General questions about metal lathes

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Brevin Din-Shay

Well-Known Member
Hey Kim,

Thanks for putting those up! Sorry to hear about Cris's rough time.


Your added ideas for what can be made just wrapped up every question I asked...thanks again. Now I know at least one good excuse to buy one for my wife's benefit!


Wow, that is beautiful work. (Just loaded on my slow dialup!) Please be sure and remind him about this thread when he gets a chance.


David
 

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kimncris

Well-Known Member
Well, I see that the infamous pics have already been posted...

Kim and Ryan seem to be Pres and Vice Pres of the "Cris for Mini Lathe Poster Boy" committee.

What someone should REALLY do- is convince RY to post some of HIS pictures. Then you will really be clicking that Buy it Now button. (espescially the one with the pointy brass end piece and the small coulumn shaped bits surrounding the emmiter- OH OH- and the much more accurate queens blaster, and that freaking awesome Naboo Ascension Gun etc...)


And heck- since we are on the subject of queen's blasters- what kind of polish are you using for that mirror finish, Ryan? I have yet to come close.

-cris
 

RandomSabers

New Member
Okay...but you asked for it - these are smaller photos, so as not to clog up 56K modems
A few custom sabers:





And a couple of blasters:



Yes, it there is an artform to machining; hand machine or CNC, there is alot of work that goes into the "pre-machining" aspects of things as well as the actual hand work.

Brev- if you were thinking about picking a lathe up do do any of your own work, a benchtop lathe certainly wont do you wrong. I dont doubt for a second that anyone of the big guys who do large runs on sabers, take them to companies with big ol' CNC's - there is no way to produce and REPRODUCE accurately the same saber over and over on a hand lathe, in the speed and precsion that CNC will do.

Cris - I try to save all my polishing work for one day, because I get so filthy, I look like a coalminer when I am done. I picked up a simple $25 two wheel grinder at Home Depot, and replaced the grinding wheels with buffing wheels. One is for Tripoli (first stage) and the other wheel is for Red Rought (for the ultimate mirror). I wear a hat, and goggles and cloth/latex gloves -because the pieces get hot enough to cause blisters....but in the end, I still look like I just got crammed through a chimney. BUT, as cruddy as the polishing work is...it makes such a huge difference in my opinion. The Nabooo blaster wouldnt look as elegant unless it reflected images the way it does so brightly. Gav also gave me some pointers for 'sealing' the shiney materials with a sealer...I am sure he will post on what he uses...but I just use gloss urethane spray...like a woodworkers finish.

Anyway...good luck to anyone who is thinking about machining. Keep this in mind. If you bought a simple $600 lathe/mill combo and made 3 of the sabers that are/were offered on the forums in the past...you would have recouped your money - and still have the lathe, to make some of the stuff MR isnt going to make


Later
RYan
 

obi1kenny

Well-Known Member
Gavidoc, we should talk some time. We run 3 Fadal cnc mills on the floor right now, and I still program almost all of our new jobs by hand. I have Surfcam and use it when it's a big job or a complex part. But still find it more comfortable to sit down to type straight G code off the top of my head. I usually go back and hand edit my Surfcam program anyway.

Brevin, go get a bench top lathe and start cutting some metal, that's the best way to learn. But be careful and read the manual first and wear eye protection! -Ken
 

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Darth Kukiman

New Member
obikenny,

thank you so much for the chat, really really helpful.. i hope someday soon i'll be telling you in anakin's voice "its working!!!" hahahah

gavidoc,

just pm-ed you, if u hv time, hope to hear your reply, if not, its alright! thanx anyway!

rest,

i hope we all can join the prop making universe with lathes and mills!!!!

Kk
 

kimncris

Well-Known Member
Ya See! now that's what I'm talking about!

Thanks, Ryan


Did you get the polishing compounds at Home Depot too?

I have seen the pack of 4 colors of polish- but have never tried it out. I have been finishing my stuff right on the lathe with successively lower grades of sandpaper and then the MAAS metal polish that I had laying about.

thanks for the tips!

-cris
 

vaderdarth

Master Member
Guys,
most of the saber reps out there were done in sections on a mini lathe. My lathe can handle 10" metal stock. So If my saber were to be say 12", I can do half at a time no problem.
Dave
 

obi1kenny

Well-Known Member
Exactly, IÂ’m a bit of a disadvantage because we donÂ’t have any large capacity CNC lathes and none with a tail stock to support the shaft of a saber. So all of the saber shafts IÂ’ve done have been done on a manual lathe. I try and break down the prop into smaller sections so that I can produce them on my smaller lathes anyhow and it looks a lot cooler if you can unscrew it and break it apart. -Ken
 

gavidoc

Well-Known Member
I made all the parts except the clamp on either a CNC, manual mill, or a manual lathe.

Not a benchtop mind you, but still a lathe. And they were done in sections.





Emitter was made on a manual lathe
Grenade Stem was made on a manual lathe
Grenade body was made on a manual lathe and a manual mill
Gear was done with a CNC and a manual lathe
Pommel was done with a CNC and a manual lathe
 

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Brevin Din-Shay

Well-Known Member
I am just stunned at what I see here. I am really glad I posted this thread now, not just for the great info, but to see these fantastic pieces you all have done!

Ryan, I am a nut when it comes to custom jobs (as long as they aren't TOO far out there!). Those are really fine designs you have. Especially the blasters -- since I am really a "saber person" if you will, I haven't really explored what people have made as far as custom blasters. Very unique, love the dual scopes and wood grip.


</SPAN><TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>RY27 wrote:<HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>Brev- if you were thinking about picking a lathe up do do any of your own work, a benchtop lathe certainly wont do you wrong. I dont doubt for a second that anyone of the big guys who do large runs on sabers, take them to companies with big ol' CNC's - there is no way to produce and REPRODUCE accurately the same saber over and over on a hand lathe, in the speed and precsion that CNC will do.</TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE>

More good advice, I'll keep it on file.



<TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>obi1kenny wrote:<HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>Brevin, go get a bench top lathe and start cutting some metal, that's the best way to learn. But be careful and read the manual first and wear eye protection! </TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>

Ken, I truly believe that just diving in and going for it is the best way to learn. If you could only see how much I've screwed up on my Vader ROTJ...well, you will in a short while, I'm gonna post pics. It took me quite a while to just go ahead and get off my butt.
Part of the reason is in your last sentence there. Sorry for repeating this to the folks who have heard it a hundred times (
), but I've gotten metal in my eye twice from my Dremel. And yes, I was wearing goggles, so now I wear coveralls, a hat, use a face shield, and a respirator. No more chances.


Gav, that Obi is stunning. Thanks for the breakdown on the different elements -- that always makes it more interesting to me.

I actually have my hopes up a bit now, seeing what can be done with something in the $500-$600 range. Maybe by next fall I will be turning out some goods like you guys are.

Thanks again to all for sharing! Maybe after this thread has run its course it can be archived...I just see too much great info in here to let it fall off, and future interested parties could benefit muchly.

David
 

Mercury

Sr Member
I really recommend "Tabletop Machining" by Joe Martin and "The Home Machinist's Handbook" by Doug Briney. Both books are great resources for beginners in this hobby. While they are geared torward Sherline equipment, it applies to all small home machining equipment and uses.
 

Rocketbobs

Well-Known Member
I really appreciate all this info-It great-I to have been checking into getting a lathe.

Heres my dumb question-
Can you use wood or high-density foam on a metal lathe or do you need a wood lathe allso?
 

gavidoc

Well-Known Member
you can do foam but I wouldn't recommend it. Wood isn't a great idea either but if you have to, you can. Just make sure to clean it afterwards.

Problem with foam is that it is more corrosive then wood dust and it can get caught in the ways of the machine and screw with the lubrication.

It's possible, but you have to make sure to clean the lathe well afte ryou are done.
 

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Mercury

Sr Member
Here are some pics of my mini machineshop along with a saber I'm working on. It's the "Weapons And Field Equipment Techinical Reference Manual" version of Luke's ROTJ Saber.

Ironically, before I ordered this equipment, I was working 2/3 12hr shifts meaning every few days I was off. A week after I got it, the Chemical Plant I work for filed Chapter11 and laid off 65 people. Luckily I was one of the 50 considered critical and was saved. However, now 50 people are doing the work of 115. Make a long story short, between double shifts and my 5 month old boy, hardly any time to play with this stuff.

Still, I've cut the grip/control section of the saber and even made a custom emitter for a future saber out of some scrap.

I've gotten the impression from those books I mentioned earlier that perhaps the Sherlines might be more "tight", and if you have had no experience with a full size machineshop lathe, you might have an easier time with the Sherline than with the one I have (it's very similiar in design and use as the 40" at my work). I can turn a saber out on a 40" lathe at my work in a few hours. The smaller ones take quite a bit longer to cut the same saber mainly because you can't push them as hard as a full size one.

my .02, I think you would have fun with a mini-lathe for hobby use.

Anyway, here are the pics:

The Lathe

My Shop

The print that I'm using for the saber

The grip against the print

Grip close-up(it's not finished yet, still got to do the emmitter end

Custom emitter for something(not finished yet either)


Just keep saying "It's only a hobby..It's only a hobby"
 

hypospray

New Member
As long as we're on CNC prices, one of my relatives has several machines that cost in the neighborhood (and upwards of) $250,000 each. And he is a private business working out of a shop on his property


But I'm not pretending to know much about machining, I'm still a beginner compared to some of these guys
 

Mercury

Sr Member
</SPAN><TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>kimncris wrote:<HR></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS=$row_color>thought you might like to see the progress pics of my current endeavor...

-cris</TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>

Sweet!

Cris, is that a saber or a gun? It reminds me of a pistol I once saw. You make it look so easy!
 

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