Small Lathe
Volume 8, No 6 - June, 2003





President -

Tom Moore

Vice President -

Chuck West

Treasurer -

John Hoff

Secretary -

Joe Scott

Webmaster -
Librarian -

Dick Kostelnicek
Dennis Cranston

Editors -

David Whittaker
Jan Rowland

Founder -

John Korman

SIG Coordinator -

Dennis Cranston

Statement of Purpose

Membership is open to all those interested in machining metal and tinkering with machines. The club provides a forum for the exchanging of ideas and information. This includes, to a large degree, education in the art of machine tools and practices. Our web site endeavors to bring into the public domain written information that the hobbyist can understand and use. This makes an organization such as this even more important.

Regular Meeting

Regular Meeting John Lily Chuck WestCollier Library, 6200 Pinemont, Houston, Texas, May 10, 2003, 1:00 pm. Tom Moore, President, presiding. There were 42 persons present, 8 of them visitors: Charlie Myhier, Dan Vincent, John Winn, John Sweigart, Dave Pichler, Bill Dyer, Ray Stimac, and Jack Fusilie.

Two door prizes of two rotary tables, donated by Fred Doebbler, were won by Chuck West and John Lily.

Organization of a Novice SIG was discussed, and those interested met after the regular meeting.

Business Meeting

Minutes are sent via email or regular mail to club members.


Joe Scott     Vincent D'Amico     Tom MooreMoore on Sine Bars     

Joe Scott showed a video about the National Springfield Armory established in colonial days and subsequently closed in 1975.  It told of the need to establish independence from foreign gun makers and the reason that the site in Springfield, Massachusetts, was chosen. It showed the first handmade guns and then the development of machinery and gauge standards. The first machine was a wooden duplicating lathe which made gunstocks. It was invented by Blanchard in about 1820 so he could make more stocks with unskilled labor. Pay was based on piece work, and he invented about 17 different machines to increase his output. Our Blanchard grinder is his design.  Gauges were developed to insure interchangeability, and they spread throughout industry. In the 1870's, Europe adopted the American System of manufacturing. The video showed making civil war muskets, trapdoors, 1903 Springfields, M-1 Garands and the M-14 rifles. In WWII, they made about 1.8 million M-1s at the rate of 5000 per day.  The armoury buildings now house a college except for the central building which is a National Park Service museum.

Vincent D'Amico recalled his visits to a the The American Precision Museum located in Windsor, Vermont. Their web site has a good pictorial display of precision measuring tooling and equipment.

Tom Moore lectured on using sine bars to measure angles.

.Show and Tell

Joe Scott

Joe Scott showed various small gun parts that he makes

Dick Kostelnicek's Corless Engine

Dick Kostelnicek showed the beginnings of a Corliss steam engine that he is making.

Rich Pichler

Rick Pichler showed a disc sander retaining nut he built and samples of metal Monopoly pieces he is making.

Ed Katz

Ed Katz showed a small 3-axis mini-mill made in Germany which can be converted to CNC. He will be a dealer for them.

Charlie Mynheim

Charlie Mynheim showed a single shot pistol he made along with the molds for making the investments used to cast the various parts.

Joe Scott

Joe Williams showed a collet wrench with extended handle made of thin-wall conduit

Metal Casting SIG

No activity this month.

Computer Numerical Control SIG

No activity this month.

Featured Articles

Buffing Exposed with Steven I. West

Steven I. WestWho was that masked buffing man with the long moustache?

Editor's Note. Steven I. West is the father of Chuck West, the club's Vice President. He presented this talk at the regular May 11, 2002 meeting.

Steven I. West, a product of the Bronx (the true home of Picante Sauce), 3rd wave D-Day in the Army Air Corps, and the Chemical Engineering Department of City College of New York, now retired, has worked in the industrial finishings, paint, and coatings industries for over 40 years. He was the head of the technical department for United Laboratories in Linden, New Jersey, and was personally responsible for 12 chemical patents including the original “Tiger” brand greaseless compound line, liquid greaseless, Tripoli, rouge, cut and color, …and other picture post cards. The products he developed have earned him international acclaim.

Steven I. West:  I'll focus on the buffing compound itself and will only briefly touch upon the equipment; buffs, machines, speeds, accessories, etc.  I'll talk about equipment at another time.
So... What is buffing? Buffing, as opposed to grinding, is removing small quantities of metal on the surface to make it even, such as removing small pits and scratches.
And So... What is polishing? Polishing is the melting or fusing of the surface through heat – the final operation in metal finishing.  The finish can be a satin, scratch, mirror, or any finish your desire.
Then... How do we do this?

Happy Buffing!


Cutting Tool Offset Indicator
by Dick Kostelnicek - HMSC Member

Positioning Lathe Tool BitLocating End Mill HeightHere is a device that can help you locate the cutting edge of an end mill or single point tool bit relative to the work. When an electrical circuit is completed between the cutter's edge and the workpiece via the machine tool's frame and this circuit board card, a LED (light emitting diode) illuminates. At that instance, the cutter-to-work offset is precisely determined. The indicator is useful for cutter setup in both the lathe and mill.

When the copper plating on one side of the circuit board touches the work and the other side contacts cutter's edge the lamp turns on. To determine the cutter-to-work offset just add (or subtract as appropriate) the boards thickness (0.064-in my case) to the DRO (digital read out) or feed screw collar indication. The variation in my circuit board's thickness is less than half a thousand inch over its entire surface, and that's for a board right out of the scrap pile.

Locating Endmill OffsetEngraved Circuit BoardSince the circuit board is copper plated on both sides,  there is little chance of damaging the cutter's sharp edge upon contact. Even when you crash a sharp tool edge into the card, the soft copper yields, while the indentation left on it is no big problem. There will still be plenty of undamaged card surface to use for subsequent measurements.

Here is how I made my circuit card offset indicator. The electrical circuits are made by using a 1/8-in. air die grinder. The mini-burr bit was used to engrave, and hence remove, the copper between areas of the card plating that should be electrically isolated from one another. The through holes for wires and also the large holes that contain the hearing-aid batteries are countersunk to provide a copper free clearance ring around each hole.

CompoonentsMounted PartsBrass shim stock was used to form the battery retaining clips. The clips on one side are soldered directly to the board's copper surface through a solder hole in the end of the clip. On the other side of the board, the clips are held in contact with the board's copper surface with #6 nylon thumb screws (available at Home Depot). The screws allow the clips to swing aside for battery replacement. You really don't need insulating thumb screws if you remove the copper from around the threaded hole as it emerges on the reverse side of the board.

I recommend rounding the card's edge all around. I used a disk sander to do that. That way, the lamp won't light when the card edge rests on a  metal surface such as the mill vise jaw; refer to the photo labeled "Locating Endmill Offset".

The resistor is any value between 100 and 470 ohms. Use any LED that does not have internal voltage dropping circuitry (such as one that runs on 12 volts). You'll need two 1.5 volt cells in series. One just won't exceed the LED's junction forward voltage drop. Now, don't worry about getting the connection to the LED right. Just solder it to both sides of the board. Later, if the lamp won't light, flip over the cells in their holders.

A word of caution: Be careful not to just throw the device in with a bunch of metal tools or lay it on a conductive surface, especially if you used metal thumb screws. If the circuit is inadvertently completed, the batteries will prematurely wear down.

When used to position a single point lathe tool bit, the card will be exactly vertical only if the cutter's edge is right on center. If it leans to or fro, adjust the bit's height in order to get back on center. Finally, for those sight challenged machinists, replace the LED with a miniature piezo buzzer.

The next meeting will be held on Saturday June 14, 2003 at the Collier Library 6200 Pinemont, Houston, TX at 1:00 p.m. Bring along a work in progress to show.

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