Noob Qs ob Bits for Kitless

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Aurelius

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Ok, so I've been lurking here for a bit now trying to do my best to absorb everything I can so let me start with a big Thank You to the community as a whole. I have learned a ton. Now I'm getting to a few specific things I need help on.

First off, I am planning on diving in at the deep end. I have used tools before and am looking at getting a metal lathe and using it to make kitless pens. I'm pretty much decided on a PM lathe (in all probability the 1030) and am figuring out all the things that go with it. I still need to figure out what surface it is going to live on but that is a discussion for another time.

Right now I am interested in taps and dies and drill bits. Thankfully, I saw the group buy so I should be set in the tap and die department. That leaves the bits. My question is what sizes do I need if I am looking to do Jowo #6 nibs with a M10 section thread and a M13 cap thread? At first I thought just get a simple metric set in .5mm increments and I'd be set but then I spoke with a friend who makes pens and he suggested using some of the letter bits. Right now I'm in a bit of a mental tailspin and could use your guidance. Is a metric set good enough? Do I need a letter set instead of/in addition to the metric set?

I'm sure I'll have a bunch more questions after this but I am just trying to take manageable bites.

Thank you,
Mark
 
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magpens

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@Aurelius

Well, Mark, I recommend getting a GOOD set of Metric bits .... the brand Norseman is what I have and I like them very much.
Also, ..... I bought a set of SAE size bits .... Also Norseman.
And, ..... I bought a set of Letter size bits .....

and .... well, I won't go on .... but the point I am making is that a huge variety of drill bit sizes is worth having.

Buying the "complete" sets is actually cheaper than restricting yourself to only the pen kit manufacturers' "recommended sizes".
I have found that .... especially when making kitless .... that you often want to make little adjustments to hole sizes.

I have never been sorry that I shelled out about $400 on drill bits many years ago.
 

FGarbrecht

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I started out with just a decent cheap set of imperial sized bits and added special sizes as I needed them, but as it became clear that I was probably going to keep building pens with weird size tool requirements, I decided to bit the bullet. I just bought the Norseman Viking 115 bit set (letter, number, inch) for about $360 (Amazon). I also have a decent set of metric bits in 0.5 mm increments. I got tired of having to buy a new bit every time I changed something, and as Mal says, buying the whole set ends up being cheaper in time and money in the long run. If you are drilling holes to tap sections, you need your bits to be quite precise and as close as possible to nominal drilling size. I also keep a good drill chart in my workshop binder so I can find the closest bit in my collection to what is required. Between all the letter bits, number bits, imperial bits and metric bits, the only time I need to buy another one is hopefully never.
 

jalbert

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Since you’re using a metal lathe, I would recommend just using a boring bar to bore your holes to the correct minor diameter. More measuring, but better precision.
 

PatrickR

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Since you’re using a metal lathe, I would recommend just using a boring bar to bore your holes to the correct minor diameter. More measuring, but better precision.
^ X2 - buy a good basic set of bits and the best boring bar You can. I got the smallest, longest one that McMaster has and love it. I drill undersized then use the bar to take It to finish size. The hole is smoother and straighter. If you are going to use the triple start taps the proper bits won’t be in any set and the price can be very high.
 

Aurelius

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@magpens @FGarbrecht I had already narrowed things down to the Norseman bits, and I truly appreciate the fact that more bits equals more flexibility. I am simply trying to ensure that I have everything I need to minimally make a pen. So for a Jowo #6, it's a M7.4x.5 thread so I would need a 7mm, correct? Similarly, if I have this right, for a M10x1 section thread, I'd use a 9mm, right? The cap I'm planning on M13x.8 to start so can I get away with a 12.5mm drill or is that going to be too tight? Am I going to need something a hair larger? Is this where the letter bits come in?

@jalbert Are the results that much better? The only boring bars I have seen in the past would be much too large though, now that I say that I am sure smaller ones exist, I have just never used them. I am open to learning if it gives better results. (btw, fanboy moment, I love your work and have been following you for a while now on IG.)

Thanks again for all your help.
 

Jarod888

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Boring is great, as you have the ability to do it. As others have recommended, a 115 piece norseman set is the cat's meow.
For an m13 x .8 triple tap, drill the hole 12.2 mm. For the m10 x 1 tap, drill the hole 9.1 mm. For a jowo # 6 try a 7mm drill bit. You may need a 6.9.

Metric bits tap sizes are easy, take the larger #, the tap size and subtract the pitch, smaller #. So 13-.8=12.2 , maybe 12.3mm.
For the die, it is the "die" size, so m13, needs a 13mm section to be threaded. You can probably go slightly smaller, say 12.9 mm. But, no smaller than that.

I used an online calculator.

12.2 mm 31/64 .4803
9.1 mm 23/64 .3582
7mm 9/32 .2755
6.9mm 17/64 .2716
 
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bmachin

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A number of years ago I bought a set of (probably Chinese) drills from Victornet for what I considered a very reasonable price. The set was 6mm to 10mm in .1mm increments. The set is still there for around 90 bucks although out of stock and will handle all of your metric needs except for cap threads. It will also handle everything you need larger than 1/4 inch up to about 25/64 since any standard drill size is only 4 thousandths or less from one of the drills in that set.

I'm probably overselling a bit here, but the point is that I've found it to be a useful set--much more than the .5mm increment sets would be, and I use it a lot. I also have all the letter and number sets.

Guys above are right about the boring. Not only do you get better surfaces, but you induce a lot less stress when you're dealing with delicate materials.

FWIW
Bill
 

jalbert

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@jalbert Are the results that much better? The only boring bars I have seen in the past would be much too large though, now that I say that I am sure smaller ones exist, I have just never used them. I am open to learning if it gives better results. (btw, fanboy moment, I love your work and have been following you for a while now on IG.)
Thanks man!🤘
I do a lot of irregular sized threading (most all of mine except the Jowo units are not standard, and single point cut), so for me the tool is indispensable for fine tuning my hole size. I use a 5/16 shank bar like this for my general workhorse, all though I have a micro 100 boring bar that’s even smaller for the tighter areas.

one of the big draws is that it saves you the hassle of buying a lot of, or the “right size” drill bits, and improves concentricity.

as far as drill bits go, I recommend a decent set of stubby (screw length) bits. I have a nice set of cobalt steel bits I got off Amazon. To me, imperial or metric doesn’t matter. I rarely go off the drill size for female threads, and if I do (for internal barrel and cap diameters, I usually just pick a size and go with it, and adapt my mandrels around that. I find the stubby bits to be superior to the jobber style. I’ve never needed the length of a jobber bit except for boring out the barrel to its full depth.
 

Aurelius

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@bmachin The point you made about .1mm sets made so much sense it almost hurt a little. I took a look and am now eyeing up the Norseman 118pc metric set as it seems that should give me everything I will ever need (plus or minus 4 thousandths ;)). Now I just need to find someplace that has it in stock.
 

PatrickR

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as far as drill bits go, I recommend a decent set of stubby (screw length) bits. I have a nice set of cobalt steel bits I got off Amazon. To me, imperial or metric doesn’t matter. I rarely go off the drill size for female threads, and if I do (for internal barrel and cap diameters, I usually just pick a size and go with it, and adapt my mandrels around that. I find the stubby bits to be superior to the jobber style. I’ve never needed the length of a jobber bit except for boring out the barrel to its full depth.
I don’t see these talked about much here. I use them to start every hole (after a spotting bit). A hole has to start right to end right.
 

PatrickR

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@bmachin The point you made about .1mm sets made so much sense it almost hurt a little. I took a look and am now eyeing up the Norseman 118pc metric set as it seems that should give me everything I will ever need (plus or minus 4 thousandths ;)). Now I just need to find someplace that has it in stock.
I love good tools and am not shy about buying them but this would seem like overkill for what you need. You already have the taps and dies so buy what are needed for those, a bore bar and a basic set. Use the money saved for other necessities. I got the HF imperial, number and wire sets. They work okay when kept sharp but 3/4 have never been used. Now when I need a special bit I buy high quality, one at a time.
 

randyrls

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I'm pretty much decided on a PM lathe (in all probability the 1030) and am figuring out all the things that go with it. I still need to figure out what surface it is going to live on but that is a discussion for another time.
Mark; When you budget, a good rule of thumb is to budget half your money for the lathe and half for the extras you will need. Tool bits, calipers, micrometers, dial test indicator (DTI), chucks, drill bits, center drills, end mills (yes, even for a lathe).
 

Aurelius

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@PatrickR Technically, I am ordering the taps and dies, but I have figured out the sizes, so I get your point. I am definitely looking into a boring bar now. Also, you got me thinking and I don't believe that there are going to be many occasions where I am going to need to drill super small holes (say 2mm) much less have to be able to differentiate from a 2.1mm hole. As such, the 41 piece metric set plus a couple of loose bits seems to be the front runner.

@randyrls I have seen that rule of thumb before and have already taken it to heart. I think the fact that I am going to be spending that much in a fairly short amount of time to get up an running only make me want to triple check my assumptions and decisions even more so I am not knee-deep in buyers remorse before I manage to actually make anything.
 
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