Machine Shop

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User Group Information[edit | edit source]

Position Member(s)
User Group Captain: Kyle Hossler

Telegram Group Chat[edit | edit source]

Users of the machining equipment at make717 have their own Telegram group. Join the discussion by using the following link.

Google Drive (machine shop)[edit | edit source]

This folder contains documents such as the priority purchase list, layout drawings for the machine shop area, and meeting notes.

Tormach PCNC 770 Series 3[edit | edit source]

Position Member(s)
Tormach Advisor: Kyle Hossler, Mike Ireland, Wes Bischel, Bob Murphy

Google Drive (Tormach)[edit | edit source]

This folder contains Tormach procedures, drawings/models, CNC resources, and other Tormach related information.

Virtual PathPilot

Configure for PCNC 770 - Series 3

Model Machining[edit | edit source]

Model Machining Group[edit | edit source]

Position Member(s)
Trainer: Phil Oles

Model Machining Equipment Safety[edit | edit source]

Safety Contract for the Model Machining Area and Equipment

I agree to the following safety regulations for working in the machine tool area of the make717 work space.

  • I will wear eye protection at all times.
  • I will remove all rings, watches or hand/finger piercings while operating machine tools.
  • I will keep long hair pulled back and held in place with a band.
  • I will wear nitrile gloves when handling machined brass (slivers hurt).
  • I will not leave chuck keys in place on the lathe at any time.
  • I will never walk away from a running machine.
  • I will turn off my cell phones and other electronic devices (MP3 players etc.) when operating machine tools.

Before starting, I will review my setup and ensure:

  • I have adequate clearance for the operation.
  • My cutting tool is securely in place and is appropriate for the operation.
  • My work piece is securely held.
  • To note the position of the e-Stop button.
  • That the spindle of the tool is going to rotate in the intended direction.

If i am unsure of my setup I will have it reviewed by the shop supervisor.

  • I will never remove chips with bare fingers, and will always use a chip brush or stop the machine to remove them.
  • If a machine is vibrating during cutting, I will stop the machine and not restart it until I check the tool and work for rigidity. When I restart the machine I will use a slower spindle speed.
  • All machined parts potentially have razor sharp edges. I will break the edges with a file or sandpaper and handle them carefully.
  • I will never wear cloth gloves when operating machine tools.
  • I will cleanup the machine tools after use to include removing chips and cutting tools.

Model Machining Equipment Required Orientations[edit | edit source]

In order to use the equipment in the machine tool area members must complete the paid machine tool workshop. Sometimes members come to make717 with advanced skills, perhaps they are a machinist by profession. These members can gain use of the machines by setting up an appointment with the shop supervisor to discuss their skills and maybe even demonstrate their skill level. The shop supervisor will make a decision if the workshop is not required and the member has the OK to use the equipment.

Lathe Checklist[edit | edit source]

Before turning power on:

The 4” three jaw chuck on the lathe has a capacity of 0.080” – 1.18” for the inside jaws and 1.18” – 3.15” for the outside jaws. This data comes from the website.  Other chucks, 3 jaw, 4 jaw and collet, are available for larger work, check with Phil Oles.

Check that the height for the tool you’re using is set on the centerline of the spindle axis.  This is one of the most important checks to make.  If you’re off center your tools, however sharp, may cut badly (poor finish) or not at all.

Centering a lathe toolbit to the spindle centerline using a tailstock center

Check that the toolpost is fastened securely by checking the socket head cap screw on top for tightness.

Place a few drops of machine oil (#10 ND oil, gold pump can) in each of the ball oilers

Make sure chuck is free to turn and no tools or other obstructions prevent its free rotation

Move the carriage and crosslide to ensure power feeds aren’t engaged

Check the Quick Change Toolpost and ensure that it’s tightened to the compound

Use ¼” – 3/8” toolbits. 

If you’re using brazed carbide toolbits:

AR5 – 5/16” shank tool for turning down diameters

AL5 – 5/16” shank tool for facing the end of stock

E5 – 5/16” shank tool for single point threading and chamfering

Three common brazed carbide lathe turning tools

This photo shows the 6/16” or 3/8” equivalent, a bit large for the make717 lathe

After turning power on:

Check that the spindle direction is forward

Press “Start”  and set the spindle speed.  For steel, try 300 rpm, for aluminum or brass closer to 400 rpm.  If you get a poor finish (AND you’re sure of the sharpness of the toolbit and the alloy you’re working with) try adjusting the spindle speed up or down.

Suggestion:  if you haven’t used the lathe for a while, place the carriage in a position where it can move under power without crashing into anything and practice engaging and disengaging the power feed for the carriage.  Do the same for the crosslide power feed.  Remember you can always press the “Stop” button to stop power feeding, then disengage by moving the lever.

Spindle speeds should not exceed 400 - 500 rpm to ensure long tool life.  I check the community tools periodically and will replace dull ones.  If toolbits left on the bench for everyone’s use are wearing out quickly then likely someone has been

a.       Cutting at high spindle speeds

b.     Not setting tool heights properly

Which means users will need to wait for a replacement toolbit or purchase their own.

When you are finished working with the lathe, clean up all metal chips using the shop vac.  Avoid vacuuming stringy aluminum swarf as it will clog the hose. If this happens use the pipe next to the milling machine to clear the hose.  Pick up the stringy stuff wearing gloves and dispose of it in the waste container.

Label any dull toolbits so that other users will not attempt to use them.


This photo shows a common and serious safety issue. Leaving a lathe chuck key in the chuck can result in serious injury if power is put to the spindle.

The 8 x 16 lathe has a safety feature that prevents the spindle from starting with the chip shield open.  The Sherline lathe does not have such a safety nor do most lathes you may use outside of make717.  Therefore, if you make this a habit you will place yourself and others at risk for injury.

Milling Machine Checklist[edit | edit source]

Before turning power on:

The milling machine has a capacity of 5/8” end mills for typical operations.  Depths-of cut should not exceed 0.025”.  Face milling, using depths-of-cut of 0.003” or less is used for a finishing cut and end mills up to 1” can be used.

Always check the end mill holder set screw for tightness

If you are milling or drilling:  add a few drops of way oil (silver can) to the dovetails on all 3 axes.  If the tooling you want to use is already installed in the spindle, check the drawbar nut (small nut on the top of the spindle) and confirm that it is tightened (do not overtighten).  Snug is OK, the toolholder is held by the R8 taper, not the drawbar.

Make sure the drawbar nut (small one) is tight


Install the R8 collet or end mill holder.  If you are using the community end mill holder, confirm that the cutting tool is properly installed with the set screw tightened

Confirm that the vise attached to the table is fastened securely.

Review the difference between conventional and climb milling.  For a machine of this size, conventional milling should not exceed cuts of  0.025” and climb milling should not exceed cuts of 0.002”.  Greater climbing cuts are dangerous and can result in tool breakage and damage.

This is a good youtube video demonstrating the difference between climb and conventional milling.  In this video,  an aggressive climb milling operation pulls the Bridgeport table and vise into the cutter.  The mass of those is more than the total mass of our machine!

Check table and headstock movement for looseness or binding and lubricate the ways with a few drops of way oil (silver pump can)

Check that the speed controller is turned fully counterclockwise.  When you power up the milling machine it will start at the speed it was left at.

Check that the spindle and quill are locked (do not overtighten).  These locks only need to be snug.

Check that each axis you’re not using is locked by securing the locks snugly (do not overtighten)

Check the drawbar nut (small nut) and confirm that it is tightened (do not overtighten) and there are no wrenches left on them.

Do not use the drill chuck to hold end mills for milling operations.  It’s dangerous practice since you can release the Jacob’s taper resulting in a falling/spinning end mill

After turning power on:

Set spindle speed.  It should not exceed 400 - 500 rpm to ensure long tool life.  I check the community tools periodically and will replace dull ones.  If toolbits left on the bench for everyone’s use are wearing out quickly then users will need to wait for a replacement toolbit or purchase their own.

If any unusual vibration occurs while milling, stop the spindle and check that tools, end mill holders, vise and table have no detectable free movement or looseness.

When drilling note any unusual runout in the drill bit you’re using.  If excessive, check that you’ve secured the drill properly in the chuck, otherwise choose another drill bit.

Turn off the DRO on the headstock as well as the 3 axis DRO when finished.

When you are finished working with the milling machine, clean up all metal chips using the shop vac.  Avoid vacuuming stringy aluminum swarf as it will clog the hose.  If this happens use the pipe next to the milling machine to clear the hose.

Label any dull toolbits so that other users will not attempt to use them.

Notes on Parting Off

When parting off check that the toolbit cutting edge is on the spindle centerline.  Failure to do this may result in the tool breaking resulting in injury.  Use the dead center as shown on page 1.  Do not use the powerfeed for parting.  It won’t allow you to part off properly, which requires periodic withdrawal of the tool to clear out the chips.

Using the Steady Rest

When the length of your work extending from the lathe chuck exceeds 3x the diameter of your workpiece use a steady rest to support it. 

Turn the main power switch off:

Once you get your work setup, rotate the lathe chuck by hand several times to ensure that there is free rotation without any binding.   Then start the spindle and it will start at its lowest speed of 100 rpm.  Watch carefully to make sure nothing binds.

Steady Rest on the make717 lathe

A picture of ours is shown here

Other Wiki Pages[edit | edit source]

Making a Wobbler model steam engine

Aligning the vise on the milling machine

Making Spur Gears


Milling Machine