new broke machinist building an entire shop ground up!

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G Jones

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Hello people!

My name is G Jones. I'm 33 years old, and I'm on permanent disability due to breaking my back 10 years ago (I like to think of it as retired before 40 ;D )

So I have a ton of time, a very small workplace (a big desk with an L extension).
I also have a very limited income of a couple hundred Canadian $ a month.

What I would like to do is approach the idea of setting up a machine shop from the ground up using what few tools and techniques I have available to me. I figure to start I'll buy a surface plate, and maybe a set of gauge blocks, then from there make all the tools I might need in order to make small hobbyist models and gadgets.

I fortunately have nothing but time. I expect this will take many, many years, which I happen to have, and plan to document it with video, maybe make a youtube series to show people what is possible if you have a limited income and enough time and determination.

I would love to chat with you guys and discuss ideas and plans, and make some online friends to help me through my journey! I have many many years of woodworking experience, but not a lot of metalworking skills, so it's going to be an adventure of discovery, I'm sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all!
 

G Jones

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where would be a good place on this forum to discuss plans for shop setup and to discuss what tools to make, and in what order,etc?

I have so many ideas and I'm not sure where to start!

EDIT - I meant to ask here on THIS for forum where I could discuss setting up a new shop.I
 
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stevehuckss396

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Hello G!

Try posting it in "the shop" and if that doesn't work for the moderators they will kindly put it where it belongs. Don't worry about making a few mistakes. Good bunch here and are willing to patiently show you the ropes.
 

Gordon

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Hello people!

My name is G Jones. I'm 33 years old, and I'm on permanent disability due to breaking my back 10 years ago (I like to think of it as retired before 40 ;D )

So I have a ton of time, a very small workplace (a big desk with an L extension).
I also have a very limited income of a couple hundred Canadian $ a month.

What I would like to do is approach the idea of setting up a machine shop from the ground up using what few tools and techniques I have available to me. I figure to start I'll buy a surface plate, and maybe a set of gauge blocks, then from there make all the tools I might need in order to make small hobbyist models and gadgets.

I fortunately have nothing but time. I expect this will take many, many years, which I happen to have, and plan to document it with video, maybe make a youtube series to show people what is possible if you have a limited income and enough time and determination.

I would love to chat with you guys and discuss ideas and plans, and make some online friends to help me through my journey! I have many many years of woodworking experience, but not a lot of metalworking skills, so it's going to be an adventure of discovery, I'm sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all!
I think that a surface plate and gauge blocks are not the first thing that you need. They are worthless without the means to make parts. Perhaps look at something like Gingery books on how to build things like a lathe or mill. I don't know what resources you have access to but that may be a good place to start. Perhaps someone in your area would allow you to use some of their equipment. Another possibility would be to try to get a really cheap used lathe and rebuild it. Some of the parts required for a rebuild could conceivably be made on the badly worn machine or some of the folks here would probably be willing to make replacement parts. Some replacement parts can be made with nothing but a hand drill and files.
 

fencer

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High ,It is not easy to start in this hobby but the journey is rewarding.I had no lathe but wanted to make an astronomical regulator .I won't bore you with the way I built it, but I did.It is surprising what can be achieved with perseverance and a will.Stick with it the forum will be here for you when you require it,someone will have the answer you need.
Frank
 

Apprentice707

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Hello G Jones,
Welcome aboard the making stuff wagon. I was afflicted with this journey when I was 10 years old and now at 73 I still look for challenges and opportunities to explore the way. At present, I am beginning to explore 3D printing and I am pleased to say getting there albeit slowly.

I agree with Gordan about the surface plate and gauges, perhaps you should start with a good book and a lot of hours on Youtube.

I don't know what facilities you have in Canada but perhaps a local Model Engineering Club might be a starting place and perhaps the local college runs classes on hand and machine skills. You may then meet people of the same persuasion as yourself and they will offer the support you need. The paths are endless and no one way is the correct way, it is all personal choice and should all be enjoyable.

Good luck

Regards

B
 

Jennifer Edwards

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Hi there and welcome to our close knit community.

I concur with the others that s surface plate and gauge blocks are not the first thing you would want to invest a limited budget on.

Rather join a local model engineering club, preferably one with an accessible shop.

Learn the basics of the hobby thru books, the net, and by interacting with others in the hobby. The local club will come in handy there.

You will find that most folks in this hobby are more than willing to help out. Not only with sharing knowledge but also with obtaining good second hand machinery.

Many of us have machines just collecting dust because they have been replaced by something different, that can be had very reasonably.

For the price of s proper granite surface plate and a good set of gauge blocks you should be able to find a usable small lathe.

Again welcome!
Jenny
 

Brian Lawson

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Hello people!

My name is G Jones. I'm 33 years old, and I'm on permanent disability due to breaking my back 10 years ago (I like to think of it as retired before 40 ;D )

So I have a ton of time, a very small workplace (a big desk with an L extension).
I also have a very limited income of a couple hundred Canadian $ a month.

What I would like to do is approach the idea of setting up a machine shop from the ground up using what few tools and techniques I have available to me. I figure to start I'll buy a surface plate, and maybe a set of gauge blocks, then from there make all the tools I might need in order to make small hobbyist models and gadgets.

I fortunately have nothing but time. I expect this will take many, many years, which I happen to have, and plan to document it with video, maybe make a youtube series to show people what is possible if you have a limited income and enough time and determination.

I would love to chat with you guys and discuss ideas and plans, and make some online friends to help me through my journey! I have many many years of woodworking experience, but not a lot of metalworking skills, so it's going to be an adventure of discovery, I'm sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all!
 

Brian Lawson

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Hey G.Jones,,
Sorry for your troubles, but seems like you are taking a "best I can do!!" attitude. Good for you !!
One comment on a bit of what you wrote.
My first "surface plate", was derived from a discussion of this type many many years ago, where a 24" square of 1/2" float plate glass was suggested. It suggested a box 1-1/2" to 2" deep of 3/4" clear pine, with an oversize allowance of at least 1/2" all inside edges to the glass. Make up the box, pour enough fairly wet Plaster-of-Paris in to bring the goop to 1/2" below top of the box, and carefully set the glass in it. This will bring the goop up in the box clearance you left, but the glass should be kept at least 1/4" proud. If the glass you got is perfectly square on the perimeter and depth, this being proud provides for using the edges to measure from and along later when in use. Make a thin plywood cover for when it's not in use. The description in those old instructions used a term that I found amusing, and I've since used quite a lot, in that this type glass was described as being quite flat, but not Flaaaaaaat!!! Worked a treat for many years, and not nearly as heavy as the same size granite, and nowhere the price either.
If you have a good "metalworking" show you can visit, like NAMES or Cabin Fever, or the one in Zanesville, Ohio, there are always reasonably priced sets of Jo-blocks available, many of them not quite complete and/or of mixed manufacture (things that are only important to "collecters").
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
 

kjk

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Assuming you are mobile, I would suggest starting with the Victoria makerspace.
 

tornitore45

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Many of us have machines just collecting dust because they have been replaced by something different, that can be had very reasonably.
Guilty.
If not machines a few expensive accessories were bought drooling over catalogs rather than driven by repeated needs.
In the early stages of the hobby I was driven by the philosophy
"Better have it before I need it" rather than
"I'll cross that bridge when I come to, if ever".
 

lathe nut

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Mr. Jones, you picked a good place to learn, these people are a well spring on wisdom, I am a tinker that owns way to may lathes, mills and drill pressed and it goes on and on, never give up and never give in, I have a friend who had an accident probably 45 years ago that put him wheel chair bound, he opened a machine shop at his home and had made a good living, he is good but people go to him to see how life can be when you don't have an excuse not to work, go, you can do it.
 

dazz

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Hi
Have you considered joining or opening a Menzshed.
There are Menzsheds in many countries. They exist for people like you.

Dazz
 

railfancwb

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Hello people!

My name is G Jones. I'm 33 years old, and I'm on permanent disability due to breaking my back 10 years ago (I like to think of it as retired before 40 ;D )

So I have a ton of time, a very small workplace (a big desk with an L extension).
I also have a very limited income of a couple hundred Canadian $ a month.

What I would like to do is approach the idea of setting up a machine shop from the ground up using what few tools and techniques I have available to me. I figure to start I'll buy a surface plate, and maybe a set of gauge blocks, then from there make all the tools I might need in order to make small hobbyist models and gadgets.

I fortunately have nothing but time. I expect this will take many, many years, which I happen to have, and plan to document it with video, maybe make a youtube series to show people what is possible if you have a limited income and enough time and determination.

I would love to chat with you guys and discuss ideas and plans, and make some online friends to help me through my journey! I have many many years of woodworking experience, but not a lot of metalworking skills, so it's going to be an adventure of discovery, I'm sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all!
Consider checking from a library or purchasing the David Gingery series on building shop machines. Since his approach starts with a home made foundry and DIY pattern making and aluminum casting, your woodworking experience fits.

Adjustments.jpg


Can buy the books individually in order as in the picture. There is also a one-book hardbound edition.

Mr Gingery also wrote other books of similar nature but not part of the series.
 

gmaf

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G,
I would buy a Unimat lathe and learn all you can using it. You don't need more than a desk to set it on and you can turn ,mill and drill from the get go.
They are inexpensive and give decent results. You can always "graduate" to larger machines if needed.
GM
 

packrat

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My first lathe was a Unimat back in the 70s, {sold it} I wish I had it back now to do small stuff
like pins..I looked at some on ebay and the price is going out of sight.
 

Bully

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Hi G Jones, Firstly let me say "Good on you" for what you are doing. You will find the machinist community is vast and generally always willing to help "newbies". If you want to learn checkout this site on YouTube "THATLAZYMACHINIST". Marc L'Ecuyer is an excellent teacher and qualified too. I started my workshop three years ago, after some heavy relationship issues, and have not looked back. My little workshop has saved my sanity and gives me never ending enjoyment.
Start with some good quality measuring tools before worrying about surface plates. Scales, Calipers and then micrometers. 90% of the measuring I do is done with dial calipers. The digital type Calipers are good but very frustrating when the battery goes flat. One thing you will need is a Dial Test Indicator with magnetic stand (accuracy 0.001 inch). You will need this to accurately setup your lathe and to measure runout of parts during machining. I too am on a budget but always try to buy good quality tools. Joe Pieczynski (checkout his YouTube channel) has a saying "Buy nice or buy twice). Also, have a look at Tubal Cain (Lyle Peterson) YouTube channel: misterpete222. Tubal is also an old shop teacher. I have learned an enormous amount by watching all the videos these guys have made on machining. Don't be put off by the size of the machines they use. The techniques also apply to small and mini lathes, with little common sense applied.
I hope this helps you.
Good luck with your workshop.
Happy to talk anytime,
Bully.
 

lathe nut

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I was lucky went to a garage sale the Lady had one in the originally wooden box with all the tooling, drill press parts, cut off saw and the paper work that her husband sent off to popular mechanic magazine to find out where to but the lathe, she wanted fifty dollars, I had one hundred and fifty dollars on me and gave it to her and had a hard time to get her to take it, she said that is way to much, I told her I paid way to little and she finally gave in and took the money, made several things like the ring on the right of the photo, not the cannon.
 
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