"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Small Ideas

I see I keep writing about one topic over and over again in my forums and blogs. It has to do with the size of the machines I enjoy using in my hobby. I keep repeating myself because it just feels so good to me in the choices I have made. Of course I am pushing my personal preference and that certainly doesn’t mean nor do I intend it to mean that my personal preferences are anything but personal.

If the reader doesn’t like my preference, I am not here to make a convert to my way of thinking. I assume the only reason you are reading this is you have a similar interest in machining or you are trying to decide just where your interest (in machining) lies. I too always dig into the unfamiliar when I have the chance.

I have always enjoyed model making. That means making small things that resemble or are realistic versions of larger things. But that doesn’t mean I only build models. That preference has also spread to building full size items that are also small.

For instance, my latest interest is in the kind of CNC machining that is done in jewelry making. It is very small and very detailed and can be held in the palm of one hand. I am not going to buy gold and diamonds and make “bling” jewelry, but I would like to make parts with that kind of detail. A study of jewelry making can go a long way in learning how to do detail machining.

The small CNC milling machines that can do this are not the cheap ones. High precision is absolutely necessary when working in the realm of the very small. I believe my Taig mill can take me onto the edge of the playground at the lowest cost, but with everything required including software, it is at the $5000 range of investment minimum and can get well into the tens and twenty’s of thousands.

This is one place where machine run out measured in tenths (>0.0001) and poor tolerance machines do not make the cut. It’s a whole ‘nother world of machining. I plan to creep up on it and see how far (small) I can go.

If I have the “knack”, the patience and the skills, and can make things I can sell; then I may go farther. That is not my goal at the moment. I would like to test my limits of course, but what I want to do is make the best use of what I have.

Today I would like to make the molds and models for casting. As detailed elsewhere in this blog I have already proved to myself I can do this. I feel good about that and it is a lot of fun. I don’t need a big honking 3 phase behemoth VMC machine to play with the big boys. There are big boys in the micro machine world too. Ha!

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