Sim Card Tool

Everybody gets a phone these days that takes a sim card. Well I had a request from a friend to make a hardened sim card removal tool so that he didn’t need to keep a sim-key around, he can keep it in his IT screw driver case.

So I used one of the bits out of the driver set. (its a cheap harbor freight set) It was the solid 5/32 hex stock. I went ahead and turned it down really small.

Turning it down was actually a bit of a challenge. It was already hardened, but not tempered. That’s that harbor freight quality…. So I first tempered it with a torch to a straw color. I let it cool and then started machining.

The actual turning process was interesting because it just wanted to flex once it got under about 0.1250″. So to finish it off I chucked it into my hand drill and went to the belt sander. I went slowly and kept the temp down but I was able to thin it out and keep it fairly true.

The final piece will be held in a little interchangeable hex micro-driver.

I’m not too worried about it with the home temper. Its obviously cast and poorly ground steel. Well, I’m not even sure it was steel. It machined terribly and I was using carbide.

Chip Tray

I’ve finally gotten mad that I don’t have a good way to catch my chips on the lathe. So I went and used a 20% harbor freight coupon and picked up their light duty 18″ metal break.

It took a good deal of googling but I was able to figure out how to bend a box.

So far it seems to be working. I did have to notch out the bit around the base of the lathe. I’ll probably be re-making at some point. But for now it seems to catch a lot!

Another New Toolpost

Ok, so I built a set of toolpost and tool holders for my lathe. I loved it. Its a great design. But, I ran into a little problem… It wasn’t rigid enough. I think this was totally my fault. I had never milled anything, ever. Its not terribly accurate either. I didn’t have a mill and used the lathe.

Well, I broke down and ordered one from the to get my Taig lathe really running right.

So far its pretty great. Its supposedly designed by Tormach. We’ll see how that is. It looks pretty Chinese. I’m going to be ordering more tool holders from Shars soon. Its supposed to be a standard OXA aloris style wedge.

Hand Vises

Ok, I’m sure that if you’re reading this by now you know that I have a bit of a vise vice. I love my vises. Work holding is an amazing technology to me. Not really sure why.

Anyway I was recently challenging myself to make some miniatures that would get too hot to hold too quickly.

My father has long been a tool collector and he has a beautiful little hand vise. Its like a leg vise and a pin vise together in one. Its amazing, old, and beautiful.

So I took to the ebay and I found a similar one.

His is the top one, mine is the bottom. I’ve got a little work to do, I think it was scotch-brighted or wire-wheeled. not sure. I might do a gun bluing on it and then a polish.

There’s not much to this post, just bragging about finding a new vise.

Eagle no 66 oilers

I was out last weekend at the antique mall. Yeah, I’m that lame — A single late 20s guy who goes to antique malls. The worst part is that I actually probably know more about some of the junk there than the people who work it. Who knows. I just like antique malls because its a really cool cross section of history. You get to see how people in the old days dealt with problems. I like going to see if I can learn how the old mechanical things worked. I find that super interesting.

Anyway. I’m also always on the look out for cool old tools, and good deals on things that I could use in my shop.

While looking I found 2 different Eagle brand No. 66 oiler pump cans. These are cool to me primarily because they were old brass. Old crusty brass with a mechanical element. Theres that steampunk again…

So I bought them up. They were both under $20 and seemed to be complete and working.

Well I stupidly didn’t take any before pictures. So I found some from ebay that are in very similar condition.


The ones I got have rigid spouts not the movable kind like that.

So I went to town working only with my 2 speed bench grinder. Which is really just a 1 horse motor with some arbors that my grandfather bought back in the day. He was a dentist and it was the motor for his rotary dental tools in the 60s and 70s. Anyway, I attacked it with a semi-hard cotton wheel with white diamond cutting compound on it.

This is the halfway mark. I took the pump piston out, completely disassembled and cleaned inside and out.

The first can was a breeze, it had been emptied and washed out with a degreaser prior to antique mall. The second can, no so much. The second can’s unused oil, no idea what kind, had turned into a black thick gel that absolutely stunk. It took several degreaser baths to break it down and get it cleaned.

I’m super thrilled with the end results. They both are now filled with some cheaper thread cutting oil, the dark sulfuric oil. So far, not leaking at all.

I will say that they are a really simple design, if you stop and pay attention… I did not when opening the piston chamber of the first can. I nearly lost the ball bearings and springs. then it took an additional 45 minutes to figure out how to put it back together post cleaning. I usually try not to charge in like that, but sometimes I get excited.

Kennedy Box Rescue

Lately I’ve kinda dived into the world of tool making, milling, and tool rescue. Ever since I got a real collet chuck for my Taig lathe things sort of clicked for me.

So I got my collet chucks and its amazing to run my lathe now. Things are actually running true and rigid. So I hop onto Craigslist. I do this from time to time and look at larger lathes, mills, and tooling. Just to see whats out there.

I find; “I’m selling my dad’s old toolbox made by Kennedy.” Ok, I’ll bite. I read further; “I don’t know what any of these drill bits are for, looking for $2.00 per pound.”

The picture shows a 12″ Mitatoyo combination square with circle center. well. How much does he want? I went ahead and sent him an email. Like clockwork, I got a phone call within 15 minutes. I’d never done a craigslist deal before, but it seemed legit. I drove over to the house to check it out. It turns out his father was a union machinist for like 30 years after he came home from the war.

He had just moved his parents into an assisted living facility and was getting their house ready to sell. He just wanted the box gone. But, he also seemed like he wanted to see it go to someone who’d use it too. So I quickly opened the box up and scanned the drawers. It was the apprentice’s size box so not huge, however, jammed full. So, that was an easy $300 sale for him.

I got it home and then the fun really began.

The box itself, while a Kennedy, its in rough, rough shape. It sat on the floor of a leaky garage for 20 years. The bottom is mostly just rust. It would be interesting to try and save it, but I’m just not the welder for the job.

Well I decided to take one drawer at a time. Here’s what I found:

This is the top section. Mitatoyo square, Brown & Sharpe square, Mitatoyo 0-1 mic, B&S depth mic with extensions, Industrial Pipe and Steel caliper. Those were the bigger ticket tools. Theres a Fowler dial indicator but its pretty crusty.

The first drawer on the left hand side was all lathe tooling.

This is pulled out and organized. Its for the most part 3/8ths brazed carbide insert tooling.

The next was the top right drawer.

This was the marking and measuring drawer. Edge finders, thickness gauges, thread gauges, thread transfer points, shims, scribes, pin vises, and some really great small rules.

Next we have some end mills.

There was a bunch of some nice solid carbide drill bits, and some larger diameter end mills in here.

Turns out there was good deal of ball end mills and flat faced mills. Mostly 3/8ths shank, 4 flute spiral.

Next was the boring drawer.

Home made thread gauge plate, a few deburring tools, fly cutter, boring bars. Lots of very specific process stuff that I’ve still got to learn about.

Its fun to go through and organize each drawer as I go.

The first of the full width drawers had a few 0-1 and 1-2 inch mics. a few were broken. There was some more misc lathe tooling and some carbide inserts. Its clear that this was sort of a catch all.

And then finally the bottom drawer.

There were a few more end mills and some nice solid carbide drill bits. But this was mostly inside and outside calipers, 3-4 and 4-5 inch mics. lots of pliers and screw drivers. A few different gauge blocks. Some misc dial and test indicators.

All in all it was an amazing score. I’m so happy I was able to get this. I’ve already started using the end mills on my lathe. I used them to make a quick change tool post so far.

Hopefully in time all of the tools will be transplanted into a new box and have some life breathed back into them.

The Quick Change Tool Post

About a year ago I was still unsure how to really use my lathe, so I did some digging and found a youtuber named Curt Filipowski who was doing some really cool Taig mods. At the time I was really curious on knurling. I’d seen a bunch of tutorials on knurling, and I had read a bunch of articles talking about how you can’t do it with the Taig. So I find this guy and he’s made a knurling tool, clamping style, for the Taig specifically. So I subscribed to his channel and he’s had some cool stuff out there  since then.

Check him out here: YoutubeHis Website

Anyway. He just a couple of months ago posted that he was working on a set of quick change tool posts for his Taig. I’ve had my eyes on them for a while started with the one from A2Z tools and then the generic OXA version that littlemachineshop has available. But I’m weird when it comes to tools…

It really has to do with the way I learn. I don’t truely understand how things work until I’ve taken them apart and fiddled with them. While a tool post’s concept is easy enough, I still felt like it was something I could make rather than throw the $120 plus shipping at the internet.

So I watched Curt’s tool post video and he mentioned that he might make the plans available. Upvote time. Like a week later he posted a new video with a link to his store for the plans. (buy them here)

The plans themselves are very nice. All done in great detail and 3d modeling. And for me, someone with no experience reading technical plans, or milling, they were easy enough to get through. Well worth the $3.00 I paid.

But lets back up. I had just like 2 weeks earlier gotten an ER32 collet chuck. I had also then the week before found an old Kennedy box full of tooling on Craigslist for a steal. So, I actually had the tools to do the job. time to dust off the milling attachment that I bought with the lathe 3 years ago!

Problem one for me was sourcing the material. Which nicely enough was just 1×1 6061 extruded aluminum. I hate ordering online for metals because its always a huge expense and shipping cost. So I consulted with some local friends of mine in construction trades and tracked down a metals supermarket location. I picked up a 6ft bar for about $20. good to go!

So I cut off a rough block and set off.

I faced down the block to dimension probably over dykemed it and started the layout.

I was actually really surprised at how well it was all going. I also was learning a ton from my regular instagram postings and people graciously helping out. (like the terribly inaccurate alignment and placement of the indicator…)

It was all so good and then I grossly overshot a hole… Rather than tossing the part in my scrap bin, I milled out a channel on the side for a 1/2″ bump knurler that I had gotten in the Kennedy box. Worked out all right since I didn’t have a fine wheel set for my cheap Grizzly clamp knurler.

I pressed on and made the part again.

It took a considerable amount of mind power from me to get the parts clamped up for the 45 degree cuts on the dovetail. But I got it working.

It was at the point where I was starting to make the mating 45s for the dovetail that I realized everything was out of square. great. So forge on and end up with an added angle to the tool from the post or try again?

Try again. Turns out I was using the milling “vise” wrong. I wasn’t actually locking it in place, I was just tightening the hand screw. Number 3 at this point is coming out really nice. I decided to cut the main dovetail and the mating parts out of the piece in the same move so I just had to flip the work and not reset the vise.

(its not in the vise here, I didn’t mill it this way, it was just for the picture.)

This approach worked really well. I wish I had done more parts at this point. My angles are sort of close to 45. Not by any means perfect.

This is the point that I missed photographing some steps. But I did some hand finishing and was able to get the part fit really well. Well enough that I could turn the round parts that I needed with the 3/4 built post.

I’m really pleased at the fit that I was able to get on the dovetail. Its rock solid.

So I went ahead and finished up the main screw and the brass height stops.

I only made one real change to the design from the plans. I made the actual tool holder over sized. to accomidate a 3/8ths tool instead of the 1/4″ that it called for.

I’ve slowly been working on making additional tool holders sort of running them through in multiples as I get time.

I’ve learned so much from this first milling project that its crazy. Its all about going in the right sequence of steps and checking everything all the time.  Its been a great project!

So at this point, I’ve got the post and I’ve got 2 holders. but thats 1 more than I started out with! It also handles the 3/8ths bits that I have now. Which means I can use the tooling I own!

So in summary, if you need a QCTP, make one and follow Curt’s plans. Especially if you have a mill. I can see how this would have been like 10x easier with a proper mill…

Beal ER-32 Collet Chuck

This is less of a build than a talk about a new tool that I bought. So lets get that straight out of the way. My father was awesome, again, for me and he called up his connections at the Beal Tool Co. just east of Columbus OH. I guess I haddn’t really done my homework, but the Beal Tool Co. actually manufactures a really quite nice collet chuck for several different lathes.

It turns out that they happen to make one in a 3/4-16 thread specifically for the Taig lathe.

So the crazy thing is that this single little tube of metal has completely changed my life as far as using my lathe goes.

Its an ER-32 collet chuck and it comes with 6 collets. Its really a great set to get started with some real rigidity in turning, and very little run out. For me, there the run out was +/- .0005 or there abouts. Which is WAY less than I used to have with 3 and 4 jaw chucks.

So as with anything though, I had to make it my own.

So, heres a custom collet holder that I whipped together out of some 3/4 walnut, a bit of 2×4 pine, and a small piece of lacewood.

I would have made the whole thing out of walnut, but I just don’t have enough. (who really does though?) The corners are faux pinned with brass. purely for looks, I still haven’t gotten the steampunk out of my system and can’t stop adding brass to walnut.

Here is the finished and filled piece. I ended up adding a 7/16ths and 1/8th collet to the set that came with the chuck.



Spoon Bits

I got inspired again to sit down and do another build video. I’m still trying to find a format that works the best for me for video.

I shoot video, or at least work with video every day for a living so It sort of takes a good deal of work to get me to make video outside of work.

This one was sort of a cool project, Its not something that really needed a video, nor was it something new or exciting. I just really liked the story telling aspect of it.

Steampunk Wrist-Gauge

Whats the most important part of exploring? In any time? Boy Scouting taught me to be prepared. So when I’m out of the 33rd century I need to carry some tools to be ready to fix my gear.

I hadn’t consciously planned on using screws for everything but by this point, I thought it was a good idea to have a screwdriver.

I also needed a time distortion gauge. you know, to measure the amount of affect you’ve had on the past. Trust me, you don’t want to red-line that one!!!

The problem is that time travel can be hard on you, especially if you’re trying to carry a toolbox, so why not build it into your arm?

I started with a free hand pattern for an arm bracer. I used once again, some 5-6oz veg-tan leather, cut and dyed. I used Fiebang’s British Tan if anyone’s wondering… I bought a full pint of it for the apron project and used very little, but since have fallen in love with the color.

Well, anyway, with a few straps and snaps I got the thing attached to my arm.


I used a 1/2 inch strapping for a buckle connection at the forearm. I have a muscular arm and didn’t want it sliding off. I used snaps at the wrist for ease though.

Next up was the copper circuitry and application of my actual antique screw driver set. Its one that holds 3 smaller sizes inside itself. Super old school, super useful, absolutely beautiful.


Now I’m looking at this thinking, I need to be able to measure my time distortion!


The time gauge was then  constructed using a very inexpensive pressure gauge from harbor freight, a brass fitting kit too. I then put some of the fittings on my lathe and turned the openings up to 1/4inch to accept my copper tubing. I finished by attaching it again with a strap and some rivets. The screw driver also got a closure strap, but its got a snap so I can pull it out on the fly. and my connection wire came from some CAT6 cable. The twisted pairs are nice and colorful.