"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Sieg X3

4 Inch Machinist Vise

There is now another new tool in the THMS workshop. I received my four inch machinist vise from the Little Machine Shop and have it installed on my Sieg X3 Small Mill. I think it is a great addition to the manual mill and have posted a review in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/cms/workshop/4-inch-machinist-vise

Jump over there for a close look at this medium priced precision machinist vise.

Tight Squeeze

newvice4inchTexas weather has finally relented from the high temperatures and we are now into an El Niño wet spell. But it does mean that it is very comfortable for working in my unconditioned garage workshop.

I do have heaters for the winter but no air conditioning for the hot weather. So Fall is the season for me to spend more hours in the shop.

I am presently considering an addition to my Taig X3 Small Mill. I just made a repair to the DROPROS digital scales I have on the machine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been using it enough to keep the memory backup battery charged. It is a 3Volt rechargeable Ni-Cad rather than a large button cell. I killed it once a few years ago and it died on me again just a few weeks ago.

I sent it back to DroPros the first time (free repair) but I did it myself this time. I found the exact same replacement battery on-line. What happens is the Ni-CAD discharges so low and for so long that it reverses one of the cells. Then it will not take a full charge. New battery and the scales are working perfectly again.

How I discovered it was I had a project that I wanted to use the manual mill and the digital scales. I finished the project with the manual scales and ordered the battery.

The project went well but I decided I really needed a heavier and larger vice on the X3. I have been using a 3” screwless vice for years. Now I am looking for a 4” lockdown style vise. It may or may not look like the picture shown. It should weigh about 35 pounds.

The larger jaws, heavier weight and especially the screw action should make my set-ups much easier. I should also… Continue reading

Lighting Efficiency

I am a professional Certified Energy Manager (CEM) with a few other credentials (BEP) (CSDP). So let me say my real occupation is in energy management and conservation. I am not one of the radical “save the planet” phreaks, but I do take a very practical sustainable approach to energy management.

So anything that can be done with reasonable expectations and return on investment is on my todo list. Many things being promoted today are more political fodder than a practical solution.

One great advance today is in LED lighting. Where there is a need for good lighting, very low heat and a huge reduction in power, the LED lamp has come into it own. Here is what I have begun in my own shop.


LED LightingThis is my X3 small mill. I have two task lights, one mounted on each side. Each fixture is rated for 100 watts but I always used 50 watt PAR20 bulbs. You can see one illuminated in this picture. Using both fixtures, it is 100 watts and most of that power is radiated as heat rather than light.

You can see how “warm” the color tone of the light is. This is typical of incandescent bulbs, especially as they age.





LED LightingHere is a closeup of the same picture as above. On the left is the incandescent 50 watt bulb next to the 9.5 watt LED PAR20 bulb. On the right is how the LED bulb is packaged. You can see on the package it is a PAR20 FLOOD, lasts 30,000 hours and is 500 lumens. I chose the 5000°K bulb which is a very white “outdoor” natural daylight color. So it uses more than 5 times less power and will last 15 times longer than the old bulbs. The LED lamp is built far more rugged… Continue reading

DRO Error Fix

This is my DROpros DRO that I installed on my X3 manual mill back in February of 2010. There is also a complete install article in The Hobbyist Machine Shop. Go visit both links.

This is the best addition I made to my manual mill. I use the DRO on everything I make on the X3 Who needs dials anymore?

Well, I did. I was about to run a few cuts and when I flipped the DRPpros on it did its little display dance as I call it the gave me an error seen in the first picture. The X REF kind of hinted to me it was looking for a reference and didn’t find it. I figured there may be a battery inside for a reference voltage.

I sent this first picture to DROpros and explained the problem. They agreed it could be a battery or perhaps a diode that failed.

About a week later I shipped the control head back to them. I did peek inside and there IS a battery on the main board. I checked the voltage and under no load it was only half of the voltage indicated on the battery label. Ta-ta…

Just got it back and as you see it is working perfectly again. I didn’t get a bill for repair or return shipping yet. I paid for for sending. I may not get a bill.

The DroPros owner is a veteran and proud of his customer service. As a veteran brother… Continue reading

Shars Preminum ER16 Collet Holder

I just received this R8 to ER16 premium collet holder from Shars Tool Company in St Charles, IL. It is brand new and rated at 0.0001″ runout at the face. What that means is that this collet adapter should be able to run at well over 10,000 RPM without problem.

When you spin that fast and faster, things like balancing the collet nut become necessary. You can see that has been done on this adapter. I will never get close to that rpm on the X3 mill but it is nice to know it is that good.

I have some projects that need machined with small end mills. The manual Taig mill with an ER16 spindle would be perfect. My Taig mill is set up as CNC and although it could be controlled manually, I like to use the X3 with the DRO for manual milling. Higher RPM would be nicer on the X3 for small bits, but I can live with 2000 RPM and slow feeds.

The adapter looks like is was made from stainless steel but it is nickel plated to avoid corrosion from cooling fluids.

Price range $50 – $60. On Ebay I bought at the lower price.

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