Metal working (lathes, mills)

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Thread: Metal working (lathes, mills)

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Seekaaahhhk, MA
    ME: Bugsy
    MA: Cane
    Rig: Bias

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    Metal working (lathes, mills)

    Anyone here do much metal working with lathes and/or mills? It's something I've been thinking about learning for a while, but, I'm wondering if it would be better to pay someone to make parts for me (or use a place like rather than invest the time and money into doing it myself. The cost of a little lathe or little mill can probably buy a lot of stuff. Thoughts? Suggestions?

  2. #2

    Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: No Boat Back
    ME: Strypoverse
    MA: Ovation Electric
    Rig: Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    I've got a Bridgeport and large lathe still out back from the old engine building days. Handy tools to have around for a rainy day but there is a steep learning curve and especially early on you'll be hard pressed to turn out anything in a decent amount of time. You can drop a lot of money just in tooling and depending how large a machine you get there is also the expense of moving it and power distribution. Ours are three phase running off a phase converter box hooked to a large electric motor to pick up the last leg (no idea how this works exactly, but it does). If you are looking to make small parts for guitars it would probably be cheaper and faster to have someone else turn them out for you.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: The house formerly known as the Haus
    ME: Ibanez S540LTD
    MA: Taylor Big Baby
    Rig: Laney GH50L

    iTrader: 13 (100%)

    When I was looking into ti, I kept getting recommended the mini mill and mini lathe from grizzley. Both run on standard single phase etc, and are affordable as hell for what they do. Cant do an engine or anything like that, but for guitar parts youd be good to go.

    As was mentioned, the learning curve is supposedly quite steep though.
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  4. #4

    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: Pennsyl-tucky
    ME: 87 Ibanez RG550
    MA: Wasburn D12 6
    Rig: ADA MP1 / Spider II

    iTrader: 0

    I had a bunch of Metal shop classes in high school (mills/lathes/sandcasting/sheet metal) but really have not used much of it since then.

    Has came in handy tho as I have a few clients that do that type of work and it helps me understand what they do & how they do it.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Seekaaahhhk, MA
    ME: Bugsy
    MA: Cane
    Rig: Bias

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    I was looking into the mini-lathe and mini-mill as well. They look like they would be perfect for my needs, but for that same couple thousand dollars, plus materials, plus time...I may better off having someone else make the stuff.

    I do like to learn new stuff so maybe I'll check into some of the local vo-tech schools and see if they have any metal working classes. I took wood working and some sheet metal stuff way back in the day, but nothing with metal lathes or mills.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2009
    Location: Northern California
    ME: Thorn,KxK,Suhr,etc
    Rig: Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    A couple of years ago I needed access to a mill, a lathe, and a TIG welder and TechShop is America's 1st Nationwide Open-Access Public Workshop -- What Do You Want To Make at TechShop? was awesome. They don't have any facilities near you, Rob, but it might help others.

  7. #7

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Soviet Canuckistan
    ME: Decibel Javelin
    MA: Ibanez AJ307CE
    MB: Fretless Precision mutt
    Rig: Mesa F-30

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Man, i wish there were something like that up here.

  8. #8

    Join Date: May 2010
    Location: Oshawa Ontario
    ME: Eddie Clarke Strat
    MA: 1977 Larrivee L09
    MB: Rickenbastard 4003
    Rig: Marshalls

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    I spent 20 yrs working in a machine shop with a mill while doing repairs on the side, and it was a valuable learning experience - mills are fantastically useful for creating or modifying parts. A soon as I can afford one, a small mill is near the top of my machines list for the shop.

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