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Minilathe Tooling Set

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Ron Laden19/06/2018 08:16:48
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1466 forum posts
259 photos

Good Morning

My minilathe came with a tool set, I suspect not the best quality but anyway I would appreciate help in identifying each tool and its application.

I,m new to this but I can recognise some of them but not all..?

Many thanks

Ron

dsc05956_edited-1.jpg

Jon Gibbs19/06/2018 08:48:37
738 forum posts

Hi Ron,

I hate to pour cold water on your morning but I'd put them in a drawer and forget about them for while unless you have a grinder with a green or diamond wheel capable of touching up the edges of the tools and get them sharp enough to cut - and to restore the edges when they chip. The set you have will cut initially but could also be a recipe for frustration in the short term without means to redress them. I bought a set like yours when I started and it was a waste of money for me - although now I have a diamond wheel I use the left and right knife tools occasionally for cutting through rusty and mucky stuff and the scale on cast iron.

If you have a conventional grinder with a grey or white wheel then I'd buy a HSS right hand knife tool, a boring tool and a parting tool of this pattern in the right size...

...that should get you turning with something you can sharpen and do most of the things you'll want from an initial set of tools until you get threading, at which point you can buy the internal and external threading tools. Chronos sell individual tools and ArcEuro sell sets.

The alternative is to buy some HSS blanks and grind your own tool forms but these tools are a quick and cost effective way to get turning quickly and easily FME. I still use my tools of this form as a complement to hand ground and insert tipped tooling. Many people sware by the tangential tool holders but they are expensive unless you can make your own and they are just right-hand or left hand tools really.

Good luck and have fun - I hope this helps

Jon

 

Edited By Jon Gibbs on 19/06/2018 08:57:55

Ron Laden19/06/2018 08:55:31
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1466 forum posts
259 photos

Thanks Jon,

I did suspect that the set was not too good, I dont have a green wheel for the grinder. I will get myself a HSS set as you suggest.

Many thanks

Ron

Bazyle19/06/2018 09:07:40
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4797 forum posts
187 photos

You don't need anything larger than 1/4in. Some people seem to think they need the largest they can squeeze into the tool holder but it just means more time grinding away most of it.

The shapes are just shapes. Use one that fits the shape you are producing. It's like kitchen knives you can get big set but most people just use a big one and a little one after the first week.

mechman4819/06/2018 09:21:59
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2522 forum posts
377 photos

I would put those away apart from the left & right hand tools which are just the job for machining cast iron cylinders, when you get around to them. I also have the HSS set as Jon has but have rarely used these either, I tend to use the Tangential tool for most of the stuff I do, expensive initially but it covers most of the ferrous / non ferrous material I work with.

George.

Ron Laden19/06/2018 09:27:23
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1466 forum posts
259 photos

Thanks Bazyle and George,

Ron

 

Edited By Ron Laden on 19/06/2018 09:28:28

Vic19/06/2018 10:02:23
2333 forum posts
12 photos

You could try one of these.

**LINK**

I do most of my turning with one. The rest is largely done done with a couple of insert tools.

SillyOldDuffer19/06/2018 11:10:54
4864 forum posts
1021 photos

Here's my attempt at identification:

knives.jpg

I'm not quite so dismissive of the set as my learned colleagues, though I agree they're a booby trap for beginners. The set I bought was sharp on delivery, others report them arriving blunt. Thereafter, I feel they combine the disadvantages of HSS with the disadvantages of Carbide! They must be useful for something, but I don't know what it is.

HSS has to be kept in shape. Jon's picture shows a preformed set that's fairly easy to keep sharp. Vic identifies the Eccentric tool holder which is even easier to maintain. These are good choices for the beginner. Experienced operators can shape an HSS blank to any shape they want but it's a skill that not everyone is good at.

Carbide inserts are low maintenance, They're a particularly good alternative to HSS on Far Eastern lathes because they spin faster than most classic machines. True a mini-lathe motor isn't powerful enough to get the best out of carbide, but I've had good results from one with inserts on all metals, particularly with the sharp inserts intended for Aluminium applied to steel. Unlike HSS, there's little need to cool and lubricate during cutting, and you don't have to sharpen anything. On the other hand, it's easier to get a good finish with HSS, and HSS can be specially shaped and sharpened to do very fine work.

Which is best depends on what you do with the lathe. One of the joys of owning a new mini-lathe is learning what works and what doesn't. I'd experiment with your dodgy tools. Just don't blame yourself, or the lathe, if they disappoint.

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 19/06/2018 11:11:39

Jon Gibbs19/06/2018 11:13:43
738 forum posts

Hi Dave,

+1 for the comments but I think you have your left and right swapped.

Jon

pgk pgk19/06/2018 11:25:41
1486 forum posts
285 photos

I was daunted at te prospect of grinding my own tools when i started too. Reality is that by the time you get to projects that require fancy tools you'll understand them.

Off hand grinding isn't the big deal some folk make it out to be albeit a bit of practice. There's loads of yotube vids out there. I followed Tom's Techniques with his by-line of commonsense machining. He has vids on grinding basic tools and a chart here **LINK**

I had bought a cheap set of indexable tools and yes I use them regularly but suprising how often one goes back to a hand ground thingy

pgk

Ady119/06/2018 11:33:51
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3463 forum posts
513 photos

Extremely useful carbide tooling which can do vast amounts of work between sharpening but you will need to get some serious experience on hss tooling first to exploit its advantages and to be experienced on your particular lathes shortcomings

The time will come when hss tooling gets annoying, usually when too much regrinding is holding up your workrate

I use a green grit wheel for mine

So put it away and the day will come

Edited By Ady1 on 19/06/2018 11:36:07

Gordon W19/06/2018 11:36:29
2011 forum posts

The brazed carbide tools do need grinding, usually. Keep one or two for castings and heavy corrosion etc., they can be sharpened with a diamond wheel in angle grinder. Not the best but works and is cheap. The rest make quite good packing pieces and spacers etc. My advice is buy a couple of ready ground HSS tools to get an idea of how they look, then grinding your own becomes simpler. Insert tools are expensive and not needed for hobby use, a simple bench grinder can be bought for the price of an insert holder and a couple of tips.

Andrew Johnston19/06/2018 11:50:46
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4950 forum posts
563 photos
Posted by pgk pgk on 19/06/2018 11:25:41:

Off hand grinding isn't the big deal some folk make it out to be.........................

Agreed, I've never understood why people get over excited about grinding HSS tools and create complicated holders and guides. For basic tool shapes it's three non-critical angles and that's all. I grind almost all my HSS tools freehand. On the rare occasion where I need a specific, and accurate, shape I'll mill the basic shape and then add the relief angles by hand.

Andrew

SillyOldDuffer19/06/2018 12:40:46
4864 forum posts
1021 photos
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 19/06/2018 11:50:46:
Posted by pgk pgk on 19/06/2018 11:25:41:

Off hand grinding isn't the big deal some folk make it out to be.........................

Agreed, I've never understood why people get over excited about grinding HSS tools and create complicated holders and guides. For basic tool shapes it's three non-critical angles and that's all. I grind almost all my HSS tools freehand. On the rare occasion where I need a specific, and accurate, shape I'll mill the basic shape and then add the relief angles by hand.

Andrew

Well, you're both right and wrong!

Many, many skills seem easy after you've mastered them. For example:

  • The Metric system. (Sorry guys it is superior to Imperial!)
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Drawing faces
  • Solving problems with Maths
  • Playing a musical instrument.
  • Designing in 3D
  • Sawing in a straight line
  • Carpet fitting

Training isn't always the answer, though practice often helps. Nothing I did made me good at sports. My mother-in-law took years to pass her driving test and travelling with her was a white-knuckle adventure, despite never exceeding 30mph. A school friend passed his test first time with less than 3 hours road experience and a trip with him at the wheel was pure pleasure.

I believe that everyone is good at 30 things, but they are 30 different things. Talent isn't shared equally between individuals, and not everyone is good at grinding HSS. No need to worry - there are good alternatives!

Dave

Vic19/06/2018 13:45:40
2333 forum posts
12 photos

I forgot to say, the nice thing about the Tangential tool holder is that it has built in height adjustment so no need for shims or a QCTP, a simple four way tool post is all you need.

Paul Kemp19/06/2018 14:15:54
324 forum posts
18 photos

Every time this subject comes up I never cease to be amazed at the opinions proffered re brazed tip carbide tooling and grinding HSS tools. Fact is the principles of grinding both are the same, it's only the wheel used that is different. It's not that hard to buy and fit a green grit wheel either.

My feeling is like SOD suggests, that the number of posts on the forum generally rubbishing brazed carbide tooling is a result of personal opinion based on the fact the poster cannot grind a tool rather than any real failing with the tool itself. Back when I did my apprenticeship insert tooling wasn't widely in use and the general expectation was a turner would be able to grind his own tools mainly on an off hand grinder. While I agree with SOD that not everyone is good or even capable of doing everything, grinding a tool is a manual task requiring the attributes of many other 'engineering' tasks required to complete many engineering projects. As such it should not really be beyond someone who is capable of making something given sufficient experimentation and practise. It is a 'skill' that is well worth developing particularly if you are on a budget and as Andrew says exact precise angles are not that critical, just angles in the right direction in the right place! The following comments are not related specifically to this thread but are a response to this subject generally when it crops up on the forum;

It is worth remembering also that a professional turner will have had something like four years training / experience learning his trade which would comprise of about 40hrs per week - translate that to hobby activity in the shed in your spare time! I did 5 years training as a fitter/turner, nine months of which was spent using a hacksaw and files. Using a lathe is lot more than just grinding and setting a tool, it encompasses work holding, machine setting (adjusting slides, tailstock etc), cutting speeds and feeds etc.

It is frustrating to me when I see posts telling a new starter a particular piece of kit or tooling is rubbish, probably only because they tried it and couldn't master it for whatever reason. Brazed carbide, HSS, insert tooling, tangential tooling all have their place depending on the application. As suggested HSS blanks are probably the cheapest way of tooling up although brazed carbide must come close - I bought a boxed set of 16mm sq for about £25 to do some of the bigger bits of my half size traction engine and have ground them at will to produce radii / profiles as required. I also use insert tips but a box of 10 is between £20 and £30 for a single shape. I also use HSS, turning the crank which is 28" long there wasn't anything else that would fit or give me the finish I needed with the constraints of speed against balance. So come on gents, when offering a new starter advise which they may take as gospel, rather than say something is carp, phrase it as some do, as personally I didn't find this good but it may be down to my inexperience. A bad workman always blames his tools ............

Paul.

Jon Gibbs19/06/2018 14:28:01
738 forum posts
Posted by Jon Gibbs on 19/06/2018 08:48:37:

Hi Ron,

I hate to pour cold water on your morning but I'd put them in a drawer and forget about them for while unless you have a grinder with a green or diamond wheel capable of touching up the edges of the tools and get them sharp enough to cut - and to restore the edges when they chip. The set you have will cut initially but could also be a recipe for frustration in the short term without means to redress them.

...

If you have a conventional grinder with a grey or white wheel then I'd buy a HSS right hand knife tool, a boring tool and a parting tool of this pattern in the right size...

...

Paul,

Before casting aspersions and labeling us all bad workmen did you read the posts?

Jon

Edited By Jon Gibbs on 19/06/2018 14:36:15

Neil Wyatt19/06/2018 14:55:35
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Moderator
16757 forum posts
689 photos
76 articles

A significant proportion of cheap brazed tooling isn't finish ground.

Sometimes they even have paint below the cutting edge, or you can see the cutting edges of the insert are at 90 degrees, which with an angles insert means they will rub.

This tool IS flat underneath, just it has been slightly rounded underneath at the front. You can see the cutting edge needs relieving.

carbide.jpg

Usually all that needs to be done is to grind some front relief, but for a beginner grinding carbide to a good finish can be a challenge.

Some of the cheaper sets are crudely forged and when the nominally correct size is used the cutting edge can end up way above or below centre height. My first set of these, each one required either a shim, or a mm or so milling off the bottom of the shank.

A better set I have has accurate cutting edge heights, but they still need a touch up on the cutting edges.

I'm perfectly aware you can buy precision finished brazed carbide tooling (its essential for big modern lathes) but they typically cost as much or more for one tool as for one of the budget sets.

My advice to all beginners is get a set of preground HSS tools to suit your lathe. At the most they may need a small shim to bring them to centre height (use strips of drink can).

These HSS tools are usually designed to be resharpened by grinding on one face only, which makes life easier for a beginner too.

When they come to grinding their own tools the pre-ground tools can be a guide to shapes and angles, although I would recommend using the 'knife tool' design for most general work as it is vastly easier to grind than the 'groove behind cutting edge' type included in the sets.

Neil

Andrew Johnston19/06/2018 14:56:13
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4950 forum posts
563 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 19/06/2018 12:40:46:

I believe that everyone is good at 30 things, but they are 30 different things. Talent isn't shared equally between individuals, and not everyone is good at grinding HSS.

Not me, sometimes I think it would be nice to be good at something. crying 2

I don't recall having to master grinding HSS tools. Of course one refines the technique with time, but for basic tools it just seems so simple as to not be a problem. Likewise 3D modelling. The world is 3D and I naturally think in 3D so designing in it is easy. Of course getting the stooopid CAD program to create the design I have in my head is altogether another matter.

Andrew

Paul Kemp19/06/2018 15:06:56
324 forum posts
18 photos

Jon,

Yes I did read and I thought your post was balanced in its content. As I thought SOD's post and several others were also fair comment. Did you read mine? Particularly the comment re the following is not specifically aimed at this thread but forum postings re tooling in general?

It winds me up with forum postings in general where people jump in and offer advise as 'gospel' when they have been tinkering in the shed for 20 years for a couple of hours a week. I have been employed in the marine engineering industry for 40 years and still do not consider myself a gold plated expert despite professional registration and institute recognition, which is why I rarely post. I have also been involved with full sized and miniature steam for about the same period. There is no wrong (unless it's dangerous to operator or machine) or right way to do a job, the right way is the one that gives the results desired with the kit you have at your disposal. Sadly this thread just reminded me of a similar thread on the same subject recently where there was much talking out of bottoms! Wrong day or time of the month perhaps but I didn't want to see this one go the same way.

Plain fact is as alluded to by others including yourself is being able to grind a tool is an essential part of using a lathe to its full capability and to a reasonable budget so a very worthwhile skill to aquire be it carbide, HSS or anything else exotic you may care to use. I am afraid it's my opinion and only my opinion that you can call yourself a turner when you can grind the tool, if you have to rely on pre ground inserts (which undoubtably have their place) then you are an operator.

I fully agree that reading forum posts properly is a problem, many examples of that on here.

Paul.

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