PDA

View Full Version : [Question(s)] Which milling/drilling machine?



sam
12-13-2008, 02:15 PM
Hello,

Lately I have been slowed down in my prossess of building robots because I had to cut metal with a hacksaw, I also needed to compromise designs due to this too. I am planing on doing a bigger projet. By bigger projet I meen a more complexe one, on the mechanical and software parts. Reading Intermediate robot building, I thought that a milling machine could help me greatly in this process of making small, reletivly precise pieces.

I'm still hesitating on which milling machine do I need? One driven by a CAD program, or a manual one. How much power would I need, how big a machine do I really need?

That is why I came here. What do you guys think? Do any of you have milling machine that work fine/not fine? I saw some milling machines that come with lathe in the same machine. Would that be an advantage or not?

I am ready to invest into a milling machine because I think that it could be usefull to me in the future. So Price could be pretty high (in the low end, not the 15 000$ machines) if I find it good enough.

Thanks,

Sam

Adrenalynn
12-13-2008, 03:13 PM
The Sherline is very popular here, it's a CAM/CNC-driven (computer controlled) milling machine. You'll be in several thousand dollars when you're done, I believe. It's the popular one that everyone seems to be generating nice work from. But you'll need to invest the time into learning CAD/CAM, and invest the time into modeling what you want to cut.

I'm old-skool. I have a big Bench Mill, and then this guy (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=44142). Outstanding value for the money - but it's not CNC. Of course, I suppose you could add steppers to it and make it CNC - but that defeats my purpose.

If you're planning on making lots of identical parts - the CNC is the only way to go. If you're planning on onsietwosie work, I prefer the bench mill.

The CNC can't lathe and it certainly can't end-mill 1-1/8" either.

Again, though, if I needed to make 30 of some part, I'd be screwed...

As far as cutting with a hacksaw - get ye' down to the big-box home improvement store and pick-up a little scroll saw. Deeper the throat the better. They're only a couple hundred dollars for a good one. I have an old light-duty craftsman 18", probably 20 years old. It makes light work of any bracket cutting task, and laughs at just about any aluminum.

Rudolph
12-13-2008, 03:20 PM
If you've got the budget and space, nothing beats a Bridgeport :) Used works fine as long as it's not been abused. Vari-Drive (or whatever it's called) is really nice instead of changing speed via belts/pulleys. If you can find one with Digital ReadOut it's even nicer, but can be added for not too much ("too much" being relative, if you're already buying a bridgeport).

That said, Bridgeport-style mills work well too. I've known many machinists who buy Grizzly (http://www.grizzly.com/) equipment for home use. I have a personal problem with Jet (http://www.jettools.com/) equipment, but that's mostly based off their smaller, cheaper, tools.

I like the manually run mills, but I learned from a bunch of old-school machinists. So far I've never had a personal use for a CNC type mill. I can see the benefit of having one in robotics though, there will be many times you'll want exact copies of pieces.

Again, if you've got the budget and space available, I'd go with seperate mill and lathe, not a combo. I can't count the times I've had both machines running at the same time.

Keep an eye out on the classified ad papers (greensheet, recycler, craigslist, etc...). If you have any friends/family that deal with any kind of machine shop, they may be of assistance too. An example; my uncle is a tire salesman and one of his customers bought a new, bigger lathe, and he got their old, small one for nothing (and then gave it to me as a birthday gift, hehe). I had to go buy a Phase-O-Matic to plug a three-phase lathe into the single phase 220 in the garage.

robot maker
12-13-2008, 04:31 PM
bridgeports are the best,at my work they have 5 of them
and i am getting a hard time getting to use it
so i am getting my own all in one machine,since i now have plenty of space
but besides a mill/lathe machine,i am looking to make my own cnc router from plans and parts
mostly to cut plastic and alum bases,design i found needs a few mods,like i saw a nice holder for router and can handle a plasma cutter for metals or dremel tool
ballscrew is the best way to go,and found a good control box with motors $500 plus cnc software $600 ,total $1100 plus all ballscrews,slides and all metal table maybe aluminium
size is another change ,plans is for 13" by 13",looking at 18" by 18" to have room to cut a 15" by 15" sheet,to handle any robot piece ,last piece i needed was 15" by 6" and 2 of them for my modded johnny five design



If you've got the budget and space, nothing beats a Bridgeport :) Used works fine as long as it's not been abused. Vari-Drive (or whatever it's called) is really nice instead of changing speed via belts/pulleys. If you can find one with Digital ReadOut it's even nicer, but can be added for not too much ("too much" being relative, if you're already buying a bridgeport).

That said, Bridgeport-style mills work well too. I've known many machinists who buy Grizzly (http://www.grizzly.com/) equipment for home use. I have a personal problem with Jet (http://www.jettools.com/) equipment, but that's mostly based off their smaller, cheaper, tools.

I like the manually run mills, but I learned from a bunch of old-school machinists. So far I've never had a personal use for a CNC type mill. I can see the benefit of having one in robotics though, there will be many times you'll want exact copies of pieces.

Again, if you've got the budget and space available, I'd go with seperate mill and lathe, not a combo. I can't count the times I've had both machines running at the same time.

Keep an eye out on the classified ad papers (greensheet, recycler, craigslist, etc...). If you have any friends/family that deal with any kind of machine shop, they may be of assistance too. An example; my uncle is a tire salesman and one of his customers bought a new, bigger lathe, and he got their old, small one for nothing (and then gave it to me as a birthday gift, hehe). I had to go buy a Phase-O-Matic to plug a three-phase lathe into the single phase 220 in the garage.

gdubb2
12-14-2008, 12:55 PM
I have a Smithy Granite 1340 combination mill/lathe. For what I do, it is great. It's not CNC, but could be very easily. They are chinese, like most all of the combo units are, but on the high end of chinese. They also have a CNC mill that looks pretty good.
www.smithy.com (http://www.smithy.com)

robot maker
12-14-2008, 07:39 PM
problem i see with alot of the good all in machines or getting just a mill then a lathe ,drill press ,router is the very high price, from $2000 to $9000 for each one and thats with out cnc add another $3000 inc software if not more,when a robot design maybe only $1000 min to $5000 for R2D2 or more,like designs i am working on so far on one is about $1800 so far and near done and johnny five so far $900 in parts just started ,i wounder if the getting a cnc machine you will get your money worth out of it and how long will it take
very good option is to have a company machine the parts

Rudolph
12-14-2008, 09:18 PM
If you plunk a couple grand on a mill, you can always do odd-jobs for other bot builders too. Then apply those dollars toward the machine cost, possibly in the form of more robot parts/materials for you ;)

robot maker
12-15-2008, 01:06 AM
that is another option,but besides $3000 for a fairly good machine without cnc and software
shipping will take near $1000 if not more
when the company i work for moved from city to another city in same state just to move 6 of the bridgeports i was told it took $5000 and there was alot more machine and production and my lab,R&D lab stuff and so much more inc very large solderwave machine that took on truck and special liftto move it,my area was $1200 to move,so i bet well over $100000 to move a plant
so you need to look at full cost and then see how many jobs will take to pay it off
another way is to find a used one in area that you live in and that can be changed over to cnc design,from few designs i seen and motors plus controller looking at $700 for a fairly good system and then another $500 to $1000 for good cnc software and need a computer
what i am looking at is fairly nice all in one machine from harbor freight for about $800 or more
mostly just to build arm parts and few other pieces
and make a cnc router for bases ,panels,also looking at plastic forming design to make since i have the room ,mostly need a control heat and vacuum,my dad gave me a 40 by 10 shed and had it moved to my place

If you plunk a couple grand on a mill, you can always do odd-jobs for other bot builders too. Then apply those dollars toward the machine cost, possibly in the form of more robot parts/materials for you ;)

i got to say i very much agree with you and i like the big bench mill link
i buy from harbor freight alot and in R&d ([email protected]) shop at work they have one close to it $899 model
only going to make a few parts here and there,but not 30 or so of the same part or hope to find someone who will buy my parts or have me make them ,when i need time to do my robots and work and projects around the house,so most likely will get that model since great value for the money
shipping is another $100


The Sherline is very popular here, it's a CAM/CNC-driven (computer controlled) milling machine. You'll be in several thousand dollars when you're done, I believe. It's the popular one that everyone seems to be generating nice work from. But you'll need to invest the time into learning CAD/CAM, and invest the time into modeling what you want to cut.

I'm old-skool. I have a big Bench Mill, and then this guy (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=44142). Outstanding value for the money - but it's not CNC. Of course, I suppose you could add steppers to it and make it CNC - but that defeats my purpose.

If you're planning on making lots of identical parts - the CNC is the only way to go. If you're planning on onsietwosie work, I prefer the bench mill.

The CNC can't lathe and it certainly can't end-mill 1-1/8" either.

Again, though, if I needed to make 30 of some part, I'd be screwed...

As far as cutting with a hacksaw - get ye' down to the big-box home improvement store and pick-up a little scroll saw. Deeper the throat the better. They're only a couple hundred dollars for a good one. I have an old light-duty craftsman 18", probably 20 years old. It makes light work of any bracket cutting task, and laughs at just about any aluminum.

Adrenalynn
12-15-2008, 02:10 AM
I had my entire shop moved 200mi for $900...

bobasan
12-15-2008, 10:20 AM
Sam,
One thing you didn't mention was your skill level machining. If you are just getting into it I would recommend finding a local community college that offers machining as an extension course. By taking the course you would have a better idea of what you would be capable of doing with different equipment. Also, depending on the class you would be able to machine parts for yourself as you learn. If you are already a capable machinist then it all depends on what you are going to be doing. I personally have all manual equipment but I really only do one-offs and prototyping. If you are looking to make a quantity of identical parts then CNC is the way to go. Oh, one CNC rig that I didn't see listed was the Tormach unit. http://www.tormach.com/ My wife worked there for awhile and they have a really nice little system.

sam
12-15-2008, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the answers guys. I don't think I will need t make identical parts for a while. The most identical parts I will do is probably 6 (like a hexapod). Probably mostly for small rovers thought, don't think I will do a custom hex, to complx and long for me. I guess a manual one will have to do because I don't have enough money or place to buy a big CNC.

I was looking at the manual http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=46199 or even this (but I'm not sure it's good enough quality) http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=39743 harbor freight one that robot maker talk about. It's much bigger (weight) than the sherline line of products and has a lathe at the same time. I'm not sre I could get something this big into my house, I will have to see what I can do about this.

The sherline products seen expensive cmpared to the other ones I found on the net, is it because hey;re like made in the US?

As for my competence level, I am completely new to all this. I can't take a course at my local calledge because I am too young, which is very anoying, but I understand why. So I was propably going to buy a machine and scrap aluminium and just do some tests myself and figer out how to make it work.

thanks for all the answers guys,

Sam

Adrenalynn
12-15-2008, 02:07 PM
Most of the Sherline's are CNC which is why they're so expensive.

The first HarborFreight unit you linked isn't bad, I've used 'em. The micro-table one I linked to is better, but a bit more expensive. You can do a lot finer work with it.

If practical, save-up and buy what you really want. Skimping today for a couple hundred dollars probably isn't preferable to saving a little longer and getting something you'll be happier with.

There's lots of online and [gasp] dead-tree tutorials for machining out there, but at the end of the day you have the right of it. Read about techniques and such, then get a bunch of scrap and start practicing. It takes years to develop a fine hand at it, and you really need the patience-thing too - something I still haven't gotten the hang of. ;)

sam
12-15-2008, 03:56 PM
That's what I thought about buying what could last the longest and do the best job.

The biggest problem I see right now is the weight of these things. I don't have a garage where I can store this machine. So it will have to be in my room. I also have neighbours downstairs, which means the machine can't be 1000 pounds other wise it will fall in my neighbours room.

This the biggest roblem I have right now. The unit from harbor freight that you link does seem very nice for the money, espacialy that there is a lathe that comes with it. Its written that it's about 600 pounds, I'm not sure I could have that kind f weight on my desk (r even on my floor for that matter!). What do you guys think?

One other thing that I was worried with was (I don't think I'm going to be doing this but...) if I want to make some kind of arch, it seems like it would be pretty hard to do with the X and Y swivels. That's why I was interested in something CNC (althought I have no idea how to program it) because iit could do shapes I want easier. I also like working with my hands.

Adrenalynn
12-15-2008, 04:26 PM
It weighs probably 525-550 - the 600 is shipping weight. Still pretty heavy for a second floor, and I promise the people under you will NOT appreciate a milling machine running over their heads. I get complaints (and police visits) from people a block away. . .

As far as cutting shapes - you're probably too young to remember, but it's worth noting that (other than space-craft parts, perhaps) - NOTHING was CNC'd before the 1980's. Anything a CNC can cut a skilled machinest can cut, probably better. The CNC is nothing more than an automated machinest that is limited in its resolution.

billyzelsnack
12-15-2008, 09:29 PM
You can make the same argument for using just a hacksaw too! :)

robot maker
12-15-2008, 10:40 PM
depends on size and how much is moved for price and distance,break down and setup included
in my work area at work there was alot of metal cabinets plus parts cabinets about 30,then 9 8 foot tables ,my machine area ,plus alot of test equipment to move and then setup

next month getting to buy the all in one machine
but might look into making cnc router first,since making plastic bases,and new tri-track base for my johnny five,plus alot more panels,will need to compare prices of gettting company cut them or make the machine,one good thing getting a company to cut them i get them fast


I had my entire shop moved 200mi for $900...

robot maker
12-15-2008, 10:57 PM
need to look what is the biggest piece you will machine,how many of the same piece
then at harbor freight look at all the all in one machines and see what size fits what you need
500-600 pounds or 1000 ,may be a overkill
i see that at harborfreight has them in 2 areas,some in lathes,and some in milling but still all-in machine
this one is 332lbs http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=46199
this one is 473 lbs http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=5980
this one 35lbs http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=39743

when you add cnc to it adds alot more weight

also what are you looking for a machine to make parts for hands and so on
or machine for panels and bases out of metal or plastics
looking for panels and bases then cnc router is great for making perfect cuts and shapes
and for drilling
on all one machine is good for machining mostly small parts and milling bases for robowars
cnc router not alot in weight as much as all in one machine,and there are many many easy plans to make one


That's what I thought about buying what could last the longest and do the best job.

The biggest problem I see right now is the weight of these things. I don't have a garage where I can store this machine. So it will have to be in my room. I also have neighbours downstairs, which means the machine can't be 1000 pounds other wise it will fall in my neighbours room.

This the biggest roblem I have right now. The unit from harbor freight that you link does seem very nice for the money, espacialy that there is a lathe that comes with it. Its written that it's about 600 pounds, I'm not sure I could have that kind f weight on my desk (r even on my floor for that matter!). What do you guys think?

One other thing that I was worried with was (I don't think I'm going to be doing this but...) if I want to make some kind of arch, it seems like it would be pretty hard to do with the X and Y swivels. That's why I was interested in something CNC (althought I have no idea how to program it) because iit could do shapes I want easier. I also like working with my hands.

Adrenalynn
12-15-2008, 11:30 PM
As I mentioned, RM - the resolution of the table makes a tremendous difference.

Billy - I suspect end-milling a piece of carbon steel is a bit ... noisier than the hacksaw - but yeah, I wouldn't want to live below that either - totally concur! :D

robot maker
12-15-2008, 11:55 PM
yes i know,but is it really need that high precision
in R&d lab we have the $900 machine and made many prototypes with it and they look very good,but on bridgeport where products are to be refitted and some rework or new parts they needed it a little better to sell to the public
so you need to find out do you need high precision or little less precision will still do the same job


As I mentioned, RM - the resolution of the table makes a tremendous difference.

Billy - I suspect end-milling a piece of carbon steel is a bit ... noisier than the hacksaw - but yeah, I wouldn't want to live below that either - totally concur! :D

ooops
12-16-2008, 08:15 AM
As far as cutting with a hacksaw - get ye' down to the big-box home improvement store and pick-up a little scroll saw. Deeper the throat the better. They're only a couple hundred dollars for a good one. I have an old light-duty craftsman 18", probably 20 years old. It makes light work of any bracket cutting task, and laughs at just about any aluminum.

Sam, Adrenalynn has a great point here. If you invest in a good scroll saw you can cut "most things robotic" with a large degree of precision. I have an old Delta scroll saw that I bought when I was young (might be older than Adrenalynn's) that still gets used often on wood, alum, and plastic. It is small, quite, and is as precise as you make it. I bought it for wood work back when I couldn't afford the $$ and the space for a full size band saw. I have both now and use both often.
I am not suggesting giving up on the milling machine, but even if you have a great milling machine, and an old beat up scroll saw, you will find yourself using both. So, it may make sense to get the scroll saw first, and work toward the milling machine in the future.

bobasan
12-16-2008, 10:50 AM
Sam, don't think that because you do not have certain pieces of equipment that you won't be able to produce what you want/need. I still make a great many of my parts by hand in lieu of going through a machine setup as it is often times much faster. Having good hand tools and the necessary measuring equipment is a must whether you are machining or hand working parts and should be your first purchases. To give you a bit of how I was taught machining, I came up as an action filer where before I was allowed to machine anything I had to file everything, often times to tolerances of .001"+/- or better. It can be more time consuming but you can get it done.

jes1510
12-16-2008, 11:56 AM
I recently bought by first scroll saw from ebay. I never even thought of buying one until I thought it might be handy for a particular project. Now I use it for everything from plastic to aluminum. I honestly don't know how I ever built anything without it.

Along those same lines does anyone know the best way to cut a straight line on a scroll saw? I get decent results but I had never used one before and I'm sure that you brilliant folks know of a few tricks.

bobasan
12-16-2008, 01:48 PM
I recently bought by first scroll saw from ebay. I never even thought of buying one until I thought it might be handy for a particular project. Now I use it for everything from plastic to aluminum. I honestly don't know how I ever built anything without it.

Along those same lines does anyone know the best way to cut a straight line on a scroll saw? I get decent results but I had never used one before and I'm sure that you brilliant folks know of a few tricks.

If you need to cut a straight line you'll need to make a fence of some kind. Once you have that it is dead easy.

robot maker
12-16-2008, 03:51 PM
i have a scroll saw and made a cheap easy fence using a metal ruler and plate of 2 " by 1/8 thick and the length you need mine 24",does do a fairly good job,expect for circles and odd shapes thats where a cnc router comes in handy,but another idea,on some pieces that are hard to cut or you like better look from it,then look in companies that do it for a fair cost,one good thing ,you save on trouble of buying metal or plastic,shipping and room and price of a router,same with machine parts and software is free from there site to design it

Adrenalynn
12-16-2008, 06:25 PM
Scroll saws were specifically designed for cutting circles, odd shapes, and other "scroll work" - hence the name "scroll saw".

Any tool; be it a CNC, a scroll saw, or a hammer, is only as good as the skillset of the person using it. If a tool isn't doing what it's designed to do, tighten the loose nut...




.


... behind the work-piece.


Angle iron and aluminum angle both work great for fencing. I screw the angle channel down to a piece of wood, then screw the work piece into the sacrificial wood. Bonus points for mounting a laser line on the saw (if it's old and doesn't have one, like mine). I use a laser pointer that has a swappable lens in it, so I can do a dot (great for scroll work), line (for cutting long straights), or cross-hair (great for known angles)

robot maker
12-16-2008, 08:46 PM
yes i think everyone know what a scroll saw does,thats not the problem
its cutting a circle and odd shapes perfect,like a fence does for to cut straight lines
using a cnc it follows a program and sets xyz motors to make precision cuts
also can be manual done with wheels like in all in one in machine but with a router


Scroll saws were specifically designed for cutting circles, odd shapes, and other "scroll work" - hence the name "scroll saw".

Any tool; be it a CNC, a scroll saw, or a hammer, is only as good as the skillset of the person using it. If a tool isn't doing what it's designed to do, tighten the loose nut...




.


... behind the work-piece.
i also use angle aluminium since it works great same as the aluminium plate

Angle iron and aluminum angle both work great for fencing. I screw the angle channel down to a piece of wood, then screw the work piece into the sacrificial wood. Bonus points for mounting a laser line on the saw (if it's old and doesn't have one, like mine). I use a laser pointer that has a swappable lens in it, so I can do a dot (great for scroll work), line (for cutting long straights), or cross-hair (great for known angles)

sam
12-17-2008, 04:22 PM
I'm now looking at scroll saws taht are out there. Looks interesting since there much lighter and I can still do a wide array of things with it. It may be a better investement at the moment. My only concern (and my mother's) is that it looks kind of dangerous. It works like a jig saw? The saw going up and down I mean. I'd be scared to put a finger in there by accident...

Thanks for all the comment guys, keep it up

Sam

jes1510
12-17-2008, 04:30 PM
A scroll saw works like a jigsaw turned upside down. There is an arm that gos across the top of the table that holds the blade the arm and blade go up and down like a jigsaw. You can do a lot with a scroll saw and a drill press.

All power tools are inherently dangerous so you should always take the proper safety precautions with all of them. Always read the manuals and know what parts of your body you cant put near the tool.

Rudolph
12-17-2008, 04:32 PM
No more dangerous than any other power tool. Don't stick your finger in there! ;)

Also, from my experience, mills and lathes are more dangerous than scrollsaws anyway. A lathe can grab you and suck your face into the chuck (not maliciously, that's just what it does). Both a mill and a lathe are more likely to blow up a part or cutting tool and send really sharp, hot shrapnel at you. Twice I've had to get tiny chips removed from my eyeball from the lathe. Not fun, I don't suggest trying it. (Wear your safety goggles!)

Always, always, know where you end and the tool begins.

ScuD
12-17-2008, 04:36 PM
Personally I feel a milling machine is a lot more dangerous than a scroll saw...

You should treat any power tool with respect. My best friends gf lost 4 fingers on her right hand when she was 9 when she tried to help her dad who was renovating the living room..

It only takes a second of losing concentration, but the same can be said for soldering.

The basic guideline to use for a scrollsaw / bandsaw is to let your palms rest on the table and guide the part with your fingers. Never ever lean on the part you're cutting cause you will shoot through the metal faster than you think.

Now, I'm not trying to scare you in any way. Treat the tool with respect, and it will respect you.

Don't wear long sleeves, no rings, bracelets, etc and wear eye and ear protection at all times.

Adrenalynn
12-17-2008, 04:53 PM
Excellent advice all around. A mill is far more dangerous than a scroll saw, but all of them are inherently dangerous if you loose your concentration for even a second. That said - I've been using scroll saws, drill presses, band saws, etc. since I was 6. And I still have all my fingers. Because I'm properly humbled by something moving a thousand RPM that is sharp and designed to cut STEEL and TITANIUM. Kinda puts it into perspective.

SAFETY FIRST. It's not a joke. Would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute? Would you go SCUBA diving with a broken regulator? Would you go climbing without a rope? (ok, forget free climbing. . .) There's nothing "manly" about having your body-parts amputated. Take my word for it - it doesn't turn chicks on [or at least none you'd wanna hang out with. . .]

The one big thing I'd add is "remove excuses". I used to hate myself for not wearing appropriate eyewear, and not using the appropriate fence or clamp. One day I woke up and said "duh!" and removed the excuses. My safety gear now lives on a critical operating component of every tool, with duplications where necessary. It is physically impossible for me to "make one quick cut" without removing the safety wear from the tool. And if I remove it and it's in my hand, there's zero excuse to "make one quick cut" without putting it on. It would take more time and effort to find a "safe place" to put the safety gear down instead of just putting it on my body where it belongs.

924 925

That habit has made all the difference in the world to my actually using safety gear.

BTW: Although it seems like a good idea, NEVER wear gloves with spinning/moving tools. Gloves can get caught and yank your hand through a tool in a heartbeat. And they are zero help against a tool made to cut hardened steel and titanium.

All the scare-stuff over: Be careful, BE ATTENTIVE, but don't be fearful and hesitant (He who hesitates is lost). Personally, I'm all for CALCULATED risk. Don't hide under your bed, live your life. Just don't take unnecessary chances.

Adrenalynn
12-17-2008, 05:01 PM
The basic guideline to use for a scrollsaw / bandsaw is to let your palms rest on the table and guide the part with your fingers. Never ever lean on the part you're cutting cause you will shoot through the metal faster than you think.

And mind your thumbs!

The only close-calls I've ever had with a scroll saw involve "steering" a fine piece with my thumbs instead of a piece of sacrificial wood or a bolted fence...

robot maker
12-17-2008, 05:55 PM
i remember in shop school in class when i was age 16 i cut my finger on a bandsaw and learned the hard way about safety,finger ok now,tought me a good lesson,and ever since then been carefull and respecting tools,and i use alot of machine tools at work,even some electronic tools are dangerous,like high voltage from tv,s that i use to repair a long time ago,simple tools like hammer and screwdriver is dangerous with out safety first,but still i try to stay focus and use the right safety equipment,at work we can have any loose chains,watches or gloves and rings in machine shop area,also no loose shirts or long sleeves

metaform3d
12-18-2008, 01:07 AM
Because of the need for mechanical stability and repeatability, good machine tools tend to be heavy. It's impossible to make something light that doesn't suffer from flex, vibration or backlash. Part of the problem is that lathes and milling machines are extremely powerful, and all that power demands a structure with a lot of strength to resist torque, oscillation and impulse forces.

And that power is very dangerous. 'Lynn has taken exactly the right approach in forcing herself to observe safety precautions even when it would be easier not to. It's a little like dealing with guns -- you have to have a protocol that you observe religiously even when you could easily argue that it doesn't make sense. Do everything by the book because you never know when your "shortcut" will tear your scalp off. (More of a fear for me I guess; I have long hair.)

In my garage shop, on the other hand, the only non-hand tools I have are a drill press, a belt sander and a table saw. And a vice, I guess, if that should be considered a tool in its own right; I use it for everything. I would really like a scroll saw. With that combination I feel like I could do 90% of what I need without going to the shop and using the big tools.

Adrenalynn
12-18-2008, 03:33 AM
Mine's not as long as yours, but there's Scrunchies all over my lab and shop... ;)

ooops
12-18-2008, 07:37 AM
I'm now looking at scroll saws that are out there. Looks interesting since there much lighter and I can still do a wide array of things with it. It may be a better investment at the moment. My only concern (and my mother's) is that it looks kind of dangerous. It works like a jig saw? The saw going up and down I mean. I'd be scared to put a finger in there by accident...
Thanks for all the comment guys, keep it up
Sam

Sam,
All the safety info provided here and with your tools are important and anytime you work with anything powered you should be vigilant! I would suggest to you and your Mom that the scroll saw when respected is a safe tool. I wouldn't want you or her to be afraid of a tool due to the safety rules that are provided with it, or because it "looks dangerous". 98% of the rules are just good ole common sense, and the other 2% is for worst case scenario instances.
With a handle like Ooops, it shouldn't be hard to guess that I tend to do and learn things the hard way first, that said, I so far still have all my fingers and toes. I would like to attribute that to having been blessed with a fair amount of common sense which had me following the safety rules with or without having them memorized.
So, assuming you are a responsible person with a fair amount of common sense, put that scroll saw on your Christmas list and use it to build some bots in '09!

robot maker
12-19-2008, 12:49 AM
you should never be afraid of any tool because of the danger or you will have that problem the rest of your life
just need to respect it and use safety,you can use push boards or another way to push or hold and move metal or plastic around on the scroll saw

that about close when i started to use power tools ,scroll saws and drill press and planers
as i help my dad in is furniture and cabinet business and he tought me how to use tools safety,then learn more at a machine shop class at school
i did make a small mistake at machine shop class and took my mind of for a second and cut my finger,but still have all my fingers working and it never stop me from still using the tools ever,but learn a small lesson
if my finger gets cut off still will not be afraid of the tool
just more carefull,like learning to ride your first bike,afraid i get hurt so never ride it,you will have the problem for the rest of your life


Excellent advice all around. A mill is far more dangerous than a scroll saw, but all of them are inherently dangerous if you loose your concentration for even a second. That said - I've been using scroll saws, drill presses, band saws, etc. since I was 6. And I still have all my fingers. Because I'm properly humbled by something moving a thousand RPM that is sharp and designed to cut STEEL and TITANIUM. Kinda puts it into perspective.

SAFETY FIRST. It's not a joke. Would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute? Would you go SCUBA diving with a broken regulator? Would you go climbing without a rope? (ok, forget free climbing. . .) There's nothing "manly" about having your body-parts amputated. Take my word for it - it doesn't turn chicks on [or at least none you'd wanna hang out with. . .]

The one big thing I'd add is "remove excuses". I used to hate myself for not wearing appropriate eyewear, and not using the appropriate fence or clamp. One day I woke up and said "duh!" and removed the excuses. My safety gear now lives on a critical operating component of every tool, with duplications where necessary. It is physically impossible for me to "make one quick cut" without removing the safety wear from the tool. And if I remove it and it's in my hand, there's zero excuse to "make one quick cut" without putting it on. It would take more time and effort to find a "safe place" to put the safety gear down instead of just putting it on my body where it belongs.

924 925

That habit has made all the difference in the world to my actually using safety gear.

BTW: Although it seems like a good idea, NEVER wear gloves with spinning/moving tools. Gloves can get caught and yank your hand through a tool in a heartbeat. And they are zero help against a tool made to cut hardened steel and titanium.

All the scare-stuff over: Be careful, BE ATTENTIVE, but don't be fearful and hesitant (He who hesitates is lost). Personally, I'm all for CALCULATED risk. Don't hide under your bed, live your life. Just don't take unnecessary chances.

sam
12-19-2008, 08:59 PM
Ok, you guys have convinced me, I will have to go get one for christmas!

I'm hesitating between two machines.

The stock blades are shurly for wood right? So I will have to buy a saw for metal working? Will the saw be able to cut metal even if it's made for woodworking?

Adrenalynn
12-19-2008, 09:03 PM
Nope - wood for wood and plastic, different types of blades for different types of metals. And those all have different tooth counts (number of teeth per inch [TPI]) effecting the speed and grade of the cut. But blades are cheap cheap. Plan on breaking a LOT. Most especially if you are cutting anything other than a straight line. I imagine 4mem breaks fewer than I do (he clearly is a superior craftsman, has more experience, and infinitely more patience), but I'll bet he buys 'em by the gross too.

robot maker
12-19-2008, 09:21 PM
fine tooth and med tooth are for mostly metal and plastic and smooth cutting on wood
go very slow in cutting blade will last alot longer
on plastic go very slow not to heat up the blade,also when doing odds cuts take small cuts ,then finish by trimming ,you will find that the blade will last alot longer,i was tought this at machine shop in school


also i wonder witch is better a band saw with 1/8 inch blade or 3/8 or scrollsaw


i see band saws are alot more money,so they should last longer
seem for now to get a scroll saw instead of making cnc router,still will have alot more room for it and all in one machine,,thinking of getting the same all-in one machine that r&d has for $800 compared to $1600 that Adrenalynn had a link too,because dont need a overkill ,since the machine does all what i need and more and very good results ,and i compared it to bridgeport,only thing i saw it has a longer length in lathe and deeper in milling,witch i see no need for my projects at all

Ok, you guys have convinced me, I will have to go get one for christmas!

I'm hesitating between two machines.

The stock blades are shurly for wood right? So I will have to buy a saw for metal working? Will the saw be able to cut metal even if it's made for woodworking?

Adrenalynn
12-19-2008, 10:21 PM
Well, and the micro-adjust. But that's unimportant unless you're doing something where you want some kind of precision and accuracy - which also, cooincidentally, is everything I've ever done on a mill.

robot maker
12-19-2008, 11:16 PM
very very hig precision and accuracy,you can always send it out to be made at a milling shop
both are very well made and very heavy


also what about bandsaw and scrollsaw,witch one is better,i am thinking bandsaw might be better to change to larger blades,1/8 may be close to make round cuts,but scrollsaw i think has a smaller blade


Well, and the micro-adjust. But that's unimportant unless you're doing something where you want some kind of precision and accuracy - which also, cooincidentally, is everything I've ever done on a mill.

Quantum
12-19-2008, 11:25 PM
I have read this thread the last couple of days and thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

As a person that works in the tool and die trade I thought I have enough experience to give you guys some help. We make tooling to make automotive parts. Alot of our stuff is for seat beat restraint mounts and other various parts. Seats, shocks, and other parts. Precision is a must and no excuses are accepted.

First these machines that are all in one are useless. Why spend 800 bucks on a machine when so many shops right now are going out of business where you can pick up a specific machine for the specific task. Never buy new unless you don't care about money.

Bridgeport's I can get one for 1500 and a one with a read out for 2000 may be a little bit more. This depends on the condition on the machine. But you buy this machine you'll have it for you lifetime not this Chinese made piece of crap. Sorry thats the truth. I bought a small mill (Chinese piece of crap) from grizzly and converted it over to CNC works great still use but I burn thru belts and the accuracy is a couple thousands off and no mater how hard I try I cant get it more accurate. Theres a picture of it on the forums under workshops. Great for robots and other hobby uses. But You should try to pay the machine off with some work. At least to pay the cost off. Plus these guys have some much that there really limited to what you can do with them.

I have always believed if you have the room and the money buy a machine for a specific need. Mill milling, drill press drilling, lathe for spinning out parts, and a scroll saw. No band saws unless your cutting thru a block of cold rolled d2 steel you don't need it. Build a shop it takes time but so worth it. It will cost some but if you take the time and patience you build a kick ass shop.

Start small get the mill convert it when the time is right and you got a cnc. Lathe I want one to make into a CNC but do I need it not really I can make alot of the parts on the CNC mill. I am limited to endmill size(length) but i can make small shafts. But i throw a 4th axis which i can then i have a small lathe the can spin out a part almost 10in in one machine.

I'm currently making something for the current contest and will post in a couple of days. I acutally started it today since were so slow right now at the shop. The project is made entirely of my (Chinese piece of crap) CNC Mill I built. By the way I spent 4500 on my mill I could buy one for that price with 2X the table size now. built about a year ago.

Paul

4mem8
12-19-2008, 11:44 PM
I thought I might chip in here guys, All good advice above. Complacency is the biggest mistake anyone can have with machinery, I have been a joiner/cabinet maker for over 38yrs and have seen some horrific accidents personally including myself. If you want me to go into some gory details I will just to bring you into reality with machines. I live with them every day and treated with respect they will do you no harm, disregard that and your life is at stake. One of the most dangerous machines in our factory is the spindle moulder, A safe machine in it's own right, BUT, break the rule with this machine and your limbs are at great risk. One of my jobs every week is to maintain these machines, Spindle molder, crosscut saw, tables saw, buzzer, thicknessor, three bandsaws, two drill press's, sander, dowl borer, two disc sanders, The biggest problem at our workshop is blunt blades, people will not understand why wood will not cut, and it is like teaching children, because we use diverse materials such as fiber glass, hardwoods, plastic and so on the blades have to be costantly changed, but it is always left up to me even though I get angry at ppl that will not change the blades when blunt. so annoying. When [I hope not] someone has an accident they will then realize how stupid they were not to adhere to the rules. I have been through this with two accidents over the 38 year period. [which is not bad for joiners] but not had an accident for twenty years because like Adrenalynn I have safty gear everywhere and think twice before I use any machine now. Loose limbs and it's permanent. I have half lost the use of two fingers in a triple head dowl boring machine with three counter rotating 10mm drill bits spaced 12mm apart, Think about it, what happens when one finger gets caught between the two top drills, Think hard at the results, it's not a pretty sight. Sorry to carry on, but I am serious about saftey with machines.

robot maker
12-20-2008, 01:01 AM
thats the very same with me about beening very serious with safety
working with my dad that is a cabinet maker for over 50 years at 82 still doing it
he tought me alot about safety and not to be scared of the machine,he says if you are scared ,you may get hurt
i made a small mistake when i was young,i was looking away for just a second to see a problem happening to someone else and i got a small cut on my finger,i was lucky,but i learn a very very good lesson
when using a machine and a bomb or anything else happens to take your mind off your job,forget about it finish the job first or turn off the machine
i think this might be one of the big reasons for getting a accident,besides dull blade or drill getting ready to break or chip


I thought I might chip in here guys, All good advice above. Complacency is the biggest mistake anyone can have with machinery, I have been a joiner/cabinet maker for over 38yrs and have seen some horrific accidents personally including myself. If you want me to go into some gory details I will just to bring you into reality with machines. I live with them every day and treated with respect they will do you no harm, disregard that and your life is at stake. One of the most dangerous machines in our factory is the spindle moulder, A safe machine in it's own right, BUT, break the rule with this machine and your limbs are at great risk. One of my jobs every week is to maintain these machines, Spindle molder, crosscut saw, tables saw, buzzer, thicknessor, three bandsaws, two drill press's, sander, dowl borer, two disc sanders, The biggest problem at our workshop is blunt blades, people will not understand why wood will not cut, and it is like teaching children, because we use diverse materials such as fiber glass, hardwoods, plastic and so on the blades have to be costantly changed, but it is always left up to me even though I get angry at ppl that will not change the blades when blunt. so annoying. When [I hope not] someone has an accident they will then realize how stupid they were not to adhere to the rules. I have been through this with two accidents over the 38 year period. [which is not bad for joiners] but not had an accident for twenty years because like Adrenalynn I have safty gear everywhere and think twice before I use any machine now. Loose limbs and it's permanent. I have half lost the use of two fingers in a triple head dowl boring machine with three counter rotating 10mm drill bits spaced 12mm apart, Think about it, what happens when one finger gets caught between the two top drills, Think hard at the results, it's not a pretty sight. Sorry to carry on, but I am serious about saftey with machines.

Adrenalynn
12-20-2008, 01:22 AM
Quantum, thanks for chiming in!

Space is frequently a premium in home shops. Heck, it's a premium in commercial shops too. ;) I only have about 600sq-ft dedicated to the big tools (the smaller stuff is in the lab, a few hundred more sqft). It's just not practical for me to bring that much single-use tooling into that space. I'd rather have a pretty good mill/lathe than a good mill no lathe/vice-versa. With the micro-table, you can get one-1.5 thousandths repeatable all day long on mine - close enough for government work. Mine's the more expensive version though. I don't have a work surface in the shop that's leveled/smoothed much more accurately than that. And I certainly don't have the patience to machine to much tighter tolerances anyway. ;)

robot maker
12-20-2008, 01:24 AM
i kinda disagree,we bought $800 all in one machine for R&d and had almost along as i work there ,14 years and counting,i think they got it 11 years ago from harbor freight and still no problems with it,does small needs for my robots and doesnt take a super big shop to handle a very big machine like the bridge port ,weight is most likely over 1000lbs,then besides the machine there are are machines needed to have room for,cabinets for robot parts and bench to work on
bridgeports are great for factory
it all depends on how much you use it and hgow you take good care of it,in robot parts i see very little parts need to be made like for mine,few arm and fingers and gear boxes and few others
now on a cnc router or bandsaw yes alot of parts bases,plastic panels for sides if needed and shelf,
all in one machine has a precision drill press,lathe and mill machine,mill machine very litlle use so far since not into making aluminium bases for robowars

now if building robots for robowars i could see a need for a bridgeport,because you need to remove alot of aluminium from a block of aluminium for a good strong base

Adrenalynn ,does have small point on the machine she has with micro adjust for precision lathe
but can always send out a piece to be made if that much high precision is needed or in my case ,use bridgeport at work or friend that has one too

both $800 and $1600 that Adrenalynn has a link too made by same company
i dont know how long Adrenalynn has hers ,but i bet a very long time and still very good i guess

price of the bridge port is only one problem,space is needed and alot plus all tools bits and cutters
then shipping is very high and maybe a special truck and plus lifting equipment to move near 1000 lbs


also work i do with all in one machine is to make precision bed of nails for testing circuit board that company makes,also platic or metal honding clamps and bases to hold boards in place and much more ,besides design very high precision calibration circiuts for in house and final testers for production,been doing it for over 12 years and counting



I have read this thread the last couple of days and thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

As a person that works in the tool and die trade I thought I have enough experience to give you guys some help. We make tooling to make automotive parts. Alot of our stuff is for seat beat restraint mounts and other various parts. Seats, shocks, and other parts. Precision is a must and no excuses are accepted.

First these machines that are all in one are useless. Why spend 800 bucks on a machine when so many shops right now are going out of business where you can pick up a specific machine for the specific task. Never buy new unless you don't care about money.

Bridgeport's I can get one for 1500 and a one with a read out for 2000 may be a little bit more. This depends on the condition on the machine. But you buy this machine you'll have it for you lifetime not this Chinese made piece of crap. Sorry thats the truth. I bought a small mill (Chinese piece of crap) from grizzly and converted it over to CNC works great still use but I burn thru belts and the accuracy is a couple thousands off and no mater how hard I try I cant get it more accurate. Theres a picture of it on the forums under workshops. Great for robots and other hobby uses. But You should try to pay the machine off with some work. At least to pay the cost off. Plus these guys have some much that there really limited to what you can do with them.

I have always believed if you have the room and the money buy a machine for a specific need. Mill milling, drill press drilling, lathe for spinning out parts, and a scroll saw. No band saws unless your cutting thru a block of cold rolled d2 steel you don't need it. Build a shop it takes time but so worth it. It will cost some but if you take the time and patience you build a kick ass shop.

Start small get the mill convert it when the time is right and you got a cnc. Lathe I want one to make into a CNC but do I need it not really I can make alot of the parts on the CNC mill. I am limited to endmill size(length) but i can make small shafts. But i throw a 4th axis which i can then i have a small lathe the can spin out a part almost 10in in one machine.

I'm currently making something for the current contest and will post in a couple of days. I acutally started it today since were so slow right now at the shop. The project is made entirely of my (Chinese piece of crap) CNC Mill I built. By the way I spent 4500 on my mill I could buy one for that price with 2X the table size now. built about a year ago.

Paul