Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
6/14/20 11:26 a.m.

As is the long standing tradition on the GRM forum I'm going to start the build thread prematurely. 

I have wanted a die filer for over a decade.  At least three times a week I find myself needing one.  In a box under a workbenches I have a pneumatic file crudely welded to a "table" that worked well enough to convince me I wanted a proper one, but not well enough to actually use.  I have also cut up a couple of vintage scroll saws hoping to use the reciprocating mechanism to build a better one but I always throw them out when I become frustrated with the inadequate stroke length or lack of proper support. 

A few days ago Adam Savage did a video about making a plywood base for his MLA kit built filer. I was struck by how good it looked and how it looked like an 80 year old tool that had been restored, not something modern.

So i said screw it and ordered the MLA-18 kit.  This kit is nothing more than 4 pieces of rough cast iron weighing 30lbs and 4 sheets of 18"X24" paper containing the plans and pertinent info.

Not sure why the vintage look is so important to me for this tool. but it was the deciding factor when it came to whether I did a machined diy or this.


Anyway. PayPal was sent this morning Sunday June 14th and as soon as I receive the kit from Andrew I will report back.


Also, my lathe is right on the edge of being too small for this job. I expect this to be a challenging yet rewarding project.  

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/14/20 1:34 p.m.

Cool! I saw Adam's video, and the machining of the parts sounded challenging. I'm eager to watch one go together.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/14/20 3:05 p.m.

It's definitely a kit for someone who already has tools :) Looking forward to this. 

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
6/15/20 6:55 p.m.


A while back I harvested this awesome cast iron base from a glass grinding machine. I think it will be totally appropriate to make the filer free standing 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/15/20 7:46 p.m.

So what exactly is this for and do i need one

RossD MegaDork
6/16/20 7:17 a.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

Look for Adam Savage's Tested youtube channel, and his episode where he is making a tiny machining vice. It was within 1 or 2 weeks ago. He uses the filer.

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
6/16/20 8:40 a.m.


Clickspring is probably responsible for most die filer sales these days. 


It is simply a very rigid, accurate reciprocating file. 



This old Tony's filer is a bit bigger.

The0retical (Forum Supporter)
The0retical (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/16/20 9:19 a.m.

In reply to Trent (Generally supportive dude) :

Guess what I didn't know I needed?

Seriously though interested to see what your impressions are of that kit.

Mezzanine Dork
6/16/20 12:05 p.m.

OOH! As a collector of ancient and outdated machine tools, I'll be following along with great interest. I first saw a die filer at an estate sale 18 years ago. I didn't know what it was and wanted to buy it, but at that time I couldn't afford it. I'm still not sure if it was a slotting machine or a die filer, because I didn't know much about old machine tools then. Major regrets to this day. I didn't leave that estate sale empty handed though: I picked up a drill press from the 20s and the band saw from the 50s along with some small measuring tools. 

Really looking forward to seeing the process to machine this. 


Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
6/18/20 12:53 p.m.

There was a heavy box on my doorstep when I got home from walking the dogs last night

Several pages of prints. I will read the documentation and plan my course if action 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
6/18/20 1:47 p.m.

Just to state the obvious, this is exciting!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/18/20 7:21 p.m.

I love that level of instructions. It weeds out those that do not have the skill. Sometimes, I think all that good instructions do is just make incompetents feel more confident. Like the way 4wd lets you get stuck further into the bush than 2wd does :)

A friend is building a tube amp. It came with a circuit diagram. The one I built a while back came with 100+ pages of instructions.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
6/18/20 7:37 p.m.
Trent (Generally supportive dude) said:

Clickspring is probably responsible for most die filer sales these days. 

Adam Savage is kind of having a Clickspring obsession recently, he's talking about him all the time in his videos.  Speaking of which, it's been a while since Clickspring put up a new full episode, he's mainly just been posting clips from previous videos.

11/1/20 5:50 p.m.



Have you started teh build on teh Die Filer ?

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
11/8/20 12:22 p.m.

In reply to shauna59 :

Yet another project I started when covid project mania took hold. Then my mill needed work, then the lathe, then the shop got full of work and I took on more of the business responsibilities.  Then I built a new motor for the mini and built an efi setup for it, then I did more work on the Fiat 850 parts... the list can go on for pages. 


The die filer parts got paint in preparation for machining and are still sitting waiting.  I still do a lot of shaping by hand and glance over at this potential time saver. 

I need to pull out the blueprints and make a schedule.  If I do a little bit every Friday I should be able to get it done eventually 

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