View Full Version : Small project completed today.

03-12-2006, 09:24 PM
I needed a bit of a break from my mill project and I also have several timing belt pulleys to make. I also need to slot a couple of internal keyways for the mill project. A while ago another board member posted a picture of a very nice tool to do such jobs on the lathe, basically a small hand operated shaper/key-slotter.

When I saw that I knew it was exactly what I needed to make the parts I require. I have been scribing dials and slotting pulleys by cranking the carriage back and forth and that gets old fast when you have to do it a few thou deep per cut and 700 strokes just to make one pulley.

So, a few weeks ago I decided to make myself such a tool. I stole the idea but not the design as I never copy or build from plans. I also wanted to use materials at hand. This is what I came up with:


I decided to put some info on the bottom so after I croak and it turns up on E-bay someone will have a clue what it is for and what it fits. It goes on the cross slide in place of the compound using the same attachment method. As well, there is a 5/16" pin that winds in the provided tapped holes on the cross slide and locates the tool so it is automatically aligned exactly the same when attached to the lathe. The pin engages one of the holes seen on the bottom right. I put in two holes for two pins and then realized that unless an interference fit only one pin would ever actually be locating and holding.

It is made from 1 1/2" welded square tube, .187" wall. This I chucked up centered in the 4 jaw to within a couple of tenths. I didn't feel like line boring the bushings so I wanted to see if I could get away without doing that. The ends of the tube were bored partially round inside to accept the two bronze bushings as a press fit. The bronze bushings are about 1 1/4" long each with shoulders.

The shaft is mild steel, OD 1". It was turned down from 1.125" and a hole bored in the end to accept tool holders.


When set up on the lathe for cutting pulleys or gears it looks like this:


By bolting my lathe milling table to a riser block that is clamped to the ways I can also cut racks.


The tool has a stroke stop that is an adjustable cam which has eight positions. Each position is 1/16" deeper than the last for a total adjustment of 1/2". The brass block to the right has a screw that can also be adjusted +- 1/16" to achieve any intermediate adjustment. That block is also very closely fitted to the slot milled in the top of the tube and acts to prevent the shaft from rotating.


The cam was milled on my lathe along with all other milling operations on this project. Also in this picture is the tool holder which fits a 1/2" hole in the end of the main shaft and is held by two set screws that bear on the relieved area of the holder.


On the top of the main tube is another brass block on the right which acts as a back stop. The back stop distance may be adjusted by simply placing whatever size block is required between the sliding block and the back stop.


The handle gives a seven to one advantage and is slotted (not visible). The shaft is pinned to the handle with hardened drill rod through the slot in the handle and the handle pivots on another length of hardened rod in the base. The pins are retained with set screws.


This little project was a blast. I had a lot of fun building this. I really like working to close tolerances and this gave me a chance to practice that. The shaft when extended has about .0002" slop and unmeasureable rotation as the slider guide block is lapped to fit the slot it rides in. Although it doesn't have many parts every part is a "high value" part in terms of time and operations required to make it. The top main assembly can be removed from the base that fits the cross slide with just two bolts. It has milled slots on the side so it can be toe clamped to a table.

I tried it out and in aluminum it will easily take cuts .020" deep per stroke. I know this is going to be a very handy addition to my shop.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-12-2006).]

03-12-2006, 09:32 PM
Absolutely incredible! It looks like a tool that a person would pay a few hundred bucks for.

03-12-2006, 09:33 PM
nice job Evan, a very handy addition to the shop. from the view with square, it's substantial looking! how big is the bore and any comments on tricks and challenges in machining that long a cylinder and bore to those tolerances?

03-12-2006, 09:37 PM
I was wondering why you hadn't post much over the weekend. It might be a little large for my present lathe, but I would build that from your plans, when you publish them (hint,hint).

Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

03-12-2006, 09:45 PM
As usual a good idea brilliantly executed.......................................... .................................................. .......................................I hate you.


03-12-2006, 09:56 PM
UP to your usual high standard of work, I see. You made a comment that tickled me, about marking just what the gizmo is used for in case it winds up on ebay some day. I have a whole drawer full of widgets I've made over the years, to solve some problem at the time (mostly gun assembly related), with no clue today what they were used for. If the same dilemna were to come along again, would I recognize the tool for what it was intended? Or would I make another?? Ebay my ass. I need to mark them for my OWN future use. Your hand hobber is grade A, ya hoser.

03-12-2006, 10:04 PM
Damn!!! NICE work!!

I want one too....but there's only 1 small problem with the design.....and that's the form of power it requires. Built by "Armstrong and Co."?? Now, those guys went outta business long time ago...where's the motor and pitman arm to run that thing??

Michael Moore
03-12-2006, 10:29 PM
Hi Evan,

That looks nice. Why did you put the lever vertical instead of horizontal - ease of construction in locating the lever pivot?

If the lever extended out in front of the lathe it seems like it would be easier to use.


mike petree
03-12-2006, 10:43 PM

03-12-2006, 10:49 PM
Real nice Evan, yep, really nice.. Good job with the cam by the way, that is my downfall, dealing with cams, kinda like chess, you gotta think ahead, weird thing is, I'm pretty good at chess...

Also, fine photography as usual. Hey, how bout throwin a monkey wrench in the deal. Next time, post some fuzzy, outta focus, under exposed, dark photos of your work http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Good show, JRouche

03-12-2006, 11:01 PM
To answer a few questions:

The shaft is 1" OD. Chucking up the square tube accurately to bore the ID isn't the same as chucking up a piece of round in the 4 jaw. First, the square stock wasn't precisely square, it was about 10 thou larger across one pair of sides than the other. This means in order to center the work measuring with the DTI opposite corners only to be equal reading and the other two corners (diagonal from each other) to be equal but at a different reading. The jaws must be adjusted as adjacent pairs opposite the other adjacent pair, not single opposite pairs.

I used large 1/2" blocks of aluminum between each jaw and the work, with the blocks sticking out about another inch past the jaws on the work. This ensured a very secure hold on the work when boring. I also have a good 6" Bison 4 jaw which helps.


There are no plans, what you see is the closest you get. Sorry.


As for putting the lever horizontal that is just begging for me to back into it and ruin the work. I also figured it would produce the least flexing in the entire carriage (gibs tight!) by putting it vertical as the weight of the handle wouldn't be trying to rotate the assembly and I wouldn't be tending to push or pull it up or down.

I forgot to mention that it has 1 1/2" maximum stroke.

03-12-2006, 11:38 PM
Excellent work, as usual... http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v35/lathefan/c81448bb.gif Evan.

03-12-2006, 11:53 PM
"where's the motor and pitman arm to run that thing?? "

Trust me KF, the idea has occurred to me... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-12-2006, 11:57 PM
Evan, I should just make a script that automatically says,"Nice work Evan" every time you make a post showing your latest project.
I know its a huge pain in the ass to do but it would be nice if you take step by step photos of one of your projectst to show your techniques. I know with all your posts as a whole, you have shown us most of your techniques, but it would be nice to see them applied in a nice how to project/article.

[This message has been edited by BillH (edited 03-12-2006).]

03-13-2006, 12:03 AM
I considered it but I would have to wash my hands too often. Maybe on the next project. On this one I was trying some new (to me) techniques which all happened to work really well. I guess I should have taken more pics.

Thanks for the compliments guys.

03-13-2006, 12:13 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by BillH:
Evan, I should just make a script that automatically says,"Nice work Evan" every time you make a post showing your latest project.</font>

I dunno about a script, but how bout a "smiley"?


Evan, you're gonna have to stop posting nifty stuff, I'm gonna have to start a section in my notebook "Cool stuff Evan built"

My engenious but lazy mind automatically started thinking of way's to power it. The only way I can think of to do it while still keeping the adjustment feature is to use an air cylinder, a solenoid and limit switchs, with the front one on say a micrometer slide.


This Old Shed (http://thisoldshed.tripod.com)

03-13-2006, 12:43 AM
Very nice work! Photos are just as nice as the work, too. It's stuff like this that makes me hit this BBS so often, thanks for sharing.

Regarding photoing more steps of the project:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
I considered it but I would have to wash my hands too often.</font>

What we need for you is some camera rig which makes it easy to pick it up and snap a few shots without getting the camera dirty.

03-13-2006, 01:06 AM
Evan, as usual very nice and useful piece. Well thought out and executed. Something else on my Roundtuit list.


03-13-2006, 01:06 AM
Wow! That is nice Evan. I need one of those.

Any chance it will be on eBay soon? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Does the handle being on top offer any advantage to a side throw?

03-13-2006, 01:12 AM
Evan, your next project is to build a wobble box for that thing. The MacDon design would be a good one to use I'd think..


03-13-2006, 02:08 AM
I like the air power idea. Beside, those sickle drives are a bit heavy. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Also, I have just the thing to drive the handle without modification except for a hole near the top. I already have an air compressor next to the lathe so all I need to do is cobble up a bracket of some sort that can mount on the tailstock end of the lathe and a simple bit of control electronics together with these parts:


03-13-2006, 06:15 AM
Nice work, Guy Latard has plans for a very similar setup used for engraving dials on the lathe,I think you could do the same with yours and increase it's versitility
even more. Good job.

03-13-2006, 06:28 AM
Wow, its all been said, Nice work Evan.

The tame Wolf !

Your Old Dog
03-13-2006, 06:49 AM
Yea! What Wolf said http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

At least we was able to jump in before the automated version is out! I'm anxious to see your "big" project when it's finished and made public!

03-13-2006, 07:53 AM
Nice work. I want one.

How do you hold the chuck from moving when you start making a keyway?

03-13-2006, 08:25 AM
Very nice as usuall.

I have a question.

Are those two holes in your crosslide original? I see you like to use them for a lot of your setups.

My 9C doesn't have them. And it's really begging.

If they are, is it possible to get the dimensions of where they are located and the hole and thread size?


Steel Wheels
03-13-2006, 09:05 AM
very very nice

Steel Wheels
03-13-2006, 09:09 AM
how about a locomotive drive rod and wheel on the tailstock end coupled to a mini live steam engine for linear motion. Stroke adjustment could be accomplished bt drilling holes in wheel at say .25 intervals.

03-13-2006, 09:34 AM
Nice work Evan, Why don't you submit it to the magazine

Rob http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-13-2006, 09:35 AM

You've done it again, as usual!

Excellent job.


03-13-2006, 10:05 AM
Nice job Evan, I want one too! I knew there was going to be a use for that air cylinder I saved.

03-13-2006, 11:20 AM

I am sure the holes are factory. Here they are:



03-13-2006, 11:33 AM
Evan, thank you very much.


03-13-2006, 11:35 AM

I intend to use it to engrave dials.



Here is a 100 point indexing plate I made for just that purpose.


It is held in the spindle by a mandrel.


I also have another indexing arrangement that uses the change gears:


03-13-2006, 11:53 AM

As usual, a truly awesome piece of work. My compliments.

I especially like the cam to limit the depth of cut. With the way you
implemented it, it should be easy to add a further design refinement.

Provide a means of indexing the rotation of that cam by a fixed angular amount
with each return stroke of the actuator arm. Then you can make up special
purpose cams that automatically set the depth of cut when doing indexing.
This will automatically provide for every fifth and tenth index mark to be a
different length than the unit marks without the need to remember where you
are in the indexing progression or having to go back over the work to increase
the length of the fifth and tenth marks.

Again, beautiful work. I need to make one.

Regards, Marv

Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things

03-13-2006, 12:06 PM
"My engenious but lazy mind automatically started thinking of way's to power it. The only way I can think of to do it while still keeping the adjustment feature is to use an air cylinder, a solenoid and limit switchs, with the front one on say a micrometer slide."

Many years ago I needed a power stapler to assemble booklets with a saddle stitch. Had a solenoid of unknown source and specifications which would put out one heck of a "whomp" when hit with 115 volts (so do I, but that's another matter). Rigged that to slap the heads of industrial level staplers (three of 'em) and use a spring to pull everything back ready for the next booklet. Something like that could work with your neat tool, Evan.


03-13-2006, 12:08 PM

Really neat work!

Could you post a pic of the slot in the base of the handle? I am having trouble envisioning what it needs to look like.

How did you make the 100 hole index wheel?


03-13-2006, 12:32 PM
Evan. thanks, great idea.

03-13-2006, 12:55 PM
The slot in the handle is simply a 3/4" long slot that runs in line with the long axis of the handle near the left edge. It allows for the small arc that is made by the handle in relation to the pin in the end of the shaft it pushes during the stroke.

I made the 100 hole index plate by bolting together a pair of change gears in a compound arrangement on the banjo and using a stop similar to the one shown with the change gears. I don't recall the exact gears I used as I only needed to do it once. It works the same way as my metric change gear compound I made except instead of using it to drive the lead screw I used a stop to hold the train in place for each hole I drilled on the disk taking care to take up the slack the same way each time.



I drilled the disk with this unit made from a super cheep Chinese drill press.


03-13-2006, 02:00 PM
Man Evan, You're the master of ingenuity! I really like the drill press use. I've seen the conversion done several times but yours looks the cleanest.

You make the Kenbota look like a cheap carnival ride. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Last Old Dog
03-13-2006, 04:41 PM
Evan, the elements of fine design and execution are present in all your work, you are an inspiration, well done.

If one were to equip this with power assist/actuation, I would entertain employing a hydraulic 'control' cyl and flow control valves for precise rate of feed adjustment, whilst retaining rapid return, also with retract cushioning. Actuation triggers can be mounted anyplace in the linear axis. An e-stop over pressure trigger may serve as a safety.

The hyd cyl will control travel at end of stroke break-through and internal cushioning will prevent slamming home. All smooth action with precise control. Save your arm for racquet ball.

As mentioned above, a sequential index mechanism can semi-automate production.

My hat is off to you, LOD

03-13-2006, 04:52 PM
All nice ideas Marv and LOD. I would much rather use air as there is no messy fluid to worry about. Actuation speed is easily controlled with a simple dashpot. I don't have that many of anything to make at this time so I will just stay with hand operated for now. In the future the opportunity may present itself for very low volume production and in that case I would probably buy a shaper.

For my hobby projects I don't mind taking my time, in fact I am forced to by my health. This gadget will be a big improvement over cranking the carriage back and forth and that is what I need for now. I might set up the air actuation just for fun but it will wait until after I have the mill done and running.

Thanks again all for the nice words. We all like to hear them from time to time.

Michael Moore
03-13-2006, 05:29 PM
It occurs to me that one advantage of having the device mounted to the top-slide swivel is that it allows one to cut a keyway that follows the taper on a shaft, which wouldn't be possible for one that mounted in the tailstock.

I hadn't thought of that until seeing Evan's project. I suppose he could also start putting tapered dials on all of his work now that he can engrave the lines at any angle he wants. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


Last Old Dog
03-13-2006, 05:49 PM
Michael, What's next? Bevel gears?

Edit- spelling

[This message has been edited by Last Old Dog (edited 03-13-2006).]

03-13-2006, 06:19 PM
Heh. Tapered dials eh? Something like this maybe?


I still need to figure out the indexing to engrave a degree scale on the base. Of course I will have to mount the device on the milling table to do that, hence the toe clamp slots.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-13-2006).]

03-13-2006, 06:25 PM
As usual, outstanding work Evan.

03-13-2006, 06:26 PM
Evan, are you and Rudy K. Brothers?
Or cut from the same cloth?
I see more than a few simularities.

The tame Wolf !

03-13-2006, 06:33 PM
"Evan, are you and Rudy K. Brothers?
Or cut from the same cloth?
I see more than a few simularities."

I'll take that as a compliment since there is one very significant difference. I'm still breathing.

03-13-2006, 06:53 PM
Yea, But he will live forever,as long as we keep him in our thoughts,as will you.
Now get busy and write a book.

The tame Wolf !

03-13-2006, 08:14 PM
I don't believe it.

I actually suggested something that would IMPROVE one of Evan's ideas. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Evan, if you do decide to make the change to "air power", keep us informed, I'm interested in how good it's repeatability is - another idea just struck me: Mebbe a "hard" stop along with a limit switch? this way it will stop in the same place all the time, and with the limit switch dumping the air pressure, the hard stop wouldn't take too much a beating. I bet you could use one those el cheapo chinese micrometer heads, good adjustability, and repeatability.


This Old Shed (http://thisoldshed.tripod.com)

Last Old Dog
03-13-2006, 09:31 PM
Evan, you mentioned an aversion to employing hydraulics into a feed assist in this device. My humble experience suggests the following:
1. The compressibility of air severely complicates predictable linear motion influenced by varying loads.
2. In my former example, the pneumatic cyl acts merely as the prime mover, providing the max force, whilst the hyd cyl acts as velocity control. Discriminating positional segment velocity control is necessary to efficient machining.
3. Small independent cushioned hydraulic control cylinders properly equipped with one-way flow control valves can control; initial workpiece approach velocity, cutting speed, suppress violent breakout velocity, and also control rapid retract and deceleration rates returning to the end-of-cycle position.
4. Cylinders, pneumatic and hydraulic, un-cushioned, are subject to high velocity end-of-stroke impacts which send both P Wave and S Wave shocks through the mechanisms
5. Cushioning provides internal predictable deceleration rates resulting in a 'soft landing'. This also reduces noise, heat build up, and 'severe impact' fatigue.
6. No need for pumps etc. A small pressurized surge tank employing sufficient fluid cooling is generally sufficient, although because work is being done, heat build up must be mitigated.

Thanx for your patience, LOD

03-13-2006, 09:57 PM
Damn Evan, as usual nice work.

03-13-2006, 10:05 PM
Nice as usual Evan.

Now all you need is a device to remind you WHICH lines need to be 1/4" longer and which don't http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I know I do http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-13-2006, 10:13 PM
Evan -
Very nice, as has been said.

I think I need to comb through the archives to see all the mods you've done to your lathe. You know that you're proving wrong all of the nay-sayers that poo-poo "universal" machines. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-13-2006, 10:33 PM
Lines are easy http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

Now those numbers are top notch. How did you scribe the numbers? JRouche

03-13-2006, 10:38 PM
Yeah, it is sort of becoming a "universal" machine. The difference is that these are all attachments and the lathe hasn't been modified at all with the singular exception of a hole drilled and tapped in the end of the lead screw for the electronic lead screw drive. That has always been something I haven't wanted to do (modify it) as I prefer to keep the lathe in original configuration.


That air cylinder is from a fancy reprographic machine that I used to work on and I know some tricks for making air manageable. In particular, that cylinder won't develop more than about 75 lbs of effort with 120 psi air. It's double acting and by limiting the outflow with a regulator speed and effort can be set by just turning a knob. The regulator on the outflow side sets the pressure difference in the piston. An adjustable orifice before the reg sets the speed.


The numbers were done by holding the punches in a tool holder in the lathe, bringing it up to the work and eyeballing the alignment, bring it up to touch and giving a small whack with a hammer. Since I have plain bearings I don't worry about the spindle bearings at all for that sort of thing.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-13-2006).]

03-13-2006, 10:48 PM
Ah, it's ok I guess. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Nice work as usual. I like homemade stuff like that.
Comes to mind that a similar linear device could benefit from being designed as a double acting hydraulic cylinder, actuated by a separate unit which could be motor driven. That would remove much of the unknown variable flexes that could otherwise be applied, as with direct hand operation. Of course, the separate unit could be hand operated, or motor driven, or operated through suitable controls from a standard sort of hydraulic pressure system. How about electric valves and your own electronic control system, complete with suitable sensors- Oh, oh, another project idea!

03-13-2006, 10:52 PM
"How about electric valves and your own electronic control system, complete with suitable sensors- "

Uh, I think I mentioned that just above the pic of the electric valve body and cylinder... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-13-2006, 11:24 PM
Yabut, I wanna know why all your accessories aren't painted South Bend Grey? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-14-2006, 12:51 AM
I like shiny things. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif (I also like black and will continue to use it until they find a darker color)

Ok, I couldn't help myself. I went down to the shop and cobbled up a quick test rig for the air cylinder to see if it is suitable to operate the hobber/slotter/etc.

It's perfect. It has just the right stroke and the right amount of push on 70 psi which is good as it is rated to 75 psi. It will take a .020" depth of cut no sweat. All it will need is a dashpot to control and cushion it and even at full pressure on the handle at end of stroke nothing appears strained.


All I have to do is build a real bracket assembly that slides on the ways like the tail stock and locks in place. Piece-o-cake.

However, i am not going to do that right now. Really. I'm not going to do that right now. Really I'm not...

Here is what the cuts look like at .020" doc. That is actually a bit deep for best results as it can slightly tear the material at slow cut speeds.