Metal Machining

From HackRVA
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Hack.rva hackerspace has a mini milling machine and mini lathe for milling and turning metal, plastic, and wood. These tools require training to operate.

Dress appropriately

  1. Safety glasses.
  2. Closed toed shoes or boots.
  3. Long hair must be tied back, tucked in, or otherwise wrangled so that it will not be wrapped or snagged by the machine.
  4. No loose clothes such as ties, draw strings, bolos, skirts, sleeves, hoods, or capes. Roll long sleeves to the elbow or wear short sleeves.
  5. Do not wear heavy gloves while operating machines. Thick nitrile gloves are appropriate, but leather or work gloves are a snagging hazard.

Little Machine Shop 3960 HiTorque Mini Mill

Our milling machine is manufactured by Sieg Industrial Group. It was sold in the United States by The User's Guide is available here.

The dials on our milling machine are in metric. One rotation of the hand wheels moves the appropriate axis 1.5 mm. With 75 dial divisions this means each dial division is 0.02 mm.

Our milling machine has an R8 taper. A flat-faced 3/4" collet is available, allowing the use of the Tormach TTS tool system. We strongly suggest you purchase your own TTS chucks and maintain your own tools. ER32 collet chucks cover a relatively large range, are nearly universal and can be had on Ebay inexpensively. ER16 collet chucks more closely match the power capability of the machine. They can similarly be found on Ebay inexpensively. While the chucks themselves aren't much less expensive, ER16 collets are less expensive than ER32.

MicroLux 7"x16" Variable Speed Mini Lathe

Our lathe is manufactured by Sieg Industrial Group. It was sold in the United States by MicroMark. The operating manual is available here. Be aware that our lathe has metric lead screws, whereas MicroMark advertised their lathe as having inch lead screws. The assembly manual is here.

Our lathe has a 75 mm spindle face and Morse Taper 3 spindle taper with a 20 mm through hole. We have a 3 jaw chuck, a 4 jaw chuck, and an ER32 collet chuck. Other chucks and adapter plates are available from

The dials on the lathe are in metric. The cross-slide moves 1 mm for every full rotation of the hand wheel. With 50 dial divisions, this means that each division is 0.02 mm of radial distance from the center of the spindle. When removing material it is often useful to be thinking in terms of diameters rather than radiuses; the lathe is therefore marked 0.04 mm of diameter per dial division.

The lathe is equipped with a Tormach 0XA quick change tool post. This allows the removal and installation of cutting tools without changing the height of the tool with respect to the centerline of the spindle axis. These tool holders are available inexpensively from and also on Amazon, from Tormach, from HHIP, and a lot of other vendors. You're looking for 0XA-series tool holders.

These tool holders are appropriate for 6 mm and 8 mm tools or 1/4" and 3/8" tools. These are available from Harbor Freight, from, and many other vendors. While Carbide tooling may seem appealing, this lathe is in a power range to make best use of high speed steel. AR Warner is a manufacturer of HSS inserts for lathe tooling. is an AR Warner vendor.

Learning Resources