Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Christmas!

When I was a  kid, watching Swiss Family Robinson, I heard the dad say, "Ernst, Happy Christmas!"  That seemed to make more sense to me than Merry Christmas.   I adopted it as my normal greeting....  It stumps folks, too.  Makes their thought process clank up.  I love it.

Christmas this morning was sweet.  Sound asleep when my grown daughter comes running in, "Wake up, it's CHRISTMAS!!!"  "I've been up since six!!"

She came over to celebrate...  What a great kid!

My turn to open my present, and I see this under the paper.......

Can you say "Oh Baby!"

My mouth dropped open, and I stalled out.  My thought process clanked up.  "Heavy box, and it's a Brown & Sharpe?!?!?!?!"

My wife and daughter conspired together this year.  My daughter says, "I looked all over trying to figure out what to get you.  I looked on blogs and threads all over the internet.  Most said don't buy anything, just give them a gift card.  Then I saw this.  I didn't remember seeing one in your shop, so, Merry Christmas!!"

Oh my gosh.......

A thing of beauty is a joy forever!

Satin Chrome, NOS, even has the scribe!!!  How cool is that!

I sent her a video from MrPete222 last year talking about how to buy gifts for a mechanic / machinist / hobby-ist.  And she took it to heart.  My wife got a bit stuck, so she and my daughter worked together to find the perfect thing.  I like Starrett tools, but B&S are my favorites.  How in the world.....

Looking past a want to a need is a very special thing.  That takes knowledge and wisdom.  As you enjoy today, remember that God Himself did that for us.  That's the reason for the season.  Looking past our wants, to what we really needed.  A gift that makes someone into what he was created to be.  As someone who makes stuff almost everyday, that really speaks to me.   I see a block of material, I remove all the stuff that covers the part, and there it is.  What I designed, laid out on the block, machined away the swarf to see and to ultimately use.  Now, it's not a big block of metal, it's a useful part.  Designed and accurately made for a specific purpose.  In the Bible, there is a verse which really illustrates that.  Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Yup, Jesus came to take me and make me something that was fit to do what He wants me to do.  He is The Master Machinist.

Happy Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


You found that old LeBlond lathe, or Clausing drill press.  Where do you find the manual that didn't come with it?   That is an important question.  I've found myself there almost everytime I've purchased a machine tool.

When it comes to digging for obscure, obsolete, or just vintage instruction manuals, Google is our friend.  I normally have other words for it, but it is an important tool.

the second mill I bought

I usually start out broad, then add pdf in the search box:  "Clausing drill press pdf"  also use the model number if possible:  "leblond regal manual pdf".  If you get a lot of hits, then start refining the terms.

These are the spot's I've found that have the most information:

Keith Rucker's Vintage Machinery.  Tons of good stuff in there.

Lathes.com in the UK has a ton of good info as well.

Blogs sometimes do a good job of detailing work, with pictures!  My favorite example.  My Clausing drill documentation is basically the blog printed out, with a manual I found online.  I made detailed measurements and recorded the bearing sizes in the book.

Sometimes, you have to buy them.  Like from this guy.  He also sells on ebay.  He has a lot of manuals. 

Last is the manufacturer.  Most of them don't have the info any longer, sometimes they do, but their cost can be prohibitive.  Logan lathes is an exception to this.

Fortunately I got this manual before it disappeared, like Enco

If you get totally skunked, look for the patent numbers, then dig up the drawings.  Using map colors, you can identify the component lines to figure out how it goes together.

Yeah, I have a couple reams of paper just waiting to be used.

I print mine out and then bind them with a comb binding.  That way, if I discover more stuff, like a sales flier with options or accessories, then I can stick them in with the rest of my information.  It goes from being a manual to being documentation.  That's allowed me to find accessories for the old world war two LeBlond that I didn't know existed.

A wealth of info in out of print books.

But wait!  There's more!!!  Google books has lots of out of print books scanned in and ready to download.  I print those out if I need them.  I'm old school.  I like to have something in my hand I can take notes on.  These comb bound books do that for me.  I recently added a pc in the shop, but don't have all my library on it yet.

More to follow....

Monday, December 3, 2018

It's Time for a Film!

Did you get to watch 16 mm films in school?

Were you the fourth grader that figured out how to loop the film so the sound and picture were in sync?  Were you the one that knew how to focus the lens?  Were you the one the teacher called on for help?  Did she finally give up and just ask you to load it, run it, rewind it and return it to the AV room?  Did you get one of these when everyone else was getting straight A's, or never tardy, or 100% attendance awards at school?

Yup, I have one.  6th Grade awards ceremony.  For 3 years of stellar technical service.
I guess it was inevitable that I'd be interested in mechanics, electronics and anything that required tools to keep functioning.

It's time for a film.....  

I learned a lot from watching this.  I hope you find these interesting.  I sure do.  (There may be a pop quiz)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Quickie Tool Intro

Okay, there is a Quality Assurance tool called an optical comparator.  They are usually really big and expensive.  I mean EXPEN$IVE.   Also known as a shadow graph.

Take a look, I'll wait right here.....

Optical Comparators   (Thanks, bitly.com!)

As I understand them, you place a calibrated transparent chart  on the thing, put your part on a stand (the focal length is exact, so the scale of the chart is accurate), then QA the geometry and/or dimensions of the part.  The part is magnified and the chart is superimposed. Too cool, and too big for me.

Then I ran across this guy:

The Tool and Die Guy

He introduced me to a nice bunch of tools, including...........

The pocket comparator:

Oh yeah!
I didn't even know I needed one before watching him!!  But this a most useful tool.  Need to check a radius?  No sweat!  How about an angle? Yup.  And it's got a ruler,  small circles, everything I could imagine needing.

A bit shadowy, but it's all there.

Ye olde radius gage.  Is it accurate??

Yes, it is what is says it is.  Perfect.

Meet the pocket comparator.  It allows me to be more precise when I grind tool bits, and check if I'm holding my tolerances like I should.  I am definitely impressed.  Now if I can find the instruction sheet that didn't come with it....

Making Do

I mentioned Mr. Garcia, and his "milling machine".  A significant portion of commenters, like a 100%, wanted to see more of it.  I haven't uncovered it in a while...

Dang, even covered up, there isn't much protection a hundred miles from the gulf coast.  What a swamp.... Our normal weather is hot, mostly 40% to 75% humidity in the summer (March to October).  The winter is wicked for tools stored outside.  We'll get a strong south wind, with a lot of sticky humidity just before a cold front will come in.  A few days of nice cool and dry, then the front backs up as a warm front.  Anything with mass will still be cold, and start sweating like iced tea in summer.  If you haven't swabbed down the bare metal, you are in for a race against rust.  My rust proofing on this tool didn't survive the summer.   Another project for the list....

Okay, here's the mods on this old tool.

Attachment point:

Set at the perfect angle to be sqare to the axis of the chuck.

So, Mr. G fabbed up this square tube, and made angle iron brackets for it.  This is set square to the axis of the quill.

Quill support:
I wonder if those are skateboard bearings?

This beauty is a square tube that nests inside the one above.  It has a plate attached, loaded with bearings.  This supports the quill from lateral forces when you use it as a mill.  Brilliant.

Bearing ring installed:

Looking from the front.
And from the left

These bearings fit right on the chuck.  In spite of this, there is significant wear on the quill.  It's a bit floppy.  It could be, he added this to fix the floppy quill.  But I'm sure he used it as a mill as well.  There used to be an X Y table on it.

Table lift:

He added this bracket, with a crank handle.  That is a bike chain attached to the table, and has a small counterweight to keep the chain from jumping off the sprocket.  Very neat.

Quick belt changer:

He engineered a pivot for the motor.  This allowed quick belt / pulley changes for different speeds.  Normally, this would be a solid rod.  The weight of the motor pulls it tight.  The pulleys are off square a little, but the vee belt doesn't care.  It works perfectly.

Here is what it looked like stock:


I'll start taking it apart next spring for a de-rust and freshen it up a bit.  Provided I get all my winter projects done.  Winter comes on a Tuesday and lasts most of a whole week.  Not much time to get a long list of to-dos, to-done..