Some pics of my workshop

Help Support HMEM:

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
Hello everyone,

I'm a new member, and after the obligatory first post in the Introduction forum, I might as well start my first real post by introducing myself and my workshop...

I'm 64 years old, and live in South Africa. I'm a soon to be retired civil engineer specializing in road construction, and have been making custom knives as a hobby for many years. I like to work with metal and wood, and just love the outdoors and hunting. Anyway, as I said in the Introduction, I've been participating in the "He-who-dies-with-the-most-tools-Wins" competition for many years now, but still needs a LOT more tools before I can really be competitive ;)

Unfortunately for me, I've had to scale down on the knife making due to bad arthritis in my hands that has now progressed to the stage where I cannot comfortably (or safely...) hold onto the knife blades being ground, prompting me to look at starting with model engine building instead (where the machines can do the clamping, rather than my hands :))

So, as promised, here's some photos of my current knife-making workshop that will probably be used "as-is" for the model engine making, and then a few of my "half-a-garage" workshop where I mainly play around with all my non-knife-making tools...

First the knife workshop (roughly 3.0m x 3.5m in size):

Some hand tools, storage shelf and cupboards, and a sturdy wooden work bench. The small oven in the corner has been modified to temper the hardened knife blades, and can also accommodate other smallish sized objects. It is also great for rapid curing epoxies. To the right of the oven are two granite blocks and a surface gauge, and my Tormek wet-wheel grinder
4824.jpg


To the left of the above photo is my small mill-drill, used mostly for drilling, but also for general light-duty milling, and a 150mm bench vise. Some knife blanks still to be completed are hanging from an over-head shelf
4913.jpg


And here's the most important knife making power tool in this shop - my 2m belt and disk sander. In the background of this last photo you can see my supply of knife-making tool- and martensitic stainless steels, that regularly also get used for other purposes where hardened thin plates of steel are required. Also, note the small dustbin that is usually filled with water directly below the grinder, used to keep the steel being processed cool by regular dipping - the spray bottle of water also helps...
4701.jpg


And now the "big" workshop - half a double garage, approximately 3.0m x 6.0m in size:

Visible in this photo is my steel workbench, movable bench grinder, pedestal drill, compressor, (woodworking) table saw with router attached to the table extension, a thicknesser hidden on the far right below the bench, and just a small portion of my metal band saw sticking out on the left - oh, and a very hard-working shop vac that's always underfoot.
4549.jpg


My lathe, and car in the background that is regularly covered in chips and/or oil splashes :eek:
4422.jpg


And lastly my TIG welder and toolbox combination, with an old wooden work bench that I made from railway sleepers some 35 years ago visible in the background, and still going strong...
4102.jpg


Well, that's about it, apart from two large steel cupboards where I store most of my power tools and "consumables", and a wood-turning lathe that went into hiding because it was dirty...

Having seen my current set-up, I really would appreciate any feedback, advice and constructive criticism regarding it's suitability as a model engine workshop

Hennie
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
929
Reaction score
171
Too clean and ordered to be a working shop;);)
 

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
Thanks Mauro (I do take it this was meant as a compliment 😇 )

Actually, the shop can get very dirty at times, but I try to keep it ordered and reasonably clean, just to make it easier to find things. There must be a whole bunch of Gremlins living in my shop, and they move and hide my tools if I don't put them back in their allocated places as soon as I'm done using them - it cannot be that I'm just getting forgetful ;)
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
929
Reaction score
171
Of course a compliment and a bit of envy.
My shop evolved from a woodworking hobby to include a fairly well equipped metalworking. As tools accumulated I rearranged, moved, added shelves and boxes. It is a constant evolution to pack ever more stuff.
While is functional and I can reach any tool without struggle it looks like one of those century old hardware store where next to new stuff there are a few bins of cut nails, coal stove accessories and buggy whips, all dusty, hanging from the rafters.
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
733
Reaction score
219
Location
North Carolina
Hennie, as far as power tools I'd say you have everything you need to start on model engines. Of course there are always more tools that can make the task easier - I'll be happy to endorse your list of must-have add-ons if you need to persuade a reluctant spouse ... :)

Not shown in the pictures, but presumably tucked away - calipers, micrometers, dial indicators, etc? You definitely need a selection of measuring tools.
 

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
Thanks for the reply Andy

Not shown in the pictures, but presumably tucked away - calipers, micrometers, dial indicators, etc? You definitely need a selection of measuring tools.
Agreed.

I do have four conventional micrometres (Starrets & Mitutoyos) measuring in ranges from 0-25mm, 25-50mm, 50-100mm and 100-150mm, all to a resolution of 0.01mm, and recently bought an "Italian made" digital 0-25mm x 0.001mm micrometre by mail order that turned out to be a crappy piece of plastic, obviously made in China and not Italy, but that actually measures quite well (it agrees to two decimals with my Starret) - just don't expect it to last very long....

Some time ago I made a mount that fits in my QT toolpost that simultaneously holds both a vertical and horizontal dial gauge, and also have a separate mag base and digital gauge, all measuring to 0.01mm, as well as assorted check squares, two sets of callipers (one Vernier and one digital), and various steel rulers, dividers and protractors - I will post a pic of my "metrology drawer" later today.

What I do need is a better milling machine, and more tooling such as reamers, fly cutters, carbide boring bars (only have short-reach HSS)extra-long and stub drills, and whatever I find out that I need for model engines... but money is tight, and the Minister of Finance is difficult... so your endorsement will be called for in the near future...

Regards,
Hennie
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
929
Reaction score
171
Hennie, I do not see anything wrong with your milling machine. Perhaps the observation you have a huge vice that robs you much of the Z axis and a chuck. Since I bought my ER collets I never use the drill chuck, that gives me another 2 1/2 inch of Z clearance. On the other hand your late is really nice.
 

BaronJ

Grumpy Old Git.
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
905
Reaction score
344
Location
North Yorkshire
Hi Hennie,

My milling machine is quite similar to yours, a Chinese clone of an Optimum BL20 the one with the extra long bed.

I've made a number of modifications to mine and its turned out a lot of work. Mine has an MT3 spindle and a 1Hp motor.
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
733
Reaction score
219
Location
North Carolina
I agree with Baron and Mauro - your mill will, at the very least, get you started, and may be all you ever need, unless you are planning on making full-sized models. (Are they still models if they are full-sized? Hmm ...) And you definitely have the measuring tools you need, at least to start with. But I also agree with Mauro that you might consider changing out the vise on your mill for something lower-profile and more rigid. At the very least, consider taking it off the swivel base, except when you really need the swivel.

I'm also not sure that you need to acquire any of the tooling that you mention as a pre-requisite; I'd say, start on a model and then buy the tooling as you discover what you need. FWIW, I hardly ever use anything but HSS tooling, I have almost no reamers, just a few random ones that came in a box of junk bought at an auction - and I can't recall if there has ever been one of the size I actually needed for a project. My drills are mostly import junk, but with careful resharpening have proven surprisingly effective and accurate. My fly cutters are all shop-made. I do have a 50mm indexable carbide face mill that has been quite useful - I bought an inexpensive import version.

Let me hasten to say that I would be more than happy to support and endorse the acquisition of any or all of these. Of the tooling listed above, the one I would most like to have, personally, is a set of reamers ... but there are so many potential sizes that could be needed (including fractionally larger or smaller than nominal) that I suspect I will more likely wind up buying individual reamers as needed. So far, though, I've gotten by without needing a reamer.

What I have bought in the last 6 months, in terms of major expenditures on tooling - since I began the model IC engine hobby - is a couple of sets of gear cutters (M1 and M.8, though I'm still waiting on the latter) plus the matching arbors, and a 6" rotary table - all import, so not exorbitant, but certainly a rather significant expenditure for me. I did get the RT as a Christmas present. :) Relatively minor purchases have included some small-size drill bits, including 1mm carbide, and some small milling bits (2mm) - again, all import, not very expensive, but reasonable quality. Not tooling, exactly, but I've also purchased lapping compound,

I'm probably leaving something out, but that gives you an idea of where at least one newbie to the hobby has focused his purchases.

Now: pick a project and start on it, and the folks here will coach you through it. Welcome to the obsession hobby!
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
929
Reaction score
171
Vises.
I use what is known as a grinding vise 3" jaws. Like this: https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3767&category=

Is ground flat and square on all surfaces. Is not heavy, I do not give it a second thought about moving for alternate methods. I have a 5" swivel base but never felt the need to use through the construction of six engines.

Reamers
I bought a set up to 1/2 inch in 1/16 increments, waste of money.
When do you need to ream? When you want a shaft to run in the hole.
Then you need a "over" reamer, one that is 0.001" oversized. That is what ended up buying, one at the time as needed.
Above 3/8" one might just as easily bore.
In a hurry one can make "D" bits, a remarkably useful and effective tool.

Also with a mill and a lathe one can make just about any tool. The trick is to know when you cam make one for less than it cost to buy. Sometime the metal alone cost more that buy the tool, but simple tools, holders and fixture can be made faster and cheaper than buy.

I consider making a tool a welcome diversion from working on a long complicated project.
 

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
Thanks for all the good advice and feedback, everyone.

My mill (an Optimum BF20) frustrates me in that I can only make very shallow (0.1 - 0.2mm) cuts. More than this, and it starts to chatter. Having said that, I've been using it for some years now (probably about 7-8, but cannot remember...) and have done some quite heavy work on it, but it's like eating an elephant - one small bite at a time...

Perhaps the observation you have a huge vice that robs you much of the Z axis and a chuck. Since I bought my ER collets I never use the drill chuck, that gives me another 2 1/2 inch of Z clearance
Interestingly enough, that huge chuck can grip a 1.0mm drill. Having worked on mainly knives, I've never been bothered with Z-axes space, but I take your point, and will seriously consider removing the swivel base (thanks for the tip, Andy). I do have a collet chuck of sorts that I use to hold the end mill cutters- it's visible in a wooden "shelf" on the wall to the right of the mill in the second photo that I posted. It only has four collets (6mm, 10mm, 12mm and 16mm), and is not of the "ER" type - that's been on my wish list for some time now...

What I have bought in the last 6 months, in terms of major expenditures on tooling - since I began the model IC engine hobby - is a couple of sets of gear cutters (M1 and M.8, though I'm still waiting on the latter) plus the matching arbors, and a 6" rotary table
Gear cutting - now that's opening a whole new can of worms :) I've been wanting to learn how to do this for many years, but the cost of a rotary table has in the past put a damper on that - but it's really something to seriously consider in the near future (perhaps a "from Dad to Dad" Christmas present ;))

I think that the long drills and reamers are probably quite necessary for me (but I agree, probably not for making model engines...) - I have made quite a few tools & tool holders for the lathe, and made axles and shafts for various machines, and quite a few projects required deep-hole drilling/boring. The problem (as I see it) is that the hole sizes are usually long in comparison to their diameters, and I think that it will be much easier to drill all the way through (say 120mm - 150mm deep) with say 5mm, 8mm and 10mm or 12mm "long" drills before doing the final finishing with either a boring bar or a reamer - and HSS boring bars also have their 4x diameter reach limitation, so it's either reaming or buying carbide boring bars... As an example, here's a 12mm boring bar holder that I made, mounted in my lathe quick-change tool holder

Boring holder s.jpg


In a hurry one can make "D" bits, a remarkably useful and effective tool
Mauro, I've heard about those, but have never tried making/using one - I do have some very good powder metallurgy steels that I used for high-end knives (e.g. Bohler M390) that would probably come close to HSS performance... guess that's one more thing to look into. Fortunately, I do have an electric furnace, and the knowledge & experience to heat treat high-end steels, and I do make bespoke wood turning "long & strong" chisels using M2 and M42 high speed steels such as this one

Lathe chisel s.jpg


I consider making a tool a welcome diversion from working on a long complicated project.
Agreed

Again, thanks for everyone's input - keep it going 🙂

Hennie
 

BaronJ

Grumpy Old Git.
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
905
Reaction score
344
Location
North Yorkshire
Hello Hennie,

I've made many tools to do various jobs,
New_Flycutter-1.JPG

This is a fly cutter that I made. It is very much my goto tool when I want to surface something. I've also made fly cutters for doing dovetails.
26-01-2018018.JPG
26-01-2018019.JPG

Like this one I made for a grinding jig.
08-02-2020-002.JPG

Boring bars. This one is made from a printer shaft with a broken slocom ground into a cutter and held in placewith a screw. Note that It isn't in a holder. Simply clamped in the tool slot.

I've also made a table traverse using a car window wiper motor and a few gears.
Mill-Table-drive.jpg

This is it mounted on the left end of the table. It has a tumbler gear that give me forward, stop and reverse. The red arrows indicating table direction.

These are only a few things that make the mill a much used machine.
 

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
Thanks Baron,

That's very interesting and innovative.

Boring bars. This one is made from a printer shaft with a broken slocom ground into a cutter and held in placewith a screw. Note that It isn't in a holder. Simply clamped in the tool slot.
That's a very long overhang - don't you get chatter or tapering? Do you only use it on brass/bronze, or can it also cut in (say) bright steel with the same performance?

I'm really impressed with those dove tails, and with your winder motor drive - gives me some ideas for future projects 💡

My milling machine is quite similar to yours, a Chinese clone of an Optimum BL20 the one with the extra long bed. I've made a number of modifications to mine and its turned out a lot of work. Mine has an MT3 spindle and a 1Hp motor.
That might be a major reason why our experiences differ - mine only has a MT2 spindle, and even though it has a 850W input power (thus also about 1HP), I doubt if it has more than about 0.5HP on the spindle. No matter, though - unless I can source a cheap, good condition Deckel FP1 or FP2, I'm stuck with mine... It is a very good and accurate drill, though, and that was my main reason for buying it in the first place, so I'm not really complaining.

Regards
Hennie
 

BaronJ

Grumpy Old Git.
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
905
Reaction score
344
Location
North Yorkshire
Hi Hennie,

That's a very long overhang - don't you get chatter or tapering? Do you only use it on brass/bronze, or can it also cut in (say) bright steel with the same performance?
Yes sometimes, but there are ways round that. Changing speed or depth of cut helps, but sometimes I wind a length of plumbers lead solder wire around the shaft. That can stop chatter as well. One other reason I find for chatter is when the tool gets blunt or a buildup on the cutting edge. Aluminum is a swine for doing that particularly if the hole is deep and the WD40 or diesel fuel hasn't made it to the cutting tip.

With regard to the mill. Mine is a Chinese clone of the Optimum BF20. It has a longer table and can be supplied with MT2, MT3 or R8 tapers in the spindle. They all fit in the quill.

Also my machine has steel gears, but that's another story.
 

awake

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
733
Reaction score
219
Location
North Carolina
Like Baron, I have often done boring using HSS tooling with more than 4x diameter in depth. (I had never actually heard that as a limitation with regard to boring - only for drilling, but I violate that one regularly as well.)

FWIW, my first mill (actually mill-drill) was an MT2 spindle. I don't recall what the horsepower was, but would be surprised if it was truly as much as 1 hp - probably more like 1/2. And it was a round column, which means having to re-locate everything if I had to move the head. But I did a lot of accurate work on it.

That said, we need to explore what is going on with the .1-.2mm cuts. That is really tiny, and would indeed be a pain to nibble away at something. My old mill-drill could not take a heavy cut, but certainly heavier than that - depending on what exactly we are talking about. End-cutting? With what size of end mill? (With a .5" end mill, I think I recall .025" being about the max DOC, so around .7mm). Side cutting? How wide a surface? And what type of end mill? If you don't already have any, invest in some "rougher" end mills. They allow much greater DOC when side-milling.

By the way, that's a beautiful turning chisel. As a knife maker, you are ahead of the game for making your own tooling. I've made many a tool, including not just fly cutters but dovetail cutters and slot cutters (like woodruff key cutters) and so on. Also some custom profile router cutters for a woodworking friend.
 

Richard Hed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
225
Reaction score
63
Location
Seattle
Hello everyone,

I'm a new member, and after the obligatory first post in the Introduction forum, I might as well start my first real post by introducing myself and my workshop...

I'm 64 years old, and live in South Africa. I'm a soon to be retired civil engineer specializing in road construction, and have been making custom knives as a hobby for many years. I like to work with metal and wood, and just love the outdoors and hunting. Anyway, as I said in the Introduction, I've been participating in the "He-who-dies-with-the-most-tools-Wins" competition for many years now, but still needs a LOT more tools before I can really be competitive ;)

Unfortunately for me, I've had to scale down on the knife making due to bad arthritis in my hands that has now progressed to the stage where I cannot comfortably (or safely...) hold onto the knife blades being ground, prompting me to look at starting with model engine building instead (where the machines can do the clamping, rather than my hands :))

So, as promised, here's some photos of my current knife-making workshop that will probably be used "as-is" for the model engine making, and then a few of my "half-a-garage" workshop where I mainly play around with all my non-knife-making tools...

First the knife workshop (roughly 3.0m x 3.5m in size):

Some hand tools, storage shelf and cupboards, and a sturdy wooden work bench. The small oven in the corner has been modified to temper the hardened knife blades, and can also accommodate other smallish sized objects. It is also great for rapid curing epoxies. To the right of the oven are two granite blocks and a surface gauge, and my Tormek wet-wheel grinder
View attachment 116095

To the left of the above photo is my small mill-drill, used mostly for drilling, but also for general light-duty milling, and a 150mm bench vise. Some knife blanks still to be completed are hanging from an over-head shelf
View attachment 116096

And here's the most important knife making power tool in this shop - my 2m belt and disk sander. In the background of this last photo you can see my supply of knife-making tool- and martensitic stainless steels, that regularly also get used for other purposes where hardened thin plates of steel are required. Also, note the small dustbin that is usually filled with water directly below the grinder, used to keep the steel being processed cool by regular dipping - the spray bottle of water also helps...
View attachment 116097

And now the "big" workshop - half a double garage, approximately 3.0m x 6.0m in size:

Visible in this photo is my steel workbench, movable bench grinder, pedestal drill, compressor, (woodworking) table saw with router attached to the table extension, a thicknesser hidden on the far right below the bench, and just a small portion of my metal band saw sticking out on the left - oh, and a very hard-working shop vac that's always underfoot.
View attachment 116101

My lathe, and car in the background that is regularly covered in chips and/or oil splashes :eek:
View attachment 116102

And lastly my TIG welder and toolbox combination, with an old wooden work bench that I made from railway sleepers some 35 years ago visible in the background, and still going strong...
View attachment 116103

Well, that's about it, apart from two large steel cupboards where I store most of my power tools and "consumables", and a wood-turning lathe that went into hiding because it was dirty...

Having seen my current set-up, I really would appreciate any feedback, advice and constructive criticism regarding it's suitability as a model engine workshop

Hennie
It's fine. You should see MY shop--recently partly cleaned and rearranged it--now, I can almost walk in it. Will be rearranging more, cleaning more and adding more moveable drawers. I am looking into a Chinese lathe, am wondering if anyone has any experience with medium sized ones (under 4000$). I need more space for it. As I am retard (Borat's "retired"), I don't have much moolah and so make as many of my tools as I can. My biggest prob is that I need to make tools to make the tools to make the tools to make the parts I am making (not a joke). believe it or don't, I just learned my first silver soldering to make internal threads--I was surprised at how easy and effective it was. I have a crappy little Enco lathe (I was used to using REAL machines at work as a machinist), which doesn't even cut left hand threads, is extremely unridged and so on gripe gripe gripe. I have really had to completely re-learn machining to accomodate such a tiny lathe. What I am doing now is making an ER-25 chuck holder for easier holding tiny parts. Since the Enco has a 1-1/2" -8tpi, I have to do those threads internally. With the horribly flexing tool post and the speed of rotation of the chuck, it is nearly impossible. So I have decided to put a crank (actually a steering wheel) on the back side of the lathe head and turn the threads manually.

So for some advice for those who don't know, when yhou get a lathe, make sure there is at least one setting for VERY slow turning, under 50rpms. Your little lathe looks very nice. What brand is it? I can't believe the number of manufacturors of lathes in China--it's incredible. But who to trust?
 

HennieL

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
44
Reaction score
24
Location
South Africa
By the way, that's a beautiful turning chisel. As a knife maker, you are ahead of the game for making your own tooling.
Thanks Andy. The flute in the chisel was cut in that M42 "super" steel using a ball mill cutter on my milling machine - took me a whole day to mill that slot... It was worth it, though, as the chisel was hardened and them tempered back to 66 Rockwell C (tempering at 510°C) hardest chisel I have ever used, and it just keeps on staying sharp... The handle was turned from African Ironwood, and should outlast the steel 🤠

... we need to explore what is going on with the .1-.2mm cuts. That is really tiny, and would indeed be a pain to nibble away at something
I suspect it's a combination of loose tolerance in the ways, resulting in small sideways movements of the two slides - I've tightened the gibs to the extent that the tables have some resistance to longitudinal movement, but I can still detect vibration and some sideways "give" in places. I suppose that I will have to strip the machine and look for the cause in the near future, especially if I am now going to be doing more precision milling.

End-cutting? With what size of end mill?...Side cutting? How wide a surface? And what type of end mill?
Yes, I mainly use four-flute end mills for end milling and facing (ranging from 3mm to 16mm diameter), and some two-flute end mills for slotting and plunging. I do have one 10mm HSS-Co roughing end mill, and it can cut slightly deeper (0.3mm - 0.4mm). I don't have any fly cutters of face mills.

sometimes I wind a length of plumbers lead solder wire around the shaft. That can stop chatter as well.
Thanks for this tip, Baron - I will certainly put it to the test 👍
 

BaronJ

Grumpy Old Git.
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
905
Reaction score
344
Location
North Yorkshire
Thanks Andy. The flute in the chisel was cut in that M42 "super" steel using a ball mill cutter on my milling machine - took me a whole day to mill that slot... It was worth it, though, as the chisel was hardened and them tempered back to 66 Rockwell C (tempering at 510°C) hardest chisel I have ever used, and it just keeps on staying sharp... The handle was turned from African Ironwood, and should outlast the steel 🤠



I suspect it's a combination of loose tolerance in the ways, resulting in small sideways movements of the two slides - I've tightened the gibs to the extent that the tables have some resistance to longitudinal movement, but I can still detect vibration and some sideways "give" in places. I suppose that I will have to strip the machine and look for the cause in the near future, especially if I am now going to be doing more precision milling.
You should always lock which ever slide you are not using including the quill.

For maximum accuracy I keep the quill wound up and use the head to get within a few mm of the work, then lock it so that it doesn't move. I then use the fine quill feed knob in conjunction with the depth gauge to put on the amount of cut that I need.

You have seen a picture of my primary fly cutter. I can take a 20 thou cut in steel (0.5 mm) at around 450 rpm and about two to two and a half inches a minute in EN1. Double that in brass or aluminum. The fly cutter cuts 2.5" diameter and is 20 mm thick on a 20 mm shaft.


Yes, I mainly use four-flute end mills for end milling and facing (ranging from 3mm to 16mm diameter), and some two-flute end mills for slotting and plunging. I do have one 10mm HSS-Co roughing end mill, and it can cut slightly deeper (0.3mm - 0.4mm). I don't have any fly cutters of face mills.



Thanks for this tip, Baron - I will certainly put it to the test 👍
You're welcome.
 
2

Latest posts

Top