Metal Shop Rearrangement/New Equipment

Today in preparation for some new machinery (horizontal bandsaw and also a possible pan brake), we had a bit of a working bee for the metal shop. We got rid of a whole bunch of junk, did a lot of rearranging and also started some maintenance on the grey lathe - it is now in much better condition, but will still need some adjustments as the compound rest screw is very loose.

The end goal is to separate the shop into two halves - down near the welders will be our ‘hot’ working area (welding, linishers, cut off saw, etc), and down the other end (near the lathes currently) will be our ‘cold’ working area (drills, workbench, pan brake, mills, lathes, etc). This should also allow us a much more effective layout and ease of moving between common working areas.

We still have to go through some long term stored projects which are taking up a lot of room, but we were able to throw a LOT of junk out as well as some non-useful cut off pieces. We’ve also taken a lot of the full lengths of aluminium outside, and will slowly move the steel inside. As the Space generates so many scrap cans, I also propose we scrap the entire lot of existing cans which may get us a few hundred dollars if we’re lucky, money which can go back into buying smaller tooling like new angle grinders.

As our new lathe (the very, very nice green one which came from Ollie) shares tooling with our existing workhorse grey lathe, in my opinion we need to get rid of the large lathe. As much as all the time and effort which has gone into trying to get it in working condition by members is appreciated, there is still a lot which needs to be done to get it safe and usable, as well as a large investment into tooling which I don’t think is worth the hassle. This would free up a LOT of space in the cold working area. We also have many other smaller lathes (desktop lathe with cutoff power lead, almost-CNC lathe which hasn’t been touched since it was dropped off, etc) which probably need to go.

We also need need to consider something happening with the electric kiln, as it’s taking up a phenomenal amount of room and I can’t ever see something that size being utilised at the Space.

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Metal Shop Mk.2 - The Spacening

First step for the rearrangement is being more effective with our current space. At the moment the island platform with the linishers/pedestal drill/etc is taking up some premium space and is massively unutilised.

I am knocking up a small platform, approximately 1800x600 which will go between the pit and the welders against the wall (once the crates are gone and we can shuffle all the welding equipment towards the quad door). This will house the horizontal and vertical linishers, as well as the pedestal drill; however we will ditch the hydraulic press (hardly used) and the guillotine (not sure if it works). This will open up all the space down near the lathes so we can start planning a cold working area.

I’ve also built some shelving on wheels (just needs shelves) which can be used for car servicing supplies (filters, oils, etc), which can fit in the corner by the pit. I’ve also got the ramps and crawler hanging off the wall, getting some more floor space back.

hydraulic press is used a lot. please don’t get rid of it. It’s use for pressing bearings into and out of housings when doing repair work, or for example wheel bearings, or other things. I’m not the only one who uses it… I know a lot of others do to.

… i last used it only a few days ago while installing a bearing into the new Z-axis for the “giganto CNC” that we’re building. without it, the task would have been troublesome at best and taken 5 minutes or more to do, but with the press it took 30 seconds.

Well there you go! Nog had mentioned he thought it didn’t work, but evidently it’s fine.

I’m not planning on removing it altogether, just finding another home for it

Remember woodshop is getting a 40ft container. @ltp mentioned we could put some less used stuff in there, I was thinking the kiln (maybe), and stuff like the press could go in there as its not a “everyday” tool.

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Bit more stuff achieved today:

New trolley for oils/fluids/stands/oil pans. Gets everything up off the ground and easily movable.

New trolley for grinders - still need to move all the spare 125mm cutoff discs and grinding discs over. This will also store the 9" grinder (once I made a hanger for it), and a spare cut-off disc for the hot saw.

Finally! Thanks to @Thermoelectric for picking up 3x 5" Milwaukee grinders. If you are found to be mistreating these, bad things will happen to you! Grinders live on the trolley, and they must be put back there after every time you use them.

We also had a bit more of a play with the grey lathe, and discovered a few issues:
*zero gearbox oil. The oil level is below the lowest shaft which rotates. There is ZERO lubrication on the gears, and it looks like it’s been a very long time since there has been any. Despite this, somehow all the teeth are in excellent condition with only a few small flecks of steel noticeable. The remaining oil is thick black soup. We will get new oil and drain/replace in the next week or so.
*there was a huge amount of backlash for engagement of the leadscrew. I’ve tightened this up, so this issue is resolved.
*we can’t yet workout how to fix the backlash on the carriage handwheel. This is still to be sorted.
*the binding block which locates the way guides along the ways wasn’t done up. The original socket head cap screw was removed, and a 10mm bolt dropped in however it was barely engaged in the binding block thread. This is undoubtedly the cause of the crazy deviation while cutting with power feed. It’s been replaced with a factory screw and tightened up so the carriage is much more stable while moving along the bed.

Still to be built or done:

*new grinding and drilling island
*move lockers back inside for consumable storage
*create consumable inventory and management system
*scrap removal (bins were meant to arrive last week, but didn’t)


I don’t believe that there any solution to fixing backlash on the carriage of a lathe. (z axis) if there is and somebody has done it please enlighten me / the group.
unlike the the brass blocks you can adjust of the cross slide. (x axis).

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That may be the case - I’m just trying to figure it out as I go. If there was adjustment in the rack and it could be slightly lowered this should fix the issue, however I have no idea if that’s possible.

Realistically if we can take the rack off we can just chuck it in the mill and slot the mounting holes

I have owned a few lathes in my time and have had to rebuild a few as well, I am more than happy to take the carriage apart and see where the backlash is coming from, with the equipment on hand at site repair shouldn’t be a problem, and most have backlash adjustment

I can also bring the dial gauges up to check the head stock

Lots of progress today, slowly chipping away.

New consumables cupboard thanks to Phil. This will remain locked once we have shelving in it, and stuff will be brought out as necessary. We’ve also got larger stuff in it down the bottom like chucks/etc which we don’t want out getting dirty. On the right side is the first aid kit, as well as all out safety stuff (just need to put the face shields up on there. On the left side is the broom/dust pans/etc.

Vertical mill + Eris’s lathe/mill thing have moved over. This gets us a bunch more room to play with for both of them. I also made some steel-capped packers to raise the mill off the floor, but it’s much more stable than just a few pieces of wood sitting on top of each other.

Lathes against the wall. The hole between the wood and metal shop will be closed up, as we’re getting a bunch of dust on the machinery which does nothing good for it. The hand tool toolbox will also be moved, as I plan on getting a toolbox for which to have ALL machinery stuff in (lathes, mill, etc). They will all be colour coded, so for example you know if you’re working on the green mill you only need to be looking in the green toolbox drawers, etc. We also drained and topped up the headstock oil up in the grey lathe (after dicking around with drain plugs which weren’t ever closed), and topped the green lathe up - grey lathe is back in business (but we are lacking in tooling for it). I will replace the shelving which was in the corner with some new roller shelving when I get a chance to knock some up, and have some sort of nut/bolt storage solution incorporated in it (maybe plastic drawers if we can pick them up for cheap).

Thanks to @chino we’re got a new island for the linishers and drill press pretty much ready to go once it’s got some room to live, which will free up a WHOLE lot of space down the middle. He also had a brilliant idea of making some under-bench racking for storing all shorter pieces of scrap metal; the scrap is currently in the middle of the doorway while we wait to get some room for it (but can be wheeled out if you need to move it).

If anybody is in Tuesday night who is looking for a job to do, asking the woodshop guys nicely to make the consumables cupboard shelving, or finding some scrap mesh to go underneath the table would be a massive help!


Update, I finished the new island yesterday, and moved the drill press and linishers to the new island along the back wall (please note not bolted down yet as positions to be confirmed) the 20 t press to the back corner next to the pit entrance, pipe benders under pallet racking and guillotine to end of pallet racking.

The old island has been moved out next to blacksmiths area (alex to confirm if required) as would make good stand for casting and anvil gear.




Wall! I ended up pulling all the existing crap off, with the ridiculous amount of nails and screws, and started again. There is a pine frame which is square at the back, so it’s properly sealed from dust.

Started on the under-bench racking. I cut down 4 old pallets and rebuilt them at a size where we can fit them side by side, just need to throw some angle or SHS halfway up so we have two layers. I might also put some PVC pipe directly underneath the bench to hold all the round stock in one place.


Now we’re getting there. Big day yesterday and this morning for all the various stuff going on, thanks again to people who have come down and successfully helped me avoid adulting while fixing the Space up.

Finished under-bench shelving. Currently has the parts from the CNC cabinet on there, but will mostly be used for storage. Still have to fasten some PVC pipe under the ends for round stock storage.

Two working vices again. The cast vice just needed a new roll pin (except the washers and spring had been lost, which I had to then make new ones of) and was happy days, and the donated homemade offset vice was a biiiit shifty, so I added a spring and washer to keep the thread steady. The spring is a pinch too big so it requires a fair bit of force to turn, but it will loosen up over time.

Now, the mill. @Thermoelectric and I found some issues with it, so we have completely stripped it down ready for a rebuild. Bearings and belts should be fairly easy to come across, and I am hoping that I can find the correct CVT spring (which was broken and causing the issues) at a spring manufacturer near the gym this week. If everything goes to plan, we should have a mill with new belts/bearings/actual grease in the gearbox/etc in a week or so. No more horrible noises when changing speeds!


Reduction drive, brake and belt all back together and working perfectly. The brake is working very well, however I am not sure if it was working from factory as it’s different. The roll pin which turns the shaft to activate the brake was bent, and now it’s new we either have all or no brake. Either way, it’s going to do it’s job.

Spring! Arrived when I got to work this afternoon. Believe it or not this came fro a Suzuki Burgman 400cc scooter. It is EXACTLY the spring we need - same coils, ID, length, etc. I wonder if this is where it originally came from (as it is effectively a scooter CVT gearbox inside the mill)?

There is still one bearing we need to tackle, and I am not sure how to remove it as there is a sleeve which I cannot remove holding it in place. I will have a better look when I am back at the Space next.

I also pulled apart and cleaned out the die grinder, as it had stopped working (unsure why). There was a bunch of junk inside the filter and motor, as well as it being absolutely dry as a bone. After a good clean out and reoiling it’s running fine - we may just need to ensure it’s being regularly oiled.

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New toys. Thanks to everybody who helped out last Saturday to get this stuff.

Uniplas 50/80 Plasma Cutter - had some teething issues, should be 100% working now once we install a new current selector switch. Blazed through ~15mm ish plate steel, apparently will cut 25mm with no issues.

Weldarc 300 Stick Welder - will be sold. Came with a SHITLOAD of welding rods to add to our frankly ridiculous collection already, which will also go as they are just taking up space.

Metal Industries Australia Weldmatic 395 - huge shop MIG. More current capacity than we currently have, much smaller size. Needs a new liner and basic consumables, will be easy to find as company is still around.

GIANT Hot Saw - to replace our small single phase green hot saw. Cuts through basically anything. Came with 15 or so 400mm Pferd Discs (+$30 each). Needs a bit of TLC, but it’s a massively capable saw which can cut just about anything you can throw at it.

We have also met up with Kev from Amos Industries, who is going to start supplying us with all consumables for the metal shop. Price is significantly better than anything we can get locally and comparable to Chinesium prices with much better quality, and is able to drop anything off to us that we need. He will also have our consumable sizes on file, so if you needed anything all you have to do is call him up. We will have more news on this in the coming weeks.


Kev sounds like a legend. Huray!! for quality grinding discs!!

have 1 of 2 of new cnc lathes arriving tomorrow