How to machine brass w/o usual machine tools

Elliott Wolin

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I probably will have to make a new bottom cap for my Ithaca Hall Clock weights, no one seems to sell the heavy, solid brass, machined caps I need. I found 100 mm x 100 mm x 2 mm brass sheet on the web for around $10, I need about a 2" round 0.085" thick, 2 mm is close enough (let me know if you know of a less expensive source).

The problem is machining it w/o a lathe, all I have is a drill press, Dremel, and a bandsaw? I figure I can use the bandsaw to cut a round disk, then file/grind it to the right diameter. I can drill a hole and chamfer it on my drill press for the screw that holds it to the lead weight.

But how to machine the groove around the perimeter that the brass weight tube sits in?

Any ideas?


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Ralph

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You might be able to use or modify a tool like these to hack out a part.

circle cutter drill bit - Google Search

It would not be the recommended way to do it. If you proceed, make sure the sheet brass is clamped down.

A local machine shop might make the part cheap.Possibly a model engineer group is in your area and one of its members may volunteer to make it for you.

Another possibility is to contact Rick Robinson's clock shop in Carrolton , Va. He has a huge amount of parts and might have what you need.

Ralph
 
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Richard Cedar

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Nov 26, 2019
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Another option could be to find out if there is a Makerspace (sometimes called Fablab or Hackerspace) in your area. Most of these have a variety of machine tools that members can use. Some require you to become a member with monthly fees, others allow you to pay for limited use.

Richard.
 

EscapeWheel

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I did a search on Etsy for "brass blanks" - there are lot of them at reasonable prices. Lots of different thicknesses and diameters. Could you use a hole bit on your drill press to form a groove and Dremel out the inside area?
 

Elliott Wolin

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I'm going to give the Harbor Freight dual carbide-tipped hole cutter a try. I ordered some 2.5 mm brass (0.098", pretty close to 0.093") from AliExpress (cheap, but takes a while to get here). The brass blank is large enough for four end caps so I can experiment. I'll post here in a month or so explaining my experience.
 

Vernon

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But how to machine the groove around the perimeter that the brass weight tube sits in?
Elliott,
Was this original groove machined by removing material or was the metal formed by stamping? The edges look rolled over too (to add strength?). What is wrong with the original caps that can't be fixed?

Vernon
 

Elliott Wolin

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Vernon: It looks machined to me, not formed. I need another bottom cap because the clock came with only three of the four weight caps. I got it af the ReStore for $80, so I'm not complaining!
 
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Elliott Wolin

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Also, one weight shell had a split about a third of the length of the shell. I was able to use hose clamps and a silver-based solder to seal it up, barely noticeable now.
 

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