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Old 10-29-2005, 08:30 PM   #1
p9o1r1sche
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tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

This tutorial demonstrates how to fabricate hex bolts using a lathe, pin vise, and sandpaper. One does not need a mill to make the hex head, but a pin vise with a hex head is needed. I used this technique to make 1/12 scale bolt heads. The hex heads are probably not as accurate as milling them, but this saves a lot of machining time, and if you dont have a mill, its a way around that problem.

I will not go into the machining details, as anyone with a lathe should be able to pick up the tutorial at the beginning. That being said:

Turn this shaped part on the lathe. I used a cut-off tool for the cutting operations. The large diameter section should be about one-half as wide as the diameter to have the right proportions. You may want to experiment with this.



You need a pin vise with a hex head, as the hex will be the index for sanding the flats in the brass part. My vise has a swiveling head, so I had to tape it to keep it from turning. Level up the pin vise using blocks. I use sand paper of about 400 grit.



This shot shows the brass in the pin vise and resting on the sandpaper. Brass residue can be seen on the sandpaper from previous use. When the sandpaper gets clogged with brass, cut off the clogged part with scissors. Mount the brass in the pin vise solidly, as you dont want it to come out before you are completely done.



Here's another shot of the setup. When you sand the brass you will be moving the pin vise parallel to the block and sandpaper. You must let the hex head on the pin vise handle rest on the table while sanding. It may take a little practice.



Sand the brass a few strokes, then turn the pin vise until it is resting on the next flat. This is how you are using the pin vise head to index the brass part around. Continue this procedure turning the pin vise a total of six times. Use about the same number of strokes on each side. Its best to sand on all six sides before looking at the results. If more sanding is needed to make a proper looking hex shape, go another six turns of the pin vise.




This technique is relatively quick and gives decent results. I use a black wash on the bolts to bring out the detail, giving the illusion that the bolt is mounted on a stud. I have used this technique to make simple hex headed bolts and many other fittings that have a hex section. Hope this helps you scratchbuilders out there!
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Old 10-29-2005, 09:39 PM   #2
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Added to the 'How To' section

Thanks Ken.
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Old 10-29-2005, 10:22 PM   #3
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Good tutorial. I added it to ScaleWiki
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Old 10-30-2005, 08:08 AM   #4
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Excellent tutorial! I can't believe it - I use the same method for making plastic hex heads when I'm out of plastic hex rod. I was on the verge of buying a lathe last week to do just this but I then realised that to make fittings I'd still have to do this very preceedure or buy a milling machine as well!

BTW, doesn't anyone anywhere make small diameter brass+alloy hex bar for us modellers?
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:04 PM   #5
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

You've done a very good job with these. I can appreciate how ticky it is to grind those faces onto such a small part. They are looking great on your Porsche build.
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Old 06-02-2006, 11:49 AM   #6
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Very nice technique, simple and effective. Now I just have to get hold of a pin vise.... Wonder if they are sold in Sweden?
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:00 AM   #7
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinqster
Excellent tutorial! I can't believe it - I use the same method for making plastic hex heads when I'm out of plastic hex rod. I was on the verge of buying a lathe last week to do just this but I then realised that to make fittings I'd still have to do this very preceedure or buy a milling machine as well!

BTW, doesn't anyone anywhere make small diameter brass+alloy hex bar for us modellers?
Go to your local hobby shop and ask for K & S brass bits and pieces.

Here's a link to there site, check out ALL this site has to offer, as there is some magical stuff that they make.

http://www.ksmetals.com/

Go to the SPECIAL SHAPES section for the hex bar
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:14 AM   #8
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Now that it has been established that K & S make hex brass section, do what I've been doing for years, just use this stuff to turn the bolts from. Before parting the bolt from the parent metal, why not use a die and now thread the bolt as well.
To make the nuts is just as easy, just drill and tap the hex section whilst it is in the lathe chuck and then part it off, to whatever thickness nut you require.

This way you can then test fit each and every piece to the model and it can be removed easily for a rework if required.

I make hundreds of bolts and nuts for each model that I make, even made up a special machine to make the nuts real quick, still use the lathe for the bolts tho'.

OOoops, forgot to say that you have to go look thru the SPECIAL SHAPES to get to the hexs bars.
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:19 AM   #9
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbain
I ... even made up a special machine to make the nuts real quick,
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:42 AM   #10
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Sorry about that, try this lot, click on pic for larger view







Any questions, or is this enough?

Last edited by jbain; 09-08-2007 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:55 AM   #11
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

A nut factory!
Nice little solution you have put together there

Is that machine as large as it seems or is it a trick of the photography?
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:00 AM   #12
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Re: tutorial - fabricating hex heads w/lathe

Quote:
Originally Posted by klutz_100
A nut factory!
Nice little solution you have put together there

Is that machine as large as it seems or is it a trick of the photography?

Nope, about right.

Last edited by jbain; 09-08-2007 at 07:13 PM.
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