Motorcycles, tools, and garages! A little bit of everything mechanical and technical.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Infinite Loop...

Sometimes it feels like I start one thing, only to realize I need to do something else to get that thing done.  So I start on that job, only to discover that in order to get it done, I need to do something else.  If I want to get that thing done- you guessed it, I have to get the original project finished.

I'm stuck in an infinite loop right now...  I'm trying to build some radius fingers for my box and pan brake.  Got it all figured out, cut a bunch of pieces of metal out, and decided that if I wanted to be really accurate drilling the holes for the clamp bolts, I oughta build a fixture for the drill press.  No problem- I have a decent size piece of channel to use as a base plate and a few chunks of half in. bar stock to use as a fence.

Radius finger parts:


Parts to make a drilling / welding fixture:


Heck, while I'm at it, why not make it adjustable?  One fence should be able to swing so I can use it as a fixture for welding pieces together at angles... That'd be handy, right?

Turns out my band saw isn't quite big enough to cut the channel.  No problem, just modify it a bit with a grinder.  After several fine "adjustments" with the grinder, it *just* barely cuts without the guide wheels snagging on the metal.  I've been meaning to do this for a while- seems like the saw is just barely too small more often than not.


 This is where it gets interesting.  I have a (what I thought to be) decent little mill / lathe in the shop.  I figured I could chuck that piece of metal up in there and cut an arc for the adjustable part of the fence.  Before I started teaching the mill was next door in the woods shop because the previous teacher had no interest in it.  Needless to say there was NO tooling for it.   I've picked up some ultra cheap (read:  cheap Harbor Freight crap) to experiment with over the years as I had a little extra money.

Promise not to laugh?

 There's a decent Smithy vice barely bolted to a H.F. turntable, held precariously to the cross feed with another set of H.F. clamping blocks.  Lets just say this little experiment had less than satisfactory results.  The mill has a LOT of backlash and tends to shake itself out of position in all three axis.  PLUS- turns out the channel I am trying to use for the fixture is WARPED?!

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, building radius fingers for the brake...

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