"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Gear Cleaning

I import steel gears for the mini-mill and the mini-lathe. I have sold over 200 sets of gears to people all over the world. Most buyers are machinist, used to working with wire brushes and getting dirty hands cleaning gears covered with grease or a little surface rust. Most carbon steel will rust. However, I show nice shiny gears in the photo’s. My Bad. The real gears have to be cleaned because there is some “gook” used to preserve them from rust while shipping across the salty brine. (Ocean to you land lubbers.)

Most gears are well “gooked” but a few, especially the change gears are only “oiled” a bit light. There is a coating but looks like almost none and as shown here, have definitely gathered some surface rust. The first picture is a worst case gear I could find (65 tooth change gear ). It is the largest in the group and the only one showing rust. It really does look nasty but looks are deceiving.

I think some salty air got into the last shipment. Only one side had this rust and all the other gears clustered in one group on a long bolt with this one had no rust. It is cosmetic and does not make the gear defective.

A spray with WD40, about a 5 minute soak and two to three minutes with the brush shown and the gear is photo perfect. Perhaps too much work for some people with arthritic hands. It is hard for me. A rotary wire brush would do it faster and easier.

I could clean and inspect all the gears, shine them up like shown in the store photos, re-coat with that heavy LPS3 grease for maintaining protection in storage and sell them for about 50% more… Continue reading

Hotter Than Hades

Triple Aces!

I just spent the Father’s Day week end wanting to start a project in the workshop. I say wanting because nothing quite got started that I would call a machining project. The old road to Hades is paved with good intentions.

There were a lot of other things that got done though. Even with the intensely hot (100+F) Texas temperature I did get some shop cleanup work accomplished. I did think I was in Hades while I was working in all the heat. Ha! This is my annual rant about the Texas heat.

I envy but do not quite covet those folks who work in conditioned spaces. I know what it cost to maintain the temperature differential of 20 to 30 degrees. I think if I had a full time shop (not just a weekend warrior) I could justify maintaining the space temperature at a more human bearable setting.

However, the problem with intermittent cooling of a garage workshop with steel and iron tooling is the temperature variation with adjustments and calibrations constantly changing. Worse is the cooled down shop suddenly exposed, through opening a double garage overhead door, to the inrush of very hot and humid outdoor air. Instant condensation and rust on all cold metal surfaces. All the built up expensive cool air will simply dump down the driveway.

My tools have very minimal surface rust as their surfaces never get below the dew point of the outside air. So moisture in the air doesn’t condense. I take a cold Dr. Pepper to the shop in the summer and the can immediately begins to sweat. It is well below the dew point of the air.

I never set a cold beverage can on a metal tool surface or directly on the workbench. I don’t enjoy cleaning… Continue reading

The Toolmaker

I just watched an interesting video over on the Tormach Blog site, copied here. It is a simple little YouTube video talk about toolmakers by a man named Bishop “Bud” Wisecarver. He has done a series of these, a look back at his career as a machinist. I have viewed them all and this is the one where he really makes an interesting point about toolmaking. I found it interesting to explore what he has to say before this point. There is a link on the bottom of the viewer that will take you to the other chapters in his story.

<Video no longer available>

Toolmaker is an important title and one of which to be proud. Bud sheds a renewed light on what it really means. If you make useful things from raw materials, then you too are a tool maker.

Taig Spindle

I had an inquiry about how the Taig Spindle could be taken apart and the cartridge used elsewhere. I had to be honest and admit I had never taken one apart to investigate. Taig products are so well built there was never a need to disassemble the spindle.

The new spindles are different than the older versions. The new ones have the cartridge insert from the end. It slides into a machined bore. The old heads have a split case. The pictures here are the old head. Both hold the cartridge in place with a recessed screw into the center portion of the cartridge.

I wasn’t and still not interested in pushing apart one of my ER spindles to view the cartridge. There may be no harm, but if it isn’t broke now, why look for a problem? The old split case is no problem. The side will almost fall off when the bolts are loose. Probably the reason for the change to the new style.

At first look it appears to be four bearings. The center section is not bearings (as far as I can tell). The end bearings are compressed against the center core providing proper bearing pre-load. The pre-load nuts are on the outside against the bearing case. The center section is under compression.

To me it looks like a very elegant design and has been trouble free. First class machining, not like the cheap imports. It HAS to be to run at 10,000 rpm. That doesn’t imply all imports are cheap but few are rated for that kind of speed.

So I suppose you could make your own spindle case if required. I run the spindle at 10,000+ rpm all day with no heat buildup (after… Continue reading

Traveling in a Different Style

I am in awe every time I go exploring the Internet to see what other home machinist are publishing. I am humbled by the effort and quality work that many machinists are willing to share. What a wonderful experience to sit in your own private space and see in detail what others have built or are doing. It is the ultimate resource for inspiration or just armchair voyaging into things mechanical. (Note! This is nothing to do with voyeur!)

I think the style I present is a bit different. I produce a lot more talk or writing… I suppose.

In Ramblin’ Dan I call it “Random Musings and Obscure Observations”. I figure a blog is intended for that sort of rather disjointed presentation, just thoughts of the moment. There is a date in the corner of the post of when posted. The topic can help the reader of a blog to follow the thread much easier than scanning through everything. Topics are listed in the right column.

The THMS web site is more old school formal presentation. I intend to maintain that presentation form for large projects and user reports. It is the place to put a lot of pictures with text. I mentioned awhile back I plan to do more video too.

I built TEDEX to be more of a readers share place. A registered user has free access to post their own projects, ask questions, or do most anything on topic. Even create new topics.  It is a free communication resource for hobbyists who don’t want or have the time to produce their own space.  I have been forced to make it hard to access (you have to ask) but once in, more things will work. No strings, just be real. I am sharing the ride.

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