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Learning to Machine

farmo83

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I'm in the market for a hobby (besides boating) and after reading a few threads on machining I'm interested in seeing I can try this. By no means do I desire to be a machinist, strictly a hobby. Are their classes for this type of stuff or is it best self taught(books, etc)? Also are there actual machines you can buy that won't break the bank or is everything basically commercial grade ?
 

ltbaney1

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i was lucky enough to have Machine shop in high school, got some basics. continued on at local community college and wound up getting some certificates and what not. my recommendation if you are totally green to it, find a local community college with courses or find a friend who doesnt mind showing you around. for what we consider "high level" hobby grade or entry professional level check out precision matthews. i have no direct experience but guys i know are happy with them. what area are you in? i might have some machinery contacts that could help you out. im on the tooling supply side of the industry.
 

scottchbrite

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I have some experience machining basic stuff. With that said, I use youtube a lot. There’s some regular channels that are all about machine work. I’ve been watching a bunch of stuff on basics again. It’s been a few years since I’ve done any real machining. I just got my grandpas lathe in the new shop and I have a list of projects already.
 

rivergames

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Making chips are fun. I don't know what the F I'm doing, but somehow my machined parts typically turn out tits!

I found a old Bridgeport that used to be owned by a guy that made toy parts for Matel. He passed and his family sold it to me for $500. Been working great! Look around and try and fit an old Bridgeport.
 

RiverDave

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I'm in the market for a hobby (besides boating) and after reading a few threads on machining I'm interested in seeing I can try this. By no means do I desire to be a machinist, strictly a hobby. Are their classes for this type of stuff or is it best self taught(books, etc)? Also are there actual machines you can buy that won't break the bank or is everything basically commercial grade ?
Are you in Havasu?

RD
 

RiverDave

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I'm in the market for a hobby (besides boating) and after reading a few threads on machining I'm interested in seeing I can try this. By no means do I desire to be a machinist, strictly a hobby. Are their classes for this type of stuff or is it best self taught(books, etc)? Also are there actual machines you can buy that won't break the bank or is everything basically commercial grade ?
Making chips and "learning" to machine are pretty different.. I know a ton of hobby machinists, but if you asked any of them to "square a block" they'd look at you sideways.. LOL.

I'm happy to help however I can. If you think boating is expensive, hold on to your hat when you start buying tooling and inspection equipment.

RD
 

lbhsbz

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Spend some time thinking about what you'd like to make, and whether you want this hobby to be productive or a time waster.

Do you want to make useful parts for the boat, etc in a halfway timely manner or do you want to spend the next 5 years whittling out parts to build your own tiny internal combustion engine?

The machines are cheap...relatively speaking. Tooling and support equipment adds up fast. My mill vise cost half what I paid for the mill.

At the very least, you'll need


I would check out mini-lathe.com

This guy is plays with mostly Sieg machinery out of china sold under many brands here in the US...its tiny stuff, but somewhat useful for a hobby guy. He has a small shop set up that is fairly well appointed. That will give you an idea of what you'll need, then scale it up based on size.
 

caribbean20

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Making chips are fun. I don't know what the F I'm doing, but somehow my machined parts typically turn out tits!

I found a old Bridgeport that used to be owned by a guy that made toy parts for Matel. He passed and his family sold it to me for $500. Been working great! Look around and try and fit an old Bridgeport.
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Small world, I retired from Mattel. Was GM for our Mexico plants for a spell and travelled to all of our plants while GM in Hong Kong. We still had many of those old Bridgeport’s in our plants.
 

Flatsix66

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I was in the same boat, wanted to learn machining as a hobby. I started with a Harbor Freight 3in1 Mill/Lathe combo in my garage. The machine was pretty bad but I did learn some of the basics and made some real cool things with it. I later wanted to get into CNC and bought a Tormach PCNC1100 Mill and later added a CNC lathe. I use Fusion360 as the solid object drawing tool as well as CNC machine software. Tons of video and online turorial information for this setup.
IMG_1823.JPG
 

rivergames

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Small world, I retired from Mattel. Was GM for our Mexico plants for a spell and travelled to all of our plants while GM in Hong Kong. We still had many of those old Bridgeport’s in our plants.
That's awesome. This guy lived in Westchester and worked at the El Segundo Mattel.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom would take my brother and I to the Mattel in Gundo to test out a few new toys. Then they would give us a gift certificate or another toy.
 

Desert Whaler

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Making chips and "learning" to machine are pretty different.. I know a ton of hobby machinists, but if you asked any of them to "square a block" they'd look at you sideways.. LOL.

I'm happy to help however I can. If you think boating is expensive, hold on to your hat when you start buying tooling and inspection equipment.

RD
Funny You'd mention 'squaring a block' . . . my Dad said that was one of his projects when he was in a trade school as a young man . . . I've got no experience machining but I guess it's a lot harder than you'd think. He said the instructor would come by with micrometers and say, "Nope, try again".
 

monkeyswrench

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I can't "machine" for crap. I can successfully whittle small stuff out though. I had an old Bridgeport, and a big lathe before I moved. Sold them for cheap...but had no place for them to land. I did bring a little cheesy 3in1. It's good for milling small stuff, in aluminum...and the lathe gets used primarily for making bushing drivers and such. If you just want something to mess with, I'd suggest one of them. A real machinist will laugh at you, but it would let you know if you wan to buy a real lathe first, or a real mill. That, and being 110v makes it easy, and they don't take up much space.
 

terb

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We may have what you are looking for.
Some machining equipment that has not been used in some time and we need to move it.
located in Anaheim. Bridgeport Mill, Le Blond Lathe and a few other items. Not sure what
any of it is valued at.
 

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SoCalDave

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We may have what you are looking for.
Some machining equipment that has not been used in some time and we need to move it.
located in Anaheim. Bridgeport Mill, Le Blond Lathe and a few other items. Not sure what
any of it is valued at.
Sold an old Bridgeport like that to an inmate here for $250. Included collects and a rotary table.
 

X Hoser

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025 gave me some instruction on his mill and turned me loose. Very rewarding making some one-off stuff. Biggest part of the learning curve was patience! Breaking bits equals $$$$ which equals expensive hobby LOL! I’ve also considered having my own mill and lathe one day. It is kinda therapeutic 😉
 

SoCalDave

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We've replaced all of our old Bridgeport's with these Taiwan copies branded Clark. Knock off of a Bridgeport with power feed on the x axis and digital readout on the x&y axis for $6500 delivered locally. They work very well.


 

Dennis-19

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Making chips and "learning" to machine are pretty different.. I know a ton of hobby machinists, but if you asked any of them to "square a block" they'd look at you sideways.. LOL.

I'm happy to help however I can. If you think boating is expensive, hold on to your hat when you start buying tooling and inspection equipment.

RD

Agreed. I can make a lot of cool parts, but I would not call myself a machinist. I don't have the patience and I don't like math that much. LOL
 

RiverDave

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025 gave me some instruction on his mill and turned me loose. Very rewarding making some one-off stuff. Biggest part of the learning curve was patience! Breaking bits equals $$$$ which equals expensive hobby LOL! I’ve also considered having my own mill and lathe one day. It is kinda therapeutic 😉
breaking bits?? 😳
 

Shlbyntro

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Man, I've been wanting to get myself one of those portable engine boring machines that magnetically mount to the block. A true "garage built" engine lol but 3,500 is a lot of money for something like that that I'm not sure I'd ever be able to truly monetize. Sure as hell would fun to build my own engines all the way down to the machine work though.
 

CoolCruzin

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Man, I've been wanting to get myself one of those portable engine boring machines that magnetically mount to the block. A true "garage built" engine lol but 3,500 is a lot of money for something like that that I'm not sure I'd ever be able to truly monetize. Sure as hell would fun to build my own engines all the way down to the machine work though.
Holding a couple thousands is a skill .
Size , taper , out of round . Surface finish.
Takes some skill .

but it is fun till you mess up and break tools
 

lbhsbz

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breaking bits?? 😳
I break lots of 1/4” carbide end mills....usually cutting out broken bolts/taps/extractors. I buy ‘em in bulk on eBay. Lol. Then there was that $300 6 flute 3/4” carbide (brand new) that fucking exploded as soon as it touched the workpiece. That stung a little.
 
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