Author Topic: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.  (Read 3892 times)

Offline Gas_mantle

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Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:57:44 AM »
Hi,

I thought I'd start a new thread where members could show some of the cheaper tooling items that they own and would recommend to other members.

Please keep it to fairly cheap items that most of us can afford and may be of use to beginners to the hobby who don't want to spend a fortune.

I'll start off with these metric 123 (or is it 321?) blocks, these are in mm sizes so are 10 20 40 and 20 40 80 blocks. The small ones are tapped at M6 and the larger ones at M8 allowing them to be bolted together in various configurations. Pretty much everytime I use my mill these get used for something, wether it be as parallels, spacers, packing pieces, mounting jigs etc.

At £15 for the small ones and £20 for the large ones I think they are a handy thing to have :-)





While typing I looked to see how much I paid for them and noticed a 15 30 60 has now been added to the range, now where is my debit card  ;)

https://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Workholding/Vee-Blocks-Angle-Plates/Stevensons-Metric-Blocks
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 12:11:46 PM by Gas_mantle »

Online steamer

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 12:30:41 PM »
A corollary to the 123 blocks is a 4" x 6" or so piece of aluminum plate, 3/8" thick.   Square  up the sides , and tapdrill a grid of holes in it for the clamping studs you use, or for a convenient screw size.   Can be any thread you want really.    This little piece comes in so handy on irregular shaped pieces.  You mount the work piece to the plate, and now you transfer the plate between machines or set it up in different vices or angle plates.   Because it's aluminum, it's sacrificial.   So if it needs a pocket, just cut one.   Because it's square it's easy to locate the plate and there by locating the weird shaped part repeat ably and accurately.  ( datum based on a straight known edge instead of a casting in this case)   

The dimensions aren't critical, just the squared up size.  and it can be rectangular, square or even round!...

Don't tap all the holes, just the ones you need, when you need them.  Saves a bunch of work.

Dave
   
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 12:51:04 PM by steamer »
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Offline pgp001

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 01:05:29 PM »
Pretty much everytime I use my mill these get used for something, wether it be as parallels, spacers, packing pieces, mounting jigs etc.

Peter

Strangely enough I thought I could never manage without a set of those 123 blocks so bought a set about five years ago. They are still in the box brand new and unused !!

Phil

Offline ShopShoe

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 01:44:42 PM »
Well, since you started with work holding.

I have V-blocks in different sizes. Don't need them often, but indispensible when I do. They are also useful sometimes for holding odd pieces for measurement or layout on the bench.

Also. Sometimes need clamping wedges for clamping odd-shaped pieces. Sometimes on sale, but cheap enough to buy "just in case."

An example:

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/86779964

Just starting to think this morning, but let's see what others contribute.

ShopShoe

Offline Jasonb

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 02:10:18 PM »
That's a lot of wedge for a wedge. I have a few tapered offcuts of Ali that I use and being soft ar ehandy to pack under uneven castings when clamping them down.



The other small item I use a lot is a vice stop, you can buy them even in fancy anodized colours but they all seem to leave a lot in teh opening so not much good for small/narrow work. I knocked this one up and the jaws can close down to 1mm. Often used when working on two or more similar parts or just to keep a ref edge on a single part that may need moving about.



No tapping guide - No problem. Just take a stub end of silver steel, put a 60deg point on one end and drill the other with a ctr drill. You can then hold in a collet or drill chuck and use it to guide the top end of your tap.








Offline propforward

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 02:36:37 PM »
This is a great idea for a thread, and one I'll be bookmarking and keeping an eye on. It's a lot of these kinds of ideas that I am often looking for - and sometimes don't know I'm looking for it until I find it. If you know what I mean.

 :thinking:
Stuart

Offline mklotz

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 03:14:38 PM »
My variant of steamer's tooling plate...

http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,378.msg2579.html#msg2579

includes removable fences (very useful for setup) and a holding block for mounting in the mill vise.

For small parts, my tooling block...

http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,385.0.html

is made so that it can fit in the mill vise in all three, mutually orthogonal, attitudes.  Basically, it acts as a bolt-on set of reference surfaces for those awkwardly shaped castings.  It too has removable fences.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 06:10:12 PM by mklotz »
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Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 05:30:19 PM »
Great thread. Already some ideas I can use.

Keep 'em coming.
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Offline Tennessee Whiskey

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 06:28:42 PM »
Here’s one to add to Jason’s tap center: attach a bungee strap to the quill lever and it will add constant down pressure to the center, freeing both hands for the wrench

Cletus

Offline crueby

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 06:29:34 PM »
Absolutely on tooling plates, I made this simple one and get tons of use out of it:

It has rows of evenly spaced tapped holes for hold downs, and two places between those where I put in holes for mounting to the rotary table. A stud screwed in from underneath centers a hole on the rotary table - the two mounting rows allow it to be set up centered or offset to one side a couple inches for doing long parts like conrods. I put down pieces of card stock to space the part up a little if I want to mill full depth, sometimes put a block of aluminum on with smaller holes to bolt down small rods and such. Very useful, and can be made lots cheaper than bought ready made.

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 06:30:43 PM »
Strangely enough I thought I could never manage without a set of those 123 blocks so bought a set about five years ago. They are still in the box brand new and unused !!

Phil

Phil, it suprises me yours never get used, mine live on the milling table and get used regularly. I guess you have a lot more tooling though and probably have other things that do effectively the same task. I intend to buy another set from ARC when I next place an order but if you wanted to sell yours I may be interested.

2 other cheapies I bought that I really like are this spring loaded centre punch ( about £5) and a magnifier with crab claws (£3 !) When I first started making simple models I struggled a bit making accurate centre marks for drilling etc using a punch and a hammer. I bought the spring punch and magnifier and it's now a walk in the park. My thinking was for the price even if they are no good I haven't lost much. At £3 the magnifier is a bargain, it's at a price that means I can use it to hold items for soldering and if it gets damaged I'll just buy another.



As for the vice stop I'd agree with Jason that it's incredibly useful - I made mine in about 20mins and it certainly improves accuracy on repetitive operations.



I didn't want to start an off topic thread so I'll add this here - 'ya al rite luv' in a fine Yorkshire accent  :)




« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 06:51:22 PM by Gas_mantle »

Offline Jo

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 06:41:14 PM »
I have two centres that I use for supporting taps both are nothing more difficult than a round dowel with a point on it that is a sliding fit in another dowel that goes in a drill chuck. Add a little oil to the joint and you get a natural "springy bounce" so you push it onto the tap it is pushed in and the compressed air springs the point in place as the tap cuts into the job.

I use the same tool as a long thin centre on the lathe as you can see on my Commander Lubricator thread :mischief:

I have a second smaller one that is used on little C.

Jo
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Offline crueby

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 07:22:37 PM »
How is that vise stop gizmo used?   :noidea:

Offline Tennessee Whiskey

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 07:37:26 PM »
Clamps to the jaw of a machine vise, usually the fixed one.

Cletus

Offline Gas_mantle

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 07:42:25 PM »
How is that vise stop gizmo used?   :noidea:

Chris, it's just 2 jaws that clamp over the fixed jaw of the milling vice. Mine has a couple of round pins to ensure it aligns and an Allen head bolt to tighten it. Once fixed to the vice it provides a useful datum stop to position your workpiece against. It allows you to remove you work and replace it at exactly the same place (or make multiple parts at the same positioning)





Mine is a bit crude looking but it does the job :-)

Offline Jasonb

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 07:43:46 PM »
Just clamp to fixed jaw and then as you swap the work pieces over you don't need to locate the edge of each one


Offline crueby

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 08:15:01 PM »
Thanks guys! Got it!
 :ThumbsUp:

Offline Mcgyver

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 10:18:23 PM »

Strangely enough I thought I could never manage without a set of those 123 blocks so bought a set about five years ago. They are still in the box brand new and unused !!

That'll be a really big thread.....tools you were convinced you couldn't live without, but actually could :).

Here's the best I have - in terms of oh so constantly useful and so inexpensive.  Just a bit of cold rolled with a few tapped holes for a strap clamp, so simple its silly, but worth posting for the people who haven't seen it.  It gets used horizontally and vertically constantly.








Offline pgp001

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 10:30:03 PM »
I use the edge finder on the right of this photo just about every time I use the Boley Jig Borer. It is super simple and quick to use if you have a DRO with the ½ function.
I didn't buy it though, I made it. It is just a small ball race on the end of a shaft, this one is shaped like a collet to fit the spindle but just a plain shaft held in your normal collet works just as well.
Phil


Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 10:36:42 PM »
If I were to pick out and comment on each idea...it would be one long post...or the number of posts would double.

So far, everything has been interesting and useful. (In fact some ideas got me thinking again about my need for rotary table.)

So thanks so far for the great idea...and 'keep them coming'.

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Offline propforward

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 10:54:40 PM »


That'll be a really big thread.....tools you were convinced you couldn't live without, but actually could :).

Dangerous. That information must never, ever be documented. As far as everyone outside of my shoppe is concerned, every tool I obtained is a gnats pizzicato away from being a literal lifesaver. And truth be damned.

 :LittleDevil:
Stuart

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2018, 02:49:00 PM »
Oh and replying on my own reply, dont be afraid to make some small milling straps and clamps.   I have two little boxes of them   One 10-32 size and one 1/4-20 size  Theyre just a couple of straps.   Some are just bar stock with 2 holes in the...the back one tapped for a jack screw.  Again all sacrificial...you end up with quite the collection with time.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 04:58:12 PM by steamer »
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Offline GailinNM

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2018, 05:49:12 PM »
A coffee cup warmer has a permanent place on my work bench.  It is great for accelerating the cure of  Loctite and  drying of small painted items. Mine has a surface temperature of about 140 degrees F. It is AC powered and is rated at 17 watts.  It has a built in on/off switch and indicator light. I like the built in switch as opposed to the switch inline on the power cord. It also has a non-stick heating surface whick helps with cleanup.

Often found at garage sales,flea markets and thrift shops for US$  1 to  3.    If you are going to buy a new one, spend the big  bucks and get an AC powered one.  The really cheap ones are USB  powered and only about 5 watts which is not enough.  Available new starting at about $8  Also found at garage sales, flea markets and thrift shops  for $1 to $3.

As a side benefit it works well for keeping the coffee, tea and hot chocolate warm for those early morning and late nite workshop sessions.

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Offline crueby

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2018, 07:59:09 PM »
Great stuff Marv!  I really like your idea of the guitar string worm gear source, that may see use on my Marion model for the steering gear.


Offline mklotz

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2018, 08:17:09 PM »
Great stuff Marv!  I really like your idea of the guitar string worm gear source, that may see use on my Marion model for the steering gear.

Yes, and they're dead cheap too...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005N2RGJ8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Remove the black securing screw in the center of the gear and the whole thing falls apart into separate components.  The plastic knob is easily removed.
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Offline propforward

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2018, 11:24:48 PM »
I particularly like the sorting tray. I have several jars, tins and bags of things that need sorting out, and i can see the benefit to that item.
Stuart

Offline mklotz

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2018, 12:08:44 AM »
Once sorted, items need to be poured back into some sort of container/bag/etc.  You need a parts funnel and its opening should be somewhat more than twice the size of the largest item in order to avoid clogs forming in the opening.  Cut the top off a two liter plastic soda bottle; use as is for smaller items, widen opening for larger.

When doing a lot of sorting, I mount the funnel in a laboratory flask holder (relic from my chemistry days).  Then I can put the container under the funnel and simply dump the items from the tray into it.
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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2018, 02:34:35 AM »
I'm torn as to whether or not you NEED this one, but storing small parts can be a pain to do neatly and securely and allow quick access..

The RC community has been dealing with this for some time and some pretty cool products are on the market.

I have 2 of these, and even with shipping from Europe, they were worth it.    Like I said....I'd be hard pressed to say need here, but they are cool


Multi compartment storage.
https://rsrc.biz/en/rsrc-products/1180-pama-box-56-compartments.html


Here's some similar products stateside that you might want to look at.
https://picclick.com/36pcs-Small-Transparent-Plastic-Square-Storage-Container-Box-322224727630.html





« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 03:52:10 AM by steamer »
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Offline Jo

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2018, 08:16:27 AM »
Those look useful Dave, not that I need to buy any more storage. I have been giving away the red 8 and 10 compartment trays to any unsuspecting person who visits for a Jaffa cake :mischief: The yellow compartment tray is a few years old as I acquired them as an apprentice and they are still going strong. The next set of give aways are top right the clear trays and the grey with yellow inserts.

These trays complement the normal plastic drawers very well and are well suited to keeping things like drills and taps in  ;)

Jo

P.S. I only have about another 50 of those red boxes to give away and then it will be safe to visit again  ::)
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Offline Zephyrin

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2018, 08:56:26 AM »
I use often these little home made squares for holding small parts in the mill vice truly perpendicular to a side. I picked the idea in the workshop manual book by GH Thomas.
As this axle box was sawn from a milled bar, I cannot rely on the base to mill the opposite face, hence this handy square.

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2018, 01:14:33 PM »
I use often these little home made squares for holding small parts in the mill vice truly perpendicular to a side. I picked the idea in the workshop manual book by GH Thomas.
As this axle box was sawn from a milled bar, I cannot rely on the base to mill the opposite face, hence this handy square.


Zephyrin touched on it.   

A corollary to this is an angle plate.     Some are very simple with just slots.   Some are very complicated with built in V blocks and ledges.   I have several up to 8" and down to about 2"...I seem to draw to them like they have some magnetic property or something!    In any case, I find them darn handy either mounted to the table directly, or mounted in the vise.     Most of mine are orthogonal.    There are some out there that have fixed angles on them though.

They're not expensive, and are handy.     Make sure the "Square" ones are truly square.     

Another form is the cube.   I have some of those as well.   Again  Mount a small part on one side, and you can easily flip the part any old which way around in the vise and work 5 sides with one set up.    Damn handy


You could now argue we've come back full circle to 123 blocks …... 8)
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Offline toolznthings

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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2018, 07:14:38 PM »
One of the most useful, simple items that I find handy are Xacto # 11 knives. Everything from cutting to de-burring.
The best blades I found are American Safety Razor blades. Very sharp and still made in the USA.
Thanks for the visit !
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Re: Simple inexpensive tooling items you can't do without.
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2018, 03:30:27 AM »
Ok Heres some of the blocks I was getting on about.  You end up collecting them over time.   The 3 sided and 4 sided boxes are the most useful to me.

but lots to choose from

Dave
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