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Made a pair of basic V blocks.

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Ron Laden22/05/2020 13:58:31
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

A friend asked if I can make a new steel shaft for a piece of old farm equipment he is renovating, its not too big with turned ends and various bits of milling along the length.

I thought for the milling a set up on a pair of V blocks would be good but I dont have any but I did have a piece of 45mm square cast iron so I thought I would give making a pair of blocks a try.

It went ok and I,m quite pleased with how they turned out, now before I get jumped on - no they are not hardened steel, no they are not precision ground and they are not sized and matched to within a tenth of a gnats wotsit.

They are reasonably accurate though and as good as I could get from milling a lump of cast iron. I machined them as one piece and apart from the slot all the cutting was with a 25mm end mill, where it matters they are good to within 2 thou.

So hopefully they will be ok for the job I have to do, should be as its pretty loose on tolerances, and they should be ok for everyday jobs.

Good fun making them, just need to go over them with a 800 paper wrapped file and then black them, I may mill a couple of slots along the sides and make up a couple of U shaped top clamps.

dsc07659.jpg

Edited By Ron Laden on 22/05/2020 14:22:11

Thor22/05/2020 14:13:02
1231 forum posts
37 photos

Hi Ron,

Nice V blocks, I made a pair some years ago, they have been used often. Mine have a slot along each side so they can be clamped to the milling machine table.

Thor

Nicholas Farr22/05/2020 14:14:26
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2269 forum posts
1100 photos

Hi Ron, look good to me, and yes a couple of slots on the sides would be a good idea you'll be glad you did when you get a job that needs them.

Regards Nick.

old mart22/05/2020 18:10:48
1776 forum posts
138 photos

I made a much cruder vee block out of a foot of 3" channel section steel. I wanted to section a Skeeter gearbox rotor shaft for display. It was good enough to hold it while milling out an 15" by 4" bit to see the innards. The tube was much harder than anticipated and used up about 5 solid carbide end mills.

At the museum, we are fortunate to have at least a dozen, some in pairs which have been donated over the years. I have bought a couple of really big ones on ebay, most people don't want a foot long one so they go for low prices, the channel has been pensioned off after only one job.

Edited By old mart on 22/05/2020 18:16:15

Ron Laden22/05/2020 20:11:41
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

Thanks guys,

Thor, looking at the link of your blocks I think I will put a clamping slot in each side of the blocks and make up some clamps for fixing down to the table. Plus if I take a mil or two off the the top faces to increase the width I can drill and tap for fixing clamps which I can also make, yours look good.

A question I do have re cast iron, is it possible to surface harden cast iron, I tried looking it up but got mixed messages, some said no, some said yes but saying you need to know the make up of the iron first and at that point I got a bit lost.

Ron

Vic22/05/2020 20:13:53
2500 forum posts
14 photos

Nice job Ron. yes

Clive Brown 122/05/2020 20:23:22
427 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by Ron Laden on 22/05/2020 20:11:41:

A question I do have re cast iron, is it possible to surface harden cast iron, I tried looking it up but got mixed messages, some said no, some said yes but saying you need to know the make up of the iron first and at that point I got a bit lost.

Ron

Many CI lathe beds are surface-hardened, then ground. Not a diy job I suspect. My elderly CI(?) Eclipse vee-blocks aren't hardened though.

Clive

Edited By Clive Brown 1 on 22/05/2020 20:24:30

Ron Laden22/05/2020 20:48:38
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

Thanks Vic,

Clive, it did make me think that it probably is possible but as you say not a job for a small blowlamp and dunking in water.

Ron

Pete.23/05/2020 02:23:28
222 forum posts
36 photos

They came out really nice, they would make a nice a little project to practice hand scraping.

Thor23/05/2020 07:07:20
1231 forum posts
37 photos

Hi Ron,

You asked about the possibility of surface hardening Cast Iron, if you scroll down this page, you will find a description of flame hardening and induction hardening of Cast Iron. As Clive says, it is often used on machines CI surfaces like lathe bedways. Probably not easy to do in a model engineers workshop.

Thor

Ron Laden23/05/2020 07:17:38
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

Thanks Thor yes I read a bit more last night, not for the home workshop or at least not mine. I, m sure the blocks will be fine as is, not knowing any different I guess I was hoping it would be as simple as hardening a piece of silver steel but clearly not.

AdrianR23/05/2020 07:46:52
476 forum posts
23 photos

Hi Ron,

Recently in another thread there has been a discussion on how best to mill a 45 degree angle. Just wondering how you did it?

Adrian

Mike Poole23/05/2020 07:51:07
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2575 forum posts
60 photos

I would think that hardening of any method would risk distortion and need a finish grind after hardening. Unless you have an extraordinary amount of work planned I would leave as they are. If wear does become apparent I am sure a vist to the mill for a clean up pass would be easier than adventures with heat treatment. I think you have made a very useful tool that now it’s available will find lots of use.

Mike

lfoggy23/05/2020 08:22:07
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146 forum posts
1 photos

Look very good to me.

Not all V blocks need to be precision ground and hardened. It all depends what you use them for. If they did the job then they are a success!

John Haine23/05/2020 10:02:12
3097 forum posts
162 photos

The ones you buy may have been made for toolroom use where they get a lot more use than in our workshops, hence the hardening so they wear less. Then they have to be ground because of the distortion.

lfoggy23/05/2020 11:45:25
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146 forum posts
1 photos

I have a pair of Starrett no 268 v blocks that are neither hardened or ground. Not precision but very useful for some jobs.

Ron Laden23/05/2020 11:52:21
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

Thanks guys, I did read last night that the process causes distortion so I will leave that alone.

Adrian,

A picture below of one of the finished blocks in the vice the way I had it set up for cutting the V. I clocked the block from the spindle making sure I had the diagonal vertical and then used the end mill to cut down to just shy of the finished depth.

I then in turn set the block up in the vice with each face horizontal to give a finishing cut having first clocked the vertical face true and square. It seems to have worked as checking the V with a square and also a Stevenson block the V looks to be pretty well spot on 90 degrees or at least as my eyes see it.

Hope that makes sense.

Ron

dsc07665.jpg

lfoggy23/05/2020 21:05:44
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146 forum posts
1 photos

Much as i love making stuff I often wonder about the economics of projects like this. Just buying the cast iron stock may be more than some cheap Chinese made V blocks off ebay.. If you had the cast iron lying around that would be different but my scrap box is not that well stocked unfortunately so I end up having to buy most raw materials....

Ron Laden24/05/2020 06:26:15
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1933 forum posts
380 photos

I know what you mean foggy but it is nice when you make parts/tools for a specific job or general use and they turn out well and work.

I did have the cast iron on the shelf from last year but looking at the cost the piece would be just over £10 + £5 postage if I had to buy it now. I could buy a pair of V,s complete with clamps for £20 free postage, what they would be like I don't know, probably OK for the job I have coming up as its not tight on dimensions.

I could set the job up without a pair of V,s but the lump of iron kept staring at me. wink

not done it yet24/05/2020 06:48:46
4648 forum posts
16 photos

A question I do have re cast iron, is it possible to surface harden cast iron, I tried looking it up but got mixed messages, some said no, some said yes but saying you need to know the make up of the iron first and at that point I got a bit lost.

Some castings come with surfaces already hardened? 🙂 People sometimes go to considerable trouble to reverse that characteristic - or just send them back for a replacement.🙂

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