Machine Tool Build Is Anything But Boring

“So just like every other great story in history, ours is going to start at the lathe.” Truer words were never spoken, and thus begins the saga of turning a bar of chrome-moly steel into a shop-built boring head.

You may have a few questions regarding [ThisOldTony]’s effort. First, unless you’re familiar with machine tooling, you may wonder what exactly a boring head is. The video below makes it plain, but the short answer is that it’s a tool to make holes. A boring head spins a boring bar with a cutting tool, and the head can be offset to spin the bar through an adjustable diameter. They’re great for making large holes of precise diameters – skip to around 25:30 to see it in action.

The other question might be: why does he spend so much time and effort building something he can just buy off the shelf? If you have to ask that question, we think you may be missing the point. [Tony] seems mainly interested in building tools; using them to make non-tool things is merely a happy accident. We totally respect that, and besides, just look at the quality of the tool he makes. We find his videos very entertaining, too – he’s got a great sense of humor and the video production quality is top-notch. Just watch out for banana peels and space-time continuum issues.

We love tools, and we really love tools that are custom made with this level of craftsmanship. For more quality toolmaking, check out this guitar-fretting jig or this belt grinder.

Thanks to [jackjameshoward] for reminding us about [Tony]’s channel and this build.

19 thoughts on “Machine Tool Build Is Anything But Boring

  1. He uses a crappy boring head to make part of his boring head, but he already had the good one from his time travelling escapades and could have used it to make itself, or would that cause something horrible to happen?

  2. His next video on threading is pretty good too. Both informative and very entertaining – and checkout his CNC build! Oh and when he scraped his surface grinder back to within a 10th of a thou or something equally stupid. Very good stuff.

  3. the main reason to build rather than buy is cost and quality.

    When my gunsmith rebuilt my Suzuki four wheel drive engine, he went to buy a boring tool, the best one he could find was $400 (in the 80’s) and was accurate to 1/1000″.

    He said “Stuff that!”, made one for $80, that was accurate to 1/10,000″!

    And a couple of weeks later my cylinders were 1mm wider!
    Then all the jokes about my Suzuki being an LJ60 started…

  4. you can use a boring head to make accurate small holes, too, with miniature boring bars. The beauty of the boring head is that it makes holes that are very round, as opposed to holes made with twist drills, which can be cardioid.

    1. +1 about twist drills. Also boring heads, being much stiffer than twist drills, do not suffer from drift when starting a hole since there is practically no flex in the tool that would cause a twist drill to wander off the initial location. And they can handle interrupted cuts too which twist drills have major problems with.

  5. Not that long ago I went to buy a second hand boring head, but didn’t have the necessary truck load of money so I made a really shite one, a 1 inch round bar with a 3/8th hole through it and a M10 hole into the side of the first hole to clamp a round piece of tool steel.
    It cut ok but proved almost impossible to adjust for the final few cuts. What would have been the last cut was done with a hone.
    I’m going to resist the temptation to say the last stage was boring.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.