that this was not worth it. If I just buy the $20 enco
        > dovetail mill, I can cut all the dovetails in just one evening, AND
        I
        > would know that the sides are parallel to each other. So I gave up.
        >
        > It can be done, and the results are very nice (the surface finish is
        > spectacular), but it takes forever. It just doesn't seem worth it to
        me.
      • Paul R. Hvidston
        Hmm, I was thinking that you would configure the cutter like a formed cutter or center-cutting lathe tool -- cutting on both sides with rake away from the tip.
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 31, 2002
          Hmm, I was thinking that you would configure the cutter like a formed cutter
          or center-cutting lathe tool -- cutting on both sides with rake away from
          the tip. The work piece would be clamped flat to the milling table and both
          sides can be cut in one clamping (milling only one side at a time). Yes,
          mill out as much waste as possible with end mills and maybe even a T-slot
          cutter if you happen to have one. Engage the power feed at dead slow and let
          it cook. I have no idea about the viability of this, but it's what I was
          going to experiment with. I do think, however, that when I start work on
          expensive things like a replacement cross-slide or cleaning up the dovetails
          on my cross and compound, I might break down and buy a quality dovetail
          cutter. Anyway, thanks for the report.

          Regards,

          Paul R. Hvidston, N6MGN
          ACKSYS Engineering
          Upland, CA
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "slepyhed4" <slepyhed@...>
          To: <mill_drill@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 6:53 AM
          Subject: [mill_drill] Dovetails with a flycutter


          > Well, I've been trying to make dovetails with a fly cutter. I'm making
          > a boring head for myself, and I thought this would be a good project
          > to experiment with dovetail-cutting flycutters.
          >
          > I'll describe my method on my webpage (when I get around to it),
          > because I really need to use pictures to show the set ups. In the mean
          > time, I'll give a vauge description. You know how a fly cutter cuts a
          > flat surface? And you know how the cutting edge of the tool bit is at
          > the bottom of the flycutter? Well, imagine putting the tool bit in
          > backwards, so the cutting edge is at the top, and then fly-cutting
          > along the bottom edge of your work. Now, if you hold your work on an
          > angle, and use the upside-down flycutter, you are making the angled
          > portion of the dovetail.
          >
          > So, how did it work out? Its a lot of work. I had to clamp my work to
          > the table at an angle, cut one side of the dovetail, then turn the
          > work 180 degrees and cut the other side of the dovetail. Then I would
          > have had to clamp the work flat on the table to cut the bottom of the
          > dovetail area. I say "would have", because I have given up before
          > getting that far. Its just too much work setting the piece up three
          > times, and then setting the mating piece up tree times, and each time
          > just very very slowly nibbling away at the work with the fly cutter. I
          > cannot imagine trying to cut the dovetails without removing the bulk
          > of the material with a bandsaw first. If I accidentally move the table
          > too fast while making the cut, the flycutter digs in and then bad
          > things happen (usually, my work shifts under the clamps, otherwise the
          > toolbit breaks). If I move the table too slowly, the flycutter won't
          > really cut, it just sort of rubs and wears out. Plus, because I have
          > to clamp-unclamp-move-and-reclamp my work to do both sides of the
          > dovetail groove, I'm not assured that the sides are parallel to each
          > other.
          >
          > I was down in the basement last night at 10:30. I had cut one side of
          > one dovetail in one night, cut the other side of the dovetail last
          > night, and then I was sitting there working on a third side of a
          > dovetail when I realized that it will take me another night's worth of
          > work to finish that third side. I was averaging about 1 side per
          > evening. I have a total of six sides to do. It was then that I
          > realized that this was not worth it. If I just buy the $20 enco
          > dovetail mill, I can cut all the dovetails in just one evening, AND I
          > would know that the sides are parallel to each other. So I gave up.
          >
          > It can be done, and the results are very nice (the surface finish is
          > spectacular), but it takes forever. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.
        • slepyhed4
          Hi! ... Yes, I remember your post, and at the time I suspected your were probably right, but I wanted to try it anyway. ... larger ... I had seen the mention
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 1, 2002
            Hi!

            --- In mill_drill@y..., "philteague" <philteague@y...> wrote:
            > I admire your persistence. When the subject of making a dovetail
            > cutter came up a few weeks ago(?) I sort of dismissed it as not
            > practical. I believe that I suggested that a $8.99 dovetail cutter
            > from Enco was money well spent.

            Yes, I remember your post, and at the time I suspected your were
            probably right, but I wanted to try it anyway.

            >However, a week or so ago I happen to
            > come across a post on RCM with a link to these pictures and
            > description:
            > http://www.dogpatch.com/bobp/shop/dovetail.htm
            > I haven't tried it yet but I thought it was a minor revelation. The
            > size of the dovetail cutter that Bob and Ken made is somewhat
            larger
            > than I would need but it is still a good idea.
            >
            > Phil Teague
            >

            I had seen the mention of this on RCM, but I had not seen the
            pictures until just now. Thanks for the link! I think I may try
            making one of those when I get my lathe working. In the mean time I
            just placed my order with enco for a 1-3/8" 60 degree dovetail mill.
          • slepyhed4
            Yeah, I tried doing that at first (making a shaped-flycutter bit and doing the hole deal all at once), but the flycutter just wasn t rigid enough to take the
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 1, 2002
              Yeah, I tried doing that at first (making a shaped-flycutter bit and
              doing the hole deal all at once), but the flycutter just wasn't rigid
              enough to take the stress of cutting a wide chip on its end. So then
              that's when I switched to using the same tool to just lightly cut one
              face at a time, but even that was too slow going. Perhaps it might
              work better with a much more rigid flycutter, say, one that is
              dovetail shaped, with a small insert. One that looks like... the one
              that Phil posted a link to!

              Maybe with more perseverence it could be made to work, but I've done
              as much as I want to.

              --- In mill_drill@y..., "Paul R. Hvidston" <p.hvidston@i...> wrote:
              > Hmm, I was thinking that you would configure the cutter like a
              formed cutter
              > or center-cutting lathe tool -- cutting on both sides with rake
              away from
              > the tip. The work piece would be clamped flat to the milling table
              and both
              > sides can be cut in one clamping (milling only one side at a time).
              Yes,
              > mill out as much waste as possible with end mills and maybe even a
              T-slot
              > cutter if you happen to have one. Engage the power feed at dead
              slow and let
              > it cook. I have no idea about the viability of this, but it's what
              I was
              > going to experiment with. I do think, however, that when I start
              work on
              > expensive things like a replacement cross-slide or cleaning up the
              dovetails
              > on my cross and compound, I might break down and buy a quality
              dovetail
              > cutter. Anyway, thanks for the report.
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Paul R. Hvidston, N6MGN
              > ACKSYS Engineering
              > Upland, CA
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.