“Metal Machining Made Easy,” a DIY book (do it yourself)


About this book: This is the “Must Have” book for anyone wishing to learn the basics of metal machining right up to precision machining, or for everyone with an interest in any type of metalworking. Metal Machining Made Easy is loaded with illustrations, showing how-to with simple, yet practical information. Rules, formulas, and mystifying tables have been simplified to allow beginners and hobbyists an introduction to this interesting trade.

Author’s Credentials: Ian began his career in metalworking in a small blacksmithing shop on the west coast of Scotland. He spent five years in the Royal Air Force, where he wrote and passed the tests to qualify as a trainee aircraft engine mechanic. After trade training, he earned the privilege of working on such elite engines as the Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 (Spitfire) piston engines. On returning to civilian life, he worked as a machinist/machine fitter, building various types of machinery–from printing presses to gold refining machines. His career has spanned all aspects of industrial engineering, from lay-out to heavy machining, and to such fine work as making intricate equipment for laboratories out of gold and platinum.

PREFACE: Congratulations, you’ve finally decided that you are going to make full use of that lathe that’s sitting idle in your workshop. Or maybe you are just thinking of buying a little lathe, and wonder if it would be worth your while, as you don’t know much about machining steel. You think it looks too technical and complicated. Well, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. All that is required to do some exacting machining is the ability to read, some common sense and a little patience.

Think of the time you’ll save if you happen to be a farmer, have a little machine shop, and can do the job yourself. Look at it this way, you’re in the middle of harvest, time is money, and you have a breakdown. The part is something you could probably make yourself if you had a little training; but instead, you have to make the trip to town to the local machine shop; and when you get there you find they are busy, and you will get your part in two to three days. Even if we ignore the high cost involved, (two return trips, high shop rate plus material, etc.), YOU CANNOT AFFORD THE DOWNTIME!

This “How To” book puts you through the basics simply, showing you in an easy-to-understand manner without beating your brains with the technical jargon found in machine shop manuals. Everything has been simplified, including all the rules.

I’ve worked in machine shops for over forty-five years in Scotland and Canada, and I’ve also taught theory and practical machining in evening classes, so I know about the fears people can have and how to put them at ease–and if you have the time, I recommend that you read this book through, from start to finish, as many applications of machining can be applied to other situations that may arise.

You’ll be very surprised at the number of times that a certain situation crops up, and you will notice that you can use other information to make it apply to the job in hand, maybe making it easier or maybe a means of saving a part from being scrapped, when it could be reworked and therefore save time and money.

This book is not supposed, in any manner, to replace the proper machine shop instruction manuals, as those manuals require very technical explanations for people intent on making machining their career. (But it will help in introducing the newcomer to the trade, “breaking the ice”, so to speak, and the knowledge contained in this elementary book could possibly leading to a position in a machine shop.)

What this book does do is give a person a strong basic understanding of what is required in learning how to do many jobs using the two most popular machines: the Drill Press and the Lathe. It may get a person started on the road to an exacting trade or hobby. If you enjoy gunsmithing, as a hobby, for example, you’ll find this book invaluable. Even the section on how to sharpen your own drills is an excellent lesson, for if the only drill in the size you’re using breaks at the tip, or gets dull, you will be able to sharpen it.

If you don’t know how to grind a drill bit, you then have to go and buy a new one (costing you time and money) that will only be available if the shop is nearby and open. The first two or three drills that you are capable of sharpening yourself covers the cost of this book!

And just think how proud you’ll be if you can cut your own thread when it is needed in a hurry–or even for fun!

I do hope that you get enough information from here to attain a certain level of achievement and satisfaction–this is why it was written so simply in the first place, to spread knowledge and ability. One point to make is that all machine shops in North America and also many other countries are still on the “inch” system, not metric; so all measurements are what you’re used to. The metric system is easier in the long run, but it takes a little getting used to.

To convert inches to millimetres, multiply by 25.4 (1″ = 25.4 mm).


CHAPTER ONE: Safety in the workshop.

CHAPTER TWO: Measuring: Steel tap, steel rule, combination square, dial calipers, micrometers, telescoping gauges and depth micrometer

CHAPTER THREE: Layout: Preparing a surface, importance of true edges, totalling from edges, finding the center of a bar or disc, and how to use dividers.

CHAPTER FOUR: Drilling and tapping: Drills and how to sharpen them, drilling speeds, types of coolant, countersinking, counter- boring, center drilling, tapping a hole to produce an internal thread, types of threads, tapping using the drilling machine, tapping and drilling chart, using a stock and die to cut an external thread to make a bolt or tie rod, reaming, methods of holding the workpiece, making clamps.

CHAPTER FIVE: Basic lathe: Names of lathe parts, what they look like and what they do, 3-Jaw self-centering chuck, 4-Jaw independent chuck, cutting toolbits and how to sharpen them (high speed steel and carbide tipped toolbits). Cutting speeds for different materials, coolant, tool-posts and tool height, accessories, drilling and tapping using the tailstock. Need for dial indicator.

CHAPTER SIX: Advanced lathe: Parallel turning, machining between centers, steady rest, truing a disc, thread cutting chart, how to cut external right and left hand threads, cutting internal threads (right and left), resetting a broken threading tool, making sleeves, internal and external, using emery cloth in the lathe, and using it to properly fit a bearing, making two mandrels, and making an adjustable “Y” stop for chuck jaws.

This eBook is downloadable to your computer after ordering from the publisher (go to the “How to Order” page).

201 thoughts on ““Metal Machining Made Easy,” a DIY book (do it yourself)

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