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Greenish amateur lathe enthusiast

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jon hill 310/08/2020 12:15:49
121 forum posts
24 photos


Having recently inherited a small workshop ,I now feel thrown into the deep end when it comes to building stuff on the lathe.

I am largely self taught when it comes to turning, and probably making all the rooky mistakes.

So this is where the forum can help.

I enjoy building scientific toys eg a wimshurst or crystal radio but have yet to make anything with really tight tolerances such as a small internal combustion engine.

At this time I am enjoying the learning curve, however sometimes it can get a bit steep!


Brian H10/08/2020 13:04:08
2312 forum posts
112 photos

Hello Jon and welcome. We all had to start somewhere and often it was so long ago that we forget how steep the learning curve was.

It may help if you could tell us what make and type of lathe you have so that people with similar can answer more accurately.

Although I was apprentice trained it was more fitting work than machining because the company closed down and I'm largely self taught with my first model being of one on HMS Victory's guns which was a nice thing to learn on as there were no tight tolerances but it included tapers.

If you have any specific questions please ask away.


jon hill 310/08/2020 15:01:44
121 forum posts
24 photos

Hi Brian & everyone else

I have a Myford speed 10 and Proxxon FF400, the former I can just about do the basics; turn cubes, top hat in brass and mild steel etc. However the milling machine is another story, I just beginning to get the gist of tramming and have done some experiments with cheap hss wood router bits. I didn't want to get though lots of expensive bits at the novice stage!

Oddly enough I cant find much info on the proxxon even from their own website, it is as if they have disowned it like an illegitimate offspring. laugh

Mick B110/08/2020 16:37:22
2161 forum posts
119 photos
Posted by jon hill 3 on 10/08/2020 15:01:44:

... have done some experiments with cheap hss wood router bits. I didn't want to get though lots of expensive bits at the novice stage!

The carbide ones are cheap and really useful - as corner-rounding cutters in milling, or mounted in a mild steel block as a radius form tool for some turning jobs. I bought a set from Lidl I don't know how many years ago and use several of the cutters regularly. I found I had the take the tiddy little ball-bearing thing off the end, or I often couldn't reach the work. You have to be gentle with 'em when milling on steel and titanium because they've only two cutting lips, but they do work and keep on doing so.

Thomas Cooksley10/08/2020 16:46:40
55 forum posts

Hi jon, Welcome to the forum, there is a bottomless well of engineering knowledge here. You name it there is someone here that knows how to do it.


Brian Sweeting11/08/2020 18:25:12
453 forum posts
1 photos

Found a copy of the manual here...

FF400 manual

Neil Wyatt21/08/2020 10:21:45
18990 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Welcome to the forum Jon,

Starting with less critical projects is a good idea. Perhaps a small steam engine next (you can run it on compressed air)?


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