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Blog entry by canadianchips posted 06-24-2013 02:30 PM 1242 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch


-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

11 comments so far

View Makarov's profile


102 posts in 1835 days

#1 posted 06-24-2013 02:54 PM

Sounds like your co-workers are looking for someone to do their job for them especially the millwright. I have found that the incompetent are the most likely to bitch about someone they feel is going to make them look bad in the long run.

Are you comfortable in the other 75% or your job? Is the Metal lathe a major part of your job description, or is it just a “help with the millwrights when you can” situation? There is a learning curve in all jobs talk with your supervisor

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View BBF's profile


143 posts in 1868 days

#2 posted 06-24-2013 03:20 PM

Yes you are out of your element if you have to ask the question. However turning is turning and with some practice you will become comfortable with metal turning the biggest things are surface speed, depth of cut, and feed rates. Larger diameters get larger DOC and heavier feed rates you will bend smaller dia parts with too much of either. Too high a surface speed and you will burn up your cutter too low and you will chip it out.
When you have some free time start playing with the lathe make some simple projects, you may even want to take a class.
Good luck and remember don’t get emotional over a hunk of metal, it is just a piece of metal and there are huge companies making more of if.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View lew's profile


12103 posts in 3784 days

#3 posted 06-24-2013 04:41 PM

Several years ago, I was asked to assist in introducing young kids to the metal lathe/machine shop operations. It was an exploratory program for 9th graders to see if they might like to learn a trade. Having never used a metal lathe, I spent a little time getting oriented with the “full time” instructor.
Some things I can suggest-
learn to sharpen the cutting tools to the correct shape and angles
the cutting tool should be at the center line of the rotating work piece
you need to learn to turn adjustments with both hands at the same time
start out at slow rpms and remove very small amounts of material at a time
as BBF suggested, practice

We had the kids make pieces from aluminum as it was softer and more forgiving.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3678 days

#4 posted 06-24-2013 04:48 PM

lathe work is lathe work – centering, turning, facing.

the difference between wood and metal is that wood utilizes more of a free-form whereas metal is almost always work-by-numbers where you follow more precise measurements. tool grinding is slightly different with relief angles and cutter radii, but other than some of these details, the work is pretty much the same.

Keep your elements, and do what feels right to you, not what someone else who shouldn’t is telling you.


-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

20603 posts in 3135 days

#5 posted 06-24-2013 05:42 PM

NO WAY…......... a metal lathe can help you tremendously with wood working. I use it when I have to bore a straight hole and right to the thousandth for a perfect between wood parts a lot.
I have a wood chuck from Grizzly and you can get about four different threaded inserts for the back. I often start something on the wood lathe with the 1”-8 insert, change the insert to 1 1/2”-8 for the Southbend lathe and do an operation on the metal lathe without taking it out of the chuck. And then finish on the wood lathe.

One of my projects is a Tangent cutting board with all circles tangent at the same point. That was done all on the metal lathe with a faceplate.

sounds lie the millwright is too narrowly focused. Learn all of the machines- even the mill. You never regret it!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3114 days

#6 posted 06-25-2013 02:51 PM

I think you are right in your element, learning and doing. If you can find a manual for that lathe, on line or
elsewhere check it out, as they say when all else fails-read the instructions. If you can find a machinist up
there, stop and have a chat, most of them down here are very helpful, if approached the right way. Not
like your wanabe millwright. Hope you have fun.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View helluvawreck's profile


31427 posts in 2896 days

#7 posted 06-25-2013 03:15 PM

When I left engineering school (Mech Eng) I went to machinist school for 6 months where basically all I learned to do was operate the controls on most of the different machine tools. It was a 2 year course but I couldn’t afford to stay in it any longer because by then I had a wife and 3 children to look after. I was working in my family’s woodworking plant full time also. I quit and talked my father and brother into setting up a small machine shop in the plant. For the next 40 or so years I was in charge of all of the engineering and maintenance in the plant. It was basically hands own because I’m the one that did most of the maintenance work. Everything important to my work for 40 years I have basically learned by doing it and by independent study. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best way to learn. We ended up with a good size plant that was full of machinery. I don’t mind saying that me and my brother worked our asses off and most of what we learned we taught ourselves.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Don W's profile

Don W

18756 posts in 2597 days

#8 posted 06-25-2013 03:58 PM

I haven’t taken woodworking classes since high school, and never taught any. High school has been a few years believe me, but I’ve taught technology classes for over 10 years. Even at college level there is a “keep one chapter ahead of the students” mentality when they are looking for teachers. I’ve taught many classes learning as I went. I can’t see why that wouldn’t work in lathe work as well.

It’s not like your starting from a student level. Some of it is already known, “so just do it.”

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#9 posted 06-25-2013 06:23 PM

Thanks for the comments. I am doing my own personal projects on these lathes. Learning how to chase threads. The last project I made was a new “SCREW” on my old craftsman table saw fence. I finally threw the original plastic one away. I am cutting tapers this week. I know I am good on this thing, just needed reassurance from profession people . Thanks.
I am same as most of you, I learn by hands on doing, reading, observing, listening.
Don W. you are hitting that “keep one chapter ahead” of students. Some of these kids are brilliant, refreshing to see not everyone is “texting” & tweeting.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#10 posted 06-26-2013 02:32 PM

The things I am doing, machines.
I am trying other little projects as well.. HAVING FUN.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3678 days

#11 posted 06-26-2013 03:30 PM

looking good!

thats a really nice lathe you are working on there.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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