Plastic heat sealer – a useful workshop asset

Clough42 has just posted making a protective cover for his plasma cutter control screen.   As ever with James it is engineering perfection with stitched corners.

My lazy way (as ever) is to make such items using polythene plastic sheeting and a heat sealer. 

This allows me to quickly make bespoke covers and pockets for all manner of applications.  Here are a few examples.

All my silver steel is stored in such pockets and has the size written on the sleeve using a Sharpie. 


The rear DRO scale on my VMB has an open ended pocket either side of the vice that acts as a concertina cover to keep cutting oil from affecting the scale reader.

So another useful tool to have available (without having to thread a needle).

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How to square up a scrap piece of stock ready for machining

Can’t Remember How to Square Up Material Stock ready for CNC ?

I sometimes have to dig deep in the odds and ends heap of rough bits of materials to use on a project.  This results in having to square up the find so it can be easily programmed into Fusion CAM.   I always have to scratch my head on the process which is well documented by Tom Lipton and This Old Tony among others.  What I needed was something to pin on the wall to remind me. 

The result of this frustration is a write up and a graphic which you may find useful.  Here is a screenshot and the link below it provides both this document and the write up in a ZIP file.

Squaring Stock 

Hope that helps and if it isn’t well explained let me know and if it was useful also let me know.

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Deburring techniques in the home workshop

I don’t know about you but deburring a job after machining I find to be a real pain.  This is an important process not just for the look of the finished product but also to give personal protection from the resulting post machining sharp edges.

If it is a CNC job then a small deburring chamfer can be added to the CAM operations but that may not be always possible to easily implement.

A manual deburrer such as made by Noga is another option but on a large geometry job it is difficult to get a uniform profile to the edge chamfers when done with such a manual tool.   Inevitably you occasionally slip and scar the surface of the job and this really irritates.

Noga Deburring Set
Noga Deburring Set with internal and external cone tools

I do like the cone shaped tool for deburring holes. Incidentally Banggood offer blades and handles that are identical and interchangeable with the Noga range including a series of different sizes of the cone tools.  Here are a couple of links to get you in the right direction but there are numerous sources of similar products.

Noga Sp1010 7 Pc 5 Application Trouble Shooter Deburring Set

Banggood DrillPro Equivalent Set

My most recent revelation was to get a deburring wheel.   I bought this from Zoro Tools.   It is a 6″ diameter wheel made by Bibielle.  There are quite a few other sources of this type of wheel. I made an arbor to mount the wheel into my drill press.  Deburring wheels are meant to be mounted on a horizontal grinding machine but bench space is tight in my workshop so it has to be a drill press mount as and when needed.  I have to say this is a joy to use and gives a quick clean finish to all cut edges.   The wheel also gets used for surface cleaning on dirty materials.   A useful addition to the workshop and one I wish I had discovered sooner.

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First screw threads cut using Clough42 electronic leadscrew

Metric Threads on an Imperial Lathe

You might well have read my write up on how I implemented the Clough42 Electronic Leadscrew on my Myford Super 7 Large Bore lathe.

While I have been successfully using the ELS as an automatic feed, I had put off attempting screw thread cutting.  You know how it is.   Screw cutting is nagging at you to try, but it is on the ‘too difficult’ pile pending other more interesting jobs.  There is always something else to do, so you kid yourself it is justified to put it off until another day.  Well another ‘lockdown’ day dawned and I decided today was the day.   

My experiences are recorded here as a full write up

Screw cutting using the Clough42 ELS

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Machining a job that is outside a milling machine’s table travel using Fusion 360


This write up is not for the purists with years of experience but is an explanation of how I thought through how to machine something over size that would not fit into my Tormach PCNC440 milling footprint as a single operation.  Hopefully it might help others to grasp the process.

The challenge began when a local turret clock expert came to me and asked if I could machine a new Hour and Minute Hand for a clock he was working on.   The Hour Hand was around 14” long and the Minute Hand some 18” long.   

Here is the Fusion 360 view of the minute Hand.

clock minute hand milled in three steps

Clearly these lengths were way outside the 440 table X movement (10”) so a plan was needed.  There then followed a lot of staring into the distance at mealtimes and also at bedtime accompanied by vocal “hmmm”s as I tried to mentally visualise what was needed.  This idiosyncrasy is something my wife has come to terms with over the years…..

My conclusion from this mental preparation was that I needed to be able to accurately step the stock across the tooling table and then take two or three bites at the profile machining.  

What follows would almost certainly benefit from a video but sadly I am not set up for this. 

Click the link below to download the PDF document.

Milling an oversize object

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