"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Always Random

Just worth saying

Engine Parts

DSC06345What I have in my left hand is six pounds of  brass engine parts. It doesn’t quite look like it yet but it will get there.  I examined my brass stash for the A3 project and it wasn’t as complete as I thought it was. The stash is good but a few things had been “borrowed” and/or are otherwise missing, or I didn’t figure materials as close as I could.

Actually this is probably 300% more than I needed but with projects like this there are minimum amounts that can be ordered. That’s OK as it will all get used at some point in time. I often cut down stock on hand that is too large rather than make a special order for a tiny quantity. If I look close enough at certain stock I can see smaller parts hiding inside, that my tools help me cut out.

That’s the nice thing about metal milling machines and metal lathes. Excess material is not much of an issue. The hard part is when you have to put some back on…

The Micro Mill

The micro mill is what it is, a micro mill. The micro mill should be considered and purchased for its size and not the price.

I occasionally read (like today) where someone has purchased a micro or a mini mill then reported it wasn’t up to the tasks they had in mind. I am not that kind of person who finds the micro mill design inadequate so I don’t know the full reason.

The first thought though is the mill was purchased because of the low price compared to larger machines. That means it is a good place to try out milling work for not too much money. Small projects and parts are the original consideration as well as the price. That is actually a good strategy starting out.

A bit of success with the micro mill leads to larger projects and more demands on the machine. The micro machine is soon determined to be “inadequate” which is certainly true. But that is not a fault of the machine. A tack hammer should not be used to drive railroad spikes.

What I seldom read is praise from the thousands of micro mills owners who use their machines comfortably within their machine’s designs limits. When not pushed far beyond their inherent limitations the machines will perform wonderfully for years of work and probably for a lifetime of hobby type use. The key to satisfaction is understanding limitations with a positive attitude. There is a term I like called finesse. It’s the art of getting something done in a subtle and delicate manner without exceeding limitations.

Many folks have it, some don’t. Other folks actually need the right tool, a bigger hammer.

Hey! While I have your attention, Have a Great and Happy New Year 2016!

Speeds & Feeds

I churned out 6 more of my 1” aluminum wrenches late Sunday afternoon. I am offering them for sale in the Ramblin’ Dan’s Store website. I have been selling them quietly but decided to go public this May. Price. $7.50

That’s the same (new) list price of the Taig flat wrench and I think the aluminum is better suited for the collet adjustment on the mill. The flat wrench is still great behind a chuck on the micro lathe.

I have optimized speed and feed according to GWizard (CNC Cookbook). I just received a new update to GWizard and now it shows me how to grab a bit more time performance if I sacrifice a quality finish. Speeds and feed didn’t change much but now it indicates I should be able to make much deeper passes. That will then require less overall time. I am down to 6 minutes 40 seconds per wrench now and I am pleased with that

BTW here is a hint for you GWizard users out there. I had to uninstall the old GWizard before the new one would install. That happens if you do not upgrade very often. I didn’t lose any of my old data.

As you can see 6 wrenches generated a lot of swarf. Nice fat chips. I was running 19 IPM with a 0.0377 DOC. The GWizard now says 0.083 DOC is possible in a roughing pass at twice the speed, but… Continue reading

Micro Machinist Association

I know there are a number of Taig Tool owners in the Dallas, “North Texas” area. I have been contacted by about a half dozen in the past few years. Some close to Dallas and all within what we would call the metro and suburb area.

I believe there is an existing hobby machinist group in the area and I assume the members are more into general machine shop work (as I am) and perhaps less involved with the small (Micro) machinery like Taig (or Sherline). I haven’t pursued more information or membership as my time until recently has been at a premium. But I do run a fair number of web sites.

So what I am wondering is if there is an interest by a few local folks for an online low profile member only (private) meeting room for micro machining? No travel involved. (Maybe later?) I am open to all suggestions, but I envision a local club type BBS group where members get to know and help each other. Not a wide open “my tool is bigger than yours” brag forum.

I believe many home machinists may not want to participate in a wide open public forum. However, a private group of like-minded local folks (an association) may be just what is desired. I have had a request many times on how to “join my club” when in fact I never had one. I don’t want to own one either. I don’t intend to be the “main voice”. Just provide a communication service if I can.

The design for this registered member site is wide open for discussion. My offer is to provide whatever online service the members’ desire. New members join by asking. It could be a simple Taig or Micro Tool owners list, a forum… Continue reading

A Learning Experience

LesLearnI struggled for some time getting the vacuum assisted lost wax casting system to perform properly. I thought it was mostly my fault and I almost believed the technique was beyond my ability. I was considering jumping over to the centripetal casting system. I decided I needed to keep trying as I knew the equipment I had was working perfectly and the only weakness was myself. It has turned out that the vacuum process is not beyond my skill and ability, but was something I just needed to practice to develop the proper skill.

Now my vacuum assisted casting is going very smoothly and I am not in the least intimidated by the process. There is a lesson to be learned here which is to pay close attention to what is going wrong. My lesson was to have faith in myself and work past the early failures.

I didn’t just find out about this little secret of success called “keep trying”. I have practiced it all my life. It is the very reason I am now confident with vacuum assist. Quitters are never successful people as they find failure as something to fear and don’t want to risk appearing weak or unable to perform, even to themselves. The usual “out” is to blame the equipment.

It’s not the equipment.

I have discovered I can learn from my mistakes when I accept the responsibility. If you have been reading my blogs for any length of time you have seen when I admit getting something wrong. I usually call it “a learning experience” and will describe what went wrong. I believe learning experiences should be shared so that someone else doesn’t have to make the same error to receive the lesson.

In my major occupation where I ran multimillion dollar projects, we… Continue reading

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