What tools? Lathe? Mill?

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by nkp174, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Christmas is over, and I have some cash for tools.

    My plans are to built masters for HO NKP passenger cars, On3 DSP&PRR passenger, and On3 DSP&PRR freight cars...and then use these masters to produce molds for resin castings for major assemblies: sides, interiors, etc...

    I also plan to do some locomotive scratch building. For the NKP, I first would like to build an NKP pacific (there's a thread on here about it) using a genesis mechanism...and later an R class 4-6-0 with 72" drivers from bowser. For the DSP&P, I intend to scratch build a 4-4-0 #2, Platte Canyon. This will require a lathe for making the drivers, and possibly the domes too. I also plan to scratch build a mason bogie using drivers and castings from PSC & Grandt Line. I'd also like to eventually add a Cooke Mogul and a Balwin 2-8-0...purchased/kitbashed/whatever.

    I have: a mill file, jeweller's files, triangle file, a bastard file, a digital caliper, x-actos, razor saws, a rotary tool, an airbrush, a paper cutter (for styrene), cork board for jigs, normal hand tools (hammer, needle nose pliers), small drills and a vise.

    So, how should I use my $500?

    My initial thoughts are:

    Alumilite Super Casting kit ($60-70)
    Scroll Saw ($40-80)
    Jewelers saw
    Raw materials...brass/wood/styrene
    Save the rest of the money for later

    mini lathe ($350-450)
    micro mill ($260)
    resistence soldering unit ($?)
    Air compressor ($60)
    Sand blaster accessories ($30?)

    CNC Machine

    Would a micro-mill (from Harbor freight) be able to do most of what you'd usually use a drill press and scroll saw for? Would I be able to expect that I could do a decent job cutting windows for passenger cars? Would this be slow enough to avoid melting styrene if I tried?

    If so, I'm inclined to get one of them along with the resin casting kit and raw materials.

    My engine construction plan if I had all these tools:
    DSP&P 4-4-0
    NKP 4-6-2
    DSP&P 2-6-0
    DSP&P 2-6-6t
    DSP&P 2-8-0
    NKP 4-6-0 (R class)

    Since I don't have the lathe:
    NKP 4-6-2
    DSP&P 2-6-6t (Drivers are around $35 for a set...I already have the domes)
    DSP&P 2-8-0
    DSP&P 2-6-0
    NKP 4-6-0

    Currently I have a Bachmann Mogul & a Grant Line porter to power my 4' of On3 railway.

    I'm a grad student in engineering, so I have free access to CAD...and I'm comfortable doing any calculations I need for my trains.

    Please share your wisdom :)
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'm not familiar with the Harbor Freight milling machine. Is it variable speed? You will need to be able to adjust spindle speeds for various materials. If you have or can obtain a copy of "Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers", even an older edition, it has tables of feed and speed for various materials plus a lot of other info for machinists.
    The same goes for a lathe. Of course quality and cost go hand in hand with machine tools as with everything else. Also look at an X-Y table and you may be able to get by with a good , small size drill press.
  3. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

  5. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've picked up an Alumilite kit, and I'm stongly looking at ordering the micro mill.

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