Shopping List
Home Up Hot Stuff Die Filer Power Hacksaw Advance Lathe Shaper Ta Shing Lathe Milling Links Shopping List


Workshop materials you can't have too many of:

This is just a selection of what I keep an eye out for during my wanderings.  Wherever I go I am always thinking; "what could that piece of scrap be used for".

New materials are just too expensive for most things I make, even second-hand / salvage / scrap yard materials are becoming extortionate now.  If your not 'comfortably well off', the more we can use scrap materials, the more money that becomes available for the items we can't make for one reason or another.

As a friend of mine (Bob) mentioned, 

Don't forget photocopiers. They have lots of bearings and bushes, rods and rollers with gears, motors and power supplies to run them. Very interesting optics with mirrors and lenses as well.... Some laser printers are similar but have much lighter duty components.

A source of 30 - 50 mm round bar is from broken trailer axles. If they get bent then they are not too much use so they can be picked up at the right price.

Another use for bolts from engine blocks is as punches.... Punches in many different sizes (a few minutes on the lathe) make it easier to retrieve bushes and bearings. A collection of old bearing housings gives a really wide range of sizes to support stuff while I use the punch on the other side.

Joining hardware
Grub screws
Hex socket machine screws
Hex head machine bolts & nuts
Countersink head machine screws
Washer - flat, spring
Rivets - especially the old snap head solid type.
Roll-pins & taper-pins
Shimming steel or brass
Aluminium, Brass & Steel bar - round, square, flat, Hex. - any length, any size - i.e. I use a lot of steel rods from old printers & can never get enough 1/2" to 2" round steel bar.
Aluminium plate - any, but especially if thicker than 4mm
Steel plate - any size
Steel angle & box tubing - assorted sizes
Spring steel, silver steel or other high carbon steel for making cutting tools
Cast iron - bar, angle brackets from machines etc
Plastic - rod & bar - any size
Old carbide tips from lathe tools, milling tools or saw blades, for silver brazing onto home made tooling - I think I will have to find a friendly saw doctor who will sell me a handful of used pieces.
Lathe tooling - you can always sharpen them or silver braze new tips on
Twist drills - old ones can be re-sharpened or turned into new cutting tools
End mills, slot drills etc - a/a
Old gears & shafts from gearboxes & other machinery
Old camshafts, rocker arm bearing blocks & saddle blocks
Bicycle bits - chain sprockets ...
Saddle blocks, grease nipples & spring-cap oilers (hard to source)
Ball & taper races
Good = making 'new' machinery
Old = milling hardware - spacers, parallel blocks etc
Sources of the above:
Old engines & gearboxes - numerous parts
Old tools & machinery - motors, pulleys, bearings, shafts, chucks etc
Leaf of thick truck spring - for making threaded dies
Sewing machines - various shafts, grub screws
Old printers - Shafts etc.
Bed frames - angle iron

Example of the sort of things I look for:

An old piece of machinery.  It has a worm to gear to worm to gear set-up, delivering a 320:1 reduction.

I picked it up at a salvage yard, but I think it originated from the Australian Navy - The salvage yard has the contract with them.

Although it will still be a major job, it's a great start toward building or modifying it into, a dividing head or rotary table.

For scale, the large flange is about 6 to 8" (150 to 200mm) across.

I've already optimised the number of dividing plates & holes I will need for it - I just need to get around to rebuilding it.