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Member postings for Will Cole

Here is a list of all the postings Will Cole has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Cutting stainless steel rod. Bandsaw or chopsaw?
04/11/2019 17:06:19

Thanks for all the input guys. As usual lots of interesting and informative comments.

The stainless cutting is essentially a back up for those rare occasions where the supplier is out of a particular item and I need to make my own. They import from China and other places, so I can hardly tell my own customers I am waiting 'on a slow boat from China'.

The angle grinder stand has been bought on a whim as a back up device, but I'm sure it will cope with cutting stainless when needed. The angle grinder is one of those tools I have buried away that usually only comes out when I need to chop concrete, but of course it will also cut metal, albeit with some noise.

The bandsaws I have seen used with Damascus Stainless, which is challenging, so they are certainly up to the job. I would be looking at a bi-metal blade or similar if I purchase one, as apart from the cost, I don't want the hassle of changing and setting up blades with too much frequency.

You know I was thinking today, that it been fifty years since we put a man on the moon, we have all the modern technology in our homes and cars, but you still can't buy saw blades or drill bits that can cope with tougher metals and have a reasonable lifespan. Or perhaps that's just a marketing ploy...

03/11/2019 22:38:51

Thanks guys.

Whilst browsing online and looking at YouTube reviews, I actually came across a stand that turns an angle grinder into a chop saw. The reviews were quite positive, so just bought one off Fleabay for the grand sum of £17.99 delivered. Cheaper than a chop saw if an angle grinder is already lying around.

Am still looking at bandsaws as well, but am guessing that I'll need to have a decent quality blade available, certainly to cope with stainless and I'm guessing probably for bronze too. There is the cost factor element to consider too, as to how many cuts I'd get out of a blade if cutting stainless vs cost of said blade. Imm wide stainless cutting discs for angle grinders work out at about 75p each, to be balanced out against speed, ease of use, plus noise of course.

Really enjoying getting more into practical home engineering....

03/11/2019 20:08:25

Hi Guys. Back again for more advice.

Got the lathe and tools all sorted. Now need to look at something to saw the rods down to size. Ideally want something that will cope with 25mm diameter 303 grade stainless bar (occasionally up to 28mm), and perhaps the odd brass or bronze rod of a similar size.

Whilst I was originally looking at chop saws, I noticed that Aldi have their 1100 watt portable bandsaws back in stock again.

All thoughts, ideas and suggestions would be welcomed, but as always I am not looking for a huge beast of a machine, as floor space is at a premium.

Not looking for heavy usage, with perhaps only a dozen cuts a week at most.


Thread: Cutting tools - what type is most suitable?
27/10/2019 22:40:10

*** UPDATE *** Thanks for all you guys for your input into this thread, which has helped me a lot.

I bought some decent quality hss tool blanks as suggested and found it much easier to grind them 'freehand' than expected. I did however buy a pre-ground hss boring tool, as the geometry on that is far more challenging for a newbie.

Having an outstanding birthday present from my wife, I decided to switch from a potential replacement wheelbarrow, to a set of inexpensive TCMT indexed cutting tools. smiley Surprisingly these are actually very good quality and work well for my intended use.

Do I prefer one set of cutting technology over another? Well I am still at the stage where both of them create the shapes I require in a much quicker timescale than I had anticipated, so am happy with both.

You guys on this forum are great and it is a pleasant change to find folks that actually give practical helpful advice, rather than making pointless sarcastic comments.

01/10/2019 13:54:38

Thanks Jason. The angles at the top edge of the ring going from the inset outwards are just regular bevels, it is the reflections off the material that makes them look rounded. There is also a tiny bevel on the edge of the inner surface of the ring to prevent the ring edge digging into the finger.

At the moment my thought is to buy a small set of insert tools, preferably with a boring tool and insert, but also get some HSS blanks to create my own tooling as well. Whilst many of you guys have perhaps decades of experience and can create tools for any job imaginable, for those of us new to lathe turning, it is a little more challenging. With my CNC mills, I buy stock cutting bits and if they get broken just buy some more, but I appreciate that lathes are a whole different ball game and it is possible to create some really bespoke tools.

I do take on board all of the comments that people have made and have gained a lot of insight from this thread. You guys are incredibly helpful and I appreciate the time that all of you take to help newbies like myself.

01/10/2019 13:03:47

Okay, have managed to get a photo of something similar to what I am planning to create.

This is actually a two piece titanium ring base with screw thread to connect the one side flange but gives a visual representation of the sort of thing.

At this point, I stress the point I am not looking to work with titanium nor create screw threads, but to create this as a one piece item in stainless. On some designs there would be two inset channels rather than one, but hopefully you guys will see what I need to machine.

stainless ring cores.jpg

30/09/2019 22:36:10

I have looked at thick wall tube for the stainless only 'Old Mart', but I am not sure whether the welded seam on those would polish or machine out?

One of the problems with jewellery rings, is that the wall does need to be relatively thin for wearer comfort and weight considerations, as even substantial rings seldom exceed about 2mm wall thickness. Most ring sizes are under 21mm bore but I have to cover the full range of sizes so would probably have to move up to 30mm stock for larger ring sizes above if needed. This is one product where one size doesn't fit all sadly.

30/09/2019 17:28:11

Thanks for the additional info guys.

I measured the height difference from the bottom of the holder on the tool post to the tip of the centre which comes out at about 7.5mm. I am guessing that would best suit either 6mm or 8mm tool stock.

Looking at the boring tool I have, that would need an 18mm hole drilling and then it would be just over 1mm above the centre line, so probably not usable. As Jason rightly guesses, the primary reason for purchase is for jewellery rings. The maximum width of any piece is 12mm, with most being 6mm or 8mm depth of bore, so comparatively shallow, the internal diameter ranging from about 16mm to 21.5mm to suit finger sizes. I intend using a stepped mandrel to hold the rings away from the chuck to do final sand and polish using the lathe.

It is unlikely at this stage, that they lathe will be used for much other than working with jewellery rings, although I do realise things can become addictive..

29/09/2019 22:31:00

Thanks 'Hollowpoint'. Don't worry I have no intention of using a 18mm shanked cutter. I am presuming the 13mm shanked boring bar supplied has been used successfully with this lathe, but the trouble is with the actual owner in hospital after his fall earlier this week, I have had no interaction with how the cutters have been used, as the handover was with his son, who showed the lathe working only, as he had little working knowledge of it.

Andrew, perhaps i should have said grinding faces freehand would take an immense amount of experience. Much of my work in done on cnc mills where I send the design to the machine and tell it to run.. I do appreciate that manual lathes require a lot more operator input and a different skill set, but I am always willing to have a go at things once I am pointed in the right direction.

29/09/2019 21:12:08

The link that Thor supplied, also gives details of a simple jig to use with the grinder to help get the angles right. I think trying to grind those faces freehand would take an immense amount of skill.

Looking at the toolpost just, I have found it will actually accommodate all the way to to 18mm square capacity, but I am probably going to be looking at 8mm or 10mm square stock for tooling.

Following members suggestions on here, I am probably going to get just a couple of HSS blanks to try grinding my own tools initially, but will get the grinding jig sorted first. I am attracted to the inserts too though, as for things like bevels they appear they can produce repeatable angles very easily.

Thanks for everyone's input so far. It truly is appreciated.

29/09/2019 19:54:06

Thanks for the info on what the existing tools are guys. I have found a 6th tool in there now, which I initially thought was one with a broken tip but on closer inspection it is perhaps a regular turning tool, as appears to have three ground surfaces on there akin to the pictures in the link that Thor has kindly provided.

Not the silly question that it may sound, but are all HSS blanks suitable that are the right size to fir your toolpost, or are there different hardnesses with some more suitable for lathes or different materials. Do bear in mind I am a complete novice as regards lathe tools..

29/09/2019 19:24:29

Yep will be using a boring bar Andrew.

I do have a sturdy bench grinder as well as decent files including diamond. Would need a few tools to see what I was l was aiming for to be able to create my own tools at this stage though, as would hate to cause damage to the lathe.

29/09/2019 19:20:14

lathe 3.jpglathe 2.jpglathe 1.jpg

These are the five tools that came with the lathe (thanks to David for telling me how to get photos on here.

I am guessing the left hand two are parting tools. The centre tool is unknown but with a 13mm square it going to be too big for the toolpost. The two right hand cutters have a tiny cutter at a ninety degree angle to the shaft so presume they for thread cutting.

29/09/2019 18:48:53

Hi. I picked up a pre-owned Clarke lathe today in exceptional condition.. Unfortunately the seller suffered a fall in the week, so his son was there to handover the lathe. The lathe is variable speed, with compound slide, power feed and screwcutting capabilities. This is my first 'proper' lathe.

Okay - to the point. There were these five tools in the parts box that have seen better days so I need to get some more. My primary use of the lathe will be turning jewellery items from materials as soft as wax (investment casting) epoxy resins, aluminium for prototyping, brass, bronze and at some stage stainless steel. I will be both turning including putting bevels on and when I get a tailstock chuck in place boring up to 22mm on 25mm rod.

Based on the above, would you guys recommend getting a set of regular tool steel cutters or those cutters I have seen with the carbide inserts? I am only intending to get a cheap set to begin with until I get more experienced with the lathe, for obvious reasons. I do stress that I have zero experience of sharpening cutting tools and limited experience of using a lathe.

All help, suggestions and guidance would be gratefully received.


Thread: Seeking advice on suitable lathe
24/09/2019 07:28:26

Thanks to everyone for their help and guidance on this topic.

So I have taken the plunge and purchased a virtually unused Clarke Lathe, which I'm picking up this coming weekend. It's compact enough to sit on one of my benches and movable at just over 40kgs. It was also bought at a great price, which is always a bonus.

Going to be a learning curve after my cnc mills where I just send the design to the mill and leave it to do its thing. Will have to get to grips with rotational speed, feed rates, types of cutter, etc .Really looking forward to exploring new ways of working though and exploring what a lathe can do.

No doubt I'll be on here soon with other questions, as you guys are a great source of help.

09/09/2019 20:09:15

Unfortunately it's got to be done.................. I am going to 'sacrifice' an item of cutlery this week as a ready source of stainless... Give it a go with the 5mm core drill and also try cutting on the diamond bandsaw I have, just to get some feedback on how diamond performs with stainless.

Am off with the caravan for a couple of days now, so that a definite task for later in the week.

09/09/2019 19:34:34

The diamond core drills work best on hard surfaces Jason, but biggest core I've drilled was 5mm. There considerable more surface area to remove at 12mm or above.

I am specifically looking at Stainless 303 as that is recommended as one of the easily machinable variants.

Damascus composition alters not only by the materials used within it, but how the layers and thicknesses are intertwined to create a specific pattern when etched.. It varies from simple diagonal striped to more exotic patterns akin to leopard skin. It is that variance in pattern that currently makes it so popular as a jewellery material at the moment. It is possible to replicate the pattern in other materials by sculpting at the design stage for casting.

09/09/2019 19:00:01

I had thought of thick walled stainless tubing David. Whilst it does appear to be available, I am not sure how the variants with welded seams would actually machine. Certainly something to look at though.

I do have a bench mounted pillar drill 'Old Mart' and had considered trying a diamond coated core drill with the piece actually submerged under shallow water, which is the way I currently cut holes in glass and stone. Not done anything near the size to get a boring bit in there on a lathe afterwards though.

Damascus steel has a clearly defined pattern running through it, so any process other than machining would interfere with that pattern. A diamond core drill 'might' go through it to create the bore, but I guess there only one way to find that out. I would be interested on anyone's opinion on core drills with metal, especially if they have tried something similar themselves.

09/09/2019 11:54:00

All of my CNC machines are Japanese Roland Machines. Designed to create high precision masters in lighter materials. Okay with aluminium and such like, but boring out stainless steel is a no no. I specifically use those as they can work directly from complex design packages using .stl and .obj files.

I take on board all the comments on suitable lathes. Whilst there are some big heavy lathes available out there for extremely low prices, often even cheaper than many mini lathes on offer, for my own circumstances and requirements for portability (within the workshop) I think a bench top mini lathe would be a more realistic option.

09/09/2019 10:06:59

Thanks David. I had looked at the possibility of diamond coated core drills, but must admit that rotabroaches are not something I had ever heard of, so thanks for that idea. Something else to look at.

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