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Thread: Carbide tool question.

  1. #1
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    Carbide tool question.

    Does anyone make a carbide tool that can accept more than one shape of cutter? I was thinking of trying a detailer and maybe a sheer cutter. It would be nice to have just a minimal investment until I know if it's something I would use. Removing a screw to swap cutters doesn't bother me in the short term. I'm not sure if there's much of a difference between brands, I figured I would just try to see if I liked using one first. I have seen carbide turning tools with handles that can be swapped but if I go that way then I'm sort of locked in to a brand. I was hoping to at the local club but so far I haven't been able to make any of the meetings where I would get a chance to. With them moving to the winter location I may not get a chance to get to a meeting until next spring.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    Does anyone make a carbide tool that can accept more than one shape of cutter?...
    Alex, if you can't find what you want to let you swap bits, you might try making them for almost no cost. Plenty of people have made them from square or round steel bars, either machined, ground, or shaped by hand to hold the cutters, drilled and tapped for the screw. The cutters themselves are cheap.

    And this doesn't address your question (I tried several carbide tools then gave them away) but just wondering, have you tried the carbide tools that Mike Hunter makes? Incredibly sharp, shaped cutters, they can be used just like a sharp gouge or a scraper. I use them a lot for bowls and platters, boxes, and some spindle turning. (Great for acrylic too) The cutters are round and the different sizes are not interchangeable - I buy them without handles. A few of the smaller ones:

    finished_IMG_20150420_15371.jpg

    How these are used and what you can do with them can't be compared to any of the flat-topped carbide tools I've tried.

    JKJ

  3. #3
    I think Sorby had a multi tipped tool, but personally, changing out the cutters is a pain, and I would rather have several different cutters in several different handles. I do have multiple scrapers and a quick change handle or 4.... When making boxes, I have a number of NRSs that I use...

    robo hippy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reed Gray View Post
    I think Sorby had a multi tipped tool...
    I have some of Sorby's multi tip tools but they came with steel scraper tips, no carbide.n The tool is probably too wide to use with most carbide cutters (and I suspect the screw diameter is too big.)

    Off subject alert: I cut a hole in one of my little hand scrapers so I could mount it on a Sorby tool to scrape a curved inside surface. Since it is somewhat flexible I find it works better in some cases than a rigid scraper tip.
    card_scraper_sorby_handle.jpg

    JKJ

  5. #5
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    That's an interesting idea John. Do you know what type of steel is used? Would something like cold rolled steel work (I'm guessing yes as harder steels would be more difficult to tap)? I see handles with either 1/2" or 5/8" holes (some have both while some others have a collet to reduce down from 5/8). Would 1/2" be tick enough? I'm assuming that cutters like the detailer and scrapers shouldn't see much force but the rougher could. Is there an advantage in using square vs round steel? Sorry for asking so many questions but I would rather ask than risk injury.

  6. #6
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    Mild steel is fine, hot rolled or cold (if you want a better surface). 1/2" square has more metal and strength than 1/2" round. The size of the rod would depend on the force you use and the length of the tool extended over the tool rest. A scraper can "catch" a huge force if used with inappropriate gusto.

    The strength of the metal is not as important as the ability to handle vibration, especially with a long overhang - you really don't want the tip to be chattering during use. Much of my turning is with very little force, especially with the Hunter tools - my favorite for bowls and platters is the Hercules with a 3/8" nearly square shaft and the Osprey with the 3/8" round shaft. When I need to reach further over the tool rest I switch to a Hercules with a 1/2" nearly square shaft - extremely stout.

    Some people cut a chunk out of a square steel shaft with a hacksaw and grind/fill smooth to make a surface to hold the bit. Moving the cutting edge a little closer to the center of the tool makes it more stable when tilting to shear scrape. Some, like Sorby, round the bottom of the shaft so it can be twisted to angle the scraper. That would leave more metal metal for a stiffer shaft than the round bar. But most of the cheap, homemade carbide scraper tools I've seen were made from square rod just left square. Since the steel is not hardened a corner probably won't mar the tool rest too much like a hardened skew chisel would. Maybe knock off a little from the lower corners with a file.

    BTW, the carbide rougher I had left such a poor surface I never used it again after the first few times. These days I rough spindles with a big skew chisel and dry bowl blanks with a Hunter tool or Thompson bowl gouge.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    That's an interesting idea John. Do you know what type of steel is used? Would something like cold rolled steel work (I'm guessing yes as harder steels would be more difficult to tap)? I see handles with either 1/2" or 5/8" holes (some have both while some others have a collet to reduce down from 5/8). Would 1/2" be tick enough? I'm assuming that cutters like the detailer and scrapers shouldn't see much force but the rougher could. Is there an advantage in using square vs round steel? Sorry for asking so many questions but I would rather ask than risk injury.

  7. #7
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    When I made mine I used 1/2 square stock, about $2 per tool. From the hardware store it probably comes in 3 or 4 ft lengths.
    The Sorby pictured above does not have a recess for the "bits". You can make a recess but I didn't; never had a bit rotate. For the cup style cutters, which are presented at an angle, simply grind the end of the shaft at an angle. You can then keep the bar flat on the rest and keep the same cutting angle.
    SpeedyMetals (and I am sure others) sells tube steel in any length. They have it with the interior .5005 (or maybe .505?), in any case just a little larger so that a .5 bar can be slid in. Then you can just swap the entire bar rather than the bit.
    Depending on the size of the cutter the screws may be different so you may need different bars or used with the tube steel receiver tap each end different.
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

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