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Cutting tools

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So I've started messing with my atlas 618 I got in December. I'm starting to get the hang of it. Did a few passes on the side and face of a piece of steel. It only came with the cutoff tool but I bought a cutter for a dollar and tried it out. I should have bought the carbide one he had but I wasn't sure it would fit in my tool holder. 

Anyway, where do you find cutters? I know most of the HSS ones come as blanks but I've tried google and can't find stores that carry any of them. I'll probably order online but would like to find somewhere local. What would I put in to search google, like "specialty shop" near me. Also, does lowes have them? Website wasn't showing anything. 

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I used to buy carbide lathe bits at a place that handled a lot of used machinery. Their ad mentions

"dot.gif MAINTENANCE SUPPLIES dot.gif CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT dot.gif PRECISION TOOLS dot.gif 
dot.gif MACHINERY dot.gif CUTTING TOOLS dot.gif INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTORS dot.gif 

Tool and Machinery Supermarket    dot.gif    Full Line Stocking Industrial Distributor

They actually once had a LARGE Buffalo Forge, NOS, complete and unused, WWII surplus---about 4' square with hood and coal/water hoppers.  I couldn't afford it; but I found someone who could and put them together so it would go to a "good home"...sigh.

 

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At least you can go visit it. Lol

alright, I think I've seen some craigslist ads like that in my area before. I've gotta get my tailstock soon and learn how to cut threads. Give this free machine some use. 

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Well it's about a 1500 mile drive for me now...Columbus OH for the store.  The forge went to a guy in Louisiana; who worked offshore in the oilfield.

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I've got family up by Columbus. In grove city. Maybe I'll ask my aunt to check it out for me before she comes down next time. 

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Vintagemachinery.org has scanned a manual for the 618 you can look at or download If you're interested or haven't read it yet.

Pnut

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Ebay, Grizzly, Shars   just for three.     Google is your friend.  Go to ebay and search for high sped steel tool bits.

Obtain high speed steel tool bits and learn how to grind them.    Buy a reprint of the old South Bend Book  "How To Run A Lathe".    Shows how to grind tool bits.

Carbide and inserts are short cuts, but a good selection of ground high speed steel bits is the way to go.    You can grind or regrind for just about anything.

Probably 1/4 inch tool bits for your lathe.

 

 

 

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Buy a  modern text book to learn how to sharpen lathe cutters. I don't think anybody has sharpened lathe cutters as shown in the old Southbend book since WWII. We had copies on the shelf in metal shop class as examples of "old school" not current methods and I graduated high school in '70.

Carbides are entirely different cutters, you can't even use the same tool post or holders without cocking them at extreme angles.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Darn I knew I was old.   Maybe the last one that sharpens HSS tool bits.  I guess I am not anybody.

Walk into any job shop that does machining and you will still see HSS tool bits being used to supplement carbide and ceramic.  The beauty of HSS is you can grind a bit to any special shape you need, and this need arises often in a job shop where anything and everything comes through the door.

The importance of the old South Bend Book is it explains and shows the how and why of sharpening HSS.    Rake angels, side and top angles, geometry of the bit nose, and a lot of other things.    I have a lot of "Modern" texts, have supervised machinists in industrial shops, and even have taught machining skills.   Learn the old school methods and you will have a much better understanding of how things work in a real machine shop.  Carbide is great in most applications but there are areas where HSS is just a better choice.

The short stubby bits in one of the above photos are used in boring bars.

 

 

 

Boring Mustang Sprocket.jpg

Tool Bits 001.jpg

Tool Bits 003.jpg

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Companies like MSC, J&L, ENCO have monthly specials and tool bits are fairly common to see in their fliers.

 

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Posted (edited)

Carbide does not work in regular holders?    Nobody told me.

Look close and you will see a mix of HSS and Carbide.   

HSS grinding today is exactly the same as shown in the old South Bend book.

 

 

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More HSS bits as used in boring bars:

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Edited by Mod30
resize large photos.

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That is the beauty of grinding HSS, you can make it work in any holder, can't say the same for carbides. The excessive relief on your cutters is right out of the old books alright. The ONLY relief necessary is just enough to prevent the bit rubbing behind the edge. (known as dragging) The less relief the better. In many cases just touching a new out of the box HSS blank on the grinder to make an edge is all the relief necessary for a left or right cutter. 

Seriously, unless you're cutting a groove for say a retainer clip all that exaggerated relief does is weaken the bit and make it more susceptible to over heating. Yeah, I know a hot cutter is a dull cutter. 

You actually TEACH people to sharpen general lathe cutters like that? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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You and I disagree, sorry.     I machine a lot of stainless and 4140, the reliefs are needed for proper cutting.

End of story, no more posts on this subject for me, you are not the all time expert.  

 

Mods, please delete all my posts in this thread, I do not want to engage and discuss this anymore.

 

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Calm down,

and no we wont delete them. If you do not want to talk about it you should not post.

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Enco, which appears to now be mscdirect dot com, sells HSS blanks. I bought some for my mini-lathe. I use both carbide and HSS and have a copy of the South Bend book soaked in machine oil because someone spilled the bottle on it but won't admit it.

I also watch a lot of videos on youtube by tubalcain about lathe operations. I also read a bunch on mini-lathe.com (he has some retail listings as well) and Little Machine Shop (they sell an Atlas kit that includes cutters as well as blanks) that show how and why behind sharpening HSS. LMS isn't the cheapest, but I like retailers who share info. As I recall, Enco was the least expensive of the online retailers and the products I purchased were exactly as described. That was a while ago and there may be others selling for less now.

My experience is that HSS blanks are inexpensive and it's not hard to learn how to grind the cutters to the shape you want. I have a Rikon grinder with some nice wheels on it so it doesn't take too long and it's kind of...zen, maybe? But I also grind woodturning and metal spinning tools---and may very well be making a bowl gouge for wood carving---and for me, that's part of my process. There are days when I use carbide because I want to get one step completed a little more quickly or, for example, I want to rough out a bowl from a gnarly chunk of wood and carbide tends to be faster and seems to catch less on the material. But for other stuff, HSS works best for me.

Grinding the HSS tools has also helped me understand why certain tools do a certain thing and to learn how to choose the right tool for each operation. That, and safety, is important to me.

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John R, those are not regular holders, sorry.

To the OP,

Stick with HSS cutters. Your old Atlas is way too slow and not rigid enough for carbide cutters. 

Most everything can be machined with high speed steel and they are easy to shape.

Ohio,  Enco is a Taiwan manufacturer.

MSC is Manhattan Supply Company, possibly the largest machine shop supplier in the world.

Enco makes and sell junk,  MSC sells every quality level from Junk to Swiss.

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What kind of tool holder do you have?  This lathe originally has a lantern tool post and Armstrong holders.  The hole in the end is pretty small.  If you are really tight or pressed for time, you can stuff the appropriate sized broken drill into the hole, and grind to a cutter shape.  The fellow who did the doors on the building did this.  He made custom door hardware for over 30 doors with a couple of broken drill bits.

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CDCO Machinery is another decent supplier I have ordered from, in addition to Enco/MSC. I recommend investing in quick change tool holders, it is a more rigid set up and saves time when doing multiple operations.

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A good turret tool holder can be used very effectively. Quick change holders can be too bulky a times and I don't like how they are a fixed position. They are nice for vertical adjustment ease.  With my turret I could have 4 tools mounted and also had the ability to swivel the angle, so a straight turning tool could also double as a chamfering tool.

It appears that MSC is swallowing up the competition as both ENCO and J&L have been gobbled up by them. 

A standard tool post with a rocker can also be used , and will fit into places a turret or QD won't. 

Learn to use what you have, and go from there. If I was closer I would swing by to give you some hands on advice. Machining is a fun skill to have.

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Thanks for all the replies, I've been a little busy and no on here for a bit. I've watched some videos that show about the geometry and purpose of the way the cutters are ground. So I have a lets call it, very basic idea of the gist of it. I'd like to make up a jig for getting the right angles on my bench grinder and get me a good wheel for it. I've not done anything with it for about a week but I've pretty much got my lathe all back together, I just have to order a piece off of eBay that I broke trying to get the handle off the top slide of the carriage. Also would like some new handles cause the middle one was replaced with a crappy round plastic piece and the top on was broken and was difficult to operate. Although it ran as it was when I got it, it should run like a dream comparatively.

I found a set with a quick change tool post, 5 holders, 5 cutters (turning and facing), 9 piece boring bar set, some center drills, a chuck and another few odds and ends. Priced at $232, I figure it's well worth it, although I could just get the quick change post and the 5 holders for $164. I'll have to check some prices on everything it comes with and compare if the whole set is worth it or not. I figure it's at least not a waste of money for a nice beginner purchase to have a little of everything though.

Also, what would be the best all around book to buy on machining? I've heard of the Machinists Handbook before but I'm sure there are others. I'm sure they can get pricey as well, although I'm not too concerned with price whenever it comes to having something that could teach me for a lifetime. I would like it to be not super complex though, something I could pick up and understand after a few reads preferably. I'd hate to buy a book and not understand any of it, as if it's another language all together. Knowing me though I'd end up buying it in another language and not realize it for a few pages. LMAO.

and again, I appreciate everyone's input. Since my journey started in blacksmithing I've realized I love all metalwork. Trying to save up for a mill I can revive next ;)

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The best thing you can do is get some one on one teaching. A lot of machining is done by sight, sound, and feel. Things you can't get from a book. Do you have a community college or high school that offers night courses in machining? You can also reach out through Facebook and other resources to find a tutor.  There are home machinists groups out there, so hopefully you can find someone who can walk you through this.

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My uncle is a mechanic and has ran his own shop since he got back from Vietnam. He has a lathe and mill and is pretty knowledgable with machining. I'm sure he's more than willing to teach me anything he knows. My neighbor who's garage I use to store my tools and forge has also worked a job with that kind of stuff before and has a lathe at his other house in New Mexico, he actually has some cutters in his basement here he said he was going to find for me. I'm not too worried about getting first hand experience since I know people who can show me. I mainly want to get a book to have a quick and easy reference for things like tolerance, threading, grind angles and all that stuff. I've seen on "This Old Tony's" youtube channel he references to one of his machining books every time he does a project when it comes to things like the cutters you need to do certain types of threads, or for cutting gears on an indexer, tolerances permitted on certain things, can't think of anything specific at the moment though.

As for a community college, I'm not sure there is one around here although I've never searched for one but I've definitely never heard of one. I know there is a vo-tec school but they charge for classes. I'm not interested it paying for classes right now, as I've only got a little 6 inch atlas lathe I'm just trying to learn and mess around on. I would like to take one eventually if I can get the equipment and money to turn this into a career. Which is my ultimate "dream/goal" which is a long shot for me at the moment but I know I can make it work out with enough time, money and effort.

Also, I just learned what a turret holder is for a lathe about 2 weeks ago. Those things look awesome and I'd probably want to get one when I get a nice lathe. Definitely seems like that the thing to have when you're doing any kind of production run if you're doing more than one of the same parts.

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One other thing you might check into is to do a search on "tangential tool holder".  They are a bit of a different tool holder for smaller equipment like yours in which the bit sharpening is ultra simple---one flat surface on a standard square tool bit and you get the proper relief angles automatically.  Some people swear by them.

Definitely less fiddly than trying to grind all the faces on a tool bit accurately.  And yes, I know that many people like that kind of work but I prefer the actual turning to fiddling with bits.  I use carbide insert tooling because I use my lathe commercially and it works out better on may levels for me that way but for people who use HSS bits, tangential tools (some people are calling them diamond tools now) can be a super easy solution to turning.

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