The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

September 19, 2014

What I Learned Drilling 38 5/16″ Holes in Mild Steel

Filed under: machinist — Cranky Sysadmin @ 2:06 pm

I’m working on a milling table for my lathe based on drawings and plans from this forum post (Scroll to the bottom of the post). This required drilling a lot of holes and it’s my first experience drilling that much steel. Experts will have more technical observations, but I have some practical advice if you’ve never done any work in metal.

  • Don’t wear shorts and sandals. Those metal chips are hot and sharp. I got several slivers in my feet from wearing sandals.
  • Chips and oil go everywhere in a 5 foot radius from the drill press. No advice, just a warning.
  • Clear your work piece and table occasionally. The chips on the table can impact the drilling accuracy.
  • The wood pecker method really does keep the chips manageable. Drill a little and back out.
  • Start with a smaller diameter drill and work up. Use a center drill to start. This seems to work well.
  • My cheap drill press doesn’t have a lot of rigidity and it tends to vibrate a lot with bigger diameter holes. I wish I had bought a better one.

Now I have to tap all of those holes. I think that will probably take a lot longer than drilling them.

September 6, 2014

Projects for the Metal Lathe

Filed under: machinist — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:21 pm

I got my lathe up and running and on a bench. It’s not an ideal setup, but it will do for now. The bench is one of the hardwood benches from Harbor Freight. It’s amazingly sturdy considering how cheap it was. My flat belt is just a serpentine that I cut to length and used homemade staples to stitch together. Many people use glue, but I couldn’t get a glue to adhere sufficiently.

Now that the lathe is running, it’s time for projects. The biggest project in my queue is a design from 1921 Popular Mechanics, A Small Bench Miller. It uses concrete for the structure. Before I build that, I have three other smaller tooling projects; a small boring / milling table for the lathe, a steady rest, and a couple of the stud gears that I’m currently missing (16 tooth and 24 tooth). I’ll post details on my projects as I complete them.

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