Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lathe Lessons Learned

Fortunately without bloodshed, unlike the drill press.

Want to turn a cylinder to a particular diameter?  The obvious way is to put the workpiece in the chuck, and slowly advance the cutting tool down the ways towards the chuck.  This works if the workpiece is not terribly heavy and you have it well centered in the chuck.  However, it works a lot better if you drill a hole in the center of the free end, and hang the workpiece between chuck and live center.

How precisely do you need to center the hole the live center goes into?  The more accurately, the better, but amazingly enough it is only essential if you are removing a very small amount from an existing cylinder.  When the cutting tool works its way down the workpiece, it doesn't need to make a cylinder with walls parallel to the workpiece.  If you are a little off-center, you will cut an entirely new cylinder which may not be a subset of what you started with, but will be a perfect cylinder.

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