View Full Version : Teaching Yourself How to Machine Metal

02-23-22, 10:06 AM
Hello all, there are many Youtube channels to help one learn how to "Hobby Machining." I recommend this one:


Created by and hosted by a gal, Quinn Dunki.

Very good, thoughtful, step by step, starting with the lathe, and including the mill of course. Using currently available machines and technology. She herself is a computer program writer but prefers to operate manual machines. Was interested in woodworking but prefers the precision of metalworking.

What to buy, new or used, how to use everything machining, it's all there.

02-23-22, 10:09 AM

02-23-22, 10:15 AM
Old trade school texts are also a good introduction.

02-24-22, 02:01 AM
Shop classes were common in high schools back in the 50s and 60s. I have purchased several textbooks from back then. -It is however nice to have someone just explain the basics, to demonstrate "their way" of doing things. The young lady seems to me to be a natural teacher, intelligent, pragmatic.

02-24-22, 06:32 AM
We had "Shop" when I was at school in the early '90's here in Australia, first three years of High School (it was more commonly known as metal work). We had a class of about 28 but only about 14 could fit into the space, and because it was very popular we had to have a ballot...it meant only 5 months of classes thus. Teacher was Mr Thom, big tall bloke from America not unlike the bloke from Mythbusters (the serious one) but older. First year, as 13 year olds, we learnt metal shaping, brazing that type of thing, next year was more theoretical with some lathe work. Good times, and as I said, popular with us kids but then we were from a working class area.

02-25-22, 12:37 AM
You were lucky!

02-27-22, 12:32 PM
The demise of shop classes across the states, I was told, was more a reaction to liability, insurance, and safety, rather than redirecting children, teens, into "future" careers in computer sciences. Which is exactly what happened at my high school.

I was in the last class taught to use a slide rule. The next year, those had been set aside for four function calculators. Parents had to speak up at meetings, Engineers and Architects, explaining that the cherished Boxwood and Brass, Ebony and Ivory clad slide rules were now considered tokens of achievement, but no longer actually used to do calculations.

I would have loved to had metal shop!

02-27-22, 07:11 PM
Not that I have much occasion to, but I can still use a slide rule - class of '66.

02-28-22, 03:24 AM
I just found the two copies of the same metal shop textbook, that I have, one edition from 1947, and the other from 1974. No mention is made of a vertical milling machine in the first, and just a few paragraphs in the second one. Horizontal milling machines are covered, but not the vertical? Bridgeports were not the first, but they were producing them in the late 20's?

The first book is a treasure trove of techniques, vocabulary, and standard practices. The second one does cover more but in a shallow way.

03-03-22, 10:29 AM
Going through all the videos found at www.blondihacks.com , on one of them the young lady, Quin, suggests a book about making a working steam model locomotive. -It's her idea that everyone interested in machining as it applies to model making will find a lot to learn from this book.

And, she's right! Wow! What a masterpiece! Imagine someone reverse engineering a scale model of a steam loco, making it, machining or fabricating every part, while drafting, (by hand), all the dimensional plans and illustrations himself, and writing it up in english, which is not his native language! -Yes there are clear photographs, but the illustrations are the unexpected step by step!

The whole exercise being intended to be a beginners first project!

With that in mind, he explains all his techniques.

It is the best modeling book I have seen in a long time, and for those wanting to work in metal, the best! Exception is painting and body panel work. Locomotives are pretty much boxes. He does show some simple forming of metal sheet, and these are useful lessons, but for body panel making, surfacing, and painting, you're better off looking at some of the other books that specifically address those subjects.

The book is. THE PENNSYLVANIA A3 SWITCHER, by Kozo Hiraoka

Currently available.

03-19-22, 05:46 PM
I keep on forgetting to upload some pictures of my mill and lathe, and the books I've been recommending. Sorry!

But I have been busy. At my day job we are awash with many projects, self-driving trucks, flying taxis, armored SUVs, and now a spaceship for a movie!

And yet I have my "new to me" mill to play with.

This week I modified a quill DRO, to my limited needs.

I purchased a 4" DRO and cut it down for the 2 1/2" of travel of my mills quill, and made a bracket from some 2" square, thick wall aluminum tube.


Cutting through the scale of the DRO was interesting. Advised by my mentors on YouTube, I did use a Dremel cut-off wheel, being careful to keep the cut moving in one direction, constantly blowing cool air onto the cut. I discovered that a thin panel of glass is integral to its construction, just under the plastic film.

So with some periodic checking of the continued functionality. It took just a few minutes.

It worked!

Supposedly this technique will also work on the larger glass scales of the larger DROs. If I should need to adjust those that I have purchased.

Stay tuned!

Don over and out!

03-19-22, 05:54 PM
The color of the aluminum is a artifact of the dirty media in our sandblaster, but I like it!

The black spacers are just that, spacers, and of acrylic, I plan on replacing with Delrin or some such plastic. I have still to drill the mounting holes on the mill and the through holes on this bracket. And? And the rear plate that captures a peg, that already exists on my mills quill.

Bugatti Fan
06-19-22, 03:18 PM
Joe Martin the CEO of Sherline Machines has produced a book on miniature machine practice aimed at modellers using his equipment.
The engineering practice within is typical no matter what manual machines are being used.
It is a brilliant book that starts right from the basics through to more advanced and is amply illustrated throughout.