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Must have hand tools?

#1
What are some hand tools every hobbyist or pro needs?

Scribe?
Transfer punches?
Quality caliper?
Are there machinist squares?

I always find myself wishing for a regular sized caliper that’s in inches. So I can measure a part without having to do the conversion from fraction to inches.

As an example, I had some stainless already had precut holes for lights, with a caliper it would be faster and more accurate to measure 6” 3/8”.
 

kevin.decelles

Active Member
Premium Member
#2
swarf brushes
telescoping pen magnet
throw away screw drivers - flat
variety of hammers (brass, dead blow, rubber etc.)
T-handle hex keys (metric and imperial)

I usually keep a duplicate set of the required wrenches at each machine to handle any adjustments
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#3
Re calipers, are you wanting something like this with fractions display? All digital calipers will do decimal inch/metric with a button press, that's considered standard
http://www.leevalley.com/us/Hardware/page.aspx?p=66892&cat=1,43513,49782&ap=1

Yes there are machinist squares. Worth having because they are more accurate (or at least should be). Not just for layout work but for setting things up in the machines & checking squareness. There are all kinds, some with a raised block edge to reference off a surface, some are flat, T, square edge, beveled edge, sliding assembly, protractor head. How much money do you have? I bet I could put a good dent in it! LOL
 
#4
Re calipers, are you wanting something like this with fractions display? All digital calipers will do decimal inch/metric with a button press, that's considered standard
http://www.leevalley.com/us/Hardware/page.aspx?p=66892&cat=1,43513,49782&ap=1

Yes there are machinist squares. Worth having because they are more accurate (or at least should be). Not just for layout work but for setting things up in the machines & checking squareness. There are all kinds, some with a raised block edge to reference off a surface, some are flat, T, square edge, beveled edge, sliding assembly, protractor head. How much money do you have? I bet I could put a good dent in it! LOL
That’s a great price, considering it’s lee valley. Umm it doesn’t have to be digital, but for that price, why wouldn’t you get digital?

I figured $1-200 should get me a few things to step up a notch.

A lot of my stuff is Snap On, I don’t really get into any Starret or more “machinist” type brands

Thinking scribe, square, better center punch, calipers and transfer punches are in my future. Possibly some of the blue stuff machinists use

Found a sweet deal on a drill press but I’m hoping no-one else sees it before I can get there
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#5
scribe, center punch, felt marker (layout fluid substitute- it’s reallly nasty stuff solvents) that digital caliper is the iGaging one. I have one and it’s a good tool. The fraction display is handy. Ruler in 1/10ths and 1/50. Machinist squares. Decent drill bits.
 
#6
"that digital caliper is the iGaging one....The fraction display is handy" iGaging eh.....Seriously have to get me one of those.

Machinist squares. Decent drill bits. Are a must have.

I find a felt marker superior to machinist ink. Cheaper to boot.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#7
A machinist combination set is a good tool too. I think again the iGaging set is good value (kms). The busy bee one I bought though is utter crap - all three pieces are way out of square. A carpenters square is much better. These aren’t even good enough for wood working. That’s something else don’t buy bad tools.
 
#8
The carbide pencil type scribers are great. While Lee Valley has nice ones, I've also seen them at discount tool stores, rock and gem shows ,and gun shows cheap. You will also need one of the classic scribers with an L shaped end. Electric motor bases are where I use it. I have one of those large print 3-way electronic calipers, a KMS special. I've found that I have to keep a pack of batteries beside it. I bought some dollar store ones, they were one use only. opps. The three way is handy when you have a" what size is it?" question, metric , imperial, or a common fraction size. But when it comes to measuring something, I seem to get better readings with a dial caliper. That too was a KMS special, but 27 years ago. The Chinese can do good stuff, I like them better than my Starrett dial calipers. Also on my bench is BB veriner calipers, a real cheap one I use for scribing lines.
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#9
OK I'll suggest some of the things that I think are missing.

1-Keep an eye out for a good name brand vernier caliper - yes non-digital-read the lines variety. Useful when your battery wears out and nearly impossible to put out of calibration. Mine's a Mit bought new, but people are dumping them these days.
2-buy a cheap set of inside, outside and Hermaphrodite calipers. they will get you a measurement when everything else fails. And a scribing protractor (one or both ends is hardened)
3-ditto on the machinist's ruler -this is NOT a LeeValley or BusyBee or KMS but a REAL Mitutoye,B&S or Starret ruler that has deep etchings and proper satin finish. a 6" is all you will need for hobby work. Longer distances can be measured with your protractor ruler. Until you are really close (like .030) you can use your ruler to make most of your measurements - then you break out the Vernier, and after you get closer, the Micrometer.
4-You can buy a 3 or 4 inch offshore machinist square that will meet most of your needs for along time for about 8 bucks - 5 on sale.
5 I bought a Mitutoyo combination square set when I first started out - my first purchase after my lathe. I have never regretted it. Quality and accuracy. (too bad not 'affordability'. A starret will cost you just over half and will serve well) -- don't repeat Janger's error. they all look the same but the off brand ones are ALL junk. If you have to economize just buy the combo head and ruler. the Protractor head and the centering heads don't get used much.
6-a good offshore 0-1" micrometer. They seem to work as well as the big 3, but will wear out faster. Gives you time to buy a top of the line one. Make sure it has a standard with it.
 
#10
Safety glasses and ear plugs. Those should be number 2 on your list. Number one is a case for each. I can testify that tinnitus is horribly annoying and you don't want to get it. I got a wicked deal on a pair of Wiley's 3 years back. They're still impeccable and crystal clear. The instant they come off my face they're straight into the protective bag.

I'd suggest a good quality hack saw. Sooner or later your going to need to cut something and the wood saw wont do. Then get a good selection of blades and a case or box for them so they don't get lost trashed ( the Lennox stuff is quite nice )

A few good files will make your life easier.

Next on my shopping list is a real deburing tool. I'm fed up of slashing myself to ribbons with makeshift substitutes.
 
#11
OK I'll suggest some of the things that I think are missing.

1-Keep an eye out for a good name brand vernier caliper - yes non-digital-read the lines variety. Useful when your battery wears out and nearly impossible to put out of calibration. Mine's a Mit bought new, but people are dumping them these days.
2-buy a cheap set of inside, outside and Hermaphrodite calipers. they will get you a measurement when everything else fails. And a scribing protractor (one or both ends is hardened)
3-ditto on the machinist's ruler -this is NOT a LeeValley or BusyBee or KMS but a REAL Mitutoye,B&S or Starret ruler that has deep etchings and proper satin finish. a 6" is all you will need for hobby work. Longer distances can be measured with your protractor ruler. Until you are really close (like .030) you can use your ruler to make most of your measurements - then you break out the Vernier, and after you get closer, the Micrometer.
4-You can buy a 3 or 4 inch offshore machinist square that will meet most of your needs for along time for about 8 bucks - 5 on sale.
5 I bought a Mitutoyo combination square set when I first started out - my first purchase after my lathe. I have never regretted it. Quality and accuracy. (too bad not 'affordability'. A starret will cost you just over half and will serve well) -- don't repeat Janger's error. they all look the same but the off brand ones are ALL junk. If you have to economize just buy the combo head and ruler. the Protractor head and the centering heads don't get used much.
6-a good offshore 0-1" micrometer. They seem to work as well as the big 3, but will wear out faster. Gives you time to buy a top of the line one. Make sure it has a standard with it.
There’s a 6” Mitutoyo ruler on amazon for $25, seem like the quality you recommend?
https://www.amazon.ca/Mitutoyo-182-...ocphy=9000995&hvtargid=pla-479255122284&psc=1
 
#13
OK I usually don't chime in but I can't help myself, an optical center punch. Once you use one you will always go for it before the standard punch. I think mine was just over $100 some yrs back. A small 1" x 2" machinist Square is another of my favorites. Ussually using it after I make something to check Square. It keeps me humble.
 
#14
OK I usually don't chime in but I can't help myself, an optical center punch. Once you use one you will always go for it before the standard punch. I think mine was just over $100 some yrs back. A small 1" x 2" machinist Square is another of my favorites. Ussually using it after I make something to check Square. It keeps me humble.
Please chime in more often and help us less experienced make better purchasing decisions.

" optical center punch"??

Can you post a link to such a device please..
 
Last edited:

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#16
I have found KBC Tools to be a great source. Free shipping on orders over $375. Ask them for a free copy of their giant paper catalog, it can keep me entertained for hours. They carry the Mitutoyo rules in 1/2" wide tempered steel and 3/4" wide, more rigid, stainless. And in all the different combinations of graduations. Most of us of a certain age, who still think in inches prefer the type Dabbler mentioned with 10th and 100ths of an inch. Mitutoyo does one better, the model Dabbler linked to on Amazon also shows 1mm and .5mm graduations on the opposite side of the ruler. And they are cheaper at KBC.

https://www.kbctools.ca/default.asp...emcode=1-808-182207&catlist=12750&parent=8901

https://www.kbctools.ca/default.aspx?page=item+detail&itemcode=1-808-182107
 
Last edited:

Johnwa

Active Member
#19
I’ve seen an optical cp project. He roughly shaped the lens on the lathe, then a quick pass with a propane torch to get it smooth.
 
#20
Safety glasses and ear plugs. Those should be number 2 on your list. Number one is a case for each. I can testify that tinnitus is horribly annoying and you don't want to get it. I got a wicked deal on a pair of Wiley's 3 years back. They're still impeccable and crystal clear. The instant they come off my face they're straight into the protective bag.

I'd suggest a good quality hack saw. Sooner or later your going to need to cut something and the wood saw wont do. Then get a good selection of blades and a case or box for them so they don't get lost trashed ( the Lennox stuff is quite nice )

A few good files will make your life easier.

Next on my shopping list is a real deburing tool. I'm fed up of slashing myself to ribbons with makeshift substitutes.
I concur with the eye protection being first on the list. I lost an eye some years ago at the start of my hobby machining era (not from machining tho) and with only one left I became very cognizant of the importance of that one eye...I have at least a 1/2 dozen of the full face shield hoods in my shop, almost within arms length at any time and I don't even pick up a hammer without putting a shield on first. If you still have two eyes...keep it that way because if you ever go down to a single one there is no "second chance".