Upgrades to the Carriage itself

Now onto a scarier upgrade.
This is the bottom of the main carriage.

Carriage and stock for making upgrades
Sieg Sc3 Carriage

The two black strips that you can see screwed to the underneath of the carriage are hardened steel and they stop the carriage from lifting. As you can imagine the needs to be a bit of clearance between these strips and the underside of the carriage to allow it to slide along the bed of the lathe. As delivered this clearance is adjusted and fine tuned by the set screws and locking nuts that you can see between the cap screws. As I understand it these lead to cracking of the hardened plates over time.

I have seen a few ways to over come this but the best way that I have seen is to remove these grub screws and replace them with an appropriate thickness of brass shims. The person I saw who added shims just had lots of bits of shim balanced in between the two surfaces but a Gent in the US improved upon that by making a jig to drill out the shims to match the hole spacing of the main cap screws thus preventing them from being dislodged while being refitted to the lathe.

Next is to replace the cap screws with stainless studs and nyloc nuts and then remove one of the hardened strips and replacing it with a mild steel strip of more substantial proportions.

Carriage and stock for making upgrades

There are a couple more bit’s of material that I am waiting for so the rest of the description will have to wait until then.

But in the meantime, the next job is to mill out the carriage where the blue blocks are to take the two pieces of square stock in the image these will be screwed to the ends of the carriage in the milled gaps and will form the anchors for the carriage stop.

Sieg SC3 Apron Swarf Guard

When I picked up the new lathe and gave it the once over I noted that there had been some upgrades carried out already which rather surprised me that whoever had done it hadn’t fitted a carriage lock etc.
One of the other recommended improvements that people make is to fit a swarf guard to the back of the apron (for those that don’t know what an apron is and I didn’t it’s the gear housing for the carriage hand wheel which also houses the auto feed mechanism). Most people that I have seen make such a cover have done it from thin perspex sheet which works fine but I was delighted when I saw that mine had a brass cover.

Back of the Apron showing the rather neat swarf guard

I was even more delighted when I took it to bits and found out just how well it had been made. You will also note the grease nipple. Grease nipples have been fitted to all the bearing housings.

Swarf Shield

Adding locks to the Carriage, Cross and Compound Slides

Prior to buying the lathe I did quite a bit of research and one of the things that I picked up was that in being made to a price, these Chinese mini lathes lack the rigidity of their bigger higher end ‘professional’ cousins. What quickly became apparent though was that they can be made much more rigid for the outlay of some time and very little money.

What the Unimat had but the Sieg hasn’t, are the means to lock the carriage, cross slide and compound slides. I have already attended to the latter two by drilling and tapping more M4 holes along the Gib strips.

I did the compound slide first, you can see the new holes by the remains of the marker pen that I used for marking out.

Additional M4 holes for extra Gib adjusters and slide locks for the Compound slide
Tapping the new holes M4
Tapping the new holes M4

Then the cross slide, I didn’t need as many additional screws on this one as it was already supported towards the end of the Gibs

Cross Slide with slide locks fitted

Two screws on each slide wont have lock nuts on them and they will act as the locks when tightened the rest will have grub screws and locking half nuts to position the Gibs to allow smooth travel of the slides.

Ironing out the wrinkles of the new lathe

Prior to Christmas I had decided that the week between Crimbo and the New Year I would spend ironing out the wrinkles with the new lathe.

First I stripped down, cleaned and deburred all my chucks which you can see in the photo of my workbench in the last post.

The lathe came with two 3 jaw chucks (80mm and 100mm) and a 4 jaw chuck.
I have seen a few reviews on YouTube of Chinese import chucks and it seems that although basically sound bits of kit, to keep the price down they don’t do any cleaning or deburring post machining which means that many of them have all the grinding dust present inside which if mot cleaned out will drastically reduce the life of the chuck.

The 4 jaw chuck cannot have been used because when I tried it before stripping it down to clean one of the jaws wouldn’t actually close due to burrs in the slides. I also took the opportunity to strip down and clean another 3 jaw 80mm chuck that I had bought in October with my rotary table for the mill. The latter is actually the best manufactured of all of them needing very little to getting running smoothly.
Next up was the ball handle for the compound/top slide. I didn’t take a photo of it prior to starting work on it but it should look like the one on the left (from the cross slide)

Lathe Ball Handles

I am not sure if the handle had been broken off at some point or just crudely sawn off but I wanted to replace the handle part. I am pretty sure that I could probably buy a spare from Amadeal but where is the fun in that.
So I made a fixture out of an M10 cap screw a couple of nuts and some washers to hold it securely in the milling vice and drilled it almost to the bottom. I did consider that I might have to drill it right through because I didn’t think that I had an M6 plug tap but I found one in a drawer so I was able to retain the chromed ball.

Hole drilled for replacement handle

The plan is to make a handle similar to the other one from stainless steel rod once I get the lathe back together.

A Tour Around the Workshop

A post on Western Thunder asking for photos of members work spaces tempted me to take these and subsequently share them here.

This is my Workbench a bit crowded with lathe chucks at present.
Next we have the ‘new’ lathe
At the side of that lives the Mill
Lastly to the left of the mill is my Warco Mini Formit, Rollers, Guillotine and folding brake.

To the right of my first image showing the the bench, the upper cupboard door houses my spray booth and working back from there is a small worktop with my Ultrasonic cleaner and then a sink with drainer taking up the remainder of that wall.

Shop Made Machinists Hammer

A while ago when making the improvements to the tail stock of the Unimat, I mentioned that I planned to make a machinists hammer.

Well, I made a start and ,machined up the body of the head the screw in faces, and the shaft but hadn’t done anything about the handle by the time I sold the Unimat.

Primarily this was because I had struggled to thread the 8mm stainless rod that I used for the shaft and was awaiting delivery of a new set of metric taps and dies to complete it. The taps and dies duly arrived but by then I was on with other things so it was being used just with a the bare rod as a handle. I had managed to thread the end that fits into the head it was the handle end that I had struggles with. About 3 weeks or so ago I got around to threading the handle end of the shaft but was undecided as to what to make the handle from. I had a choice of some 16mm diameter aluminium rod or some of the acetal rod that I had made the faces from. which is just over 20mm diameter. In the end I opted for the acetal. but it wasn’t until yesterday that I got my finger out and made the handle.

Having drilled and tapped it 8mm. Instead of knurling the acetal rod to create the grip, I decided to turn concave grooves using a HSS tool bit that I had ground into a curved end but hadn’t tried out on anything.

Once that was done it was just a case of fitting them together. In the end I had to cut a few threads of ether end to ensure that no threads were visible where the shaft enters the head or handle as I hadn’t really thought too much about how much thread I was creating versus how deep I could actually tap each piece.

Home Ground HSS Cutting Tool

Aside from regrinding a few tools to sharpen them, this is my first real go at grinding a tool from a blank to create a particular shape. My plan with this one is to have a go at turning a chimney at some point.

Home Ground HSS Cutting tool
Shop made machinists Hammer

Once I screwed the faces onto the head and the handle onto the shaft I couldn’t get them off again without risking marking them up so I wasn’t able to take any photos of it further disassembled.

Shop made machinists Hammer

This is the finished hammer which has turned out rather better than I had hoped when I started out. It’s main function will be to ensure that materials are seated properly in the mill vice of lathe chuck but I am sue that I will find other uses for non marking brute forceā€¦.

A few more lamp irons…

Onward with part II, a step by step of how I made the next lot. In this instance I needed 3 L shaped lamp irons as opposed to the slightly off-centre T shape of the earlier efforts.

It may be a bit of a photo overload as I probably took more photos than needed to get across the methods used.

First I cut of the insulated section of another plug pin.

L shaped Lamp Irons – making a scratch pass to set the cutting height.

I fastened it in the milling vice supported on parallels and lowered the quill until it just touched the work piece and rotated it by hand to establish a base height for cutting.

Then I set the dial on the fine feed to zero

L shaped Lamp Irons – setting the fine feed to Zero

Here we are ready for the first cut, you can see the parallel sticking out the end of the vice. To get the right height I had to stack two different sizes of parallels on top of each other. – in this instance I used a 5 x13mm on top of a 6 x 24mm. I have a set of 20 pairs of different heights and thicknesses. I have also cut a couple of cheapo 6″ steel rules in half for if I need really thin parallels (the thinnest in the set is 2mm thick)

L shaped Lamp Irons work piece set up on parallels ready to mill

Next we start to take the first cuts to form the back of the L using a 5mm 4 flute end mill.

L shaped Lamp Irons making the first cuts

Once I got to the lowest depth of cut that the top of the vice would allow I moved the cutter back to take a small cut to create the underside of the lamp iron. I only took a couple of passes just so that I had enough of a ridge that I would be able to see the slitting saw passing through it in a later operation

L shaped Lamp Irons staring the horizontal leg of the ‘L’

Then I used a small brass hand vice as a vice stop to allow me to turn the part over to do the same on the other side.

L shaped Lamp Irons Using a small hand vice as a vice stop.

Next I shifted the part so that it was fixed in the end of the vice with the upper leg of the L stick out of the edge of the vice horizontally and made the first cut with the slitting saw.

This is at the end of the first cut. The slitting saw is the 4″x 0.5mm 100 tooth blade that I used for the first ones.

L shaped Lamp Irons first slitting cut done

Once both the slits were cut I put the part back in to the top of the vice to cut through the horizontal leg of the L with a 3mm four flute end mill

L shaped Lamp Irons Starting the final cut Having turn the part over.

I had inserted a small brass shim that gave me another 0.7mm of clearance above the vice jaws which allowed me to mill down until there was only a sliver of brass holding the parts in place

L shaped Lamp Irons Making the final cuts with the mill

Finally I was able to just touch the lamp irons with a scalpel blade to lift and cut them free.

L shaped Lamp Irons the final cut finished

All that remained was a bit of hand filing to finish them off ready for fitting

Finished L shaped Lamp Irons

Milled Lamp Irons MKII

On the back of this morning’s discussions I had another go and used the Slitting saw to separate them. With much more precise results.

Milled Lamp Irons MKII – Milled ready for slitting

This is the basic shape milled from another plug

Milled Lamp Irons MKII – straight off the mill

Then cut with a 0.5mm slitting saw. My first go with the slitting saw that I got for my birthday a couple of months ago. Very nerve wracking!!!

Milled Lamp Irons MKII – After a bit of cleaning up with a file

After a brief clean up with a diamond file.

Millled lamp Irons MKII- after cutting of the main pin

Finally cut off from the main pin. as long as I don’t lose any I have one spare at the minute.

Lamp Irons – Milled

Finding myself at the point of fitting lamp irons I was muttering about fold up etched version provided in kits and the fact that I ould buy some cast ones from Laurie Griffin et, al but I only needed 3 of one type and a couple of another. Then I recalled having some milled angle with one leg longer than the other which I had used for replacement step boards on the Slaters LNER brake van. I was sure I had some off cuts but they are stashed somewhere safe so while they resurface I thought about the more conventional type. I had once seen some made by silver soldering a strip at right angles to a another to recreate the shape when sawn of in strips but couldn’t find the page that I had seen it on.

This brought to mind why don’t I mill some. When we moved we had a drawer full of 13 amp plugs that I had removed from appliances before binning them. Knowing that we would never use so many plugs I took them apart and removed the pins (solid brass) for potential future material and binned the rest. Fortunately I knew exactly where they were so I set to this evening and milled one to shape.

Once I had the basic shape I then cut it into strips using a razor saw. Having proved the concept next time I make some I will use a slitting saw. I had thought about using it on these but didn’t think that the milled shape would stand the cutting forces.

DA Princess Milled Lamp irons