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Author Topic: Starting skills for a lathe?  (Read 6489 times)
Wilhelm Smydle
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« on: January 16, 2013, 07:09:45 pm »

Looking for some help on how to use this piece of equipment.
I am about 3/4 through breakdown cleaning and reassembly.
It's a 6" craftsman 101.07401 lathe also sold as an atlas 618 and with parts interchangeable with a few other models.
The bull gear and stops to use as a 60 point devideing head as well as a set of change gears for tread cutting.
I will need to replace a few small parts the biggest appears to one of the tumbling gears.
I tracked down scans of the manual via yahoo groups.
As well as finding various texts on archive.org
Looking for places to start and small projects as I have no machine shop training.
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Ponyboy
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 08:36:53 pm »

I'm unsure of the question here (and it's probably right in front of my face). Are you asking how to use the lathe? What to do with the lathe?
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 10:31:33 pm »


The most important thing to learn first is basic safety. A lathe potentially quite a dangerous piece of machinery and while many safety precautions are basic common sense there are a few less obvious traps for the unwary which can catch out the inexperienced.

The ideal thing is to enrol on a short course in lathe work, a basic course shouldn't be too expensive and should get you off to a good start. I would also be well worth making contact with any model engineering clubs or societies in your area.

If a practical course is out of the question then there are quite a few good books around aimed at the beginner which are designed to give you a step-by-step introduction and are usually pretty inexpensive. An engineering data book which give tables of things like cutting speeds and thread dimensions will also be very useful. These sort of books often have their own individual approaches so it can be worth trying a few to see which one you get on with best.

Usually the first job is to get the lathe set up and levelled, usually achieved by turning a series of test pieces and making small adjustments with shims etc.

Often books will take you chapter by chapter through a series of exercises to introduce the basic techniques, often by making useful tools and accessories.


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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 11:08:39 pm »

I guess for the most part I'm looking to see if there are any sugestions on what free resources are available on the net to get started.


When I learned welding in trade school there was a lot of basic excersizes and simple projects to develop skills and form good shop pratices and habbits. 

I'm hopeing to learn enough to avoid wasteing materials and accidental damage to the machine.

A few friends have expressed intrest in radius shapes for dapping hammers/blocks and other projects with fairly loose tolerances.
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Ponyboy
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 02:38:52 pm »

When I first began machining, I would use MDF. Now it makes a mess, and threes a lot of cleaning afterwards, but it's a good way to hone your skills, become more comfortable with the machine and saves on material.

The main concern is cleaning the dust afterwards. MDF produces a really fine dust that will build up and cause problems later on. It's like with welding, as you know, the spatter will find any possible way get inside you clothing. The dust produced by machining MDF will find every nook and cranny. I had to pull the spindle out of my old Seiki XL vertical mill because I let the MDF dust sit. After it mixes with coolant it dries and becomes a lot like wood glue.

I'm sure you can find plenty of beginners guides to machining online. As mentioned before, a lathe can cause serious damage if proper safety techniques are not followed. But you can do a lot with them, and once you figure things out, the possibilities are endless on what you can make.

Good luck!
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Ada Thorold
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 04:12:40 pm »

The main concern is cleaning the dust afterwards. MDF produces a really fine dust that will build up and cause problems later on. It's like with welding, as you know, the spatter will find any possible way get inside you clothing. The dust produced by machining MDF will find every nook and cranny. I had to pull the spindle out of my old Seiki XL vertical mill because I let the MDF dust sit. After it mixes with coolant it dries and becomes a lot like wood glue.


It is also probably worth pointing out that MDF dust is actually harmful: http://www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/faq-mdf.htm
Cheap softwoods can be turned, although it is hard to get a good finish. The waste from these tends to be a bit chunkier and less likely to be breathed in.

As for learning to use the lathe, see if your local school offers any classes. I learned in my school lunch classes but they also ran evening classes for adults.

Good luck,

~A~
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Professor J. Cogsworthy
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2013, 05:29:42 pm »

I'd recommend playing with the lathe with no intention of making any one specific item at the start.

then think about something simple like a candle stick or a finial....

Visit your library for a book....
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DreamHazard
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 02:00:37 am »

Youtube is usually pretty useful when it comes to things like this, you could also have a look on instructables, they're fairly good for tutorials at various levels.
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Wormster
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 02:42:54 am »

DON'T leave the key in the chuck!

KEEP your hands away from swarf!

USE a correctly sharpened tool!

IF you have long hair - Tie it back!

DON'T wear baggy overalls.

MEASURE twice, CUT once.

BRUSH up on your MATHS - you will need this to be able to get the correct spindle speeds.
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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 10:21:17 pm »

As for tyeing back long hair, the Yale accident is used for an example for a lot of trade classes.

I still need to pickup some MDF as my bench is a little lumpy, and a few pulleys for the motor, after that I will calculate RPMs for each pulley combination, I will probibly laminate a chart once I have something drawn up to reflect the FPM on common diamiters as well as cutting speeds for materials I have on hand.

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Lokis_Tyro
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 02:34:05 am »

Pick up a copy of The Machinists Handbook. Generally people go for older ones as the current year editions are around 100 US Dollars.
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Narsil
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 11:48:37 pm »

On the subject of practice materials, while MDF is ok for milling operations it's less useful for lathe work as it behaves in a significantly different way from most materials you would ever want to machine on a lathe and as turned parts tend to be somewhat more highly stressed during machining on  a lathe compared to a mill (as the part itself is moving and the parts tend to be somewhat long and slender and supported at only one of two points) the potential for meaningful practice is a bit limited especially as the required feed rates and cutting speeds will be significantly different.

Having said that it is a forgiving material for just getting a basic feel for the machine without too much risk of breaking anything.

Good practice materials are nylon and leaded mild steel, both of which machine well and  are reasonably inexpensive as well as being pratically useful materials.
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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 03:57:58 am »

I have taken steps to aquire both additional tool steel and some machineable plastics.
Hdpe,UHMW, and abs stock. these seam fairly reasonable compared with steel.
it seams to help develop a feel for the ajustments, I have still need to clean up the ajustment screws,
 there are a few places that are rough as I move the cutting tool.
I have been collecting pieces of bar stock and iron pipe once I have everything moveing smoothly.
My copy of the machinery hand book is about 10 years out of date.
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Narsil
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 02:57:53 pm »

For practice it might also be worth considering blue foundry wax. This is hard and machinable and has the advantage that you can remelt waste and practice parts and re-cast it into blocks to use again. You can also cast a range of differnt shaped blanks to work with. It's not vastly cheap but you should be able to reuse it almost indefinietly as long as you avoid too much contamination with oil or grease, solid contamination can be filtered out when you remelt it.
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Kevin1632
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 09:46:16 am »

Get this book down loaded.

http://books.google.com/books?id=sAVNAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_similarbooks

Regards,
Kevin
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Esteem Punk
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2013, 11:28:27 am »

The lathe does very little without it's multitude of attachments and thingamees. What is most important is "what do you want to do with it?" and go from there.
Most commercial workshops (that still have manual machines) have a lathe set up for each job, and a number of lathes for each process required. As a home tinkerer it gets pretty hard since you need a lot of doodads. It seems that when you buy a lathe now, it comes with two plain centres, a 3 jaw chuck and maybe some rests. And that is it. This is almost exactly how I got mine, and my first upgrades were a 4 jaw chuck, and a rotating centre.
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Esteem Punk
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2013, 11:32:23 am »

Rebuilding machines is a long process, but you are going to know that machine well by the end of it.
It took me nearly 12 months to completely rebuild this milling machine:
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churchjw
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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2013, 04:02:06 pm »

If you have not watched Tubalcain's videos on youtube that would be the place I would start.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLIIdKEpjAnn8E76KP7sQg

I have taught machining for 20 years and a university and I send my students to watch his stuff all the time.  There is lots of stuff on youtube about lathe work some good some bad.  I think overall Tubalcain's stuff is the best.

This is another channel I send people to.  Not as many videos but still some good stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3OEB3Np_QoHsk_suNRQSGQ

What state do you live in? I am in NC.  Feel free to email me if you have specific questions.  I usually start my students on aluminum (but that is after demos and with me there) for someone just starting with no one to watch over your shoulder I would recommend machinable wax (like Narsil posted) Go to http://www.use-enco.com/ and search for machinable wax.  The problem is its not all that cheap.  Once you get a little time under your belt you can find steel shafts in all kinds of places such as old printers to practice on for next to nothing.  Enco is also a good place to look for cheaper starting tools. If you get on their mailing list they send out coupons all the time.  Example I just got 24 feet of 1.375" Dia 6061 aluminum delivered from them for $35.00 with a coupon.  I would stay away from woods and plastics to practice with.  Wood is not good because it acts nothing like metal in chip formation so it can lead you to do some bad practices.  Thats not to say you can't also turn wood on a metal lathe, you definitely can, but it will not react in a way that would be instructive for you.  Plastic turns well and is closer in chip formation to metal but the swarf can be very strong and get wrapped up in your tooling or worse in your fingers.  So if you go that way KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAR.   I never recommend using MDF.  The chemicals in it are toxic and it rust everything it touches. I do use it in my CNC classes for practice on the Mills and routers but only because it is so dang cheap and we have a dust collection system that can suck the color out of paint. Smiley I never use it in my home shop.

Hope this helps,
Jeff   
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hardlec
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« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2013, 02:40:13 pm »

there is a hobby of making wooden pens.  These are turned on a lathe.  Some stores that sell pen turning supplies offer a one-day class on pen turning.  A basic safety and lathe use section is included, and you leave with a nice pen.  check any fancy wood stores in your area.
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