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Looking for advice on getting a micro drill press to help with my mini furniture making.... I know the Cameron is probably the best but at around $2000 for everything I want, it's a little pricey. What's the next best? I'd like maybe an x-y table, a vice, and a way to index columns. I'd appreciate any advice....

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WeekendMiniaturist

I have used the Cameron Drill press in one of Tom Walden's class many years ago and in Bill Robertson's class this past summer.  Since our class at Guild School had Taig, Sherline & Cameron setups for different operations that we were doing, I personally preferred the milling options on the Taig or Sherline. 

 

I was quite apprehensive in my needlework stand class in using that mill cutter on the cameron to make molding and prefer to use a router to make molding, and the bonus is that a great router is less expensive.  I concluded for me, that I prefer to use a mill setup for milling.  I like the Taig or Sherline mill options because you can also use it as a lathe.  I purchased a Taig this past summer.

 

I know the Cameron is uber precise, but I think starting my drilled hole with a hand pin vise is reasonably precise too, so the Cameron was actually the one piece of equipment that I haven't wanted to buy.  Now if I found one at a local auction inexpensively, it would be on my bench, but so far, I haven't found one that suits my mini budget... fortunately I have to have a balanced budget - and it balances between buying cool tools and traveling, so I don't buy everything.

 

I do not know your experience in scale modeling, so my recommendation is to attend a learning experience with these tools so you can see if you like and can use the equipment.  One of my largest learning curves was learning to set the stuff up by myself so I could use it.

 

I am looking forward to other forum members discussion on this subject.  I know a couple of my friends have Cameron, so I hope they will post about their experiences with it.

 

Tamra

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Bill Hudson

I have had a Cameron for many years.  I have never felt it was worth the money I paid for it.  Look into the Micro-Mark (or Proxxon) drill presses.  Less money and you have money left over to buy an XY table and vise.  You can make your own indexer.  

 

Bill H.

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Wm. R. Robertson

I am thinking since you want this for miniature furniture making, we really don't use Cameron drill presses as a drill press but more like a over arm router or a milling machine. So, maybe look at mills. I know a lot of people are using the Proxxon MF 70 for a lot of the same things they were doing on a Cameron. Things like mortices, molding, thicknessing small parts. Drilling lots of holes would be slow due to no quill. As for fluting columns, that is a separate jig or fixture. No one makes one commercially that fits all the needs, I have made some and they worked well. I did see a little Proxxon rotary table and maybe you could rig up sort of a tail stock to support long columns?

Here is Pete's site, he makes some extra fences and things for these specifically for miniature work,

http://www.smallerthanlife.com/

Another thing you could try is find a Cameron on eBay, they are out there and sometime the price is good, depends on the demand that week. I bought one earlier this year for $280 but it does need some work. My first one I bought new from Cameron back in 1978, I think the price was $ 125. I just love the things.

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WeekendMiniaturist

If you sign-up for Micro-Mark's email list they do have sales.  Unfortunately the 20% off sale ended last night.  They frequently have different items on sale, but a 20% off sale seemed a little unusual to me; still I didn't purchase anything last night.  If you have not already signed up for their email blasts, you can watch and wait... and you can set your preferences on eBay for Cameron drill presses or Micro-mark so their system sends you a daily email of new items listed.  I have been watching Cameron drill presses for a couple of years, on/off, but I haven't purchased; I would be more comfortable getting one that doesn't need a lot of work. 

 

I know routers mounted below the table can have a safety guards built in to the tables, so this can also be a consideration for using a router instead of a drill press... I've seen more then 1 mangled fingers in my experiences, so I am very safety conscience with my own fingers.    My OLD dremel router does not have a fence and is mounted overhead like a pin router.  It is not even in the same class as a Cameron but it is a very reasonable operation to use it for occasional pin router exercise.  

 

In Tom Walden's class we used the Cameron as a pin router with a pre-made jig, in his "The Magic of a Drill Press Workshop". 

 

Who has purchased the micro-mark or proxxon drill press?  Does Elga have one?  I think she is still traveling this week.

 

Tamra

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I appreciate the responses! After using the MF 70 at Castine, the first thing I did when I came home was to order one from Pete. I think I just need to play with it more (time has been a factor since I still have a day job). I'm don't think I'm using it to it's full capacity yet. Looking forward to Castine again as there is so much "tool knowledge/experience" to absorb.

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Wm. R. Robertson

I think you are on the right track. One problem with tools is no matter how long you have used something you are always coming up with new ways to do things and different set ups. Even after over 30 years I am still doing things on my Cameron or Taig that I have never done before.

It never ends, which is why it is so much fun and challenging to do miniatures.

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  • 3 months later...
karincorbin

I was fortunate to find a Cameron MD70, the one with the large table, at a consignment tool store in Seattle. It belonged to a former Boeing engineer so it had been well taken care of. I paid $300.00 for it. I suspect it had been there for a while with no takers as most of what they sold were tools for contractors and who in their right mind would pay that kind of money for an odd looking and very small drill press unless they knew what that contraption really was?

 

The large table really comes in handy for setting up jigs and for overarm pin routing. The previous owner put a large aluminum base plate over the steel base and that makes it easy to clamp temporary setups in place as you can see in this photo. I am cutting grooves into the top of a wood strip in this instance.

camerondp.jpg

 

 

Here I am using it to surface a piece of soapstone to a particular thickness.surfacing.jpg

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  • 2 years later...
WeekendMiniaturist

I have been reviewing Cameron's for a while, and I know that the new model, a Cameron drill press 214 has updated the spindle to allow the  owner to change out the spindle for replacement when necessary without having to return the unit to Cameron for replacement service.  I think we had the 164 Cameron Drill Press at Guild School - I will have to go back through my photos to see if I took any pictures that will allow me to confirm the exact Cameron Drill press.

I think I understand how to measure the runout on my lathe, as I think you measure from one end to the other end, and compare it, if the circumference of the spindle is meant to be exactly the same diameter, and then you would adjust to get the resulting spindle diameter to measure within .0002

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Referencing Cameron's website,  I am curious, how do you measure .0002 on a Cameron Drill Press?  I can measure the drill bit relative to the table, assuming with a machinist square, but it think it would be difficult to measure the resulting inside diameter of a hole that is drilled.  Except for cool hand tools, I think this would be (as of now) my last piece of equipment to acquire to have what I think is as complete tools for my modeling efforts, based upon my participation at Guild School classes.

  Our original Cameron 164 series drill press was first introduced in 1964. With a 30,000 rpm single-speed motor and .0002″ run out spindle this simple little drilling machine was way ahead of its time. Innovations in micro tools during the 50 years since it’s inception, have allowed the Cameron 164 to prove how valuable it truly is in the micro drilling industry.

I have never had a precision drill press, but our benchtop Delta "wanders" for purposes of miniature making and sometimes it does really drive me a little crazy.  I have a Taig mill for milling operations, so as of now, I am really only looking for a drill press.

For what it is worth, I would buy a Cameron from the secondary market; I can't justify a new one as a hobbyist.

 

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  • 8 months later...
karincorbin

To measure  runout.

Insert a round machinist pin gauge, a very accurate diameter, round, measuring tool, into the chuck. You also need a dial indicator mounted into a stand on a base.

Put the pin gauge into the chuck, rest the tip of the dial indicator against the pin gauge

Then you turn on the machine and watch the changes on the dial, subtract the lowest reading from the highest reading to determine the runout. You can do this  test on a lathe, drill press, or milling machine.   If you are going to do precision machining having machinist inspection measuring tools will be a big help in setting up your tools. They are also good for checking tools out before you take them home with you assuming you can do a personal inspection before you buy. You are unlikely to ever find a perfect tool, you will find quite a few rejects on the new and used market, but hopefully you will find an acceptable for the work needed to be done tool.

About 10 years ago I sent myself back to school and invested in a couple of quarters of college courses in CNC machining, the first semester did include how to do things like checking for runout, installing a vise on a mill and tramming it for square, basic inspection methods of parts, basic use of manual milling machines and manual metal lathes, writing code for CNC machines.  Also covered were metallurgy topics. Nice lessons to have. You don't have to learn everything by working on miniature sized machines, the principles of operation are the same. Head over to your local industrial arts courses and have some fun with the big boy toys. Of course I was the only senior woman in the class, in fact the only woman there, but I had the most background experience and knew some of the lesson material already. But I learned lots of new stuff too :)

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karincorbin
On 6/8/2018 at 8:08 PM, WeekendMiniaturist said:

.

I think I understand how to measure the runout on my lathe, as I think you measure from one end to the other end, and compare it, if the circumference of the spindle is meant to be exactly the same diameter, and then you would adjust to get the resulting spindle diameter to measure within .0002

 

 

What you measured is not the runout. Plus that is not the type of spindle they are discussing. The spindle they are talking about is a metal rod component that turns inside of the machine and it is what the chucks are mounted onto.

What you are thinking of is the kind of spindle that is a wood turning which is part of a chair's framing or a feature in a bed frame, cabinet door panel, etc.  Basically a  rod shape, sometimes with something that rotates on or around it. Or in the case of the wood turning it is shaped through rotation.  It could be used in many types of things from furniture to holding yarns when spinning,  the spike that sits on a desk that you put papers onto, the standup piece that you put your sewing machine thread spool on, etc. Spindle is one of those descriptive words that gets used in a variety of situations and can cause confusion.

What you are trying to measure on your lathe has to do with aligning the head stock, tail stock, the bed of the lathe and the tool rest so that your cuts are parallel creating a rod that is the same diameter throughout its length.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks Karin, I went to a local college and visited, but time is of the essence as I am working.  They were terribly disappointed when I indicated I had no intention of graduating and getting a job in machining... but you can start at xx dollars per hour!   I am guessing... I think my lack of commitment to graduate messes up their graduation rates.  It isn't off the table, but he was trying to discover if he could leave me in charge of the students and that was the most unnerving part of my interview - because I am old enough to in charge?  and much older then his students?  EXCEPT the most important criteria, is that I don't know what the blankety blank I am doing???!!!  and you would leave me in charge if I have the right credentials?  That left me with a most unsettled feeling and I haven't been back.

I would love a true curriculum at a maker space with some retired engineers and machinists though - but GUILD SCHOOL is sooo much fun; and it has definitely been my favorite experience for my making miniatures education; certainly not as serious as attending college..... and I didn't do the math on the investment of the local community college, but it is hard to go to school during the day for a hobby when you work full time...

The descriptions for measuring runout are most helpful to me.  There is so much to study, so I bought a bunch of books on machining instead of attending classes. 

I definitely want to learn more about this topic as I am sure this will help me in my quest to learn to turn to specific diameters and lengths so I can have a pair of MATCHING candlesticks, bed posts, etc...

>>>What you are trying to measure on your lathe has to do with aligning the head stock, tail stock, the bed of the lathe and the tool rest so that your cuts are parallel creating a rod that is the same diameter throughout its length.

Yes, this is one of my great mysteries.  But I'm sure Tony's book on Taig Lathes addresses this.  I need to get the book, and the lathe and me together and work on this!

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karincorbin

Nowadays you can learn a great deal by searching for some videos on subjects on youtube. Of course not all videos are created equal, some will be by beginners and sometimes I just like the presenter or their language.  But after a short while you will learn to quickly sort out who knows what they are doing and talking about from those who do not.  Fortunately there always seem to be at least a few very good instructors. I don't want to do an extensive search on this subject but I will get you started. Here is a video from youtube on measuring runout on a small metal working lathe. Of course this is not a lathe you may own but what is important is the principles of how it is done.  I have not yet watched it from beginning to end but his presentation of the information seems fairly clear and easy to follow.

Mini Lathe Spindle Runout

Now when you find someone who does a good job explaining a subject be sure you browse through the list of videos they have created as there might be other useful lessons from their youtube channel.

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