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Cycle Fabrication Old School, Choppers, Bobbers, and Customs


Cycle Fabrication Old School, Choppers, Bobbers, and Customs

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2015, 12:11 PM
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MWTech MWTech is offline
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Lathe and Mill Questions

I'm a newbie to fabrication. I'm putting together a small garage shop with my main goal being to build some custom motorcycles for fun. This is a retirement venture so I'm not planning on purchasing commercial grade equipment. I know that I want to have a mill and a lathe, but being a newbie I'm not sure just how much I need to spend. I don't want to buy equipment that I'll never use, but I want to make sure that I can do what I need to do. I imagine I'll be machining small parts and pieces, probably aluminum. I want to be able to achieve good quality and accuracy, too. Also, I'm not too keen on the idea of buying used equipment as I don't know enough to evaluate its condition.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Bob
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:59 PM
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I think from a machinign standpoint, you'll want a knee mill with a DRO. Don't shy away from used if you have a machinist friend that can assess for wear, etc.

I'd also look at lathes with a minimum swing of 13" and at least 36" between centers. The RPM range should be at least low enough (50rpm) to at least 1500. Mine has a range of 25-2000 and is a 14 x40 Nardini.

I would also consider finding a 30 or 40 taper horizontal mill to do your tube notching for bike frames. They can be found relatively cheap. You definitely want a used machine for this. It can be clapped out if you're only notching tube.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:34 PM
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I picked up a virgin Bridgeport for 2k, wouldn't have it any other way for my needs. I bought an early 80's Takisawa lathe. For me it needed to be new enough for metric, but old enough to be build by someone that cared. I guess you guys don't need metric (stuck in the past man..:) )
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:45 PM
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Jackalope- I'll have to find out what a DRO is. I've seen it mentioned often. I like the notion of notching tubing with a mill. That sounds better than using the hole saw type.
Thanks for your ideas.
Bob
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:47 PM
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Bru21 Thanks for your input. That TT build ought to be awesome.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:03 PM
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DRO=digital read out
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:54 PM
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Thanks, I should have figured that one out.
Bob
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bru21 View Post
I picked up a virgin Bridgeport for 2k, wouldn't have it any other way for my needs. I bought an early 80's Takisawa lathe. For me it needed to be new enough for metric, but old enough to be build by someone that cared. I guess you guys don't need metric (stuck in the past man..:) )

My Nardini does inch and metric ;-)
I think having both is a must. I'd also say you need all the tooling like 3 and 4 jaw Chuck, QCTP, taper attachment, radius turning tools but that stuff can add up to much more than the machine. Luckily mine had nearly everything. I have a shitload of tooling and use all of it.
But for the machine, a good rpm range and inch/metric threading capabilities. I prefer a Camlock spindle as opposed to screw on spindle as well. Newer will likely be camlock.
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:45 AM
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What kind of motorcycles are you trying to build?
American Harleys
Japanese aluminum frame
Italian trestle frame
Dirt bikes, cafe racer

No expert other than hands on work with em... full on fab work requires knee mills like a bridgeport that's commercial grade equipment. Full on equipment like in Trick Tools.com

But I'm thinking full on fab work.

I'd recommend checking your local college to see if they have a machining and fabrication shop. Sign up and use their equipment to build, the items you see that's most useful check em out on trick tools.

From there you can also learn how to maintain them, where the get the support materials, and types of lubrication they require.

Sorry if this is a bit more elementary and you have more experience than mentioned
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Old 03-11-2015, 03:09 PM
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Hey Bob,
What is your budget and how much space do you have for the machines?

E
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:21 AM
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Tighteness and wear in a lot of machines is pretty evident. With a lathe bed, check for wear grooves in the the bed where the carriage moves. Slop can be adjusted out if the gibs are in good shape and have been adjusted periodically. (Little set screws with jam nuts on the sides of the sliding parts).

I agree with the posters above that finding something used and a little older thats in that time frame of being modern-ish but not so new that its a light-weight. From what I have found with machining tools, there is no replacement for shear weight and mass. The more rigid a machine is, typically the better tolerances you can get out of it with less chatter or tooling issues.

Tooling packages are also a plus with used machines. There is a significant cost hidden in tooling up a machine like a lathe or a mill. Look for goodies with the mill like Indexing Heads (with the correct plates; an indexing head without the plates is not much use). Flycutters, boring heads, power tapping heads etc. For the lathe look for taper tools, face plates, extra chucks such as a 4 jaw independent, boring bars, and I'd certainly make sure its a new enough machine to have a quick change tool post. I screwed around with a latern post on my '70s Atlas-Clausing for way too long before buying a quick change but I learned a LOT about tool grinding, cutting angles etc by starting out old school first.

Phases and Voltages, be sure to check that. Do you have 3 phase? Will you need a phase convertor for a used machine?

It seems a lot of the new stuff made these days is just straight up Chineese; which is a shame. The stuff from Taiwan seems to have a little bit better rep but even so. If you go with new, make sure you go with someone who has a person you can call when your machine needs parts, adjustment, etc. Machines that are replicas of an Atlas, Leblond, or Bridgeport are always nice because the cloned machines can use original or cloned parts.
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