Please recommend some places to get stock.

ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
4,442
Location
CT, USA
Now that I got a lathe I need to got some stock to work on and practice.

I was looking at onlinemetals.com but I don't know how their prices, quality and shipping speed compare with others out their.

Any recommendations?

I'd like to get some Al (would you recommend 6061 or 7075 for a beginner to practice with?)
Some CuTe CU145 for some heatsink work.
Some delrin (is acetyl the same thing?) or would nylon be better?

Sorry for the noob questions. I'm sure I'll have many more to come in the next few months as I spend time reading through this sub-forum.
 

DrafterDan

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Messages
1,306
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'm pretty lucky to have "Industrial metal supply" here in Phoenix. Most of my builds start there. I've also sourced from scrap yards. The cut-off bins are treasure troves!
 

TexasLumens

Newly Enlightened
Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
92
Location
Amarillo, TX
Online Metals is ok. They have nice stock. You will notice little to no difference in cutting the 6061 or 7075. The 7075 is usually a little more expensive than the 6061.

Nylon has a few bad habits but you can cut it ok. As far as the plastics, it really depends on what you want to make. Delrin (yes Acetal) is always a safe bet.

Good luck with the lathe. They are addictive! :crazy: TL
 

TexasLumens

Newly Enlightened
Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
92
Location
Amarillo, TX
Thanks guys.

Right now my biggest problem is that my visions are grander than my skills. ;)

Nah! Once you get started it will come clear pretty quickly. Just start simple and your skill level will develop before you know it. Lathe work is fairly easy to learn as it is basically the same moves over and over. Invest in some good tooling and a few hours at the cranks and you will be on the way. TL
 

Thetasigma

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
1,188
Location
Michigan, USA
Lathe tip, brace the poop out of anything you turn, it'll save you a lot of heartache.

OnlineMetals is a decent bet for a good selection of materials and alloys, though not always the cheapest. The benefit for me is that I am within driving distance if I were to place a larger order and wanted to pick it up.
As far as Aluminum goes, 6061 and 7075 both cut nicely. 7075 is nice for lights due to the extra strength and hardness,
For plastics Delrin is a solid bet, super easy to turn and dirt cheap to practice on. It can be threaded reasonably and some light knurling can be applied sometimes.

As far as actually turning goes, once you learn the basic operations you're pretty much limited by your imagination and capacity of your lathe. So long as everything is well secured, most of the operations are pretty repetitive.
 

CMAG

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
715
search for 10% off codes with online suppliers. Speedy metals seams more reasonable with shipping charges but my last few orders not so speedy.
Invest in good cutters I find HSS cuts better unless cutting med and high carbon steels and Ti
little machine shop sells index cutter set in HSS for threading not cheep but worth every penny
WD40 works good cutting al and keeps the rust on your machine at bay.
make sure to clean all the waxey crud they coat new machines and tools with again WD40 works good disolving
get some way oil and keep a eye on spindle oil levels
first thing to learn is getting a feel for the back lash in the screws
don't assume your tail stock is centered order brass shim stock get a okay dial indicator mounted in your toolpost run a trued shaft between centers buy a center drill ( anyway utube this to much to post)
long story short you need to set machine true to get good results
 

CMAG

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
715
I find mistakes are the best schooling just be safe
do not rush into threading until your brain is in tune with the dials and back lash you will need the brain for controlling the 1/2 nut's without crashing your tooling you can back gear to turn slow until you get the hang of it (again utube there are some good videos and a lot of bad)
bookmark this the best thread calculator i found so far and scroll down good examples ect.
http://theoreticalmachinist.com/Threads_UnifiedImperial.aspx
 

Thetasigma

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
1,188
Location
Michigan, USA
That's a rather handy link CMAG, beats calculating it by hand.

SOYCD, threading isn't terribly hard, actually with your lathe the hardest part is probably getting the gears on and off. I also found on mine that the banjo required some grinding to allow the gears to mesh properly.
Gear setup aside, threading is a mix of careful measurement and reflexes with the half nut.
 

CMAG

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
715
Threading will be a long time out - the whole concept still escapes me. You just smoked my brain for the rest of the night with that link!

Sorry :crackup:you don't need that to cut threads, you only need that to sound like you know what your talking about
It's not rocket science, you will pick it up in no time the hardest thing is to remember what direction to turn the dial
 

calipsoii

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
1,411
Only heads-up I can give is be careful with copper alloys. Brass/copper/bronze are 'grabby' metals and will pull a cutting tool into them, unlike steel. I had a chunk of brass thread itself up onto a drill-bit and tear the drill chuck right out of my tailstock. Happened before I could even react. Same with copper - it grabbed my cutting tool and tore the toolpost off the cross-slide in a split-second.

A lot of sites seem to recommend maintaining two sets of drills: one for ferrous and one for non-ferrous. On the non-ferrous set you just need to blunt the edges of the drill bit using a sharpening stone. Just file a little flat edge. Here's a post with a couple pictures.

For your cutting tools, brass and copper are best worked with 0-degree top relief tools. All this means is that the top of the cutting tool is flat and sits perpendicular to the workpiece, like this. Using a cutting tool with a higher rake (like this) once again presents a sharp edge to the copper that it can grab onto and drag into the workpiece.

Steel and aluminum are the opposite - sharper the better. :)
 
Top