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Thread: Miniature die filer

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Miniature die filer

    I haven't found anyone yet who wants to donate me their die filing machine so I resorted to building a miniature version for myself. Like its big brother it uses a Scotch Yoke arrangement to turn circular motion into reciprocating motion, driving a file up and down through a hole in its table. In use, a workpiece is held against the file to debur and/or final shape. Beyond relieving the operator of physical effort, it has the advantage of producing nice, crisp, orthogonal surfaces on pieces with curved edges.

    Here's the basic machine showing the drive. A diamond file is mounted and next to the machine is a conventional file which has been modified to be used in the machine. Die filers cut on the down stroke to avoid lifting the part from the table so, to adapt a conventional file one must provide a way of mounting it from its outboard end. In this case I've soldered a bit of threaded rod to the file end and added a lock nut to keep it firmly attached to the driver.




    Here's another view. The brass disk under the file attach point is there to deflect swarf and keeping it from falling into the bearings.




    Another view showing the drive shaft. Normally I grasp it in the bench vise and power it via a flexible cable from an electric drill. It works nicely for my small stuff but I'll still accept donations of a manly die filer. [There is a company that sells castings for one but I haven't gone there yet.]


    Last edited by mklotz; 07-06-2017 at 11:10 AM.
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    Regards, Marv


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    Thanks Marv! I've added your Miniature Die Filer to our Filing category, as well as to your builder page: mklotz's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:


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    Thanks for sharing, BUT for those of us who do not already have a similar device, the posted description is frustratingly confusing. I cannot tell where the work is placed or attached or held steady; evidently there is a conversion of rotary motion to reciprocating, but it's not clear how the rotary motion is attached or created, nor where the conversion to reciprocating occurs. A large round brass/copper plug of some kind is apparently adjacent to a hole in the ?base? of similar diameter, but I cannot tell how that relates.

    Somehow 50 years of casual amateur fabrication on my 9" South Bend thread-turning lathe has not equipped me to figure out how the device works; with all due respect, I suggest that the pictures and description would benefit from having about 50% more detail, perhaps with a diagram of inputs and outputs, for the newcomer to diemaking . . . we all tend to gloss over a few steps and details of mechanisms with which we deal on a daily basis, just need to step back a little and look at our work from a newcomer's perspective to ensure clarity. Certainly the workmanship IS of superior quality, nice work!

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa42 View Post
    Thanks for sharing, BUT for those of us who do not already have a similar device, the posted description is frustratingly confusing. I cannot tell where the work is placed or attached or held steady; evidently there is a conversion of rotary motion to reciprocating, but it's not clear how the rotary motion is attached or created, nor where the conversion to reciprocating occurs. A large round brass/copper plug of some kind is apparently adjacent to a hole in the ?base? of similar diameter, but I cannot tell how that relates.

    Somehow 50 years of casual amateur fabrication on my 9" South Bend thread-turning lathe has not equipped me to figure out how the device works; with all due respect, I suggest that the pictures and description would benefit from having about 50% more detail, perhaps with a diagram of inputs and outputs, for the newcomer to diemaking . . . we all tend to gloss over a few steps and details of mechanisms with which we deal on a daily basis, just need to step back a little and look at our work from a newcomer's perspective to ensure clarity. Certainly the workmanship IS of superior quality, nice work!
    As stated in the description, the drive mechanism is a Scotch yoke. This is a common mechanism for translating rotary motion to reciprocating. Details of the design can be easily found by typing "Scotch yoke" into Wikipedia, which would lead you here...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_yoke

    The rotary motion can be supplied by any source that produces rotary motion. As stated in the description I use an electric hand drill with a flexible shaft but a dedicated motor with belt and pullies is also possible.

    As stated in the description, the brass plate under the hole in the table is there to divert filing swarf away from the bearings and drive yoke mechanism. Most die filers have something similar.
    Last edited by mklotz; 02-19-2017 at 05:29 PM.
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    The good news is that there are at least two companies selling die filer casting kits that I know of, one being Martin Model and pattern, the other being Metal Lathe. Each has a unique take on the machine but I wouldn't consider any of them to be manly. At least not in the sense of the old iron that can be found out there from a time when die filers where an important part of a machine shop.

    I suspect that a machine built from stock would be just as good as one built from castings.

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    Thank you for the reference to Martin Model and Pattern for the die filer.

    I remember seeing the Martin Model and Pattern castings and plans for a Quorn Universal Tool & Cutter Grinder and it always looked very interesting. I sometimes wonder which approach would be better: 1) building the universal tool and cutter grinder from castings; or 2) for a few hundred dollars more, buying an import equivalent machine tool and then improving the import?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
    Thank you for the reference to Martin Model and Pattern for the die filer.

    I remember seeing the Martin Model and Pattern castings and plans for a Quorn Universal Tool & Cutter Grinder and it always looked very interesting. I sometimes wonder which approach would be better: 1) building the universal tool and cutter grinder from castings; or 2) for a few hundred dollars more, buying an import equivalent machine tool and then improving the import?
    The Quorn is very interesting but it strikes me as a very light weight machine. It is built with lots of bar stock and just doesn't give me that warm fuzzy feeling. Given that if you build one you certainly have bragging rights considering it would be a big accomplishment. There are also lots of alternative tool grinder designs that float about the model engineering magazines.

    Personally I think you would be better off going the used or import route if you wanted a full tool grinder. Yes rebuilding is likely, but careful searching can turn up some good deals for used equipment. Other wise a few fixtures and a bench grinder or two are far more economical.

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    [email protected] tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
    The Quorn is very interesting but it strikes me as a very light weight machine. It is built with lots of bar stock and just doesn't give me that warm fuzzy feeling.
    i toyed with the idea of making something like the Quorn before I built something completely different shown here Homemade Tool & Cutter grinder (with a difference).

    The Quorn was designed to be made on a small lathe with a milling slide hence its small size. If you read the post on mine you will see that you can make something much simpler with less degrees of angular freedom without losing any function.

    For those unfamiliar with the Quorn here is a pic.

    Miniature die filer-quorn.jpg

    The Quorn was sold as a plans kit and/or a set of castings to be machined. As each Quorn is homemade they all are slightly different usually incorporating the constructor's own ideas. For example the one pictured uses an ER collet holder which was not in the original plans.

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    Marv,

    I have neither used nor seen a mechanised filer, so I am here to learn.
    Does a filer do anything that the various sanding machines do not? For example a belt sander with a platten and rest at right angles, or an oscillating round sander. I understand that it has a sometimes benefit over hand filing, in that you can "guarantee" orthogonal faces.
    Tell me what I'm missing. Is it maybe a tool left over from an age before sanding machines became common?

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Marv,

    I have neither used nor seen a mechanised filer, so I am here to learn.
    Does a filer do anything that the various sanding machines do not? For example a belt sander with a platten and rest at right angles, or an oscillating round sander. I understand that it has a sometimes benefit over hand filing, in that you can "guarantee" orthogonal faces.
    Tell me what I'm missing. Is it maybe a tool left over from an age before sanding machines became common?
    It is indeed a tool used more in an earlier age, hence their unavailability as new machines. Even used are hard to find. The files cut on the downward stroke so the part isn't lifted from the table and are parallel-sided unlike most hand files. Most sources of new files have dried up and used are hard to find so users have to adapt modern files like chain saw files. The file problem is a major contributor to the fact that these tools are seldom seen.

    Making orthogonal surfaces is just part of the attraction; belt sanders can certainly do that. Where die filers really shine is filing intricate patterns such as clock frames and wheels where small files can reach details that are too small for a sander. They can also easily reach into small piercings completely surrounded by detail because the part can just be dropped over the exposed, free upper end of the file. A belt sander can't do that. Oscillating sanders might reach into surrounded piercings but they're presenting a round drum contour to the work - not the best shape for filing flats or gradual curves. Also, the drum diameter limits the size of the detail they can reach.

    The ability to use files of different shapes opens up all sorts of possibilities not available with sanders. Decorative file patterns on the back edge of expensive pocket knives are one example.

    It all depends on the type of work one does and how one likes to do it. A beautiful, pierced brass clock can be made using only hand files; many have been so made. A die filer would certainly cut down on time and effort. OTOH, if you're making large scale bric-a-brac for a Victorian porch, a belt sander and maybe an oscillator are probably essentials.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that die filers may have arisen because of the presence of reciprocating jigsaws in old time shops. The saw was there; all you had to do was replace the saw blade with a file. In fact, many die filers are fitted with a saw blade and made to do yeoman duty as a piercing saw.
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