Travers Tool is thrilled to announce the college level winner of our 2020 Travers Tool For Schools Scholarship is Vanessa Keshguerian, a student at Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina. Vanessa's project demonstrated a variety of machining applications and a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that will no doubt serve her well as she pursues a career in machining.



  1. Referred to the project blueprint to ensure I created each individual part to spec.
  2. Cut first side of the hammer handle from stock.
  3. Machined the handle & drilled a 3" hole into the part.
  4. Completed the cap head.
  5. Machined the second side of the hammer handle.
  6. Machined the hammer's head.
  7. Combined all three individual parts of the hammer.
  8. Used a polishing wheel to give the completed hammer a professional finish.

This project was my very first project when I started my machining program.  We made a Ball Peen Hammer and it took me maybe about two-three weeks to finish the project.  We went over the blueprint as a class.  Our professor informed us that this project would be divided into four procedures.  He started off by showing us how to create one side of the hammer handle.  Once the majority of the students completed the first side of the handle, he proceeded to show us how to do the cap that would screw into the bottom of the handle.  We continued the process as he showed us how to make the other side of the handle and the hammer’s head. 

I made sure to constantly refer back to the blueprint as I moved through each step to confirm all the details I needed to know in order to create each individual part. I also made sure to adjust any cutting speed or feeds as needed during this project. I found all the tools that I would need to cut the first side of the hammer handle and I touched off all my tools, making sure that the heights of my tools were correct. Once that was done I used my hand-grounded turning tool to face my part. I used a #2 center drill to drill a small hole in the face of the part so I could pull more of the stock out of the jaws and used the tail-stock to help hold the part. Once I secured the part by using the tail-stock, I used a two-wheeled knurling tool to add medium knurling to 6 inches of the handle. After the knurling, I adjusted the handle further into the jaws to be held closer to the knurling. Once it was secured again, I used a 3/16 drill to make a pilot hole and then a 13/16 drill to drill 3 inches into the part. Next, I used a tap to make the 7/8-14 UNF 3B threads 1.125” into the handle. 

Next, I worked on making a cap that would screw into the bottom of the hammer handle.  I went to the stock room again, I found and cut the stock to the length I needed for the cap.  I placed the stock into the jaws of the same manual lathe that I started the project with.  I set up all the tools I needed and made sure the heights were correct.  I did a facing pass with my hand ground tool.  Using the knurling tool to make the knurling the length of the cap plus the width of the knurling wheel to make sure I went far enough with the knurling.  I took my hand-ground turning tool and turned 1.125” of the cap down to the diameter I needed for the threading, leaving 0.312” for the actual cap head.  After grabbing the grooving/Parting off tool with a width of 0.125”, I moved the tool 1.125” in towards that part and placed 0.100 undercut right against the side of the cap head.  Since it was our first time doing external threads, the undercut helped so we wouldn’t crash the tool into the wall of the cap head.  I set up the manual lathe to do 7/8-14 UNF 3A threads and I checked the accuracy of the threads by seeing if I could screw on the hammer handle that I had previously cut.  Once I was able to screw the handle on all the way without any difficulty I knew the threads were done properly.  I got the grooving/parting tool back out, I moved the tool the length of the part plus the width of the tool, coming to a total of 1.437”. Once I was able to align this in the correct position, I slowly pushed the tool to “X0.000”, cutting off my part. This process took me between 1 and 2 days.


After completing the cap head, it was time to cut the second side of the hammer handle.  I grabbed a collar that would fit around the diameter of the handle so the knurling would not be destroyed by the chuck jaws.  Once the handle with the knurling end was secured in the jaws, I set up the tool heights and proceeded to do a facing pass with my hand ground turning tool.  Using the same tool, I turned down two different diameters, one was for one of the tapers and the second for the external threading.  I center drilled the head of the handle with a #2 center drill then set the part up with the tailstock again.  In order to do the three different tapers, I had to turn the compound to a specific degree then cut the amount that was needed three different times.  Starting off with the shortest taper, I turned the compound to 21.61 degrees and cut down to the diameter that was needed; the taper was 0.250” long.  I went to the next taper that was supposed to end up being 0.875” long, I turned the compound to 6 degrees and cut down to the diameter of 0.500”.  The last taper was made to be 2.00” long, I turned the compound to 7 degrees and cut it down to the diameter of 0.500”.  I loaded the external threading tool into the compound and set up the manual lathe to cut ½-20 UNF 2A threads.  In order to see if our threads were good our professor gave us a nut with the same threads, if the nut went all the way on it meant we were good to go.  This process took about 2 days.


The final part I needed to produce in order to complete this project was the hammer’s head, which required the use of both the manual lathe and the manual mill.  I got my stock and placed it into the chuck jaws of the manual lathe.  I set up my tools and used the same turning tool to face this part as well.  I used a radius forming tool with a width of 0.562”, I went over 0.812” plus the width of the tool.  Once I was in position I slowly cut the diameter of the part to 0.625”.  After cutting the radius on this side, I flipped the part and I moved the forming tool 0.438” plus the width of the tool passed the origin of this side of the part.  With the tool in position I was able to take the diameter down to 0.500”. With both radii completed, I grabbed the ball-radius forming tool and cut into the end of the part to form the ball-radius.  At this point I completed everything that I could do on the manual lathe, so I moved on to the manual mill to continue working to complete this part. Before I could resume working with the part I was producing, I had to tram the mill that I would be working on.  Tramming the mill took a good day or two since it was my first time doing it. However, once I was done with tramming it I was able actually get back to working on my part. Using parallel bars, I placed it into the vise grip of the mill but I made sure not to tighten the vise too much since the part is being made from aluminum which is a softer metal. Once in the vise, I used the edge finder to find the part’s center on the “Y-axis” and for the “X-axis” I started at the flat end of the hammer’s head and moved over 1.750” and placed the origin in that location.  At this point I had the part origin set up, I used a #2 center drill to make a small hole and then I used my rule to set the “Z-axis” origin.  I measured the thickness of the ruler and adjusted the “Z-axis” origin as it was needed.  Once I fixed the “Z-axis”, I used a 29/64 drill and went to a depth of 0.875”.  I then used a chamfer mill to chamfer the top of the hole.  At this point the hole was ready to be tapped, I got a ½-20 tap and carefully used the manual mill to tap the hole as far as I could go without breaking the tap. Not being able to go all the way to the bottom of the hole, I took the hammer’s head and placed it in a workbench vise grip.  I found a ½-20 bottoming tap and carefully used it to go to the very bottom of the hole.  With the machining portion of the project completed, I blew off any excess chips with the air hose and cleaned the threads as well as I was able to. The last thing I did was that I took all three parts of the hammer and used the polishing wheel that we had and polished it really well.  This process took about 3-4 days and resulted in a completed Ball Peen Hammer.


I was born in New Jersey and my family relocated to High Point, North Carolina when I was eleven years old. My brothers both graduated prior to me and started to attend GTCC only to get sidetracked by life and were unable to complete their studies. I am the youngest of three children and the first one to venture out of the family restaurant business to attend college after high school and further my education. I am a first generation college student in my family and the first of my siblings to attain a higher education degree. In my initial college studies I went on to master Sign Language and spent time working with Guilford County students who had learning disabilities and hearing loss. I am fluent in English, Armenian, Spanish and Sign Language. My grandparents came to the United States as a fall out of the conflict between Armenia and Turkey as survivors of that struggle. My grandparents were immigrants to the United States, my family has a rich cultural background but has also faced adversity and worked hard to achieve the accomplishments that they have in life. My grandfather, upon arrival to this country, learned the art of embroidery and making lace. He used machines to accomplish this and the most unexpected part of my journey to become a Machinist led me to learn more about early machining technology and we studied the machines that he had used. I hadn't expected to see that come full circle and connect me in such a meaningful way to my own personal history. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away when I was a young child so this unexpected connection took on a deeply personal significance for me.

In my future career I plan to find a local machining factory and gain experience both programming and operating the machines. I hope to find a position where I can float and work on different machines making different types of parts so I am doing different things day to day and gaining broad based experiences. I would love to become a foreman in the future, and possibly even become an instructor down the road and encourage other girls to consider a career in this field. I want to inspire them to see the possibilities. I would also consider opening my own business down the road creating custom pieces. There are really so many options to consider. As a female entering into a field where I will be underrepresented, it is even more important that I am at the top of my game and able to prove my value and asset to my future employer. I want to learn as much as I can and I am fortunate to have amazing faculty that really take their time to mentor and teach me everything that they can.

I knew that coming back to school would be a tough financial stretch in the short term that would pay off down the road as I am able to complete school and find a career in an industry that will not only support me but also provide a need in my community in a field that is underrepresented and in need of more workers with the skills and education to perform the necessary tasks related to the job. I am going back to school as a non-traditional student and have 4 children who I am supporting as I take on this endeavor. I am attending school full time during the week and working as many part time hours as I can around this schedule to help make ends meet at home. I chose to study the career pathway of Computer Integrated Machining and Production as I know that there is a local deficit of people who have to experience and knowledge to fill these positions. I also know that as a minority and as a female that I will bring further diversity to this field. I have always enjoyed working with my hands as well as using tools, and technology to create things. I enjoy and do well in math so this seemed like a perfect fit. I have been able to maintain straight A’s in all my classes. I am excited to bring this education through to the end and look forward to graduating with my Computer Integrated Machining Degree in May of 2021.

special thanks

Dynabrade Travers Tool For Schools Scholarship CosponsorDynabrade Travers Tool For Schools Scholarship Cosponsor

Travers Tool For Schools Scholarships are co-sponsored by Dynabrade, our trusted partner. We appreciate their continued support of the scholarship and their commitment to the future of American Manufacturing.

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