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The biggest mistake hobby engineers make when machining brass rods

Last night, I got back from watching a fantastic movie, American Hustle, starring Christian Bale, also known as...Batman.

He gave a fantastic performance, and it was fun to see Bale transform himself from a burley, good looking man, with a herculean physique to into a an overweight, nothing-special-about-him, guy with a 70s comb over. Although his character had twice as much charisma as Bruce Wayne. If you haven't seen American Hustle, then I'd strongly recommend you get yourself down to your local cinema and watch it!

What's this got to do with engineering? Well, Bale must have lost at least 15kgs of muscle from his arms, shoulders and chest and put it on round his midsection as fat. Bale is renowned for his crazy preparation for the roles he plays. Just type in Christian Bale Machinist (How ironic I mention his role in the machinist in this email, I hope to think he's not giving an accurate portrayal of a machinist in that movie. Any one who's seen it will no doubt agree with me.). And preparation really is the key to success...

You need to make sure your machine, machine tools, drawings and materials are prepared meticulously before you start your project and any little advantage or shortcut you can get to make yourself MORE than prepared needs to be employed. So, here's a tip for keeping your lathe bed clean:-

Attach a piece of newspaper to your cross slide with round magnets. When you've finished your machining, simply remove them with the swarf and hey presto your swarf is gone and your machine is still clean.

Have fun if your machining today!

Oliver O'Mahoney - Manufacturing The Word.  PS - Keep yourself prepared with the range of engineering machine tools we've just added to here: