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I feel dirty for asking...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by perp, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    Let me say first that i am quite aware that most tools at harbor Freight are crap and i usually only buy them with the intention of cutting, breaking, loosing, of abusing them. I feel dirty for asking this at all but here we go..

    I run a few crews of production tile installers on New Home tracks here in AZ. i am adding a few new crews of guys and i am in the process of equiping new (to me) trucks for the guys i have yet to hire. one of the tools i require for this is two full sets of marking jigs. I was going to have a machine shop make them for me but a few buddies have said the costs would kill me as there is alot of set up time in each one. Each set consists of 64 pieces of aluminum stock that starts as 1 inch wide and 3/4 inch thick by (X) inches long. the X lenght is the actual size of the jig and i need acomplete set rangeing from 18
    " through 22", in 1/16" steps (4" range x 16 sizes per inch=64pc.) I then need each piece machined down as follows in the example: if it is 20" overall, then the piece needs 3/8 machined off for 19.5" . this leaves me with a 19.5" long section that is 1" wide by 3/8" thick that then is 1" wide and 3/4" thick at the end for an overall length of 20". if you stood it on is end (fat end) it would resemble a letter L, just real non-proportional. i hope this is not to confusing, as it is hard to describe what i want to people who don't work in the industry. anyhow, i need each of the 64 peices machined in a similar fasion. this would mean (i think) having to set up the mill for each peice? and this = alot of costs.
    so for the question
    does any one think one of the Cheapa ass harbor Freight manual milling machines could handle this work (1/64" tolerence) and could i do it my self for less (including the price of the mill) than to pay to have it done by a professional? am i just wasting money on a piece of crap that will kill me with inaccuracy and aggrevation? i will need at least 2 complete sets and possibly 2 more soon. I have good fab skills but have never used a machine like this before, so ANY input would be helpfull.
    sorry for the long babbling, if none of this make sence someone tell me and i will try to draw/post a picture of what i need to help you understand
     
  2. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    kinda a crappy pic but i think it may help

    marking stick 002.jpg
     
  3. theperfectgarage

    theperfectgarage 1/2 ton status

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    First off, don't feel bad about Harbor Freight, You just have to shop smart there. I've had many h.f. tools in service for years. Other items there are pure junk.
    I was there picking up a air hose reel yesterday ( 9.99, well made, works great ) and I was looking at there overhead mills. I dont know if it's cost effective for you but I would think considering your building to " rough " tolerances the quality would be fine. Just my two cents.
     
  4. kgblazerfive

    kgblazerfive keymaster Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Can you cut them out with a band saw or does it need to be milled?
     
  5. kgblazerfive

    kgblazerfive keymaster Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    what about a table saw with a metal blade?
     
  6. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    I think i can make a band saw or table saw work for the length ( or a cold cut chop saw too), but i am trying to figure out the step down part. I guess i could weld a short piece of alum (3/8 x 1 x 1 or so ) to the bottom of a 3/8 x 1 stock, then cut to rough length and use a bench grinder to work it down to final size? i need to think about this as it may just work. good ideas guys.

    new question, what does an aluminum spool gun run for my welder (miller 251) and how hard is it to weld aluminum. i have never tried but i can weld very well in mild steel. if it is cheaper to buy a spool gun and a grinder with an end disk option than the cheapo mill, i would go for it as i alway wanted to be able to weld aluminum for other stuff
     
  7. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    To answer my own question; I called Prax-air and they say spool gun and a straight argon tank is around 1200.00
     

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