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Tell me about lathe bits.

Posted by poohbear2767 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 23, 06 at 18:06

Last time I ran a metal lathe was when I was in 9th grade.
So it has been a few years.

I seem to remember that we used HSS cutting bits.
How can I obtain some of these bits now.
I need a cut-off bit.

Can I just go get some 3/8 square HSS stock and grind it into a lathe cutter?
Or do I need to get actual lathe bits.

I think I read somewhere that old HSS drill bits can be
ground into lathe bit shapes. Is this true.
This would work in a pinch for me but I really need square bits.

I'm trying to design a machine for cutting metal here at home.
Think of a plotter but replace the ink pen with a cutter bit.
It would be great for making highly accurate cuts in small pieces of flat steel.


Pooh Bear

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tell me about lathe bits.

Pooh Bear - Don't know what you are trying to cut or make with this metal working lathe and small pieces of flat steel? Also what thickness and type ( mild/stainless ) is this steel? There are many other ways to do this now and one way is with a plasma cutter which uses compressed air fron a shop air system.

RE: Tell me about lathe bits.

Yep, you can grind a drill into a cutting tool as it is generally made out of HSS (high speed steel). Or just get some HSS square blanks, you need relief in the appropriate places in order for it to work. Sharp edges tend to fracture easily and need to be eased with a stone from better tool life. Look up MSC industrial, or the like, you can get a pretty good idea of what you need by looking at everything they have to offer. Ebay is another good place to get a deal on HSS cutters, everything is indexable carbide now.

RE: Tell me about lathe bits.

The tool you are working on already exists and is used to cut printed circuit boards and other thin material. It is a router on an X-Y table. The PC board one I have runs 20,000 RPM and uses solid carbide cutters that look very much like a helical milling cutter.

RE: Tell me about lathe bits.

I used to work in a shop that had a CNC router for wood cutting.
It moved in 3 axis, X-Y and plunge.

I would love to have a plasma cutter but that is WAY out of my price range.
Even a oxy/acet torch is out of my price range. Even the small ones.

My idea is more along the lines of a shaper.
If you had a shaper you could mount a piece of narrow flat stock in it
and use the shaper to cut off a section of it.
Usually a horizontal bandsaw is used for this.
I don't have a bandsaw or money to get one, and I don't like them.
They are great when you need one but I hate buying blades.

This project was more of a concept than anything.
I have already found lathe bits on ebay.


Pooh Bear

RE: Tell me about lathe bits.

In machining class we ground our own lathe single point cutting tools from square tool steel stock. We used a bench grinder for this. It's kind of an art, but once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad.

Strictly speaking, lathe cut off tools (also called parting tools) rather flat rectangular slices of tool steel metal, which are held in a special holder on the lathe tool rest. One sharpens the parting tool on a bench grinder - it's pretty easy.

Good luck.

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