Wednesday, January 28, 2009

wet & messy

Sorry kids, not talking about WAM fetish here.

I finished 90% of my collet holder last night.

It had been a while since I last machined phenolic material. I'd forgot what a horrible mess the stuff makes. It's like sawdust, except almost exclusively fines - the very light & small particles that float through the air like smoke. I need a shop air cleaner. Meanwhile, there is a fine layer of phenolic dust all over EVERY SURFACE in the shop. I spent about 30 minutes vacuuming and cleaning after I was finished last night, but that only got the worst of it. I'll be wiping down every surface in the shop a few times during the coming week, I'm sure. I'm no John Doran in terms of cleanliness and tidiness, but I am getting better as I get older.

Speaking of tidiness, does anyone need any scrap lumber for projects? I need to clean out my scrap wood collection. All sorts of crap in there - plywood, masonite, 2x4s, etc.

After making carefully planned drawings for the thing, I ended up departing from them a little bit after I realized that it didn't really need a wrench holder/slot. I'll just hang the wrench off of one of the turret nuts like everybody else does. That leaves me some room on the right side of the holder for extra accessories I might want to throw in there later, like a Jacob's chuck or who knows what.

I bored the holes with a 1" Forstner bit (because they make very clean-edged holes), at a relatively low speed & feed, backing out frequently to spray water on the bit so I wouldn't burn it up. Forstner bits are damned expensive, essentially impossible to sharpen at home, and I just bought a complete set of Porter Cable brand bits which I do not wish to ruin or replace. If this had been a glass-filled material instead of linen or cotton filled, I would have had to buy a 1" carbide end mill, and those are fargling expensive. I dunno, maybe I could have got away with a HSS mill, but I'm glad that point is moot for now.

Speaking of Forstner bits, does anyone want to buy either 1-3/8" or 1-1/2" (I think) brand new Forstner bits at a discount? I had two before I bought the set, and am unlikely to need spares. They are Freud "Diablo" brand, top quality, and unused. One is still in its blister pack.

What remains to be done to the collet holder is countersinking all 25 holes - once my big countersink arrives (later this week, I presume) - and making a new mounting bracket to attach the holder to the side of the mill. The latter will be, um, interesting. I designed most of that part in my head while lying in bed this morning after the alarm went off, wishing I didn't have to get up. It looks slightly finicky because of other bits of the mill it has to stay out of the way of, like the knee ways and the right side lamp arm.

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