Ever since I got my little Harbor Freight 8×14 lathe over a decade ago, I’ve wanted to get a milling machine. The mill I purchased was a Precision Matthews PM940-PDF. While still technically considered a benchtop mill, its 1300lbs weight, and shear size meant it needed to be treated with a lot of respect when it came time to set it up. The following shows the steps I took to get the mill off its shipping pallet, and into its final position.
I’ve been putting off making a storage rack for over a decade now, but with a new mill on the way, my need for space and organization is greater than ever. The rack is 1′ x 2′ x 3′, and while small compared to some I’ve seen it’s perfect for my shop, because I keep very little stock on hand. I had some 1″ x 1″ x 1/8″ angle left over from a previous project, so I designed around that as the building material. The following video is some outtakes of the building process, that shows some of the techniques and tools I used. If yous like to build it yourself, you can download the 3D SketchUp model.
When I got my rotary table, it came in a crate, that barely made it to my door in one piece. Since I probably won’t be using it all that often, it’s going to spend a lot of its life in storage, so I made it its own personal crate. Jillian has dubbed it the bedazzled crate, and while she me right, it was all done for function not fashion. It’s made from 5/8″ Baltic birch plywood, and solid birch hardwood. The solid wood is the skeleton of the crate, and the plywood is the skin. While it’s not overly pretty, it was really quick to assemble, and rock solid.
I purchased a 18″ x 24″ surface plate before Christmas, to replace the little 12″ x 18″ one a friend gave me several years back. It’s a Grizzly so it wasn’t super expensive, but I still want to protect it from the hazards in my shop. It’s been sitting on the bench covered with the ugly and flimsy shipping crate it came in. Last week, I finally got around to making a much strong and prettier cover for it.
The sides are Birch, mitered at the corners, and reinforced with Black Walnut keys. The top is 3/8″ Baltic birch plywood, that sets flush with the top of the sides in a rabbit. To make it a little more pleasant to handle, I gave the corners a 1/2″ round-over, and all the other edges a 1/4″ round-over. It’s probably a futile gesture, but to try and protect it from the inevitable cutting oil, lubricating oil, and other random things that might get spilled on it, I gave it several coats of a home brew whipping spar varnish.
I finished up my third bowl. I made it from a small chunk of 8/4 crotch Black Walnut that has been sitting on my storage rack for over 2 years now. At first, I was pretty hesitant to use the walnut, as it had a lot of cracks, and I was worried it might explode while turning. Thankfully id didn’t explode, and it turned out really well, even if it is a really simple form.
This was also the first bowl I used the sanding supplies I got from vinceswoodnwonders, and I have to say they made sanding the bowl a lot faster, and a lot less monotonous. I started off using the 2″ sanding discs and various interface pads in my Harbor Freight close quarters drill. I progressed from 80 grit, all the way to 800 grit. I found running the lathe between 300 and 400 rpm and the drill at what I assume was about 500 rpm, allowed me to remove material quickly without overheating the interface pad. To finish of the sanding, I put the drill away and broke out The Mirlon, I used 1500 grit, and 25oo grit, this left the bowl super smooth and ready for the finish. For the actual finish I applied 2 coats of Watco danish oil. I considered applying wax after the finish dried, but ultimately decided against it, as I thought the wax would build up in the cracks.