Join the Makerspace Discord and check out the machining channel here: https://discord.gg/6ZyNFVbBuk
Last update: ES 11/11/23
Machine shop basics training is currently being done monthly upon request. If you'd like to schedule training contact Eric Sanford at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Machine Shop Training Request - <your name>”.
Keep in mind that basics training is the bare minimum to allow you to operate shop equipment without hurting yourself or damaging the machinery. While you will have access to everything you need to make many awesome things, due to time restrictions this training will not show you exactly how to make said awesome things.
It will be on you to dig deeper and find the information you need to move forward. There is a huge amount of training material out there, particularly on YouTube. Another great way to learn is to do a simple project with someone. Even if you're at the same skill level having someone there to discuss things with is usually very helpful. If you get stuck, please post questions on the machining Discord or member forum and talk to a trainer or more experienced member. Remember to always prioritize safety.
This only lists members trained on or after 7/28/23. If you were trained previously it still applies and no retraining is required.
Basic Machine Shop:
This isn't an exhaustive list. If something feels unsafe it most likely is. Please stop and rethink your strategy and/or ask for help.
Makerspace Machine Specific Videos:
Bridgeport Mill Basics:
Edge Finding for Milling Machines:
Cutting Speeds and RPM for Milling: (see additional info below in resources section)
Climb vs Conventional Milling:
Tramming a Vise on a Milling Machine:
Blondihacks Lathe & Mill Skills Series:
South Bend “How to Run a Lathe”:
South Bend Lathe Walk Through (different model than the one at Lenox but functionally almost identical):
Machining related YouTube channels we enjoy:
You can certainly get things done in the shop without owning these, but you might often find yourself searching for them or finding work-arounds when they can't be located. There are far more choices than those listed below, but these are good some low cost options.
The number in brackets after each item indicates the priority for each item:
: These are the most “bang for your buck”. They are cheap, used all the time, and most are useful outside of machining.
: These are either available and relatively easy to find in the Makerspace machine shops, are less important, or machining specific items. It will be more convenient to have your own but you can do just fine without them.
: These are purely for convenience. There is no real need to purchase these for yourself unless you really dislike being occasionally delayed a minute or two while working on projects.
For endmills we like Gorilla brand but just about any will do. We suggest 3 flute as they work well in both aluminum and steel. Uncoated carbide is relatively cheap and will usually last a long time. Keep in mind that the manual mills won't go much over 3000 RPM. Anything smaller than around 3/16“ diameter really needs a much higher spindle speed to work well.
For drills/taps/dies we suggest buying cheap sets like the Harbor Freight ones above. You will not use the majority of these very often. When one needs to be replaced, replace it with one of higher quality. That way you'll end up with good ones in the sizes you use often and still have full sets just in case you need an odd size.
Note that lathe tool holders are style and size specific. The South Bend at Lenox and the Jet at Norwich both use wedge type AXA size quick change tool posts, which is why those are listed here. The larger lathes use larger tool holders and tooling, though you can put the smaller 1/2” tooling in the larger holders at the cost of some rigidity.
Tailstock die holder:
Bolt action pen:
Calculating RPM for Manual Milling and Turning:
This is a starting point only. Adjust from here as needed.
RPM = (CUTTING SPEED x 4) / DIAMETER
Cutting Speeds by Material (in surface feed per minute, SFPM):
RPM Quick Reference Chart for Aluminum and Mild steel in Common Tool Sizes:
|End Mill Diameter
|Mild Steel (RPM)
Note that the milling machines don't go fast enough to reach many of these RPMs. Running slower than this is fine. You'll just need to feed slower and may not get quite as good of a surface finish.
For turning the calculation will be based on your part diameter rather than the tool diameter, but it works the same way.
Band Saw Blade Information:
|Blade Length (in)
|Blade Width (in)
|Grob vertical Norwich
|Doall horizontal Norwich
|Wilton horizontal Norwich
|1 or 3/4
|Wilton horizontal Lenox
|Doall vertical Lenox