Home Shop Made Tools
On other metalworking forums I've seen threads that members post pictures of their shop made tools. I've always loved looking at those threads because of all of the great ideas I get for tools so I thought I'd start such a thread on this forum. Post only about tools you've made, no purchased tools allowed.

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I made this QCTP holder for using a DTI on the lathe. Works well and is quick to set up. In this picture it's missing the thumb screw and lock nut for setting the height.


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This may not completely qualify as a shop tool, maybe, partially. Rotfl

Anyways, probably the most recent thing was the backing plate for my rotary table.

On the lathe machining to size.
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Turning and facing processes completed and ready to drill the mounting holes.  The step is .001" smaller than the backside of the chuck so it will self center onto the plate.
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Chuck test fit onto the plate to ensure self-centering.  I got a little cocky here but I should have test fit it prior to removing it from the lathe.  Had my measurements been off I could have been chucking it back up in the lathe to make a skim cut.  Luckily everything fell together perfectly.  Another reason I probably shouldn't work this late at night.:willy_nil
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Vise removed from mill table and the backing plate clamped down locating the center.  I have it spaced off the table so I can drill through without hitting the table.  Using my handy, dandy modified Noga/IndiCol DTI holder.  Works awesome.  You can also see the DRO that I have zero'd after locating center.
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Three chuck mounting holes drilled.  The bolt hole circle function in the DRO flat ROCKS!!!
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I used a .375" end mill and countersunk for the socket head capscrews to sit just below flush.
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Next I flipped the adapter over and plugged the dimensions into the DRO for the four bolt hole pattern to match the slots in the rotary table.
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Four bolt pattern drilled and countersunk with a .625" end mill.
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Completed sitting on the rotary table.  
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Now that my 3-jaw chuck is mounted on my rotary table I can move on to the actual paying job that I needed this for. :dunno:  Oh well, at least it is off my bench and crossed off my list of things to do and is readily available when I have the next job come in requiring the chuck and rotary table.


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Again, maybe not technically a shop tool but it holds one.

Last year I finally fabricated a bench grinder stand so that I don't have to kneel down to sharpen drill bits. Rotfl

I started with a CAD (Cardboard Aided Design) and then cut out four pieces of 12-gauge P&O for the base.  It will be like a four-sided pyramid.
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Here are the four pieces TIG welded together.  I have had a piece of 3.5"x .187 wall square tubing left over from a previous job that I am tired of storing so it will get used as the main body/vertical column, hence the 3.5" square hole in the middle.
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I then took a piece of 1.5"x .187" strip and slit it down the middle to make four pieces of 3/4" wide x .187" thick to weld to the base as a small riser in which will hide the feet on the underside.  Here is the welded and metal finished with the 3/4" riser added to the bottom.
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Now all that is needed is to insert the square tube, weld it in place, mount the plate for the mounting of the grinder, add some feet to the underside of the base and I think I am going to make a small tray to store the wheel surfacing tool on and then paint it machinery gray and use the crap out of it.  It will be nice to have it a little taller after all these years.

Okay, finally finished up my new bench grinder pedestal and downloaded the camera.

I purchased a package of four high durometer rubber/poly feet from the hardware store and made three corner mounted plates for the underside of the base.  These were drilled and tapped for a 10-32 screw through the center of the poly foot.  I recessed the drilled/tapped plate up under just far enough to allow only about a 3/16" of the foot to protrude below the base.  This will keep metal shaving and debris from gathering under the base.

Here is the poly foot attached to the drilled/tapped plate under the base.
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Here you can see roughly how far below the bottom of the base the poly foot protrudes.
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The fourth foot I mounted on a 10" piece of 1/8"x2" wide strap that is welded to the opposite corner of the base.  The poly foot is then screwed to the end that is not welded to the base.  I fabricated a 1/4" thick piece of steel that is drilled/tapped for a 3/8"-24 set screw that can be adjusted to retract or extend that fourth foot for final adjustment.  I drilled a hole through the top of the base in which an allen wrench/T-handle can be inserted and adjust the level of the stand.

Here is the fourth poly foot screwed to the steel strap.
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Here is the small opening for the allen wrench for the adjustment.
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Here is the 3.5" square tube fit and welded into the base.
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Closeup of one of my welds on the base to column.
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Prior to paint I decided to add a small tray to place drill bits or lathe tools on when grinding.  I was going to add a small water tray but I have a water container mounted on the disc/belt sander right next to this that I figured I would use rather than have two pieces of equipment with water trays attached.

Here is the frame for the small parts/tool tray.  I bent some 1/2" wide .125" thick steel to the shape that I wanted.  I also added two triangular mounting tabs which will be used to secure the tray to the column.  I didn't want to weld it on so I made it attach by two button head socket machine screws drilled/tapped into the column.  After getting the frame bent I placed it on some 12-gauge P&O and traced it, cut it on the vertical bandsaw and TIG welded it together.  I then metal finished it and prepped everything for a coat of machinery gray paint.
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Here is the tray along with the stainless steel button head socket head screws attaching it to the column.
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Completed with the Baldor grinder bolted on and ready to use.  It looks right at home between the Jet drill press and Wilton disc/belt sander.  It looks like it has belonged there all along.
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And of course, last but not least the sticker that gives me the warm and fuzzies because without this it would probably kill me if I used it.
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I wish I could take complete credit for the design but I cannot.  I stumbled across it on the internet a few months ago and thought to myself that I liked the design.  You know what they say, imitation is the the most sincere form of flattery.  However, I will be damned if I can remember where I saw it at.  I was flipping through machining images on Google and stumbled across it somewhere.  I just added my personal touch to it.


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This was just a quick shop tool modify, not a build from scratch.

My work stop on my mill vise requires several different allen wrenches and a 7/16" wrench to adjust when using.  This has bothered me although it isn't the end of the world.  I wanted to modify it where it only required one size allen wrench to adjust.  The end had a piece of 1/4"-20 threaded that required an 1/8" allen wrench and a 7/16" wrench to tighten/adjust.  It then had a 5/32" allen to adjust the other two axis.  

I cut two different lengths of .250" drill rod to use as the stop.  I then reamed out the 1/4"-20 threaded portion for the drill rod to slide through.  I lastly drilled and tapped a hole perpendicular to the drill rod for a 5/16"-24 set screw which requires a 5/32" allen wrench.  Now all fasteners require the same 5/32" allen wrench to adjust the work stop.

Tapping the hole for the set screw.
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Original long threaded set screw w/locknut vs. the short drill rod in the freshly reamed hole.
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I also made a longer rod that can be inserted into the work stop.
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All adjustments can be made with one size allen wrench.
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Great idea for a thread Ed.  I have a lot more at home in the shop that I have built/fabricated over the years.  I will snap some pictures of them.


Thanks given by: EdK
Nice tools Mike. I need to make one of those backing plates for my 8" rotary table. But first I need to make a swing arm that allows me to put the rotary table on and take it off of the mill table. It'll be nice once the new mill arrives. With it being a knee mill, it'll make putting the rotary table on and off so much easier. No lifting at all.

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I recently became a fan of the NOGA indicator mounts/holders and my wife got me a couple for Christmast.  The larger one is for general use and I had a new Starrett 1" travel dial indicator kicking around that didn't have a base, the smaller NOGA, NF61003 will be used for my new mill spindle mount and I will not be using the magnetic base.
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I started the adapter with a 30-degree taper which will reside in the Indicol spindle mount.
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I then tapped 6mmx1.0 threads into the adapter and threaded a rod to be used with a knurled thumbnut.
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Threading the stud.
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Stud threaded.
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Adapter, stud, small taper and knurled thumbnut shown.
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I then moved over to the milling machine and installed the adapter into a collet block to machine the flat on the adapter and to drill/tap the 5mmx.8 hole.
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Adapter completed and installed into the Indicol spindle mount bracket.
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NOGA NF61003 removed from the magnetic base and threaded onto the adapter and Indicol mount.
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Installed on spindle and tested.  
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Works perfect and is rock solid.  Much more rigid than the Indicol mount/arm ever was.  This allows me to indicate on a part or in a hole without having to remove the tooling from the spindle.  NOGA does manufacture a smaller arm like this one that has a 3/8" stem but you have to remove whatever tooling you are using and install either a 3/8" collet or drill chuck to accept the stem.  This way there is no need to remove whatever tooling you have installed in the spindle.


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I fabricated a couple of screw jacks.

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Broken down by components.
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I made a couple of different height bases for a range of adjustability.
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Nothing really hi-tech but they work and were fun to make.  I am going to make a couple of different size bases when I get some more time.  Probably one shorter and one a bit longer than what I have now.  I would also like to get a piece of UHMW or hard wood to make a storage tray for them and have a place on my shelf next to the mill.


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What pretty tools! Thanks for posting them. Smile

You guys are motivating. My own jack screws for example, made out of a painted bar of metal. The "finished" jack screws still have some of the paint on them. You'll only see them by accident. Smile
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