all the kids moved out and now there's room in the garage. So what?
Yeah, wait 'till the wife sees my new drill press and table saw!
tools bought by homeowners these two are the most dangerous. A few
thoughts and some calm and thoughtful planning will keep you from
breaking ribs and will keep your finger count at ten -- provided you
started out with ten.
before you even build a stand for that drill press go back to the store
and buy eye protection, the best drill press vise in the store, a three
pound shop hammer, at least three large "C" clamps and a gallon of
cutting oil. Next take your drill press vise to a machine shop and have
them cut and grind a piece of steel 1 in. by 8 in. and about two inches
longer than the width of your drill press table. NOTE
do not let them "true" the faces or you'll be in divorce court! Have
them tap and harden four SAE course thread holes so the vise can be
centered 90 degrees right and left. When you mount the vise use a
torque wrench to torque to 65. Now, whatever you drill on should be
mounted in this vise and "C" clamped onto the table using at least
three "C" clamps. Tighten things up a bit and put a "center" into the
drill press chuck. Use the shop hammer to move the vise around a bit by
tapping the mounting plate. When you're "dead on balls accurate"
(...after "Balls" Tomei, a famous American machinist) tighten each "C"
clamp by a fraction of a turn. Tighten them at random until they are
all dead tight. Pound them dead tight with the shop hammer. Check your
center. If you are out of tolerance repeat the above.
center is proved within tolerance insert the drill and drill slowly and
use a lot of oil. If you are precision drilling a large hole like 2 in.
drill a ½ in. pilot hole first. This preserves the edge and the life of
large drills. If you routinely drill precision holes then make some
kind of oil recovery pan underneath the drill press table. This can
feed into a five gallon can of cutting oil. Make sure a tube delivers
the hot oil to the bottom of the can and put some strong magnets down
there. Install a vertical baffle in the container from the bottom of
the can to about two inches below the oil level. Draw cutting oil from
the bottom of the other side. Additionally put some strong magnets next
to the draw tube as well. Use oil liberally. Whatever you do you
absolutely don't want to see smoke when cutting.
Drill Press as a Milling Machine??
is possible but not recommended to use a drill press as a milling
machine. If you elect to do so work very slowly. Think of a milling
machine as the rabbit and the drill press as the tortoise. Apply much
less pressure and run the mill or cutter at 50% speed. Use a lot of oil.
it needs to be square, then learn to use a square or "jo-block." If it
needs to be at an angle learn to use a protractor and a scriber and how
to securely mount at that angle. Also buy a book on drill press
operation and importantly learn and obey the rules of drill speed. A
machinist considers his cutting tools to be jewels, these jewels are
used on a work piece to create a thing of art and utility. When a tool
is stressed it can quickly go out of specifications. Do not stress your
tools under any circumstances whatsoever. The fact that you use twist
bits with a hand drill and no oil running at a gazillion RPM to cut a
hole in some metal thing does not form the standard of operation for a
precision drill press.
you have a drill press vise with calibrations in three dimensions, you
may cast the odd piece in Plaster of Paris which has been richly mixed
with chopped up steel wool. A pint milk carton is good for this.
it is slightly irregular you can cut up bits of Oak into wedge shaped
strips and using them mount the odd piece in the vise. Make sure this
"lash-up" is secure. If you're drilling into any odd piece drill slowly
and use a lot of oil. Take your time. By the way, it is always a good
idea to keep a can of light oil or cutting oil handy and use oil
whenever you drill, be it aluminum, brass, cast iron or steel. It's a
lot less costly to clean a piece than it is to throw away something
you've burned up and start from the beginning. More importantly you
don't want to foul up your tools.
of these precautions are intended to keep you from ruining a piece of
work or your tool. However if you're holding onto and drilling a piece
of 3 in. angle iron and it galls you can have broken ribs really quick.
So at the least use some "C" clamps. NOTE: If you must hold the work
piece free never absolutely never stand in the way of rotation!
Count your Fingers
on the table saw. Count your fingers. Take a piece of poster board and
using a really big RED magic marker write that number on it. Mount the
poster board securely so you can see the number when you're standing in
front of the saw and looking at the blade. I think this is the most
important rule of table saw safety. The second is of course to keep
fingers away from the blade. To assist in this avoid removing the blade
guard. If you must remove the blade guard use a notched piece of wood
to push the work piece through. Always keep the blade as low as
possible. If you are cutting a ¾ in. piece of plywood the total height
of the blade should not exceed one inch above the table. Let it be a
shop rule, the blade rides ¼ in. above the work piece. If you must make
many cuts which are identical. Make jigs which ride the grooves on your
table saw so the work piece can be clamped down and positioned
automatically. Admittedly, this takes some planning and skill. Then all
you have to do is to grab the handles well away from the saw blade and
make the cut. This is especially useful when cutting panels for doors,
dental molding or panels for wainscoting. A set of jigs is highly
recommended if you're working on a big project or working in exotic
woods or veneers such as Walnut, Cherry, Teak, Bird's Eye Maple etc.
When I paneled my library I designed the plan. Then I prepared the
surfaces and installed lath. Then I made exact measurements and
determined the degree off square. I built eight jigs for the panels
& slats and five for the book cases, crown and dental moldings, two
for chair rails. A router and router table were used as well. Once
proved, it took three days to cut the components and label them, one
day to perfect custom cuts, six days to finish to 0000 steel wool and
apply an initial oil treatment, then 4.5 days to assemble. As I was
very careful the maximum cumulative error on the long wall 18 ft. was
less than ¼ in. Now I'm thinking about the ceiling.
When you are using a machine tool these are things to do.
1. Think about the job be totally focused.
2. Plan what you are going to do make the plan and take your time.
3. Draw a plan and check off what you're going to do and label each component.
If you make a change draw it, prove it and then make the cut and check
it off. If the cut is proved put it into the plan and then review the
plan. If the new cut solves a problem and does not create other
problems accept this amendment.
5. You must always know exactly where you are in the job, what you are doing and why and what the next step is.
6. Vision in your mind how your hands will move in each cut otherwise a drill will go through you or a saw will cut you.
MOST CRITICALLY SPEAKING -- when you do the job do not allow any
distractions of any kind whatsoever! Do understand this may involve
some confrontation and compromise with WIFE (working infrastructure
facilitator and expediter) Clarity here is critical.
Remember what the doctor said
you are tired do not operate a machine tool. If you've had a couple of
beers do not operate a machine tool. If you've been rattled by the
wife, the kids, relatives or other events do not operate a machine
tool. Just remember what the doctor said during a news conference after
he reattached a certain anatomical part of John Wayne Bobbit, "When you
cut it off for whatever reason it is very difficult to reattach it in
the first place and very very chancy to get it to work properly."
for all do-it-yourself types, weekend carpenters, weekend engineers,
and just ordinary folk who prowl about doing home improvements: I
salute you! Please be careful, plan ahead, draw your plans, prove them,
test them and then do a great job!
Happy Thoughts -- Bill McCaslin
-- 25 Jun 2003