Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I thought I would post some additional information here in case you find some materials hard to find, or would like to have some help with the procedure or methods of doing this sort of stuff. Email and the web is great, but sometimes we just cannot answer a question fast enough or finding something on the web can be a bit problematic, especially if you are new to it, or have not discovered the power of Google's search engine. I hope this help someone. If you see something that is missing and should be here, please let me know about it, I will be happy to add it.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Gingery Machines Group located at Yahoo for their seeming inexhaustible support and answering my unending deluge of questions. Thanks Guys!

List Servers and Groups of Interest

YAHOO Group - Gingery Machines - Builders and would-be builders can trade notes, ideas and experiences here. The primary focus is the series of machines (and engines) designed and built by Dave and Vince Gingery, but all types of home built machines are welcome here. (Taken from group description.)

YAHOO Group - Scraping - Machine tool reconditioning, scraping, tool restoration, creating precision tools. (Taken from group description.)

The Casting List has over 1800 members, from all over the world. NOTE: NEW MEMBERS ARE TEMPORARILY MODERATED TO PREVENT SPAM, so spammers, don't bother! This list covers the following topics: Scratch-building of model masters in a variety of materials, such as styrene, brass, wood, whatever. Making molds out of various materials, including RTV rubber, plaster, epoxy, etc. (anything goes) Casting of the resulting molds in plaster, polyurethane plastics, low-temperature metals, etc. The list is specifically aimed at modelers in any area (model trains, ships, aircraft, etc.), or industrial casters, who wish to create their own models or parts from scratch and duplicate them. It will cover techniques, materials, and other auxiliary topics, such as photo etching, vacuum forming, sculpture casting, suppliers, etc. A check of the archives for reference to your topic is suggested before posting, since some topics have been covered numerous times. If you're not sure if your topic is covered here, send me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll let you know. Regards, Pat Lawless, Moderator

YAHOO Group - Hobbicast - This is the primary forum for interaction between members of the Home Foundrymen's Association. It is a general discussion forum open to both members and non-members with the purpose of sharing information and knowledge between group members and helping to solve casting problems, etc.

YAHOO Group - Casting Hobby - This group is for those wishing to share info. and learn anything about the Casting and metal Finishing Hobby. Some off-topic posts will be tolerated as long as it is a related friendly topic some where in the range of casting and finishing metals. We want a friendly environment, but no SPAM, RELIGIOUS or POLITICAL posts will be tolerated. You will need to be approved before your membership will be accepted. Have fun, keep it clean. Clint, Group Owner

YAHOO Group - E-Leadscrew - "ELS" - Electronic Lead Screw - is an alternative to full CNC for simple bench lathes - especially those lathes which do not have a "Quick Change Gear Box". For such lathes, it would be very useful to have a cheap method of synchronizing spindle speed to lead screw speed. If this can be realized electronically, then all threading can be done without the necessity of changing manual gears. Also, all saddle traverse speed ratios become possible.
The aim of this group is to develop a simple, cost-effective electronic and mechanical system for implementing ELS - which in theory would be cheaper than CNC, and which can be ported to hobby-class bench lathes.
Member John Dammeyer has led the way in these discussions. He has designed a system, which is described in a comprehensive article "Electronics Gear Control" in the magazine "Circuit Celler" - Nov/2006, Issue 196, pp 36-43.
Suggestions and fresh perspectives are welcomed. Please follow posting guidelines to maximize readability and archivability of your ideas. (Description taken from site.)

Links to personal pages

Lionel Oliver's Gingery Lathe Project - Lionel put together a great build log of his Gingery Lathe. I would encourage you to go check out his project.

John Dammeyer's Website - Automation Artisans Inc. - John has a bunch of modifications for the Gingery lathe to make it a better machine. Many of these I will replicate below with his permission. I would suggest taking a look at what he has done. This is a great source of information.

Books and Articles

*** Please note ... the articles available here for download were originally retrieved from various sources around the internet, including the Scraping Group and Gingery Machines Group

DuplexScraping.pdf - In the workshop, by 'Duplex' - No. 111 Scraping, Frosting and Figuring Flat Metal Surfaces.

FormationOfFlatSurfaces.pdf - In the workshop, by 'Duplex' - No. 5 Formation of flat Surfaces - Scraping.

ScrapingByAEU.pdf - Scraping, by A.E.U. - Get your surfaces well scraped, mottled and bedded in.

TonysScrapingPage.pdf - This is a PDF Version of someones web page on scraping. This page was originally archived and stored on the Scraping Yahoo Forum. Just like the original poster of this information, if I find out that the original author does not wish to have this information posted, I will remove it from this site. The original site as I interpret it is no longer on the Internet.

The Charcoal FoundryThe Charcoal Foundry - (From the back of the book.)

Working in metal is one of the oldest and most fascinating of the crafts. A source for castings of parts, members and working stock is difficult to find, but you can easily produce your own at home. There are no great technical obstacles to overcome and costs are surprisingly low. There is no need to go to a custom foundry or machine shop for help. The simple manuals in the "Metal Shop From Scrap" series will show you how to build and use the equipment you need to produce your own castings, parts and machines.
The main ingredient is these projects is scrap aluminum and pot metal. The only tools you need to start are ordinary home shop hand tools, many of which are probably already in your possession. Much of the remainder is found as salvage or cast-off and little expense need be involved.
Being in the lower melting range of the metals, aluminum and pot metal are delightfully easy to work with. If you are one who has attempted to weld or solder aluminum you may feel that you would encounter the same frustrations in an attempt to produce a casting, but exactly opposite is true. It melts easily, quickly and clean, it is extremely fluid and there are no deep secrets involved in handling it. Castings shake out clean and bright and you very first one is most likely to be a success.
The charcoal foundry is extremely simple to build and operate and the initial cost is so low that it can be in the reach of nearly anyone. The fundamentals of pattern-making and molding are quite easily understood and mastered. You can make great strides with simple tools and materials that are usually on hand in most home shops.
Once you have built the charcoal foundry and the lathe there is little beyond your reach by way of shop equipment. You can build as large or small as you wish and you are your own parts supply company. If you already have some machine shop equipment you will find that adding a foundry to your shop greatly expands your capacity. Being able to produce your own castings of parts for accessories and equipment is a great advantage. Design your own, make a copy or follow a plan. It's easy when you can produce your own castings. It's easy, low cost and great fun. See if casting won't open a whole new world of shop experience for you.

The Flowerpot Crucible FurnaceThe Flower pot crucible furnace - This little jewel is what got me started in metal casting. Lionel walks you through how to make a crucible furnace using plain brick mortar, a flower pot and an old popcorn tin. You may think it is unbelievable but I have more than 20 melts in this furnace without much wear on the pot or the mortar. As a matter of fact, the pain is still nice looking on the can. You can get this book through Lindsay Books or from Lionel's website at

US Navy Foundry ManualUS Navy Foundry Manual -

The LatheThe Lathe - (From The Back Of The Book)

Having been described as "the only machine that can duplicate itself or any other machine in the shop", the metal lathe is the most versatile and desirable of all metal working machine tools. It is certainly among the most expensive pieces of equipment, but there is no need to do without one in your shop because here is a lathe that can not only duplicate itself, but it can produce its own original parts from home made castings and stock materials. A fascinating project from its simple wooden patterns through finished castings and finally a complete machine. You will master many basic skills as you progress.
The basic machine described in this manual has a compound slide rest, belt powered lead screw, split nut carriage feed, adjustable gibs in sliding members and adjustable tail stock set over for taper turning. With its 7" swing and between centers capacity of 12", it provides the foundation for the complete home metal working shop. A machine you'll enjoy building and one you'll be as proud to own as any you might buy.
A later manual in the series will show you how to add change gears, a four jaw chuck, center steady rest and other very desirable and helpful accessories to your equipment. All you need to begin is the charcoal foundry and basic hand tools. The only power tool used to construct the original lathe seen in these photos was a 3/8" electric hand drill. All of the parts are machined on the lathe itself as it evolves. There is never a need to look for outside custom machine work.
How to make patterns and how to mold them, how to use basic hand tools to prepare the castings for final finishing, and how to set them up for accurate machining on the developing lathe are all covered. The original lathe was used to machine a complete set of parts for a second identical machine, and so it not only duplicated itself but actually originated itself to a large extent. A delightful metal working project that provides a very thorough educational and a sound and practical piece of shop equipment.

How to run a latheHow to run a lathe - a book by south bend lathes was published in 1942 details how to level, lubricate and run a lathe. The technology today is much newer but the theory stays the same. This is a good book. Available from Lindsay Books.

Lathe OperationsLathe Operations -

Suppliers and Other Commercial Websites

ENCO - These folks supply a lot of tools and other related items. Sometimes you can find free shipping offers from them. This is the place I bought my surface plate from.

Lindsay Books - Most everyone who experiments or builds things know of this site. Most of the books you see above are available through Lindsays. Check out their site and get yourself a catalog. There is nearly something from everyone there.

Budget Casting Supply - A source for your casting needs. They also have the 1/8" x 1/4" and 1/4" x 1/4" key stock that you will need for the lathe or other Gingery projects.

Upgrades and Enhancements

When you consider building the Gingery Lathe, you will sooner or later start asking other people their experience with the project. One thing that seems to come up often is that the lathe as designed is not as rigid as it needs to be. This section has been set aside for those people who have made modifications to the original plans to remedy some of these issues.

Additionally as you talk to these people you will find many additions and changes to the basic lathe presented by Gingery to make it a better or a more versatile machine. It is this section of the resources for the lathe that I intend on sharing what other people have told me or things I have found on the Internet. Remember, I do not endorse these changes or additions only because I am not a machinist and do not know first hand of the validity of them. I do know that many people share the same opinion and in that situation, more often than not, they are correct.

Upgrades and Enhancements by John Dammeyer

John Dammeyer has come a long way to making improvements to the Gingery Lathe. What follows are the modifications that he suggest to make the lathe more rigid and add some deluxe features to the machine such as Stepper motors for automated screw thread and taper cutting. John, if you read this and see that I err, please correct me.

In an email to the Gingery Machine Group, John gives his recommendations for a better lathe.

There are a bunch of design changes that are mandatory if you want a serviceable lathe.

1. Make the foot under the headstock as wide as the headstock.

2. use X braces inside the bed casting instead of cross braces to help combat twist.

3. Make the carriage 1.5x as wide as it is across. Same width as the apron is nice.

4. If you can do it with your foundry, make the ways (and therefore enlarge the bed casting) so it is 1.25x centre height. Obviously all subsequent patterns that mount to the ways will need to be enlarged.

5. Screw down the ways on both sides of the bed casting every 2" into the bed casting. Modify the bed casting pattern so that there's a place for those screws to bite into.

6.You are better off to pivot the counter shaft from the base rather than the bench. The locking mechanism can then create a triangle between the base, the counter shaft and the spindle. Belt and pulley variations will then not make the headstock shift back and forth relative to the ways. Therefore:

If it's a 3.5" centre height machine, the ways should be 4.375" wide. Since CRS in that size is hard to find settle for 4" wide by 1/2" thick. With a 4" wide way the carriage should be 6" wide. To compensate for the lost Z axis motion you can then extend the length of the ways from 24" to 26" since you've also correspondingly widened and cross braced the bed casting.

John points out to me in another email that the above cannot be done with the 1 quart capacity foundry that Dave instructs us to build. To make these sizes of casting possible, you would have to upgrade you current foundry or locate someone with a foundry with a larger pouring capacity. The following is an excerpt from that email.

But none of those dimensions will work for a Gingery furnace with a 1 quart or #6 crucible so alas the parts are woefully undersized. I came up with those numbers by measuring a large number of different lathes manufactured over the last 75 years.

John Dammeyer

Headstock foot pattern and castingHere is a picture of John's larger headstock end foot casting as well as his patterns for both the headstock end foot and the tail stock end foot. You can click on the image to get a larger view of this picture. Notice John has added two braces to what would be the backside of the headstock end foot casting and pattern. This is to help prevent the bed from twisting as the force of the cutting tool exerts an upward and backward pressure against the headstock.

Ugraded bed patternAnother problem that many people encounter, including myself, is that the bed tends to bow from end to end. Part of the problem as I understand it is due to the fact that Dave has the bed cast in a single pop gate in the center. The rapping of this sprue causes the bed to flex and makes the bow worse. I also think that an amount of it is caused by the stress of the solid top shrinking as it cools. In the picture you see on the right, John tells me that when you create a network of feeds from a large common carrier that the casting comes out nearly perfect with very little hand scraping compared to the original method. Keep in mind that this method will require more aluminum to be melted to make sure you fill the casting.

Mounted bed waysIn this image John shows us how he has used two rows of screws spaced on two inch centers to mount the bed ways to the casting. This, John explains, helps prevent the bed ways from twisting about.

In addition to upgrades to improve the rigidity of the machine, John has taken steps to add new features to the machine. For example, the addition of stepper motors to the carriage screw and crossfeed screw to allow tapers and threads to be cut with the lathe without the addition of gearing and setting the tail stock over. Below we take a look at where he has got with that project and some videos to boot.

To start with let's take a look at one of the modifications.

Stepper motor patterns and castingsIn this image we see the patterns and castings that John uses to mount the stepper motor to the cross slide casting. The stubs you see on the large flat plate will are to mount the stepper motor to while the other allows belt tension to be set.

Stepper motor mounted to castingsHere we see that John has finished the machining of the castings and has the stepper motor mounted to the cross slide screw. In the back casting, the one that holds the screw there is a curved slot that allows the front casting to pivot. This setup allows you to adjust the belt tension between the stepper motor and feed screw. Also note that John left a means to manually adjust the feed screw. Just a note for the curious, you can adjust the feed screw by hand with this setup, and with no power applied you will feel the steps of the motor though the handle. It is worth noting though, that when power is applied to the stepper motor, the motor tries to resist the turning of the screw. You should feel a real difference. One other thing to note is the ratio between the gear on the stepper and the gear on the screw. If this ratio is not a one to one, calculations will have to be made to compensate for it. Do you wonder how fine the feed for something like this is? Well if the screw is 20 TPI one turn of the screw will advance the cutter .050". a typical stepper motor when run in full step mode will advance the motor 1/200 of a revolution if you divide the .050" by 200 you get .00025" advance on the tool or .0005 reduction in diameter. Now that is precision!!! Way to go John!

With the steppers hooked up to the lathe John has created some videos of the machine running. The following videos are fairly large in size. If you have a slow connection it may take you a while to download them.

{flv}casting/lathe/LatheMotion{/flv} This video shows the lathe running under Mach2 Lathe and ELS (Electronic Lead screw.
ELS Slow Acceleration ELS_Slow_Acceleration1.wmv - This video shows the lathe under slow acceleration using ELS (Electronic Lead Screw) software to run the machine. (Unfortunately I cannot get this video to convert to flash.· You may download it however by clicking on the link to the left.)
{flv}casting/lathe/ELSTaper1{/flv} This video shows the lathe cutting a taper using the ELS (Electronic Lead Screw) Software.
{flv}casting/lathe/els_grinding{/flv} This video shows the lathe grinding a tool bit on a special grinding project that John done. The machine is being controlled with ELS. You can check out John's grinding attachment for the lathe at his website by going to