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About Kozzy

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    Butcher of metal

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    Southern Palouse WA state USA
  1. That's one huge can of worms question you are asking. With these chinese machines, none are very good but it's hit and miss as to whether they are terrible or tolerable. With most, the spindle run-out is so bad that they will tend to snap small bits easily. Most often on this class of machine, most of the runout is because they use rock-bottom drill chucks. So...my advice (without having the presses in front of me) is that your best bet is to pull the chuck off the existing drill press (usually they are on a tapered shank so can pop right off) and then check the runout on the spindle itself. If the spindle is not bad and runs fairly true (preferably as measured with a proper dial indicator), put your money into a better chuck rather than a new drill press. Sometimes a non-chinese-junk chuck can make a huge difference. Power wise, you shouldn't be bogging down as much as you mentioned so something else is likely going wrong there--most likely using poor quality drill bits. NEVER use the Chinese, taiwanese, or similar low end bits, no matter how tempting they are. Most "home center" bits are not much better. What you want are drill bits that are marketed to the machinist trade and from quality makers. Mcmaster.com is one source as is mscdirect.com. Get USA made in a couple of sizes you use and they will be like night and day vs "home center" and infinitely better than the Chinese junk. As to upgrading to the "firestorm"...at 50 bucks, maybe, but I wouldn't expect a huge difference unless the current drill press is truly a complete dog. Basically you are upgrading levels of junk at that price point. It'd be wiser to save for a more significant upgrade if that's an option for you---so at least try the better drill bits and possible chuck replacement on yours first. The better drill bits cost you nothing because that's what you need anyway--and the chucks are not that expensive (and can sometimes be found as orphans at swap meets and similar) Drill chucks and the tapers they have sometimes gets to be a sticky area so you might do some internet research to learn a little more. I can't go into more about that without knowing he HF model and looking up the current spindle tapers it has.
  2. Champion 400 blower

    Appreciate that video---I also have one at our local museum that was on my list of eventual "projects" to get to and wasn't aware that he had made a video of this. Helps a lot to not have to bumble my way through it. One question to add to this discussion---color? Our 400 is currently red and the paint actually looks "factory". However, that doesn't make a lot of sense considering others I have seen over the years. So...was there a factory color? Is this great old paint job after-market by someone who took their time many years (decades) ago? Seeing the insides, I'm thinking this one needs to come off the floor also--currently, kids like to crank, some like maniacs. That now seems pretty risky for that bronze gear. We have a cheaper one with straight cut gears that can be used for the kids instead.
  3. Good advice for most Chinese made equipment. They're getting better in many ways but the HF stuff is definitely all about low cost so should be fully inspected/repaired before use. They sometimes fill casting "holidays" with bondo and paint over for instance...and there is often grit from sand casting left in the gear boxes. As to the O.P's saw question, I can't really think of a time I needed a portable bandsaw. Might be handy in the field but for shop work, the larger horizontal has been more than adequate. Heck, I had to split a piece of 14" long 4.5" dia heavy walled tubing the long way the other day accurately and was able to scab together a way to clamp that with the H. A few years back, I picked up a Boeing Surplus vertical metal cutting bandsaw (14" style similar to the one many woodworkers have but specifically for metal cutting) for a song and a dance. It sat for a long time until something came up that only it would do and I now find that it's a tool which gets a lot of use. Point is, I wouldn't dismiss the benefits of at least one of those vertical table conversions for a H saw these days. Once you have the option, it's surprising how your work flow can change to use it's benefits. I thought I'd use the 14" abrasive saw more but It's an annoying and noisy thing to use, while giving mediocre results. The tiny (chinese cheap) 6" version abrasive cut-off saw has actually been remarkably handy as I cut a lot of small diameter rod and tubing. It too is a HF special...but doesn't seem to want to die so I've gotten my money out of it 50 times over. Working on a cold saw conversion now from a commercial "jump saw". We'll see how that pans out. Specific use will be cutting small profile bars to length and square for further machining. In any case...you can never have too many toys.
  4. Belt grinder build driving me crazy

    I did a partial write up on tracking belts a long time ago here Reading back, it's a bit rambling but might give you some things to look for. Remember that those pulleys have to be squared in ALL 3 dimensions, not just one. My initial comment from the photos is that your structure is too light and slightly flexible in many places---which will make tracking quite difficult, especially as you increase belt tensions. I'd also replace that lightweight hinge you are using for tracking adjustment with a proper weld-on version that is much heavier--like the weld-on bullet hinges (adding your own thicker plate for the adjusting face).
  5. The only similar myth I have heard is a coin placed face up under the stump (when it aint gunna be moving) to bring either good luck or prosperity..or both. Face up is important--face down is bad luck in certain circles. As to bringing out the grain, I don't think that's going to be a great long-term goal. You might get it to show more early on but the dust and scale over time will likely obscure most of your efforts at beautification. If your heart is set on it, use a low angle block plane--the kind that was designed to cut end grain on butcher blocks--for preliminary smoothing. Follow that up with a properly sharpened cabinet scraper (that's a VERY simple tool which is not in everyone's knowledge wheelhouse so you might need to look it up along with how to properly sharpen and draw the edges). Follow that with whatever finish you feel heightens the contrast of the grain.
  6. Dysthymia rears its ugly head.

    I'm in the same club--Decades of it coming and going with occasional forays into some really deep quicksand. Often, atypical Seasonal Affective Disorder can play a part for people (I've spoken to many on the subject over the years): Instead of the typical sink-hole over winter, those pits occur to varying degrees at the seasonal transitions or even at the peak of summer. Not that you fit that pattern but it might be worth keeping track of in the back of your mind to see if you can see any pattern over time. Since doctors and patients tend to look for typical SAD, they often dismiss the atypical variations. St John's wort--remarkably effective for many people but it is also remarkable just how much it can make one prone to burns. Although the sunlight (sunburn) aspect is well documented, I found that I also was more prone to scalding from things like hot coffee spills. Anyway, just something to watch out for, especially since you might be hanging out near a forge. After a lifetime of this crap and seeing that everyone is completely different in what works for their body, I no longer try and give suggestions other than do what you have learned works for your body... or simply try something different if the old "fixits" aren't cutting it. Just know that you are not alone and there are a ton of others who understand (in a general sense) what you are going through-- Oh...and you have my permission to kick the stuffing out of people who say things like "Just pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" or "Smile on the outside and pretty soon you'll be smiling on the inside too".
  7. Hiring help And liability

    Wrong path to take. Your potential liability would be extreme on many fronts---from injury lawsuits to back taxes to back unemployment and disability. What you need to do FIRST is get totally legal while still remaining profitable---and if you can't do both, it's a hobby and not a business. As a hobby you should NEVER have someone working for you except maybe the rare "help me move this box" kind of stuff from a friend. Getting legal and doing that while still making a profit is a job unto itself. If you can eventually turn this into a legal and profitable business, be aware that adding an employee is still nightmarish to your wallet and administrative time. It's not something to do on a whim but when you have no other option and that employee can generate at least 3 times their pay rate in actual PROFIT (not simply gross sales). And there is NO SUCH THING as "paying under the table". All it takes is one irritated worker or that annoying neighbor to complain and it'll all come crashing down -- HARD and COSTLY. I've seen too many times where someone thought this was low risk only to have it blow up in their face.
  8. Rock crusher anvil?

    I can't speak directly about that particular hunk of iron and it's herbs and spices but my anvil was cast by a company that makes crusher/shredder hammers---they cast a dozen or so actual anvils as an experiment a couple of years back. 265 pounds. I don't know the exact grade as the little I was able to find out the metal was that they considered it a "proprietary" version of stainless steel, likely with a bucket of manganese in the mix. It hasn't shown one bit of denting or wear on the face. Rebound is about 85%. Anyway, the point is that the materials used for crusher/shredder hammers these days can make a fine anvil...and probably the same is true of older versions. I don't know about the negatives or positives of the shape, but I certainly wouldn't pass on the piece if it physically fits your needs and the piece has a decent weight to it. Some aspects of the shape might actually be useful.
  9. With most drill bits, you will find an order of magnitude difference in the ease of drilling when using good quality bits vs what is normally available at the home center. Even what looks like a "brand name" at the usual home center is generally a pretty lousy quality bit. I'm not sure who handles machinist supplies in your area but typical quality brands are "Precision Twist Drill", "Hertel", "Chicago-Latrobe" and several others. There are mail order sites for machinists supplies but I won't list them here due to the general terms of use that the moderators prefer. Even though you'll pay more, the value from that extra cost more than makes up for it. As to actually drilling your stock, others have covered that pretty well. One mistake people often make is not maintaining enough steady pressure to keep the bit cutting: Once you let a bit spin at the bottom of the hole, you've often ruined the cutting edges and it will end up being a fight to finish the hole or make another. With tiny holes done in a hand-held drill, maintaining pressure can be tough as one twitch can end up snapping the bit. Always use a drill press if it's an option. For the average user, fancy gold or purple (etc.) coatings are usually of little benefit if any at all. Those tend to only help when pushing drills near their limits or for specialized stuff like gummy metals. With average steel drilling, a plain old well-ground finish is adequate. Cobalt bits (not the home center version) can help with some tough to drill materials like 300 series stainless. Carbide bits are horribly brittle but once in a while can solve a bad drilling problem--at a high cost. HSS covers 99+% of most people's needs. Oh...and the same holds true for taps and dies---but with an even greater payback when you buy quality. The difference in ease of use on these is almost to the point of amazing over the usual home center offerings.
  10. Thanks---I already picked up the other book mentioned and will look into this one too. Nothing better than learning new stuff. Was putting together an Eastwood order anyway so wouldn't hurt to toss this in the pile.
  11. Atlas 618 lathe

    I'm not totally familiar with that particular model but it appears to be one that requires change-gears for different threads. If any of those gears are missing, that makes a HUGE difference in value. As TP mentioned, extra tooling coming with it can also significantly increase value over a bare-bones lathe. What should normally come with it in addition to the change gears is a 3-jaw chuck, a 4-jaw chuck and a face plate. You will eventually want all 3. The various tailstock tools like a drill chuck and live or dead centers are good to have but not that costly to replace. That $ 500 you mentioned is not that far off "normal" for a complete working lathe of this calibre---Only a bargain with some good extra tooling and overpriced if incomplete, worn out, or if there is damage to any of the castings. If the seller is tossing in things like drill bits for "extra tooling", check the country of origin (usually imprinted on the shanks). Chinese stuff has ZERO value there so don't let it sway the price upward if that's what he has. And....be sure and consider that you'll put several hundred dollars more into your own tooling for this lathe. You can probably spread that out over time but it should be at least on your mind when purchasing.
  12. Old motors often don't play well with VFDs because the older motors tend to generate too much heat for the old lacquers used on the windings when run at less than the rated RPM. So---it's a shot in the dark whether a VFD would be fine with that old motor or not. I can say that once you start using VFDs on equipment, it's hard to go back---so danged nice in many regards. Adjustable soft start and stop parameters, variable speed, on some you can over-freq and actually get more speed from the motor than it's rated for, you can see exactly what speed you were working at in the display and repeat that every time. Plus they integrate the safety of a "magnetic starter" so that in the event of a power failure, the machine doesn't start back up when the power comes on. They're not horrendous to set up these days. Not completely simple but not bad. Cost has come down enough that they are definitely worth considering.
  13. Was at the mega-farm-store yesterday and they had a large stack of nice looking fire rings at great pricing--all hot dip galvanized quite heavily. I've been pondering the notion of a bunch of 8 year olds crowed up close with hot dogs and marshmallows on their skewers while they snorked up that nice yellow-green zinc smoke of the first big fire. But....at the same time I was wondering just how much risk there really might be from such a thing. In reality, coals aren't all that hot without a good forced draft and the typical camp fire "hot spot" wouldn't be in direct contact with the galvanizing. Curious if you folks would consider a hot-dipped fire ring to be of little risk or a nightmare of a risk...or somewhere in between. I suspect the few people here who have experienced the horrors of zinc poisoning would definitely have adverse opinions of the risk.
  14. Thanks, all. Been tied up a couple of days and didn't get a chance to respond. I'll take another look at the riveting and get a count of "bad" panels--might actually be easier to simply replace them via shear and slip roll fabrication. Otherwise, I'm thinking a hybrid of Daswulf's notion of cutting a form and covering it with something akin to a partial sandbag--making something that is close to the needed shape but a bit forgiving under the hammer. I appreciate the suggestions of soft hammers. I was originally thinking standard body working hammers because I have those sitting around but will seek alternatives. And I'll check out the book--as it was a subject that I wanted to learn more about anyway. Of course, experience is the best teacher in this stuff. I do a lot of normal sheet metal work via break and shear but currently don't have a slip roll. With large radii like this, we usually bump form...but that's always been for one-off parts.
  15. Stainless fitting? Guessing it's galled in place as stainless against stainless has a threshold galling stress of 2000psi, half that of carbon steel pairings. That'll mean it's essentially welded in...the unknown being how much "weld" there is between the threads of the part being removed and it's mounting plate. That means it's entirely possible that the part will tear before it backs out with an "easy out" of some sort. Stainless is effectively very soft when it comes to tearing and ductility in the un-work-hardened state. Make sure you consider the potential torques involved between the easy out contact points vs the locked thread so that your easy out mounting won't simply tear the stainless before it overcomes the lock. Positive solid grab is going to be really important here. I assume that "no cutting" means no drilling or tapping because that would be my first choice for mounting some sort of wrenching point. You might also consider how you could possibly do this with a 2 pin spanner---again, likely requiring drilling but maybe there is an out of the box solution. In a nutshell, the problem won't be the hardness of your easy-out, it'll be the softness of the stainless it engages and overcoming the torque caused by the galled threads. I obviously don't have the whole story here but I'd be pushing for ways to actually drill a couple of small holes in that clean room environment and approach it a little differently.