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Rick's Web Site: Machining Machining

Articles for beginners are marked with **


1. Mill Attachments
2. Projects that Illustrate Technique
3. Measurement Instruments and Technique
4. Mill Technique
5. Horizontal/Vertical Band Saw
6. Lathe Attachments
7. Lathe Technique
8. Bench Work
9. Software Tools
12.Alibre Computer Aided Design Software
13.Computer Numerical Control
14.Electonic Edge Finders

Last Revised:

1. Mill Attachments Return to top.

A Light Duty Parallelogram T Nut, version 3 (errata: length is 1.414B + A)

Making Cam Action Clamps for Milling

Mill Vise Soft Jaws, version 6.

Mill Vise Tune-up

An Ultra Simple Ultra Fine Feed for a RF30 Mill/Drill, version 2

A Tap Wrench to fit a RF30 mill/drill.

A Drawbar with Integrated Spindle Lock for a RF30 mill/drill.

A Universal Motor Controller with Indirect RPM Regulation. It powers a table drive for a RF30 mill but has other applications.

An Ettco N. 22 Tapping Head, version 2

The Basics of a Rotary Table with Cross Slide mounted on a Mill Table

Mounting a 3 Jaw Chuck on a Rotary Table with a Face Plate

Centering a Rotary Table Using the Centerline function of a DRO

Making a Few VERY Minor Improvements to my Hold-down Set **

A "C-nut" for a Mill

Making an "Omega-nut" for a Mill **

Making a T-nut" for a Mill **

Variable Frequency Drive Frequency versus Cutter Diameter Spreadsheet (in inches with 60 Hz line frequency)

Variable Frequency Drive Frequency versus Cutter Diameter Spreadsheet (in mm with 50 Hz mains)

A Variable Frequency Drive plus Three Phase Motor on a RF30 Mill/Drill

Want to Go Fast? Put in the Stops **

Basic Digital Read-Out Functionality on a Mill **

A Low Cost and Easily Made Counterbore (by Steve-S'pore as told to R.G. Sparber) **

Softjaw with Pad Separation

A Low Cost Mill Mounted Spotlight **

Replacement Table Feed Motor Drive

An Improved Mill Stop by Brian Lamb as told to R.G. Sparber

A Ring Light for a Mill/Drill

An Electronic Edge Finder - Simple Mechanical and Relatively Complex Electronic for use on a Mill

An Ultra Low Tech, Low Cost Electronic Edge Finder **

A Self Compensating Electronic Edge Finder **

A Noise Canceling Electronic Edge Finder **

Another Edge Finder Tool **

A Small Mill Table Mounted Crane

A Speed Handle for a RF-30 Mill/Drill **

Mill/Drill R8 Pin Locator **

A Variable Thickness Washer for Preloading a RF-30 Mill/Drill Leadscrew Bearings

Y Axis Leadscrew Alignment Plate

Improved RF-30 Gib Retainer

Improving the RF-30 Mill/Drill Y Axis Take Up Nut

Improved Access to the Y Take Up Nut on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Improving the RF-30 Mill/Drill X Axis Take Up Nut

Reducing X Axis Backlash on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Reducing Y Axis Backlash on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Performance Data After X and Y Backlash Reduction on a RF-30

Converting an 8 Inch Rotary Table to an "A" Axis

RF-30 Mill/Drill Head - Pictures by John Herrmann, Text by R.G. Sparber

A Rotary Table Tailstock

Aligning My 4th Axis on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Building an MQL Coolant System **

An ER-20 Collet Holder Plate **

Installing the Drive Shaft on a Horizontal/Vertical Rotary Table **

2. Projects that Illustrate Technique Return to top.

Casting and Machining Parts for the Updated Gingery Metal Shaper

Gingery Drill Press

Moving a small mill in parts. **

A Thrown Together Sheet Metal Finger Brake

An Example of Using a Rotary Table to Machine a Beam for a Steam Engine

Drilling a Hole that is larger in the Middle than At the Ends

Cutting Corners (Making a punch to cut corners in plastic sheet) **

Avoiding Over Constraint **

A Figure Skate Sharpening Machine

Adventures with the EvaNut

Root Drip Irrigation Stakes

Semi-Automatic Crockpot Yogurt

Fixing A Complex System **

Simulating a G.W. Bliss Punch Press Combination Clutch and Motor Control

Making a Quick Yet Rugged Project Box

A Power Rock Rake

Circuit Board Drill Templates **

3. Measurement Instruments and Technique Return to top.

Repeatability and Accuracy of the Harbor Freight® Caliper; version 3.
Discussion Related to Caliper Accuracy

Precision Machining: the control point and surface.

Total Indicated Runout Explained

Tune In for Better Electronic Edge Finder Accuracy.

Finger type Dial Test Indicators. Theory and practice.

Seeing With a Dial Test Indicator, Torque Wrench, and Excel Spreadsheet

How Accurate is Your Micrometer?

The Intersection of Art and Precision (Using a Caliper)

Scales on my RF30 Mill/Drill

A Possible Means of Measuring a Thread’s Pitch Diameter

Yet Another Way to Hold Thread Wires to a Mic

A Low Cost "Digital" Angle Gage
The Excel Spreadsheet for the "Digital" Angle Gage

The Theory and Practice of a Sine Bar

An Automatic Centerline Scribe **

A Four Ball ID Gage

Improving a Harbor Freight® 6" Digital Caliper

Angled Half Nut **

Square A Frame **

Stacking Gage Blocks **

Marking Knife: Layout Tool and Height Gage **

Universal Low Cost Electronic Edge Finder for use in a Machine Shop

3D Measurements **

Don't Measure! **

Finding the Center of Rotation of a Finger Dial Test Indicator

4. Mill Technique Return to top.

Why doesn't my RF30 Mill/Drill Cut Straight?

Endmill Effective Diameter (version 2).

Precision Z-axis Milling on a RF30 Mill./Drill (07/24/2008)

Chasing accuracy on a RF30 mill/drill with Shumatech DRO.

How to cut a block square on a mill.

Why is one parallel always loose in my mill vise? **

Accurate bedding of a part in the mill vise is an essential skill.

A Single Iteration Mill Vise Alignment Procedure.

cutting a helix on a vertical mill

X or Y Axis Zero Set on a Mill, Version 2

Thoughts on Tramming the head of a mill/drill, Version 2

Tramming a Mill/Drill, version 4

Milling Tapered Spokes for a Flywheel designed by Elmer Verburg
John Walker's Spreadsheet for Milling Tapered Spokes for a Flywheel designed by Elmer Verburg

Milling Straight and Arced Paths, version 3

An Alternative to Locking Head Rotation on a Round Column Mill/Drill

Aligning to an Axis

Milling An Angle Bracket **

Drill, Tap, and Counterbore **

A Few Basic Tests to Perform on your Mill **

What to do when you get a New Mill **

Making Soft Jaws for a Bison 3 Jaw Lathe Chuck **

Designing and Milling a Slot **

An Example of Small Scale Production **

Squaring a Bock using Ed Maisey's Method **

Accumulated Error When Squaring a Block **

A Closer Look At Machining a Block Square

Machining a Plate **

A Nice Looking Aluminum Project Box **

A Safe and Accurate Way to Set Zero on a Vertical Mill **

Drilling a Hexagonal Hole **

iPod Touch® Holder for Photography **

Reestablishing Position On a Round Column Mill **

Avoiding Mill Head Repositioning **

Tightening the Y Axis Nut on a RF30 Mill/Drill **

Adventures in Friction Forming of Bosses **

RF-30 Mill/Drill: What Gives? **

Spuds **

A Simple Little Trick: Holding Small Parts in a Vise **

Fixturing a Semicircle **

Removing and Installing the Leadscrews on a RF-30 Mill/Drill **

Measuring an End Mill's Effective Diameter **

Zeroing the Y and Z axes to the A Axis Center Of Rotation **

Locating A Corner on a Mill **

Repacking the Spindle Bearings on a 1990 Enco RF-30 Mill/Drill

Accessing the Spindle Drive Bearing on a 1990 Enco RF-30 Mill/Drill

The motor switch wiring, by Mark Cason

5. Horizontal/Vertical Band Saw Return to top.

Horizontal/Vertical Band Saw Vise Jaw Extender

A 45° Jaw Set for a Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw

An Improved Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw Stop **

Cutting it A Bit Closer **

Double V Jaws for a Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw

Safely Sawing Small Bits **

Bolt Cutting and Beveling Fixture **

A Universal Bolt Cutting Fixture **

A Universal Bolt Beveling Fixture **

Miter Attachment for a Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw **

A Modified Stop plus Cut Line Indicator for a 4x6 Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw **

A Foldable Table for a Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw **

Increasing the Capacity of a Horizontal/Vertical Bandsaw **

6. Lathe Attachments Return to top.

A Low Cost Longitudinal Axis DRO For my Lathe

A Low Cost Cross Slide DRO For my Lathe
(See "The Home Shop Machinist", March/April 2011, pages 30 - 36 for full details)

Installing a Phase II Quickchange Toolpost on an Atlas Craftsman 12" x 24" lathe **

Comparing a Wimberley Toolholder with a Diamond Tool Holder

A Toolpost Attachment for a High Speed Rotary Tool **

Atlas – Craftsman Lathe Tailstock Lock Modification **

Speed Table for Atlas-Craftsman 12” Lathe **
Excel Spreadsheet for above article **

A Modified Knurling Tool

A Replacement Wrench for my Atlas-Craftsman Lathe **

My New CDCO 5C Collet Chuck

A Spindle Mounted Stop for a 12” Atlas/Craftsman Lathe **

Lathe Cutter Height Gage

A Precision Electronic Cutter Touchdown Detector

A Simple Lathe Pattern Follower **

An Ultra Low Tech, Low Cost Electronic Edge Finder **

The Problem that is solved by the Ultra Low Resistance Electronic Edge Finder **

A Self Compensating Electronic Edge Finder **

A Noise Canceling Electronic Edge Finder **

A Lathe Electcronic Edge Finder (For spindle resistances greater than 3 ohms) **

A Lathe Electcronic Edge Finder (For spindle resistances greater than 0.2 ohms) **

A Lathe Electcronic Edge Finder (For spindle resistances greater than 0.01 ohms) **

Tangential Tool Holder Chip Breaker (experimental) **

A Low Cost Quick Change Tool Post Angular Stop **

A Continuous Pin Support Fixture

Quick and Easy Lathe Jaw Spacers **

1964 Atlas/Craftsman Lathe Motor Supports

Making a Crush Collet

Another Diamond Toolholder Adapter **

A Machined In Place Precision Lathe Chuck Reference **

7. Lathe Technique Return to top.

True Enough (Lathe Accuracy) **

Using A Taper To set the Compound on a Lathe **

Setting the Compound to Match a Taper, Round 2 **

Suggested Ways to Cut a Taper

Setting the Height of a Lathe Cutter **

Making A Limited Range Jacobs Flex Collet® **

Turning a Precision Washer **

An Easy way to Single Point Thread **

Making a 7/16-10 Acme Left Hand Tap

A Close Look at Single Point Threading**

Reducing Total Indicated Runout on a 3 Jaw Chuck**
Excel Spreadsheet that goes with "Reducing Total Indicated Runout on a 3 Jaw Chuck"**

Making a Knurled Knob for a Socket Head Cap Screw **

Knurling **

Boring Bar Thoughts **

Understanding Nut And Bolt Specifications **

Thread Calculator by Mark Cason
Thread Calculator in Excel 1997 format
Thread Calculator in Excel 2007 format

Adjustable Length Rod **

A Cost Reduced Wall Anchor **

An Experimental Threaded Insert **

A Soft Pipe Insertion Tool

Faking A Trapezoidal Left Hand 16 X 2 Nut **

End Knurling On a Lathe **

8. Bench Work Return to top.

A Simple Way to Accurately Stamp Text on a Metal Block, Version 3

First Draft of Etching Aluminum Using Laser Printed Artwork

Making it Dead Flat and Square **

Truing Up a Square with a Known True Square **

Hockey Puck V Bench Block **

A Different Kind of Screw Vise

Balancing the Wheels on a Bench Grinder **

Laser Printing to Clean, Smooth Surfaces **

An Improved Tool Support for a Harbor Freight® ToolGrinder

Those Wonderful Spacer Blocks **

A Beveling Tool

Another Bevel Fixture **

Rod Clamp **

Storage of Materials **

The Lowly Bench Block **

Making a Zamak Repair by Lance Eggleston as told to R. G. Sparber

A Drill Size Look-up Table **
A decimal inch Drill Size Look-up Table .jpg file **
A decimal inch Drill Size Look-up Table .xls file **
A decimal inch and metric Drill Size Look-up Table .jpg file **
A decimal inch and metric Drill Size Look-up Table .xls file **
A fractional inch, metric, decimal inch, and thread table by Kevin Steele .jpg file **
A fractional inch, decimal inch, and metric table by Paul .html file **

Rod Clamp (second time around) **

Using a Telescoping Inside Diameter Gage **

A Safety Switch, by John Herrmann**

Absolute versus Incremental Dimensions **

An Inside Diameter Gage, version 1

How to use an Inside Diameter Gage, by Brian L. of Valley Metal Club

A Possible New Inside Diameter Gage

A Stack of Wood on My Drillpress **

What to do with 1-2-3 Blocks **

An End Drilling Guide **

Demagnetizing Tools **

Adjusting a Machinist Square By R. G. Sparber with information from Ron Thompson **

Making Square Holes **

Is it Square? **

Accumulated Error When Squaring a Block **

Making a Dremel Drillpress (or "Feeding the Disease")

Drilling a Hole in a Slot with a Step Drill **

Low Cost Plastic Insulating Washers **

Laser Printing to Powder Coated Sheet Aluminum **

An Experimental Measurement System

Small Tapping Machine Made from Scrap Yard Find By John Nathan

An Angle Grinder Table Saw **

Thermal Interference Fit Stud **

A Stud Tool **

A Captured Fastener **

Bending Angles Greater than 90° by Bill VanOrden as told to R.G. Sparber **

Making a Really Nice Nut Driver **

New Life for a NeilMed® Bottle: A Spillproof Oil Can **

Hex Bit Bars **

Workbench Walls **

Leadscrew Alignment Math

Taking Apart Complex Appliances So They can Go Back Together **

A Cross Drilling Tape **

Captured Ball Lip Tool **

A Modified Gel Pen **

Permanent Marking of PVC Pipe **

Repairing a CamelBak Water Bottle **

A Purple Primer Pen for Marking PVC Pipe **

Repairing A Portable Gazebo Strut **

A Direct ¼" Line to PVC Pipe Irrigation Coupler **

Improving A Dremel Drillpress **

Hot Air Gun Support **

Quickly Sorting Fasteners **

Thread Gages (Training Wheels for a Newbie) **

A Countersink Gage **

Thermal Forming PVC Pipe **

½ inch PVC Irrigation Full Sliding Coupler and Patch **

½ inch PVC Irrigation Full Sliding Coupler, Round 2 **

Screwdriver Rack **

Trigger Guard For a Ryobi Air Compressor **

In Line Pool Filter Modification **

Weber Gas Grill Back Saver **

360° Sprinkler Head Shield **

An Alternate Way to Think About Tightening a Nut **

Bottle Transfer Collar **

More of an Attitude than a Custom Tool **

Hose Clamp Tool **

Bringing a Harbor Freight Wire Twisting Pliers Into Usefulness **

Taming the Beast: Wheels on a Sun Shade **

Spoiling a New Drill Press Vise (On Purpose) **

Cable Retainer **

Modifying an Arbor Press, by "TinkerJohn" as enjoyed by me **

New Life for my Beloved Drill Doctor **

Cable Tie Tightener **

Drill Press Table Elevator **

All of Those Scrap Drill Bits! **

Angle Grinder Nest **

Finding Lost Tiny Parts **

Patching Schedule 40 ½" PVC Pipe **

Horizontal Drilling in Soil **

A Garmin GPS Suction Cup Stand Converted to Magnetic **

PVC Cutter with Built In Can Top Opener **

Horizontal Drilling in Soil

A Hidden Circuit Board Anchor **

A Cable Anchor Belt Clip **

Vise-Grips and C Clamp Rack **

Hot Glue Reflow **

Making USB Cables Behave **

Socket Head Cap Screw Eye Training **

Cutting Sheet Stock with an Angle Grinder

What is Good Storage? **

9. Software Tools Return to top.

A program that calculates the best set of 4 gears to achieve a given overall ratio.

Excel® to Walgreens®: Making Small Reference Cards **

Lathe Turning Software Tool For HP-35s **

Lathe Assistant Program for TI-83 Plus **

Ball Turning with Manual Numerical Control Program for TI-83 Plus **

A Sample Application of an Arduino Controlling Hardware

Water Meter Auditing **

Temporary Naming Convention for Software **

A Diagnostic Tool for Arduino Software **

A Debugging Tool for Arduino Code **

Debugging Code Running on an Embedded ATTiny85 **

Arduino Byte Juggling **

10. Shaper Return to top.

Assessment of My Gingery Shaper’s Accuracy

Sniffing Out Static Error on a Gingery Shaper

The Start of an Idea for a Shaper Vise

How a Lock-down Vise Works, and Doesn’t **

A Lock-down Vise

Gingery Shaper Surface Finish

A Tiny Shear Grind Bit

Gingery Shaper Surface Tests

Rebuilding the Ram Ways on my Gingery Shaper

Ideal Surface Ripple on a Metal Shaper

Metal Shaper Accuracy
Metal Shaper Accuracy Spreadsheet

11. Welding Return to top.

A Replacement Handle for a Harbor Freight® MIG Welder

A $10 Upgrade to my Harbor Freight® 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder

Axial Alignment Welding Fixture **

12. Alibre Computer Aided Design Software Return to top.

The Basic Mental Model of Alibre CAD

Two Ways to Skin a Cat: Dan’s Plate

Thinking About the Fillet Tool

Brian's Puzzle


The Helical Boss and Helical Cut

Match Drilling

Changing your View

The Triad Tool

Drawing Angle Iron and Square Tubing

Drawing Turned Objects

Placing a Plane at a Compound Angle

Drawing Merged Radii with Alibre PE

13. Computer Numerical Control Return to top.

Lead Screw Backlash and Mach3

My CNC Hardware

Reducing X and Y Axis Backlash on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Reducing Quill Backlash and Setting Z Axis Gain on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Mach3 X Axis Screw Mapping

Mach3 Z Axis Screw Mapping

Adaptive Backlash Reduction

2 ¾ D Machining On a 4 Axis RF-30 Mill/Drill

Translating Total Feed Rate to A Axis RPMs and X/Y axis Feed Rates

Finding Your Way Home Manually

Alibre to G-Code Procedure

Defining Arcs Interpreted by Mach3

A Spreadsheet to Audit an Arc in G-code

Using a CNC Controlled Vertical Mill as a Lathe

Setting Up CamBam 0.9 So it Correctly Feeds CNC Wrapper and Mach3

Arc Bug Corrected (Between CamBam 0.9 and Mach3)

My Computer Numeric Control Software Architecture

Having a Second Home

Cleaning a Swarf Invaded X Box 360 Controller **

Hand Coding AX Plane G-Code for a Centroid Equipped Mill In Order to Cut a Helix

A Centroid Acorn CNC System on a RF-30 Mill/Drill

Setting Up an X Box Controller to be Compatible with Centroid Acorn

Adding A Tool Touch Off to my Centroid Acorn

Adding Home Sensors to a RF-30 Mill/Drill

When the Centroid CNC Software Loses its Acorn

The Effect of Error in the Home Sensor on Centroid CNC Screw Mapping

Centroid CNC12 Screw Mapping Using Gage Blocks

14. Electronic Edge Finders Return to top.

A Guide to All of My Electronic Edge Finder Articles.

A Software Defined Edge Finder with CNC Compatible Output