We had now completed the first part of the course so out came the Horia lathes that we would be using for both of our micro mechanics exams, albeit with a motor instead of a hand wheel. Both exams would be in February so we had a lengthy amount of time to prepare but the speed at which the weeks were passing by was frightening.
Before we could even start turning on the lathes, we had to get our HSS (High Speed Steel) gravers sharpened using our India and Arkansas stones. At first this was a difficult and painful task, trying to keep the graver at the right angle was a challenge and applying enough downward pressure to keep the face flat slices open the tips of your fingers!
After mastering the art of graver sharpening, it was time to get out the lathe and motor that would be mine for the rest of the first year. We were talked through the various components of the lathe and then we were told to have a practice to get used to turning a piece of steel. It was fairly easy to turn the steel but not that easy to control what you were turning!
Anyway once we had some idea what we were doing, we were given three exercises to complete that would help prepare us for making a winding stem. The first exercise was to turn a 90 degree point on the end of a piece of bar and then reduce the diameter of that end. The next exercise took this slightly further by introducing steps with different diameters that had to have perfectly flat shoulders and clean corners. Finally we had to make three different sized slots to a set width and depth using a steel parting tool instead of a graver. The bottom of the slot had to be perfectly flat with clean corners and flat shoulders, this was definitely the hardest of the three exercises and I completed it at the second attempt.
The exercises were definately a challenge and I felt it was another accomplishment completing them. I was now confident enough at turning that I was ready to take on the challenge of making a winding stem but we had another exercise to complete before then.