Sheet Metal Circle cutter for your drill press or mill


Small shops that do a variety of work in sheet metal have frequent use for circle cutters of the type that can be driven by a drill press. Home craftsmen also find use for these cutters in toymaking and ornamental metalwork. Pictured are two designs, one made from aluminum alloy especially for light work in wood, hardboard, plastics and soft metals, the other for the heavy-duty jobs in metals. The latter type, shown in Fig. 1 and pictured in use in Fig. 2, is fully detailed in Fig. 6. The shank is machined with a No. 2 Morse taper to fit a drill-press spindle, or sleeve, and it also is turned with an integral pilot. The lightweight job detailed in Figs. 3 and 5 and pictured in operation in Fig. 4, clamps directly to the taper spindle of the drill press into which the pilot drill, of the tapered-shank type, is fitted.

Although the best workmanship would require that the square holes in the shank and tool-holder arm, Fig. 6, be broached, it is possible to drill holes and square them with a file with sufficient accuracy. However, the tool-holder arm must be a smooth, sliding fit in the squared hole in the shank to prevent chattering in heavy cuts. The tool-holder arm, Figs. 1 and 6. is threaded its full length and flats are milled on the four sides, bringing the dimension across the flats to 5/8 in. The length of the arm gives a maximum radius adjustment of approximately 5 in. The lightweight cutter, Figs. 3. 4 and 5, does an exceptionally smooth, clean job on a variety of materials. When carefully made, it is practically chatterproof. Both the cutting tool and the tool-holder arm are held in place with binding clamps of special design and these two parts are attached to the taper sleeve with a binding clamp of sufficient length to hold the parts in exact alignment. Note that the cutting bit is supported in a groove milled across the face of the binding-clamp seat and that the groove is slightly less than 1/4 in. deep, Fig. 3. This allowance is necessary to permit the clamp to seat the bit firmly. The upper details in Fig. 5 show how to grind the bit for cutting holes and blanks in thin material. When ground for hole cutting, the bit leaves the outer edge smooth. When ground for blank cutting, the inner edge of the cut is smooth. For work in metals, the speed of the cutter should not exceed 100 r.p.m.

Click images to enlarge.
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May 16th, 2012 by grail21 in How To, Tools | No Comments

Bottles in the shed

IMG_1255.JPGSpace in my main work space these days is pretty tight. It’s better than wrenching in the driveway to be sure, but every inch is valuable. I’ve recently tried to maximize organization by getting rid of the yard tools and furnishing with whatever I could find from the CL free section. In the process, I noticed that there are bottle of goop, gunk and other viscous liquids that follow me in whatever space I wrench in. Here’s a run down of a few that I wouldn’t be without.

IMG_1263.JPGYou’ve likely heard of this one, previously known as Honda polish, now festooned with sweet biker tribals. The downgrade in packaging aside, it’s the best general purpose cleaner I’ve come across. I’m sure there are others that work equally as well, but I haven’t found it yet. I tried that S100 crap years ago and it sucked, too watery and overpriced for my taste. This stuff works on just about anything, equally as good at wiping off layers of crud after a weekend of camping in the rain, or giving a quick clean up to some crusty swap meet gold. Paint, fiberglass, chrome, aluminum, raw steel - I’m not sure if it’s meant for all those surfaces, but I’ve used it on all of them with no complaint.

IMG_1266.JPGI love me some Flitz. Best metal polisher I’ve come across (outside of some of the specialized stuff like simichrome). Again, I haven’t tried many different brands, I was lucky to come across this early on and haven’t found a need to experiment with others. Throw this on a microfiber cloth or a buffing ball and it brings the disco back. With some elbow grease it will even get rid of slight surface rust.

IMG_1268.JPG Here’s a thing you’ll never catch me doing - getting into an intense internet forum debate over motor oil. You know exactly what I’m talking about - every single motorcycle forum has at least a dozen threads filled in depth analysis over viscosity, synthetics, brands, etc. I’m sure there is validity to some of it, I’m just not that checked in. Over the years I’ve used a lot of different brands - Amsoil, Mobile 1, whatever was on the shelf at the gas station(although I avoid that when possible) and can’t say I’ve ever had a memorable experience of any of them being better than the other. These days I pretty much stick to Spectro and Amsoil, primarily because I like the fact that they both support the grassroots scene. Seriously, that’s how I make my motor oil decision. They both make great products, I’ve never had issue with either of them and I’d rather my money go to companies that give a little back than those that don’t. I ran this Spectro 20/50 all last year without issue, which is good enough for me. Caveat emptor, it did not make my bike faster, my dick bigger or my chest hair grow faster.

IMG_1262.JPG So let me answer your first question for you - no this will not wash Jay Z off you, but still - it’s damn good. I came across this stuff in the the clearance bin at AutoZone; for $.99 I figured I’d take a chance. Now I wish I had grabbed every bottle. For someone without running water in the shop, this stuff is brilliant. Fast Orange (with pumice) is my hand cleaner of choice, but this is a close second. Comes out like hair moose, rub your hands together and it dries and flakes off, taking grease and grime with it. Works great and well worth the $.99. Online sellers are getting $3-$5 a bottle, which is more than I would spend on it, but apparently you can still find it at Menards for less than a buck.

Got some favorites of your own? Let us know on our Facebook page: Knucklebuster Facebook

May 7th, 2012 by grail21 in Tools | Comments (4)

Cam Cover Puller for Ironhead Sportsters

Neat little tool to make things easier, seems like it would be pretty easy to make one for yourself.

August 10th, 2010 by grail21 in Video, Tools | Comment (1)

Soon to be hitting the auction block


I have a bunch of machinist tools I’ll be throwing up on ebay soon once I get some better (less arty) pics. I’ll post a link when it’s up, but if you see anything in these pics that you’re interested in, drop me a line and we can work something out.

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March 19th, 2010 by grail21 in KB News, Tools, Parts | Comments (3)

In The Shop

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January 25th, 2010 by grail21 in Tools, Moto Art & Pics | No Comments

Chuck it up

lathe mill acme choppers machining welding

July 23rd, 2009 by grail21 in Tools, Moto Art & Pics | Comments (3)

1900’s Britannia Lathe

I totally want one of these. This video is kind of like porn for a tool nerd.Loving it.

Britannia Self-Acting, Screw-Cutting, gap-bed treadle lathe. This lathe was made in Colchester England circa 1900.

August 25th, 2008 by grail21 in YouTube & Internet Videos, Tools | No Comments

Build Your Own English Wheel

12In E-Wheel

Admit it, you lust for an english wheel to call your own. Ever since you saw Jesse James rock it on the discovery channel, you’ve been like “I’ve GOT to get me one of THOSE!” Broham, I feel for you. For some of us there is a primordial need to own every tool our eyes ever set themselves upon… it’s encoded in our genetics… seriously. Even if we know that we might only use it a handful of times, we still feverously lust for it. So what’s a dude with shallow pockets to do? Earn some street cred and build it yourself! While all your bro’s are talking about how much they spent on their wheel or how the one they bought at Harbor Freight is a POS, you can step up to the mount and be like “yeah, yeah I built my shit” So how do you do it? We’ve got you covered bro - check out the link below for a full walk through on how to build your own benchtop english wheel. The how-to is straightforward, and the wheel is surprisingly simple to build. I like that it’s a compact wheel - doesn’t take up a lot of shop space and should be big enough for most sickle related sheet metal projects. So get to it chap, you can’t be the second coming of Jesse James if you don’t walk away from the TV or computer.
How To Build Your Own English Wheel

February 29th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Tools | Comments (2)

Old books for today’s backyard motorcycle builder: Oxy-Acy Welding


I am an information junkie. When it comes to anything I’m interested in, I want to know everything about it. I’m constantly on the search for new information, new ways to learn things, the history behind how this became that and why it works that way. So I’m always on the search for cheap or free ways to get my hands on that info, which is one of the reasons I spend so much time scouring and searching the web. For an information junkie, it is the promised land.

Recently, I’ve come across a huge stash of old books in PDF format, that I believe provide a huge amount of insight and knowledge to the backyard, do it yourself bike builder. These books cover things like Oxy Acetylene welding, metal casting, the use of specific handtools and much more. The books are old - from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, which you might think makes them outdated - I think it makes them even cooler. While time, and technology may have evolved new techniques, possibly even better techniques - it does not make the methods that were done in the past any less effective. Having recently returned from Europe and being surrounded by homes and buildings that have been standing for 400+ years reinforced that belief in me. Just because methods and practices may have evolved, doesn’t mean the old way of doing things was wrong - it also doesn’t always mean the new way of doing things is better. But that discussion is for another day (or the comments section of this post…)

Part of the fun of learning something is being able to share it with someone who has the same passion for it as you do. So over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting these books to the site so that you can download them yourself. Hopefully you’ll learn something from them, maybe it will even help you solve a problem or figure out a better way to do something with your current build - if nothing less, I think you’d find it an interesting read from a historic prospective.

So the first book up is an old ditty from 1918 - Oxy-Acetylene Welding Practice by Robert Kehl. As the title pages says its “A practical presentation of the modern processes of welding, cutting and lead burning, with special attention to welding technique for steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, and brass.” Bitchin.

And it’s all yours for free - just click the thumbnail below to download the PDF.
Be on the look out for more books to be posted in the coming weeks.

Oxy Acetylene Welding Practice

February 6th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Tools, Metalwork, Books | Comments (9)

Make your own metal brake


Check out this scan of an article that ran in Popular Mechanics in September of 1958 on how to make your own bending brake. I won’t go as far as saying that a mill is 100% necessary because I’m sure there is some greasebag out there who is crazy enough to crank this out using a hacksaw, a drill and a set of files. Nonetheless, a mill would come in handy to crank out the metal pieces. Cool stuff any which way; a nice tool to have around the shop.

(Click the image above to download)

(Via: the chopper underground)

January 28th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Tools | No Comments