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Bill Pilkington28/12/2021 11:32:31
10 forum posts

Anybody got info on where I can buy some shims for centreing my tools on mini lathe, tia. Bill.

Circlip28/12/2021 11:39:10
1499 forum posts

Soft drinks cans and a pair of shears.

Regards Ian

Nicholas Wheeler 128/12/2021 11:45:52
906 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by Bill Pilkington on 28/12/2021 11:32:31:

Anybody got info on where I can buy some shims for centreing my tools on mini lathe, tia. Bill.

Cannibalise a cheap feeler gauge set

martin haysom28/12/2021 11:46:21
88 forum posts

have you got a mate who welds cars ?? ask him/her for a few off cuts.

Bo'sun28/12/2021 11:51:44
602 forum posts
2 photos

All the usual suspects. Spent hacksaw blades, steel banding from pallet shipments, scrap sheet metal, etc.

Bill Pilkington28/12/2021 11:56:52
10 forum posts

Thx all.

DMB28/12/2021 12:32:36
1293 forum posts
1 photos

One more; if you like small flat tins of oily fish for lunch, mackerel fillets, pilchards, sardines, save and wash the peel - lids and cut them up to size with an old pair of scissors. I also save the tins for small item storage.

Antony Price28/12/2021 12:36:28
36 forum posts
29 photos

Hi Bill

Old bank/credit/loyalty cards are also a good source of shim/packing


John Haine28/12/2021 12:44:59
4622 forum posts
273 photos

Garden suppliers often have small packs of aluminium rectangles about 30 x 10mm which are intended to be bent into S clips for greenhouse glazing. They are about 0.5 mm thick and are tremendously useful for packing, shimming etc. A bit under the toe of a strap clamp on the mill avoids marking the work for example.

There's an amusing story in "Zen and the Art..." about the author's buddy who has a BMW and a highly "romantic" attitude. The bars on his bike need some shimming to make them clamp properly. The author points out that beer can aluminium is perfect for the job - the right thickness, soft so it deforms to the required shape, easy to cut, and free. His buddy will have none of it, has to be the "right" product from the maker.

MikeK28/12/2021 14:50:09
226 forum posts
17 photos

I used cheap automotive feeler gauges when I first got my mini lathe. When I got tired of that method I built the "Norman patent" QCTP, usually attributed to Ralph Patterson (who is the one who produced the PDF, I think)...And I haven't looked back.

The traditional style of QCTP give the tool too much overhang, which isn't a problem for larger lathes, but is not ideal for the mini.

Patterson's plans originated on the Yahoo mini lathe group and have since moved to

Henry Brown28/12/2021 15:04:07
548 forum posts
117 photos

I needed some shim for a project and got this, very handy...

ega28/12/2021 16:00:25
2487 forum posts
199 photos
Posted by John Haine on 28/12/2021 12:44:59:


There's an amusing story in "Zen and the Art..." ...

It's some time since I read the book but I seem to recall the author making a very favourable comment about the possession of a lathe and welding gear!

Trevor Drabble28/12/2021 17:07:24
280 forum posts
5 photos

Bill , Cromwell Tools used to do it in both brass and steel in assorted packs . Or alternatively , if you have an idea of what length and width required and in what thicknesses , I'll check my limited stocks for availability.

Engine Builder28/12/2021 17:44:48
247 forum posts
Howard Lewis29/12/2021 21:45:18
6005 forum posts
14 photos

If yo

before they became corrugated, food tins were a good source of supply of shim material.

Aluminium eventually compresses, as well as plastics such as credit cards will, I fear.

You can buy packs of shim steel in various thicknesses, but at what price, I know not, from Stubs, or from Engineering suppliers.

Cheap feeler gauge sets provide a limited quantity of various thicknesses.

Try searching Google, or Cromwell Tools in UK.

Rather than make up a thick pack of shims , I machine a solid packer , using one or two shims for fine tuning.

No Mill? Being rectangular, mount in a 4 jaw and face.


Paul Lousick30/12/2021 07:15:48
2010 forum posts
711 photos

Various pieces of flat bar. "Bandit" steel strapping used for securing materials is handy.

Hardware warehouses, etc throw it in the bin when unloading goods.

Edited By Paul Lousick on 30/12/2021 07:20:51

Perko731/12/2021 08:58:58
422 forum posts
33 photos

Model hobby stores usually carry stocks of brass sheet in various thicknesses from about 5 thou or 10 thou up. I also use the metal packing strips along with broken bandsaw and hacksaw blades and the tear-off foil from various food packaging.

IanT31/12/2021 11:04:48
1984 forum posts
211 photos
Posted by Circlip on 28/12/2021 11:39:10:

Soft drinks cans and a pair of shears.

Regards Ian

Yes, works for me too!


Samsaranda31/12/2021 11:57:20
1396 forum posts
5 photos

I picked up a pack of various thickness brass shims from a supplier at a model engineering exhibition a few years ago and it has come in very useful. I use a strip of 5 thou brass to wrap around delicate threaded items if they need to be held in a chuck for further operations in the lathe. A pack of various thickness shims will always come in useful. Dave W

larry phelan 101/01/2022 14:17:35
1169 forum posts
15 photos

Empty beer cans are ideal, since first off, they need to be emptied, always an enjoyable job.

Next, they need to be cut into strips ect, this is a somewhat thirsty operation, so more cans need to be opened.

After a while, you will find yourself cutting up strips to make cans and not sure what the Hell you are doing, or why.

But who cares, it,s still metal bashing !

Happy New Year all !cheekycheeky

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