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This was my metalworking web page at FPC -- I've since retired, but I liked the page so I moved it to my consulting web-site.

Craft Metalworking at Frank Phillips College

What is craft metalworking?
This class emphasizes the safe and efficient operation of traditional manual machines, for the low-volume production or modification/repair of items with minimal “attachments” or special tooling, that is traditional “craft” machining.  While the use of trig formulas, gear ratio calculation and conversion of between/among decimal inch, fractional inch and metric dimensions are an integral part of the machining trade, in this class these concepts are embedded and contextualized by extensive application in many “hands on” activities which stress both safety and the production of useful traditional apprentice machinist’s projects such as parallel jaw clamps, prick and center punches, and pump shafts or “wigglers.”  Supporting activities such as print reading, lay-out, tool grinding, and precision “set-up” are stressed.  

Who are these classes intended for?
These classes are intended for people wishing to learn how to safely and efficiently operate traditional manual machine tools.  Single unit production of prototypes, models, repair parts, etc. is stressed, with minimal reliance on special tooling, attachments or accessories and maximum reliance on personal ingenuity and innovation.  This course will be of particular interest to individuals employed in maintenance or repair activities where replacement parts may not be easily obtainable, and persons interested in home shop or hobby machining.  This course stresses traditional “craft” machining and is not intended to produce “tool and die makers” or experts in high volume factory production, although this course will provide a good introduction to the basic metal working processes and activities underlying these trades/professions

Click on links below to view some of our individual student and class projects (some projects/pages are still "in-process")

  1. Our Emco compact 10 lathes, one with the optional factory milling attachment

  2. Student machined quick change tool holders 

  3. Student designed and machined traveling steady [rest]

  4. Student designed and manufactured (rifle) barrel vise

  5. Rear mounted parting or cut-off tool holder

  6. Fabricating a faceplate from a donated blind pipe flange for an Emco lathe

  7. Fabricating a faceplate for a Craftsman lathe

  8. A positive thread stop for external and internal threading

  9. A spindle crank from salvaged and donated materials

  10. Adaptation of a surplus Clausing compound [top] slide as a vertical milling machine slide
    to allow milling in the lathe

  11. Setting gage to set lathe tool grinder table to known and repeatable angles

  12. Tool holder and fence to accurately sharpen lathe tool bits to known geometries

  13. Large parallel jaw machinists' clamps fabricated as individual projects

  14. A 45 tooth change gear made from 6061 T6 aluminum

  15. Machining a bushing from HDPE [high density polyethylene]

  16. 5/8 X 8 ACME external thread machined by a beginning student using a tool they ground

  17. Laying out a t-nut during the rebuild of an Atlas lathe by a first course student as part of his project to rebuild a Craftsman/Atlas lathe.

  18. How a student turned a cheap lathe boring bar into a high precision boring head for a drill press or milling machine, while still being able to use it as a lathe boring bar.


I hope this information about our traditional craft machining classes at FPC has been interesting and helpful. 

I am always pleased to have perspective students and people interested in machining visit our classes.  Please phone for dates and times when we are meeting.

If you are interested in possibly taking a class or would just like to talk about machining, click here

to send me an email 


George McDuffee, Instructor


by GmcD click to email