Category:Machine Shop

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Machine Shop
Machine Shop
Machine Shop
Building Antwerp
Lead Doug Ruuska
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Tool Testers

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Hours Same as membership hours

Machine Shop

Shop Night Social

Shop Night happens the 2nd Wednesday of every month and is a great opportunity to get involved with the Machine Shop. It's open to everyone and anyone who's willing and available to clean, fabricate infrastructure, sort consumables, and organize the shop. Shop night usually goes from 6pm to 10pm and there's usually some free pizza! Make sure to sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know.

Tool Testers

  • Art Torrey


Tool Class Tool Tester(s)
Acer Dynamic 1340G Manual Lathe (link to user manual) RED Art Torrey
Bridgeport Series 1 Standard Knee Mill RED Sign up for tool test
Dake SB-32V Drill Press RED Sign up for tool test
DaVinci CNC Mill RED Sign up for tool test
Do-All Vertical Bandsaw RED Sign up for tool test
General Hydraulic Shop Press GREEN no testing needed
Johnson Horizontal Bandsaw RED Sign up for tool test
Logan Manual Lathe RED Art Torrey
M3X CNC Milling Machine RED Through the CNC class only
Millport SmartLathez 1740 CNC Lathe RED (Not yet in service)
Mitsui MSG 200MH Surface Grinder RED (not yet in service)]
Palmgren 15-inch Vertical Bandsaw RED Sign up for tool test
Sharp Manual Milling Machine (Two units) RED Sign up for tool test
South Bend Manual Lathe RED Art Torrey
Tormach 15L CNC Slant Lathe (Two units) RED (Not yet in service)
Walker-Turner Drill Press RED Sign up for tool test

Tool recommendations from members

Get digital micrometers from Mitutoyo, the batteries last for years, I recommend: Calipers: Micrometer:

Edge finders are a pain, it’s probably outside your budget, but if this is for your own shop invest in a Haimer 3D sensor, expensive but worth it, mine has certainly paid for it self in time saved and f-ups avoided.

If this is for A2: Get dial indicators and vernier mics from aliexpress, they aren’t the greatest quality but they will work and last and the batteries and electronics can’t dies, shars and other lower quality suppliers just find the most popular ones, have the manufacture put their brand name on them, import them and mark them up.

For both you and A2:

Endmills and drill bits, lathe tooling, inserts, I buy all mine from aliexpress, they are 1/5th the cost of anywhere else and I can’t tell the difference. I like the short carbide drill bits they are split bit and sturdy so you don’t need a centering bit

While we’re on lathe tooling & inserts, most carbide inserts are designed for high speed turning with coolant for materials that are designed to be machined. A36 steel (common steel) is horrible and gummy. If you want to machine that or other things at low speeds the common belief is that you should use HHS and learn how to grind tooling yourself. Cool, but kinda of a pita, you can also get ground carbide inserts which are sharp enough to get good surfaces finishes even at lower speeds without. These have worked great for me: You get 6 cutting edges for $3-4 per insert.

Finally lighting: Can’t understate how importing having good lighting is: I found these : They are insanely bright, If I put them close enough to what I’m welding, I can see my work through a fixed shade lens. Magnet means they can stick to everything, make sure to get the US plug.

I’ll tell you what I tell my Intro students, it all depends. If you think that you will ever be taking/using your tools in a professional environment, Starrett, Brown and Sharp, Fowler, Mitoya are your choices. I have had several challenges by clients over the years who backed off when I showed them the measurements in front of them. But I also have a wooden “yard stick” that gets used sometimes!

One tool that I would recommend you spend a few extra bucks on is a Starrett combination square with a hardened head. It comes as a three piece kit with a center finder(handy for lathe work when marking the end of a round) and a protractor. Mine is over 40 years old and I use it for tramming the head on the Bridgeport. I did a demo last month and we double checked it with a dial indicator and off by .002 over 5 inches, pretty close for a quick setup! You can get the rule graduated in 1/10s or 1/100/s graduation (basically decimal inch) instead of fractions. If you contact Starrett directly (local Massachusetts company), I usually call, they will give you a product number and you can order it from MSC direct.

Digital calipers are really handy, but I don’t trust them to be better than +- .002” and have owned several including Starrett (only tool I wouldn’t buy from them) Fowler, and Brown and Sharp. With those two tools you can measure almost anything.

A 1 inch Micrometer is also indispensable. Also a 6 inch steel rule is really handy for lathe work, setting tool center heights.