I fell a bit behind; I had these posts partially prepared but never posted. I’m going to try and add at least a couple links and pictures later.
So I made an order from Shars Tools. Shars is where I’ve gotten the majority of the tooling and instruments for my machine shop. It’s basically the Made-in-China-dot-com of the machine tool world, and judging from the AOL and gmail mail addresses, I swear it’s run out of somebody’s house, and they don’t actually have any inventory, it just comes direct from China and they send it off to customers…it really wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But their prices are hard to beat, they’ve got one of the best selections, and their customer service is good and very responsive, especially considering it really does seem to be run by like ONE PERSON.
This time I picked up some handy bits and bobs, for instance, a set of telescoping gages, and a direct-reading ‘mechanical digital’ micrometer accurate to 0.0001″. Very good tools for inspection.
I picked up some new inserts for the indexable tools for my lathe; since I can’t run it fast enough to reach the optimal cutting speeds for carbide inserts on aluminium I’d been meaning to get some aluminium-specific inserts…which are sort of hard to find for some reason. I also picked up a matching indexable boring bar. I wanted to get a pair of internal and external indexable threading tools with special thread-forming inserts, but they were like $30 each. Need to do that though if I’m going to really do any serious fabrication on the lathe. I also had my eye on this great grooving and profiling tool. Profiling will be a big deal if I ever convert the lathe for CNC.
Also picked up an indexable dovetail mill for the milling machine. I figured it didn’t cost that much more than the non-indexable version, so screw it. This way, any time it gets dull, I can just replace the cutting edges instead of buying a new cutter. Inserts are relatively cheap.