Author Options:

Tech Shop Answered

Anyone else out there use/go to the Tech Shop in Menlo Park? I've taken 3 of their safty and basic usage classes for the lathe, mill and aluminum sand casting. I want to start making things, but I'm still a little unsure of myself. For a first project I want to make a vise. I found some plans that I want to scale down a little. I will need to either by or make a lead screw. I'll probably try to make one, its a learning experience, so what's the point otherwise? Anyone there have advise?


. Since my only experience with a lathe was high school shop class, over 30 yrs ago, I won't give any advice. . But I will ask a rhetorical question - why buy a screw if you're learning how to use a lathe? I'd at least give it a try, before buying one. . Excellent idea to take the classes before jumping in. Machines can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing (see small hole in HS machine shop wall, for example).

Yeah, my previous (and first) experience with a lathe was also in highschool and also over 30 years ago (ugh!). The SBU class (safty and basic usage) was just a rundown of safty issues and how to turn on the machine, set up your work and some simple operations (facing, parting, drilling and cutting). They just want to know that they can leave you alone with the machine without facing a lawsuit. Using the lathe I suddely remember how much FUN it was! I've always been a serious tool geek. My wife has alwasy made fun of the collection of minature tools I carry in my pockets but inevitabley she'll run into problems with something and I'll be digging in a pocket saying "I've got something that'll fix that". Now she even carries a small swiss knife. In the SBU class they didn't go into cutting a lead screw. I've read up on it. I basically know how. I also know you can damage the lathe if you do some things wrong. I'm going to get the materials together, but the 1 month pass and have some fun!

. Start with something small, say 1/8" coarse machine threads, using Al stock (difficult, but not impossible, to break the machine or tool). Work your way up to whatever size you need in steel. Kinda like sex - start out small and soft ... LOL


10 years ago

How could you say you made the vise if you buy the lead screw?