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"Your work is an inspiration to me.... Someday I?ll retire from the railroad and build a shop and create, too."
--David S. Ludlow, Executive Director, Wilmington & Western Railroad, Wilmington, Delaware

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A Mill and a Lathe: New Challenges in an Artist's Studio

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you thinkin' about?

Kevin Caron: I'm thinking I may have overstepped my bounds with this new piece of equipment here in my studio.

I like to learn things on my own. I taught myself how to weld, and how to use all my tools and my equipment, but I might have to take a class on these.

The Voice: These? What have you got there, Kev?

Kevin Caron: This is a Sheldon tool room lathe. According to the tag on the back of it, it's probably from the mid- to late-40s. I've never used one before.

The Voice: Let me see it.

Kevin Caron: This is what the machinist would use to repair the tools or make the tools for the guys who were working out in the field. This would be back in the corner or somewhere in the back of the machine shop.

This is going to open up a whole new realm of possibilities for me as a metal artist, but, oh boy, I've got books coming on this one.

This machine is a mill, a milling machine, made by Bridgeport, which, by the way, is where I was born - Bridgeport, Connecticut.

This big table not only goes up and down, the table itself goes side-to-side, and back-and-forth.

This little attachment down here is a turntable that goes underneath the vise, allowing you to turn the whole vise, so when you have something clamped in, you can rotate that to be able to mill it, drill it, work on it, whatever you're going to do to it.

The head goes up and down like on a drill press. It will also tip to one side or the other, or, backwards and forwards. This entire head - this mechanism on the top - sits there and moves back and forth, so you can put something really big on it and move the table out. You can move this up. I mean, my God, it goes every way you can possibly think of.

It's got a lubrication system on it so when you're cutting you can keep the bits cool. It's got different speeds, different adjustments. Boy, these two machines are going to take awhile to learn.

I only have one thing to say: Help me Obi-Wan Chuck. You're my only hope.

First, I need to figure out how to install them. We're going to move these two air compressors out to the back. Then the mill is going to come over here into this area so I can hook it up to the 220. The lathe is going to move over just a little bit, but will probably stay right in that area.

Then comes classes, lots of classes; lots of learning what I'm doing and trying to figure out where all the knobs and buttons go.

So, sorry, but they'll be no how-to videos of these running for awhile. Let me get a little better at it first.


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