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Tools & Tool Reviews

We have just started moving the Tools and Materials section across from the very old-fashioned html hand coded pages to a wordpress based system - let me know your thoughts or comment online on the pages.

We will gradually enhance, improve and move more pages to this format as we go.

Also listed by manufacturer

Angle Measurement

Review - Wixey Angle Gauge - A small digital angle gauge.


Bandsaw

Review - Proxxon MBS-240e Bandsaw - A small bandsaw. If you really have no space then this is just about ok, but just remember that a bandsaw will probably be one of the key tools in your workshop and so worth investing in the right one for your work.


Review - Record BS250 Bandsaw - A great bandsaw for the model maker.



Bench Grinder

Review - Warco 8" Heavy Duty Bench Grinder - this really is a heavy duty solid bench grinder that is more than capable of anything a model engineer can throw at it.


Brazing

Review - Borax Cone and Tray - from the jewellery world rather than the model making world, a simple system for producing flux for brazing/soldering.

Make - Brazing Hearth - how to make a brazing hearth from 5 wood burner fire bricks.


Calipers

A measuring instrument used to measure the distance between two points or the inside or outside dimensions of an object. Some general points and how to use details are within our glossary pages - Calipers

Review - machine-dro.co.uk Digital Caliper - A 150mm/6" digital caliper.


Chisel

There are some nice images and descriptions of Cold Chisels on diracdelta.co.uk

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Chopsaw

Review - Proxxon KGS-80 Chop Saw - A small chop saw.


Chucks

3-jaw, 4-jaw lathe chucks, keyed and keyless drill chucks.

Review - Warco Lathe ER25 Collet Chuck - A collet chuck for the lathe gives you a very precise way of holding round items and hold them very firmly without damaging them.



Circular Saw

Review - Proxxon FKS-e Circular Saw - A small circular saw for the model maker.

Review - Proxxon KS-230 Circular Saw - A miniature circular saw for the model maker, great for stripping down wood up to 1/4 inch (6mm) thick.


Collets

Used in small drills, lathes and mills amongst others and are an alternative to the chuck. Collets - a general guide to the different types and information on using them.

Review - 3MT Direct Collets - These are significant improvement over a chuck for holding tools in the milling machine.

Review - YS Tools ER25 Collets - A set of collets, 3MT chuck and parallel shank chuck that will fit in the lathe chuck.


Cutting Tools

Carbide Tools - Lathe cutting tools to which carbide tip inserts have been brazed or screwed, to provide cutting action on harder materials than the high speed cutters are capable of.


Make - Knurling Tool - I have had two knurling wheels laying in a drawer for about 20 years and have just finally got round to making a holder, simple really.


Review - Maykestag End Mill - An exceptional end mill. These are not cheap, except if you find one on a car boot sale.


Make - Slitting Saw Mandrel - A very simple approach to make a mandrel for 16mm bore slitting saws.


Review - Radius End Mill - This particular tool creates a radius of 3mm and worked a dream on mild steel.


Review - Solid carbide End Mills - These are not cheap, but if you need to machine very hard materials then this is one of the options

Review - TiN End Mills - Great price and must admit that I wouldn′t buy any milling bits without the TiN coating.


Drill

Review - Proxxon FBS 240/e Drill/Grinder - A 240Volt handheld drill/grinder.

Review - Erbauer Drill & Impact Driver ERP408KIT - 10.8V Lithium Ion cordless drill and impact driver, very high torque and great quality.



Review/Make - Unimat 3 Pillar Drill - the Unimat 3 system has not been in production for some years, but here we take a pillar and head unit bought on ebay and turn it into a small pillar drill.


Review - Worx 14.4V cordless drill - have had this for 6 years and has functioned perfectly until last 6 months when charging has been necessary before every use.



Drill Bits

Normally made of hardened or high speed steel with two cutting edges on the conical end with two helical flutes that act to move material away from the cutting edges. Information on drill bits, number and letter drill sizes, cutting speeds etc are within our glossary pages: Drill Bits

Review - Erbauer Drill Bits - a trade pack of 150 drill bits in total.



Dust

Review - Microclene MC100 - A dust filtration unit, this is a great unit for the model maker, low power consumption and quiet enough to be left on all the time you are at work.


Review - Record Power AC1 - A dust filtration unit, this unit really is for the larger workshop.


Review - Record Power DX1000 - A cheap dust extractor that is not so quiet but does the job very well with respect to removing dust and wood chippings.


Electronics

Review - Maplin Power Supply - Often I need a power supply of some form in the range 5 to 15V.


Forming

Review - Warco Arbor Press - a very simple rack and pinion press, but perfect for loads up to around 0.5 ton.


Make - A4 Press - a wooden press that can be used for books, paper, printing, flowers or for pressing laminates.



Fretsaw

Review - Axminster AWVFS Variable Speed Fretsaw - A solid machine that is built to last and does exactly what it is supposed to.

Review - Proxxon DS-230-e Fretsaw - A fretsaw (scrollsaw) designed for the model maker.


Glue

Read our glossary page for more general information about Glue.

Review - Roket Rapid - An instant glue from Deluxe Materials.

Review - Titebond Original - An aliphatic wood working glue that really is stronger than the wood.

Review - TruLoc 268 - Anaerobic engineering glue designed for locking parts together.


Review - Vital Bond Cyno - A really thick cyno.

...read more reviews on different glues in our Material Reviews


Grinding, Cleaning and Polishing Bits

Review - Performance Power - Cleaning and Polishing Set - An assortment of grinding and polishing bits designed for the model maker.

Review - Axminster - Heavy Duty Flexible Shaft - A powerful foot pedal control motor that hangs from the ceiling with a flexible shaft and interchangeable handpiece.



Hammer

Review - Picard Planishing Hammer - definitely not the cheapest of hammers, but the head is finished to a mirror finish, the handle is exquisite and the balance overall is superb.

Hand Reamer

Find general information within our glossary pages: Hand Reamer

Knives

Review - Swann-Morton Scalpel - A must have for the model maker.


Lathe Reviews

A machine tool which spins a block of material to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation. You can read about lathes and their use on our Lathes glossary page.

Review - Boley Watchmakers lathe - A tiny lathe, or should I say antique.

Review - Emco Unimat 3 - The small lathe for the model maker. Very easy to use and you get great results.

Review - Hobbymat MD65 - I've been using this lathe for over 25 years, not made anymore, but they do crop up on ebay. A solid very useable mini lathe.

Taig Lathe - No review, but I had to put a page online about this lathe and link to some of the great websites out there where people are building extras for this extraordinary lathe.

Review - Warco WM240B - Belt driven, 240mm swing, 400mm between centres.

Lathe Tools

The tool that is held in a toolpost on the lathe cross-slide and which is feed into the rotating workpiece to machine it to size.

Review - Glanze Profiling Tool - a 6mm diameter cutting tool.

Review - Glanze TCT Tools - With the Warco 240B lathe I needed some larger carbide tipped cutting tools

Review - Soba 12mm HSS Lathe Tools - These are not cheap, but a great way to get a set of tools to start working with.


Measuring Instruments

There are many different measuring instruments available and we have listed here those we have reviewed along with other interesting notes.

Make - Laser Alignment - laser alignment for the mill/drill, a cheaper alternative.


Make - Scriber - a broken carbide end mill gave me an idea.


Review - Veritas Marking Gauge - a very simple, but beautiful marking gauge.


Milling Machine Reviews

Review - Amadeal XJ12-300 Mini Mill - a small milling machine that is just right for the model maker.

Mini Mill Gas Strut Conversion - a worthwhile modification to this milling machine.

Mini Mill Digital readout - this has transformed my life with this mill.

Mini Mill Belt Drive - there are no kits available for the Amadeal XJ12-300 so had to do my own conversion.


Worth noting that the gearbox on these machines is not that great, see: Mini Mill Gearbox Problems.

Morse Tapers

See also: Collets, Morse Tapers

Plane

A tool for shaping wood.

Review - Crown Tools Bullnose Plane - A miniature plane that is great for when you want to plane right into a corner.


Pliers

Review - Bayard Flat Nose Pliers - They look nice, but the joint is very poor.

Review - Draper General Pliers - These are a smallish pair of general pliers.


Review - Expo Tools Long Nose Pliers - A cheap pair of pliers that are great value for money.


Review - Keiba Combination Pliers - these pliers have a bearing that makes their action silky smooth - nolonger pliers that jam.

Rotary Tables

Review - Warco 110mm Rotary Table - Just slightly larger than 4" diameter, a very solid main casting and worm drive.

Using the HV4 rotary table to cut gears.

A set of long T-nuts to extend the usable diameter.


Rules

Review - Lufkin Rule - A small 6 inch rule with conversion tables.


Safety

Review - 3M Safety Reading Glasses - for quite some time I have been looking for a pair of off-the-shelf safety reading glasses and have just found them.


Saw

Review - Spear & Jackson Predator - this is the small tool box handsaw.


Review - Bosch PMF 180E - the multi-tool designed for sanding and sawing.



Scales

Review - My Weigh 440-Z Digital Scales - A small set of accurate scales that measure up to 440g with an accuracy of 0.1g.


Screwdrivers

Review - Draper Screwdriver Bits - A 7 piece screwdriver bit set.


Review - Engineer Inc Jewellers Screwdrivers - A set of crosshead and flat jewellers screwdrivers.


Review - Erbauer Screwdriver Bits - A great set of screwdriver bits that have been hammered, but just keep on working.


Review - Naro Driver - A screwdriver that you don′t really need, but need to buy one for that one time when no other screwdriver will work.


Sheet Metal Working

Review - Hilshear - A secondhand purchase. This conveniently mounts into a bench vice and has a cut of 3".


Soldering

Review - Antex Soldering Iron - This is the 25W Antex XS25. Heats up quickly, nice to handle and flexible cable makes it easy to use.


Squares

Review - DIN 875 Square - A must have flat square.


Taps, Dies & Threading

For general information see our glossary pages: Taps.

Review - Soba Tailstock Die Holder - A 2MT diestock holder that has a sliding joint and adapters for different die sizes.


Vernier Caliper

The vernier caliper is a useful addition to any model makers set of tools as it is easy to use and provides inner, outer and depth gauge all in one. If you don't know how to read a vernier scale it is explained in simple terms here. A note on reading the vernier is available in our Model Engineering Glossary

Workholding

Review - 1 2 3 Blocks - Technically these are 10-20-40 and 20-40-80 Blocks and Arc Euro Trade calls them Stevenson′s Blocks.

Review - Angle Plate - Warco - A small angle plate - perfect size for use on both large and small milling machines or lathe.

Review - Clamping Kit - There are lots of places that sell these kits imported from China.

Review - G-Clamp AM-Tech - For some of the simpler hand tools these low cost items are fine.

Review - Precision Tool Vice - This is not a general purpose vice, but a precision vice.

Review - Soba Vice - A heavy milling machine vice.


Review - V-Blocks - Mandatory item for the model engineer.

Review - Wavy Parallels - great for jacking up a workpiece in the vice.