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Old 09-12-2010, 01:56 AM #1
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Question Lathe / metal question

First, Im getting a brand new 700mw green laser module for $300. This is the whole entire laser, optics, drivers, etc. It just needs a 18650, and a host. meaning a body to hold the battery, and head to go on the module.

My question, I want a cheap lathe. I plan to get the harbor freight one, as I hear people like it a lot for its cheap price.
7" x 10" Precision Mini Lathe

Anyone here have any experience with this lathe as to if it will be good to design my own laser hosts? I plan to get a solid rod of aluminum, drill it out, and lathe it into shape. Knurl the surfaces, and so forth. So this will fit my 700mw module good.

Also, What type of aluminum is a good kind to use? I never made a host before. I use lathes at school to make useful parts for projects, but I never made a laser host before, Only a hammer.

**Please note, I am not and can not give infomation out as to how I got a 700mw brand new module for $300.**


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Old 09-12-2010, 02:25 AM #2
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

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Originally Posted by jbtm View Post
**Please note, I am not and can not give infomation out as to how I got a 700mw brand new module for $300.**
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:34 AM #3
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Thats the same lathe I got. It's also the same one flaminpyro had up untill about a month ago when he bought a new one.

I like it a lot. But it IS cramped for space.

When it comes to drilling out that metal bar of aluminum, you'll find the tail stock and the drill bit take up a lot of your 10" of room. So you can only make pieces about 3 or 4 inches long.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:50 AM #4
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Bolton 5" X 7" Mini Metal Mill Lathe Combo Brand New - eBay (item 380223186105 end time Oct-06-10 14:39:28 PDT)
this might be a good one if you got a bit of extra cash
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:11 AM #5
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

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Originally Posted by Mohrenberg View Post
Thats the same lathe I got. It's also the same one flaminpyro had up untill about a month ago when he bought a new one.

I like it a lot. But it IS cramped for space.

When it comes to drilling out that metal bar of aluminum, you'll find the tail stock and the drill bit take up a lot of your 10" of room. So you can only make pieces about 3 or 4 inches long.
Have you ever made your own? So you experienced issues trying to do a 18650 size hole? I wasnt sure if it was the kind of lathe where you can just clamp down the bit, at any length and use the whole 10" or not to make a good size host. Else, I can always do it the smart way and make it a multi-part. Should be enough for the battery.

I mean if you have to, you can just flip it around too. to finish the hole.

Hows the auto-feed? Good threading? Can it go small enough to do axiz host type threads?

Also, i do have 20% off coupon.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:44 AM #6
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

I think the aixiz threads are best cut with a good old fashioned tap. Though you'll need two. One to start the threads and a second to cut up and turn into a bottoming tap.
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:28 AM #7
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Makes since. I just want to start to be able to make my own laser hosts, so I can make my own 1W blue host that can be one solid peice of metal for the laser diode/lens. Then have plenty of room to squeeze in a driver and LED. So in short, I want to make my own hosts, that can cool the 1W blue laser, and other future diodes...Being able to custom a host is nice for when you want to attempt to make higher power lasers too, at the 5W range.

I do a lot of custom circuit board work, so making my own tailcap and so forth, will be easy.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:14 AM #8
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

I have a 9"x20" and it's OK. I could see a 10"-12" lathe getting cramped for space but for most laser hosts it should work fine. If you know how to work around the backlash in manual machines (and there will be a good amount in cheap machines) you should be able to just fine. I highly recommend getting or rigging up cooling if you decide to anything besides softer metals - especially stainless.

littlemachineshop.com will be a great source of products and info.

In all seriousness, you will likely end up spending as much on tooling as you do on the lathe. 3 and 4 jaw chucks, dial indicators, cutting bits, follow/steady rests, centers, ..., too much to list. Indexible carbide tooling (parting, threading, cutting) is 100% worth it... but buy American or Japanese bits because they last longer and cut cleaner. (But buy the right grade carbide for the material you're cutting). QCTP aren't quite necessary but nice too.

Aluminum and brass are generally considered great to maching. 6061 AL is very common and machines, polishes, taps, and anodizes very well. Free machining brass alloys are good to go as well. Stainless as well as any other work hardenable alloys are a bitch to machine... a cheap small machine will have a hard time taking aggressive enough cuts to avoid work hardening. Copper is tough too (and other very soft metals) because they're gummy and ike to grab tooling. Practice before expecting good results with those.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:21 AM #9
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbtm View Post
Have you ever made your own? So you experienced issues trying to do a 18650 size hole? I wasnt sure if it was the kind of lathe where you can just clamp down the bit, at any length and use the whole 10" or not to make a good size host. Else, I can always do it the smart way and make it a multi-part. Should be enough for the battery.

I mean if you have to, you can just flip it around too. to finish the hole.

Hows the auto-feed? Good threading? Can it go small enough to do axiz host type threads?

Also, i do have 20% off coupon.
Just buy tubing and press fit or add any internal steps and small IDs.
Boring large holes well will be a PITA without lube/cooling. Buying
onlinemetals and mcmastercarr are good sources of tubing in most any alloy & size.

Axiz threads are 0.5mm pitch... the machine should have no problem hitting a 0.5mm feed. That being said, your life will be easier just plug & bottom tapping such a hole.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:31 AM #10
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

If you can go a little more you might get the 7 x 12

7" x 12" Precision Mini Lathe
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:01 AM #11
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

True, thought about it. I got 20% off and I'm putting Christmas money (200+) towards it. I plan mainly to do aluminum, and practice on cheap rods from eBay.

I'm getting it for lasers and electronics. Need lathe for projects I do...possibly tiny bit of tungsten rods too. We do tungsten at my school, so it's possible!
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:20 AM #12
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

you need to find a local metal shop i am starting to buy rods of aluminum in the 8ft range.
it costs me about 8-10 for a 1ft
and about 35-40 for an 8ft
And they are local so you can just drive and pick them up.
much better than the small 1ft every time also buying plastic rods can be fun.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:13 AM #13
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbtm View Post
Have you ever made your own? So you experienced issues trying to do a 18650 size hole? I wasnt sure if it was the kind of lathe where you can just clamp down the bit, at any length and use the whole 10" or not to make a good size host. Else, I can always do it the smart way and make it a multi-part. Should be enough for the battery.

I mean if you have to, you can just flip it around too. to finish the hole.

Hows the auto-feed? Good threading? Can it go small enough to do axiz host type threads?

Also, i do have 20% off coupon.
I rarely use the feed. So far i've just bought taps and dies for all my threads.
I've made a couple of complete hosts, the easiest way is to make a multipart host.
I make the head, body, and tail cap separately.

I'm still trying to get my hand on the aixiz tap. victornet has them but requires a minimum purchase....found one on ebay but it ships from china....and i don't trust the chinese, they are sneaky little guys.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:02 PM #14
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Ya. I planned to do it that way (head, body, tailcap) then just drill a hole for axis threads, and tap it.

Will have to look for a local machine shop. The prices on eBay are not too bad. I'll agree it would be fun to lathe plastic, does a lathe even go fast enough to cause issues with plastic melting onto the tools? I know if you drill acrylic too fast it does, I had to make a little rig with holes. I justpush the drill trough the right metal hole and the harden acrylic is forced off...
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:06 PM #15
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

The tough part with plastics is you need a very sharp tool and material flex will be a problem. You have to support plastic very well or it flexes alot. You can always cool it if you're worried about heat.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:34 PM #16
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Default Re: Lathe / metal question

Victornet's minimum is only $25... after 3 M9X.5 plug taps (one to use, one to grind into a bottoming tap, plus a spare) your already $15 there.. surely you can find another $10 worth of stuff you could use.. It wasn't hard for me to manage it heh. One can never have too many tools.
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