The Die Filer Build

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Netpackrat
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The Die Filer Build

Post by Netpackrat »

A project I have started in order to teach myself machining skills, and hopefully have a useful tool at the end of the process. These are not often seen anymore, but they are still pretty useful and are good for filing internal holes and features, making round holes into square holes, etc. There are several versions of these out there, but I am starting with a set of castings and drawings produced by Martin Models in Oregon. Here is a really great video showing another guy's build of the same kit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP5CXuURGV8

Not everything he does is per the drawings, and much of what he does on a mill, I will be attempting to do on a lathe, because that is what I have. Eventually there are some operations that I will need to do on a mill; at that point I will either need to get a mill, or get my friend who has one to help me out. It may be some time before I finish it. The kit comes with just the unmachined castings and a set of drawings, all the rest of the material is builder supplied, and I don't have most of it yet. Mild steel is specified for all of the steel parts, even the shafts and other moving parts, but I will probably upgrade most of them to more durable alloys.

Anyhow, here is a picture of the casting set, as received:

Image

I spent an hour or so Saturday morning going over these with files, cleaning up the parting lines and general ugliness. There were some gates from the casting process that I left in place because for the most part they are on surfaces which are going to be machined anyway, and there was too much to try to clean up with a file. Not sure when I am going to try tackling any of the machining on the castings; if I screw up any of the rest of the parts I can just make them again from stock and I would rather not mess up a casting early on due to lack of skill.

Image

Here is the first part that I made; this is the shaft collar which secures the file to the vertical shaft. I made it out of a piece of 4140 that I had on hand that wasn't big enough for any of the other parts. This was a good opportunity to experiment with the power feed on the lathe for the first time. My Ebay copy of Machinery's Handbook is still in the mail somewhere so I started the feed slow and worked up until I was getting a cut I was happy with. I am pretty happy with how this part turned out, especially for having drilled and tapped the holes on a drill press. I mentioned this to my machinist friend and he pointed out that the best way would have been to use the 4 jaw chuck for that... :oops: Chalk that up to things which are not yet obvious to me. Either way I don't think I will have any reason to want to remake this even after I have established a higher level of cluefulness.

Need to order more materials for the rest of the parts... I have some mystery metal/old axle shafts which might be usable for some of them but I am probably better off starting with something that is a known quantity.

[Edit to add; yeah I ended up tackling a couple of the castings sooner rather than later. If I screw up the scotch yoke casting, I can make another part from bar stock, and as for the pulley, I may end up using something else anyway, and it is good practice.)
Last edited by Netpackrat on Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HTRN
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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HTRN, I would tell you that you are an evil fucker, but you probably get that a lot ~ Netpackrat

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Netpackrat
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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HTRN wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:43 pm I wonder how many people here actually know what a die filer is.. :lol:

And oh, here's some sources for files:
http://www.warrensvillefile.com/index.p ... allel.html

https://www.falcontool.com/PublicStore/ ... 7,183.aspx

https://www.artcotools.com/parallel-mac ... ype-b.html
Probably all 7 of us do now. Thanks for the links.
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Netpackrat
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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After I posted the pictures last night, I went back out to the shop to clean up and I also ended up discovering that I had some cold blue on hand which I had forgotten about, so I polished the collar up with a scotchbrite pad and gave it a blue finish. I only had the Birchwood Casey stuff and not the Brownells Oxpho Blue that is supposed to be really good, but I still ended up getting a decently consistent color.

Getting more materials may be a bit of an issue... All of the online metals places I have tried so far are quoting shipping that is just excessive, I am sure Because Alaska. Have to contact the local Metals Supermarket I guess but I'll have to actually pick up a phone since I don't think they do online ordering.
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HTRN
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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I've heard heating the steel up a bitwitha hot air gun or torch makes a much better finish..
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Netpackrat
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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Oddly enough, Grainger ended up being the best option because their shipping was reasonable and their prices were comparable to what I have seen elsewhere. Also, unlike McMaster, their website gives the shipping cost before ordering. Last time I tried ordering from McMaster their shipping ended up being pretty high and I haven't ordered from them since. Because of the lengths they had available I ended up getting enough to make each item twice if I screw up, but if I don't I will definitely use the material at some point.
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Precision
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Re: The Die Filer Build

Post by Precision »

HTRN wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:43 pm I wonder how many people here actually know what a die filer is.. :lol:

And oh, here's some sources for files:
http://www.warrensvillefile.com/index.p ... allel.html

https://www.falcontool.com/PublicStore/ ... 7,183.aspx

https://www.artcotools.com/parallel-mac ... ype-b.html
I didn't. Figured it was a scroll saw that took file blades and effectively it is a MUCH more capable scroll saw. VERY cool. Now I want one although, my need ratio is quite low.
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Netpackrat
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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Yeah, it's not too difficult to make a scroll saw attachment for one of these and I may do that at some point after it is finished.

I have been switching back and forth between the 3 jaw and 4 jaw chucks for the latest couple of parts. I put the casting for the scotch yoke in the 4 jaw and used it to machine flat the surface that will later get milled to accept the crank follower, and then I used that as a reference surface for the perpendicular surfaces on each end. The part ended up being about .030" narrower than the print shows to get them to clean up, but that's not a critical dimension and having those flat helps in squaring up for further operations. Here I am preparing to drill and bore the hole for the vertical shaft in the 4 jaw chuck:

Image

This is another technique I saw in a couple of different videos using two dead centers to indicate a center punch concentric with the tailstock. Then I bored it out to fit the 7/16" drill rod I am going to use for the vertical shaft. There is still a little I can do with this part in the lathe; I should be able to drill, tap, and counterbore the hole for the pinch bolt using the 4 jaw chuck, but that's about as far as I will get on this part without a mill (or a shaper, which I also don't have :lol: ). I could potentially cut the slot for the pinch bolt with a bandsaw or some other low rent method, but it would probably end up looking like crap. Slitting saw in a mill seems to be the way to go there.

Image

I have also been working on the pulley; I should be able to finish this piece entirely using my existing tooling. I started out by grabbing the inside of the rim with the 3 jaw on the outer face, because that will be fairly visible in operation and I wanted it to run true there. With casting held in that manner, I machined the inner boss on the inner side of the pulley, faced off the perpendicular surfaces, bored for the 5/8" crank shaft, and machined enough of the outer diameter to give a surface for indicating when I turned it around. Then I switched to the 4 jaw chuck, turned the pulley around, and dialed it in with the indicator on the OD I had machined. I faced the outer surfaces off, and turned the OD of the pulley down to about .010" over what the print shows.

Image

I drilled and tapped it for the set screw on the drill press rather than try to dick with doing that on the lathe. I still need to narrow it a little bit to the .900" dimension, and machine the crown into it. I saw a technique for doing that in a video which I will probably try, but I think I am going to make a smaller pulley for the motor end before I attempt to machine the crown into the casting. Easier to start over on a pulley from stock if I mess that up.

Still scratching my head on how to hold the base and the table in the lathe, and still waiting on the remainder of my materials from Grainger. The drill rod showed up so I can start on the vertical shaft but I am also waiting on a 1/4" end mill to clean up the corner in the bottom of the hole for that. I'll probably try to get both of the pulleys knocked out first.
Last edited by Netpackrat on Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HTRN
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Re: The Die Filer Build

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You got this from Martin Models, right?

I just noticed they have camelback castings...

Hurmm...
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Netpackrat
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Re: The Die Filer Build

Post by Netpackrat »

HTRN wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:11 pm You got this from Martin Models, right?

I just noticed they have camelback castings...

Hurmm...
Yes. My friend bought one of their straight edge castings, said it was OK. Not perfect, but decent. That sort of matches my experience with the die filer casting set so far. A few minor casting flaws here and there, and not a whole lot of extra material in general.
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