Pondering a small metal shop

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Sac Arrow, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Okay, Pops used to have a couple small metal lathes and a decent shop that traveled around the world. I used to play around with it, and made a couple little steam engines plus I got to play with big league equipment in lower division ME shop classes. I know my way around machinery. But I'm rusty. You see what I did there.

    I don't have much space. I can set up something semi permanent, but I would like to end up with a setup that allows me to machine small things. Not an @Ted DuPuis Cobra differential, but a reasonably priced setup as to where I can have metal lathe and milling capabilties, making, say, little engines and (I hate the word) whatnot. Maybe I can machine a replacement part in my bike that broke or upgrade it.

    I have like... a small corner in a garage to play with. That's it. Think about a machine shop in a submarine. Or on the ISS. I do not think there is a machine shop in the ISS. But I wouldn't be surprised if submarines have them. Ships do.
     
  2. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Emco Maximat Super 11 lathe and Mill.

    I have the lathe (without the mill attachment) in my lab at school - not a heavy duty metal hogging machine, but nicely made.
    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  3. biplanebob

    biplanebob Pre-takeoff checklist

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    re: machine shop on a submarine, A few years ago I toured the USS Torsk in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. There was a small repair shop on board that included an Atlas 6x18 metal lathe.
     
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  4. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I keep thinking I would like to do something similar, not sure what kind of machine to recommend. My issue is I have friend with a nice mill and lathe in his garage that he is usually looking for some small project to work on. I highly recommend this method for getting small machine projects done. Just finishing up installing a new brake system on my sailplane.

    Brian
     
  5. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    As a manufacturing engineer I get to machine occasionally at work on-top of the extensive amount of machining I learned at school. It's always been a dream of mine to set-up a small machine shop and get PMA's for Cessna parts.
     
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  6. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Line Up and Wait

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  7. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    I think that is the first one I have seen that actually had the guard on it!
     
  8. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Buy a solid used "Bridgeport"... the machine that can make itself... if you Google, you will find a pile of them for sale... for under $3k.
     
  9. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Hm, I think two pieces of equipment you might want to look at are the Tormach 440:
    https://www.tormach.com/pcnc-440/
    and the Wazer waterjet:
    https://www.wazer.com/
     
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    If buying old mills take someone who knows how to tell if they’re clapped out. The cheap ones are often cheap for a reason. But you’ll get an education in rebuilding a mill and getting all the slop out of it. LOL.
     
  11. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not to hi jack but it is POA... this just brought back a fond memory... in high school metal shop we had a well equipped shop all WWII surplus stuff, built like a brick outhouse. They were great machines but aging and we had this retired machinist that volunteered in our class. When a machine would break that old man would hustle about w his micrometers and such, often explaining to me what he was doing with his still very noticeable dutch accent and he would work all the other old equipment to build a new part as if nothing had ever broken or wore out... He passed away when I was a senior and still often think of him...

    Good luck! Sounds like cool goal
     
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  12. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Taig and Sherline both make small equipment. For Chinese, Sieg has a line of small to large mills and lathes.

    Personally I'm working on a small CNC router, light duty laser cutter and my fleet of 3d printers(3 is a fleet, right?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  13. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Sac: The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to do. Turn or mill stuff or both. Now what size work envelope do you need for it. After that, what materials do you want to work in? Each of these questions have a significant influence on what size and capability of a machine that you should be looking for. Once that has been determined, you have to decide if you want something that is ready to go right now, or do you want to do some repair or overhaul work on it first. With that, now you can start filling in the search boxes for machines that will meet or exceed those criteria, and at the price you are willing to pay.

    Someone mentioned the Wazer...For the cut speeds and abrasive use rates, you need to consider that as an expensive toy. .016" 4130 sheet at less than 3" a minute cut speed and approaching .5 lbs of abrasive a minute, is pretty abysmal. My band saw will cut the same stuff much faster with only a slightly rougher cut, and couple it with a bench shear, it's no contest. The Wazer is even worse when it comes to 6061.
     
  14. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've gradually built up a small metal shop in my garage, all used stuff bought cheap when the opportunity arose. A Jet 15 benchtop mill/drill, an Atlas 6x18 lathe, 1920s vintage 10" bandsaw set up for metal cutting. You can do a lot with small machines if you take your time.

    IMG_20190303_171324.jpg
     
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  15. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Those things are great, pretty much do anything. But the machine is just the start, the tooling is pretty spendy. I'd love to have one. A Bridgeport might also be problematic if all you have is a small corner in a garage.
     
  16. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    That looks like the perfect size Mill for me starting out, especially while I don't yet have a shop. What kind of precision do you get out of it and how heavy is it?
     
  17. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't forget to get a TIG box.
     
  18. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm not sure how precise it is, better than my amateur skills and good enough for anything I've needed to do. Weight, 440# per the manual, my son in law and I were able to get it off my pickup and into the garage.

    It's an older one from when they were made in Taiwan, the later Chinese ones are reportedly lower quality. I'd love a real Bridgeport but I don't have the space for it.
     
  19. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hmm, some ideas. What I'm looking for ideally is a small lathe with milling capabilities. I don't really have the space for a free standing unit.
     
  20. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    There are milling attachments for lathes. One was available for the Atlas lathes, though I don't have one. OTOH, I used my mill to turn small parts before getting the lathe. Or you can go for a combo machine like the Maximat mentioned above, or one of the offerings from Grizzly... though for more than occasional use many people say switching them back and forth is a PITA.
     
  21. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    This is a very interesting thread to me as I've been thinking about the exact same thing. I've been wanting a mill specifically and have been looking at various lower cost used ones out there.

    One thing that I've struggled with is most of the good ones (old Bridgeports, etc.) are so heavy that moving them is pretty difficult. Of course I have heavy equipment so I could probably make something work to move it.

    A good welder is probably the first thing on my list, or at least an argon bottle to convert my crappy flux core to a mig (it is designed to do either).
     
  22. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    If I don't know the difference between a mill and a lathe, I guess that means I need to stick (SWIDT?) with my "thinking about a welder" thread (that I haven't yet posted - it's in the "thinking about posting a 'thinking about' thread" that also is not posted).
    Now I just need to find a welder like my dad taught me to weld with when I was a kid ...
    [​IMG]

    and then figure out what MIG and TIG mean? :D
     
  23. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And you need either three phase power, a phase converter, or a VFD to run them.

    "A good welder is probably the first thing on my list, or at least an argon bottle to convert my crappy flux core to a mig (it is designed to do either)."
    Sell it and go to stick or TIG.
     
  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yeah, I left that part out. I was browsing Facebook Marketplace the other day looking at a lot of the older mills that were reasonably priced and noticed a large number required 3-phase, so there's extra cost and effort associated.

    I'm probably best off starting with just a better welder if I want to do something.
     
  25. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I went for an oxy-acetylene rig instead of an electric welder.
     
  26. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If I had some equipment like a tractor, I would want a stick welder. A used transformer will be dirt cheep. You can weld dirty/rusty stuff outside if necessary. No need to fiddle fart with argon. None of that wire nonsense to break down.
    For aluminum / stainless / fancy work - TIG (+ Stick).

    I have gas at home, TIG at school (and MIG, but I don't bother with that.)

    Don't see much point in a wire welder unless you are doing production. But, then, I ain't no welder.
     
  27. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    In a Lathe the work spins. In a Mill the tool spins.

    In a lathe/mill or mill/lathe you can do both. Often a compromise but good for some. Can be often found used when people upgrade. Also almost forgot Smithy as a good(expensive) vendor of combo machines.
     
  28. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    If you can weld good technique with gas, you can weld with anything.

    Those square wave, mig, tig, stick combination boxes are getting pretty price competitive. I used the Lincoln version for a while. It was nice to be able to quickly change from one to another depending on what the job was, whether it was inside or outside etc.
     
  29. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    Rental tanks or ?
     
  30. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    Years ago I bought a Miller Eco-TIG It work great, So bought a new Lincoln 200 AMP Square wave. Wished I had saved my money.

    Make me an offer.
     
  31. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't know about "good technique", I can stick non critical stuff together or tack important stuff so a friend who's really good can finish it for me.

    Owned tanks, exchange them as needed.
     
  32. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I have an oxy-acetylene torch as well. Love it for heating/cutting but never used for welding. Want to learn that someday...

    I think you're giving me a good excuse to buy a new welder.