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Thread: Improvised fly cutter

  1. #1
    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Improvised fly cutter

    Back in days of yore a friend gave me a nice chunk of manzanita root. The color and character was intriguing and I determined to make a nice paper weight for my desk. I wanted a prismoidal, machined shape to contrast with the wildly convoluted fissures and vacancies in the wood.

    At the time, I didn't have a mill and needed to machine it on a milling attachment on my lathe. I didn't have a fly cutter with sufficiently wide sweep and I didn't want to do multiple passes as that would leave minute discontinuities that would detract from the desired faceted stone appearance I was trying to achieve.

    I decided to convert the faceplate on my lathe into a REALLY BIG FLY CUTTER. To this end, I took a bolt and drilled it through to accept a 3/16" HSS lathe tool bit. A setscrew in the bolt head locks the bit in place. Then, with some washers and a purpose-built nut, this tool was firmly attached using one of the slots on the faceplate.

    With the lathe running in backgear at lowest speed, it worked beautifully though I will admit it took for-bloody-ever to carve out the paper weight shape shown in the photo. Not only is manzanita tough, the root, at least this one, is filled with embedded sand that does a great job of grinding HSS. I had to resharpen the bit many times before I was finished. It was worth it, though.

    Last edited by mklotz; 07-09-2017 at 10:06 AM.
    Regards, Marv

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  3. #2
    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
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    Thanks mklotz! We've added your Fly Cutter to our Machining category,
    as well as to your builder page: mklotz's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to DIYer For This Useful Post:

    ncollar (02-23-2017)

  5. #3

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    Feb 2017
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    Interesting. One to filr in the memory bank. Thanks

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