Model Engine Maker

Supporting => My Workshop => Topic started by: LAmachinist on January 13, 2020, 01:30:45 AM

Title: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: LAmachinist on January 13, 2020, 01:30:45 AM

I am new to this forum, and as a an introduction, I thought I would post about my quest to set up a small shop.  It is a fun and ongoing adventure - machine tools are hard to come by in the southwest of the US.  I have no garage - the space I am using is about 16x16, located inside a house (in a side room that blessedly has a concrete slab under it).  On the positive side, it is always heated and is about as convenient to get to as possible.  On the negative, cleanliness and dust control become a real concern.  Power and water supply is more difficult, but nothing careful planning and a phase converter can't get around.  Unfortunately many 'good practices' like keeping grinding machines separated from machine tools with exposed ways (both of which should be separated from inspection equipment) just simply is not possible. 

My equipment is generally limited to small machines (Atlas, Logan, Clausing etc).  There is no truck access, and everything must be carried or rolled in by hand (down a ramp from street level, around the house, and in through the 30 inch back door).  The heaviest item I have is a 2500 lb wire EDM (electric discharge machine) that is old by today's standards, but still capable of some very precise work.  Moving that in has been the biggest challenge so far!  Bridgeports and other large machine tools would present similar challenges - if it weighs more than a 1000 lbs it better have something remarkable going for it in order to earn a spot inside my house.


1) The bench space - the most important part of the shop.  Shown here looking abnormally empty.

2) More bench space, permanently occupied by various specialty bench equipment (polishers, diamond wafering saw, furnaces).

3) The view from my living room: an old logan lathe, a Clausing milling machine, (restored) Atlas 7b shaper, etc.

4) A 1994 Powermatic variable speed bandsaw (one of the youngest machines I own), a beaten up HF drill press, and a small Atlas horizontal milling machine - shown here with an small indexing head.

5) Another view of the Atlas mill

6) A Hansvedt DS-2 wire EDM - if you haven't seen one of these in action, google wire EDM.  They are incredible machines that, if you can get past dealing with CNC (and in my case ancient electronics, as the machine is from 1989), you can make things that could never be made by conventional machining.

Comments and suggestions welcome!

Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: propforward on January 13, 2020, 01:42:54 AM
That is one heck of a  nice shop. You describe some serious limitations, but from what I see you've found a way round all of them. Very nice, very well organized.
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: toolznthings on January 13, 2020, 01:48:36 AM
Very nice shop  :ThumbsUp:
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: LAmachinist on January 13, 2020, 01:50:06 AM

7) A very handy sized surface grinder - an 8x12 Sanford surface grinder.  It looks like hell, but is still surprisingly accurate.  Someday it will get a teardown and some paint.

8+9) The newest addition to the shop: a pre-1900 W.W. Oliver rolling mill (originally for rolling out gold and silver ingots into sheet).  This was also a restoration project for me.  It has a very interesting electric motor with a last patent date of 1913.  It was originally driven by overhead belts, but someone early on converted it to electric motor drive.

10) My old Clausing 8520 mill - a good machine, but could stand to be repainted and scraped in (it has a bit of wear).  Adding a power feed to it was one of those things that made me wish I had done it years ago! 

11+12) A scored a nice old printer's cabinet that is wonderful for small tooling.  Combined with some relatively inexpensive Schaller plastic red trays, it serves me well.  Of course Lista cabinets would be a nice upgrade if I ever win the lottery :Lol:

13) An old Logan lathe - another good candidate for restoring, but it is at least more capable now that I added the quick-change gearbox.
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: LAmachinist on January 13, 2020, 02:09:18 AM
At the risk of posting too many pictures, I just have to add a few of the shaper restoration I just finished - the machine had horrible scoring on every way.  I could have done the re-build just as fast if I had started from raw castings!   Lots of re-machining and scraping.  After the re-build, I decided to take a break from machine rebuilding for a while (and I bought a Biax power scraper)!

Finally, here's a shot of the rolling mill gear train - for those of you who like gears!  ;D  I don't know why, but I find these old machine designs to be very visually pleasing.


Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: Roger B on January 13, 2020, 07:23:14 AM
That's a fine collection of machines in a small space  :ThumbsUp:  :ThumbsUp:
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: paulc1 on January 13, 2020, 08:29:06 AM
Nice workshop man, it looks like 16x16 of heaven :)
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: Jo on January 13, 2020, 08:49:54 AM
Looks very nice Tom, What have you made with it?

Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: steamer on January 13, 2020, 11:26:29 AM
Nice looking shop!    Tell us about the rebuild when you have a chance.....been there...would like to hear more!
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: Chipswitheverything on January 13, 2020, 11:51:48 AM
Very nice to be able to see the many photos of your excellent and very well equipped workshop, thanks for your comprehensive tour of it. You have much unusual and interesting tooling.   Love the restored shaper!   Dave
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: b.lindsey on January 13, 2020, 01:33:21 PM
Love it!! Well organized and the commute is even better!! ;)

Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: awake on January 13, 2020, 02:08:37 PM
Very nice! I love that little Wire EDM - never seen one that small.

The motor in image 6496 looks like a repulsion-induction motor. Great starting torque, and mechanically reversible (though I doubt you need that on the rolling mill!). Mine has served me well for the 10-12 years that I have been its steward!
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: Kim on January 13, 2020, 09:08:24 PM
Wow! That's a great shop with lots of cool stuff in it.
You've made mighty good use of the space you have!
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: crueby on January 13, 2020, 09:19:02 PM
Love the picture of the gear train on the rolling mill, looks like the innards of a tower clock!
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: Mcgyver on January 14, 2020, 02:54:15 PM
Nice looking shop - way to go.   
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: LAmachinist on January 19, 2020, 06:26:37 PM
Thank you all for the comments!  In a way, it is fun to work with a small space and budget - it requires much more patience and cleverness than what one might be used to in an industrial setting.  And there are some benefits, even compared to high-budget industrial environments: MSDS? writing up a standard operating procedure? having the industrial hygienist approve the operation? - forget about it.  This small 16x16 foot space is my oasis.

Jo - you you seem to be one for cutting to the heart of the matter - "what have you made with it"!   :thinking:  Well it turns out that if you buy enough broken-down worn-out machine tools, the home machine shop becomes a self-sustaining project! 

The bandsaw arrived missing half the gears in the gearbox, and someone had been in there with an arc welder to 'fix' it (leaving the machine permanently in high gear).   :facepalm:  The Clausing 8520 mill had a broken gear in the quill fine feed mechanism (a common problem with these machines).  The shaper was completely worn out.  The rolling mill arrived with two broken gears of non-standard face width that had to be re-made.   So it turns out I have made many things - gears, splined shafts, dials, leadscrews... 

Awake - if you know of any good resource to learn more about these repulsion-induction motors, please let me know.  I originally thought I would replace it with something modern (I'm sure getting 2hp out of a 150lb motor was impressive for the time).  But once I cleaned it up and used it, I think I will leave it alone.   

As far as I know, the Hansvedt WEDM is the only commercial WEDM small enough to fit through the door.  I used to use similar vintage Brother EDMs at work.  The Hansvedts are no match for Brothers in terms of programming ease (and there is no graphing function on my EDM - a stylus drops down to trace the program on a sheet of paper!).  Yet it is still a handy machine - and still supported (bought by Arrow EDM).   

Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: scc on January 19, 2020, 09:11:41 PM
Lovely, well equipped shop......Terry
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: ChuckKey on January 19, 2020, 09:29:01 PM
And so <add your own adjective> clean!
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: LAmachinist on January 20, 2020, 11:42:06 PM
Yes - ordinarily I would say cleanliness is a sign of an idle workshop.  Yet I use it regularly.  It's just that when the bedroom carpet is only 8 feet from the lathe and milling machine, cleaning up those spiral chips becomes a necessity.  I even have to mop after machining graphite to keep the rest of the house from turning black. 

Still, it does the job!  :cheers:
Title: Re: Hobby Machine Shop
Post by: awake on January 21, 2020, 01:39:43 AM
Wikipedia has some basic info, but it is not obvious - you actually have to look up Repulsion Motor, and then you can see that there is the Repulsion-Induction variant near the bottom. But the key info is how the repulsion system works.