What's in a Hemingway Kit?
Each kit arrives as a machining project, requiring between 2 and say 500 hours of workshop time. Check the descriptions offered for each kit. In general, we aim to supply all of the raw materials you will need to complete a given project. You simply add your time, experience and ingenuity!
We now manage almost 450 patterns and core boxes! Both of the foundries that we use have been trading in the UK Midland for over 130 years. All box work and core placing is completed by hand and the castings are poured into greensand. After fettling, all castings are shot or bead blasted to improve their appearance. Defects can occur but are generally caught at the foundry or by Hemingway. Please check your castings closely before you invest in their machining. Do get in touch if you have any concerns. A level of surface defect is unavoidable but should not encroach on a major datum.
Hemingway Kits holds around 4 tonnes of bar materials, chiefly in imperial dimensions. We stock over 60 different sections of steel, iron, brass, bronze, aluminium and Nylon ranging from Ø1/16 to 6 ¼ x 1 ½ flats. A majority of our steel is manufactured by British Steel (= Corus, = Tata
). We always favour free cutting grades. Please, when your kit arrives, check through the drawings and plan your use of material. It is not only the profit motive that causes us to limit lengths, we are also conscious that it will be inefficient for customers to have to machine or saw off large amounts of material to arrive at a finished dimension!
We hold over 80 different varieties of heads, threads and lengths. From April 2013, our kits are supplied with metric fasteners in the range M1.6 - M10 and all of standard (some say "coarse") pitch. When a kit must interface with a female Imperial thread on your equipment (eg a Myford Travelling Steady) we will of course supply the correct fixings for this.
For all tools that require gears, they are supplied with the kit in blank form. That is to say the teeth themselves are fully finished leaving you to complete a few features such as threads, bores and support diameters. The worm and worm wheel pairs required to complete the dividing tools and rotary tables are intended by the designers to be generated as helicals to a pressure angle of 14 ½º. They require dedicated assets and, with low volume runs, may seem unusually expensive. On the positive side however, the quality of our UK sources is indeed first class.
CNC Sheet Material
The Worden Mk 3 Tool and Cutter Grinder is a truly great product, made economically possible through the flexibility of CNC processing. The gauge of the pressings is around 1/8, affording excellent rigidity in action. Having large dedicated pressings on your bench may well be a novelty. Please remember that many of industry's worst hand injuries come from handling unprepared sheet materials! Wear gloves and file off sharp edges as a very first step. If you rely on off-hand tool grinding today, you should consider the Worden Mk3?
Other Stock Items
Hemingway Kits arrive complete! To back this claim we hold a huge variety of often difficult to find items. Along with motors, bearings, bushes, springs and arbors, we have more exotic items such as gun-sight graticules, blended woollen felt, music wire and 5-core electrical cable. Wherever practical, we source directly from well-established UK manufacturers.
Drawing & Construction Notes
This is an area where we feel we add significant value for the small workshop owner. In all humility
we think we are the best in the business by a long chalk!
With our investments in top-end CAD systems, digital photography and colour laser printing, we have raised our designers' original works to the latest industry levels. Drawings are generated from digital solid models, which are used to check all assemblies for fit and function. Isometric, sectional and detail views are included, together with a full bill of materials and machining sequences for any complex operations. Our construction notes, generally composed by the designer, allow you to understand the importance of each set-up and how it fits within the overall plan. Typically, the notes include photographs, which are invaluable for describing an operation.
Please note however that for the Universal Pillar Tool (UPT) and Versatile Dividing Head (VDH), George Thomas book, Workshop Techniques, provides all of the necessary construction notes. Whilst Hemingway drawings are included with the VDH projects, you will need to use the book for the UPT.
What Equipment do I Need?
Our customers are armed with anything from a leather-belted 1920's lathe to a full CNC arsenal. We have attempted below to show the base level of equipment required to complete our kits. Without being told, youll know already that quality counts in the workshop and in general, He with the most toys, wins!.
A Centre Lathe, typically of at least 3 centre height (7 Swing) and 13 between centres. Screw cutting facilities are essential for many of the kits. A Pillar Drill, typically of at least Ø½ drill capacity with a motor of at least ½ hp. A facility for Light Milling; a good vertical slide, bolted to your lathe's cross-slide, will suffice for all but a few of the kits. However, if you do have a dedicated Milling Machine, your progress will be at a much faster pace and a few of the projects will require this. If you're in the market for one, we'd suggest a vertical mill of at least 1 hp, 14 of X-travel and a speed range of 100 - 2,000 rpm.
Other Workshop Basics
Leaving aside the obvious paraphernalia, you'll need:
A good solid Bench Vice of say 4 capacity or better.
Micrometers and a 6 Vernier Calliper, the best you can afford. You should be able to determine down to 0.00025 (2½ tenths) below an inch and 0.001 above an inch.
Dial Test & Dial Gauge Indicators, try for a DGI of at least ¼ travel and resolution of 0.0005. Go to town on your DTI; ours has a total travel of 0.009 and resolves to 0.00005 (½ of a tenth). You'll pay about £60 for a famous brand.
A Surface Plate, perhaps not essential for every kit but sooner or later you'll need a standard surface. If you have a flat bed lathe, you may get away with using it as a surface plate. Otherwise, a piece of plate glass or a second hand or imported table are equally good. 10 x 12 should do it.
Taps, Dies, Drills & Reamers, You'll need Standard ("Coarse") Metric taps from M1.6 to M10 along with some special ME sizes (e.g. ¼ x 40tpi BSW) . You'll need dies for the larger sizes only (M5 - M10). If you can find a set of machine reamers from Ø1/8 to Ø5/8 by 16ths, you'll avoid a number of fine-boring exercises. A clever man solves a problem; a wise man avoids it - Albert Einstein.
A Blowtorch, a few kits require silver soldering of components and many include silver steels that need hardening. Buy propane, NOT butane.
Where do I start?
| For many, the very best place to start will be to get hold of G H Thomas’ two books. We’d recommend The Model Engineers Workshop Manual as your first, then Workshop Techniques when you are ready to build the Universal Pillar Tool and Versatile Dividing Head. You can order them from our catalogue. Within these books are the plans and instructions for the majority of Mr Thomas’ designs, supported by photos and unassuming wisdom.|
Now to chose a kit. From our experience, you will be driven by either a need related to a larger projects or an inexplicable urge to experiment and learn? If you've just started in the workshop, you may decide to invest in some simple tooling projects to improve both your abilities and equipment.
For those in the latter camp, and in no particular order, here is a list of the proficiencies required to complete every one of the kits that we offer:
| Face plate set ups|
Turning between centres
Deep hole drilling
Taps & dies
Lapping & Honing
Speeds & feeds
Boring table set ups
Angle plate set ups
Dressing & filling
Fixed steady support
Punching & staking
Form cutter work
Clearly, when you can tick off all of these, both you and your workshop will have reached world class amongst a group renowned for their ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Customers have noticed an amount of circularity involved in building our workshop accessory kits. To complete a high quality Universal Pillar Tool for example, you’ll need to be able to turn ball handles. To create high quality ball handles, you’ll need a Spherical Turning Tool. To complete a high quality Spherical Turning Tool, it will be handy to be able to graduate, knurl and part off, which may steer you toward our Graduating Tool, Knurling Tool and Rear Tool Post kits!
Rather than presuming to set any form of agenda, we feel happy to list the following kits as Staples that will benefit every workshop:
- A Rear Tool Post to suit your lathe.
- A Knurling Tool (with both straight and diamond fine knurls).
- A Centre-Height Gauge.
- A Dividing Head.
- A Rotary Table - geared or ungeared.
- The Worden Mk 3 Tool & Cutter Grinder. At heart, this is a simple project and despite its high cost, the raw pleasure of having sharp and accurately ground tools “on tap” will repay your investment quickly and forever.