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old mill or find a junker lathe? - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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old mill or find a junker lathe? [Feb. 4th, 2012|01:00 pm]
Doug Ayen
In order to automate some of the polishing process, I have a few ideas I'd like to try out. Sort of a wet version of a toolpost grinder, but slower speed and using waterstones. The thing is, I've seen what just a bit of dry grinder dust can do to a lathe bed and chuck, and it isn't pretty. You can use a cover or other tricks to prevent it, but if a tool's primary job is to be wet and covered in grit, it's probably best to have a dedicated tool.

I have a small cheap mill ($300 in 2000 dollars) that has a broken gear and some binding in the X-Y table, making it not quite a junker. I have the parts to fix, nay, improve it (FOR SCIENCE!) I picked up a much sturdier belt drive claimed to not only fit but deliver more torque with less loss and lower chance of failure, not to mention a cheaper and easier fix should it break than the gear drive.

On the other hand, my visualizations of how I was going to work was using a lathe. I haven't seen a working small lathe for sale for less than ~$150, though I've seen some minimalist ones that fail my rigidity and alignment tests for less. I suppose I could make one from scratch, but why reinvent the wheel.

I don't want to sacrifice the good tools I have -- the nice lathe I've been slowly improving, the cute little rotary table that I don't really care if I ever find a use for -- and don't want to buy a good tool and then abuse it, but I've got to do something.

[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2012-02-04 07:17 pm (UTC)
you have a lathe/mill? make another one JUST good enough? my only thought...

searchtempest.com will ease the craighslist hunt

can't offer much else except go you, sounds fun to be making

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[User Picture]From: sunspiral
2012-02-04 09:05 pm (UTC)
How about adapting a surface grinder for the purpose?
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2012-02-17 10:09 pm (UTC)
Wrong tool -- I'd have to incorporate a rotary table, which would get quickly messed up with lube and grit. Also, due to the nature of what I'm working with, any rapidly moving grinding wheel will smear the steel around, ruining the hamon and other neat metalurgical effects. The idea is to rotate the pizza wheel slowly while applying the traditional waterstones, in effect doing a metalurgical polish.
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[User Picture]From: cz_unit
2012-02-05 03:21 am (UTC)
Well, if you buy another lathe you're just going to screw it up as well, so I'd say fix the item you got and go with that for awhile.

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