Saturday, December 9, 2023

Steady Rest

I made use of a steady rest for the first time today.  This is a device used to support cylindrical workpieces in a lathe when the chuck cannot hold it solidly enough to keep it steady when turning, especially when you put any load on it from cutting.

When I first bought this, I misunderstood it.  You loosen the screws holding the brass bars in place put the workpiece inside and move the bars until the workpiece is centered.  I bought a very nice magnetic base indicator holder to verify that it is centered.  The brass rubs against the aluminum.  You do not want to turn at too high a speed or the rubbing will become friction and perhaps move it out of center.

Anyway, it worked well enough for a long piece of aluminum that was unwilling to clamp down well in the chuck.  The original drill chuck that goes in the tailstock to drill a center hole has disappeared.  What I used was an absurd 1/2" chuck to drill a starter hole.  It worked but where did that 3/8" chuck go?  Search of the garage tomorrow.

It was a bit embarrassing to order a riser for the steady rest, open the box, and say, "I already have one on the steady rest.". Fortunately it was from Amazon so I am only out $6.99 for return shipping.  I will search for that missing chuck rather than just buy another.

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