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T-slot cutter

Making a tool from 1993 magazine

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Peter Jones 2019/05/2022 19:31:23
61 forum posts
9 photos

I have never cut any -T-slots before as I never needed to. I bought a cheap T-slot cutter which disintegrated on first use. (don't think it had correct heat treatment?)

As mill was set up and I didn't want to move anything started looking through old issues od MEW and came across a T-slot cutter build in issue 17, June/July 1993.

I didn't need end threaded as my Clarkeson Autolock holder is on mill 'at home' (been living in Florida since 1999) so it was quite quick to drill some holes in a grade 8 bolt then turn diameter to fit collet chuck. Broken HSS 3/16"centre drill for a cutter and back in business.

I'm actually pretty amazed at how well it worked and now have a new tool-post base in steel for lathe (the original cast iron piece is pretty flimsy and flexible, seen various plans for upgrade over the years)

I'll get a picture or two if anyone is interested.

AJAX19/05/2022 20:16:49
382 forum posts
42 photos

I'm always interested to see simple homemade tools that work.

Dave S19/05/2022 20:41:00
367 forum posts
90 photos

Yes to photos. I can’t picture what you made. Sounds useful


bernard towers20/05/2022 13:57:39
612 forum posts
109 photos

How do you manage to break a commercially made T slot cutter???

Tony Pratt 120/05/2022 14:19:15
1961 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by bernard towers on 20/05/2022 13:57:39:

How do you manage to break a commercially made T slot cutter???

Any cutter can be broken & a T slot cutter is not the most robust of things, the OP said this was his first attempt at a T slot, maybe with no guidance from a more experienced machinist.


bernard towers20/05/2022 19:49:09
612 forum posts
109 photos

Must be lucky then, haven't broken one in 30 years too b----dy expensive!!

not done it yet20/05/2022 20:02:51
6809 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by bernard towers on 20/05/2022 19:49:09:

Must be lucky then, haven't broken one in 30 years too b----dy expensive!!

OP did say it was a cheap cutter…. Buy cheap buy…. again…. may apply.

Peter Jones 2021/05/2022 20:12:04
61 forum posts
9 photos

Hi Guys,

Just went to take some pictures, got one and camera battery 'died' It's on charge at present.

I also have to remember how to post pictures here., did a copy and paste but that was over 181,000 characters too long.

I didn't want to spend too much on a 'good' t-slot cutter as I only needed to cut a single slot.

As I've never needed to do this before (I trained in mid 1970's) it didn't seem too sensible to spend a lot of money.

I knew it wasn't best quality but was marked HSS. Pretty sure thaytwas a lie though as shank is easily filed so must be less than HRC 45~50?

The cutter head completely disintegrated, never seen anything like it before (usually if you break a cutter you at least find some of the chipped off bits

Anyway, as stated, saw drawings in old MEW and made what is basically a specialised fly cutter.

slot depth of cut was about 4mm and width of cutter about 3/16"(I grew up before metrication so switch back and forth easily)

I found another tie rod end, the main shank was made from, worn out but probably a pretty high grade steel (pulling the steering around on couple of ton old ISUZU 4WD my stepdaughter used to have)

Used that so I could make the part that fits into collet a larger diameter - more surface area, probably better grip?

The article gave instructions for grinding a tool bit for clearances, the angle it's set at (7~10 degrees) means you don't even need to grind anything from lower edge. I'll try and get picture from magazine,haven't used scanner in years and not sure it even works any longer (plus could be copyright issues?)

Pictures coming soon

Peter Jones 2021/05/2022 20:27:21
61 forum posts
9 photos

I created and album so here is a picture of 4 bolt tool-post mount (4 bolts to bolt to carriage t-slots)Lathe parts

The large hole was for the t-slot cutter and to get t-head bolts in

Peter Jones 2024/05/2022 17:47:02
61 forum posts
9 photos


As promised, more pictures that may explain how tool was made and assembled. Also finished project (almost, not I need to finish the special T-nuts) There are a few more pictures in the album, seems I can only add 3 to a post?

Used T-slot 'flycutter'

T-slot flycutter

Tool disassembled, 6mm Allen grub screw, push rod, main body and not very well ground cutter

T-slot cutter parts

'Raw material, Isuzu track rod ends

Raw material

Edited By Peter Jones 20 on 24/05/2022 17:48:24

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