C3 Mini-Lathe Metalworking Beginners

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Home metalworking workshop consumables


The phrase "metalworking workshop consumable" covers a wide variety of products. The first things that usually springs to mind are the raw materials themselves. The various types of metal and plastic found in the home metalworking workshop and commonly used with the mini-lathe are covered elsewhere on this web site. The types of consumable I want to mention the type of things which do not normally occur to you when youíre doing some shopping. However keeping the stock of these things will make your life in the workshop a lot easier.

The first category of products comes in cans. Spray cans. I always keep a stock of the following. WD 40 is a good general purpose lubricant. Copper grease is good for lubricating nuts and so forth. White lithium grease is good for lubricating the metal on metal moving parts of your mini-lathe and micro-mill. I also keep some silicone grease for lubricating non-metal items such as rubber and wood. This grease is also good for lubricating paper liners when making fuel for rocket motors. Another thing you can buy in cans is a fluorescent paint. This is very useful for spraying on to parts which you are cutting on the mini-lathe. You can clearly see where you are removing material and where material is not being removed - especially handy on a deep boring job.

Cleaning products are also important. Always make sure you have a gallon container of white spirit, and a litre or two of isopropanol. I find white spirit very useful for cleaning metal parts after they come off of the mini-lathe. Always make sure you have some nail brushes and one or two toothbrushes. A good stock of cloths and paper tissues are also vital. Be careful not to spend too much money on paper towels!

Adhesives are the next category to consider. Keep a good stock of glue. Some sort of slow drying epoxy is very important. Youíll also need some of the fast drying variety for quick jobs. Thread lock is also very useful. Duct tape also plays a role in the home metalworking workshop. I always keep handy a tube of superglue. It is also possible to buy metal putty. I find this very useful when you make a complete mess of what youíre working on.

Caustic soda is also useful in the home metalworking workshop. Caustic soda dissolves aluminum. When you have finished working a part on the mini-lathe, washing in a solution of caustic soda helps clean it up a treat. But donít leave it in too long otherwise it will dissolve completely.

Donít forget to keep in stock a wide variety of sandpaper. I find that sandpaper used in conjunction with some metal polish is useful for bringing a nice smooth finish to a part that you have already meshing on your mini-lathe. For example, the final stage in making a nozzle for rocket motor is to polish the inside very smooth to make the motor more efficient.

Also make sure youíve got spare blades for the cutting tools that you use. This obviously includes the band saw and hacksaw, but also includes your slitting saw and other bladed tools such as a scalpel.

Most of this list might seem obvious but when youíre busy working on a part and your band saw blades snaps it is a very annoying. You are stopped dead in your tracks and you canít do any more work. Running out of cleaning tissues might not seem quite so serious, but remember, any simple steps you can take to make life easier in the home metalworking workshop should always be carefully followed. Using mini-lathes to make parts in a home metalworking workshop is a process made up of hard work and frustration. Always do the easy things to make your life more straightforward and less frustrating.

Finally, do not forget to keep a good stock of alcoholic beverages in easy reach. Some might say this is dangerous, but sometimes the only way to work out a really tricky problem is over a bottle of beer.

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