When to Use a Spot Drill

Machinists are familiar with spot drills–they’re stub length and have few or no flutes.  These little drills are designed to be extremely rigid so that they can precisely spot a hole for a twist drill.  Maximum meat in the shank keeps them on target.  The goal is use the spot drill to make a little dimple in the work-piece that keeps the twist drill from walking so the hole winds up in the right place.

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Workholding of the Month: Chucks

While there are a number of ways to hold work, when there aren’t many (or any) flat surfaces, a standard vise can complicate things. When using a lathe or holding something that just doesn’t have flat sides, a chuck is a great solution. A chuck is essentially a round vise, with jaws that hold your workpiece. These handy tools come in a variety of flavors, but most often are found with either three jaws or four jaws. Chucks can also have various methods of closure. Some are manual, which requires the turning of a wrench or key to tighten things down, while some have more advanced options, like pneumatic or even hydraulic closure systems.

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Tormach Fab Lab: Working with Slitting Saws

[youtube]http://youtu.be/RPO_vhVsfeQ[/youtube] Don't forget about slitting saws when you have a part that calls for a deep slot. With a slitting saw, slots with a large depth-to-width ratio can be made both faster and straighter than with a long and skinny endmill. There are two slitting saw arbor sizes available in our TTS toolholder lineup: 1" and 1/2". These are keyless arbors, so they will work with both keyed and keyless slitting saws. We also have a selection of HSS slitting saws to fit these arbors.  

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Tormach Fab Lab: Workholding with V-Blocks

Ground V-Blocks are a handy tool for workholding, especially when paired with a machining vise. You can use them to hold round bar, square bar, and they are also great for supporting end work.  In our latest episode of Tormach Fab Lab, Mike C. points out some tips and tricks to keep in mind when using V-Blocks. [youtube]http://youtu.be/cDhGSZ7jp7Y[/youtube] You can purchase the V-blocks used in this video here:  Buy V-Blocks for Tormach More Tormach Fab Lab Videos:

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Tormach Fab Lab: How to use a Companion Horizontal Spindle

  You can set up a companion spindle with our Horizontal Spindle Arm Mount for milling in the XZ (G18) or YZ (G19) plane.  This can be a great technique for doing light milling on the end of a very long workpiece.  In this episode of Tormach Fab Lab, Mike C. demonstrates how to get this setup right.   [youtube]http://youtu.be/0oBlsirN4t8[/youtube]   You can now also model this setup in SprutCAM by taking advantage of the brand new Tormach PCNC machine definitions in SputCAM 8.  Here's a video that shows how to get that started as well.   [youtube]http://youtu.be/r8l99stgL8s[/youtube]   Want to try this out for yourself?  We've got the Kress High Speed Spindle and all of the mounting clamps and brackets for sale here: Tormach eStore - Companion Spindles More Tormach Fab Lab Videos:

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4th Axis and 5C Collets

If you've been around a lathe, you're probably familiar with 5C collets. What sometimes gets overlooked is that they are a really useful way to hold small diameter bar stock to a 4th axis turntable because they are self-centering and more accurate than a 3 Jaw chuck. We've offered a lathe-style 5C collet holder for a while that works really well - our only real gripes with it were that its a bit spendy for occassional use, and it only fit on the 8" table. We recently developed our own design to address both those issues: the 5C Collet fixture.

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