View Full Version : Roller tips on steady rest

04-16-2003, 11:11 PM
I want to convert the brass tips into roller tips on my steady rest. I have a 12x36 GH Grizzly and the fingers are roughly 1/2" round. Anyone know where I can obtain either/or;

1. The complete tip assy I can swap in with little trouble?

2. Rollers with about 1/8" dia center hole in the 1/2" to 5/8" dia. x 3/8" to 1/2" wide range.

3. Other suggestions.

I've about worn out my welcome at all the auto/parts places in town.


Dave Opincarne
04-16-2003, 11:18 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by GreenWillyPeter:
I've about worn out my welcome at all the auto/parts places in town.


GWP, what have you been doing now http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Asside from the obvious online bearing and industrial supply houses, check out bicycle shops. Bearings in that size range are pretty common and of decent quality.


Dave Opincarne
04-16-2003, 11:21 PM
Forget everything I just said, any place that sells roller blade wheels (sporting goods store) will have high quality bearings in quantity. These bearings need to be replaced freaquently.


04-16-2003, 11:47 PM
Pilot bearings for router bits are stout enough for what you want to do. Any woodworking tool house should have them or Eagle or Home Depot.

Alistair Hosie
04-17-2003, 02:33 AM
Thrud beat me to it I would suggest you get the bearings fo routers you can buy these cheaply enough.If you want details of them try
regards Alistair or there should be a U S company who does them cheaply

04-17-2003, 07:55 AM
When this subject came up several months ago, didn't somebody say that rollers on a steady rest were in fact not all that hot an idea? Something about rolling over any chips that get on the surface, vs. (with brass tips) wiping them off.

I've never used a roller steady rest, so I don't know how much it actually matters.

04-17-2003, 08:43 AM
In some cases rollers have worked well for me but there is a tendency to roll chips and make a mess. Solid brass/bronze works well except when cutting course threads. A while back in cutting an acme thread in 4140, the damn brass "fingers" became threaded themselves and drove the carrage! It was a surprise to disengage the half nuts but have the carrage still traveling! It might be a good idea to have several sets of fingers of different types for different jobs. Remember, one can never have too many tools! Or too much meatloaf!

G.A. Ewen
04-17-2003, 09:16 AM
I built a set of roller tips, used them only once and thru them out. It doesn't take long to spoil the piece that you are working on when chips roll under them. If you have not already done so, check out the cathead rest posted under "Jims Recent Project" ( page # 3 ).

04-17-2003, 04:24 PM
I've been pleased w/these folks as a small bearing source (only had two transactions):

04-17-2003, 05:47 PM
I have a roller bearing steady rest, and like it. My trick has been to use a piece of PVC where the roller bearings sit, and also make an aluminum insert for the PVC with the diameter of the part bored in the aluminum. Takes a bit of work and thinking, but the results have been great.

I made a set erly in my days as a machinist for a job I did at the shop I worked in. They were made to fit over the body of the brass tipped steady rest fingers - slip fit, and I made a keyway to fit with the key on the fingers. The bearings I used were bought from the good old hardward store - 3/4 diameter with a 1/4 center as I recall, and I slotted and drilled and such.

This is also where I learned the PVC and aluminum insert trick.

For small stuff, I keep on hand a bunch of delrin from 3/4 inch diameter to 2" diameter. Bought 1 - 3 foot bar of each 3/4, 1", 1 1/2, and 2". Probably cost me about $20.00 about ten years back, but I still have about 2 feet of each left. he beauty of the delrin is you bore it to .001 OS of the part being held, slide it on, and the small pressure and slight heat from the process makes it hold right on track. The delrin is durable enough to work just fine.

Comes off easy enough, slight pressure, and re-usable.

I use the delrin method most.

I prefer my roller tips over the brass tips because I actually do a lot of brass and aluminum work using the roller tips and the bushings.

04-17-2003, 07:31 PM
I used a roller bearing steady rest for turning wood instrument bodies when doing repairs. I wouldn't thing of using anything else for that. I had one for my logan lathe, but have yet to find an afordable steady for my 10" SB. I've been thinking of building one out of some 3/4" thick 6061 aluminum scrap I have. Anyone done this before? What are the negatives, besides having to have parts tig welded together if I don't want to use mechanical fasteners in the frame? Because a steady rest is adjustable, I figured that aluminum against the ways of the lathe would be fine, and wear would not be a hugh consideration. I have and will use this steady rest for instruments which are fairly light, hollow wood tubes. Not a great deal of mass to deal with. Opinions ?

Dave Opincarne
04-17-2003, 07:38 PM
Matt, I would suggest the use of a cat head over roller tips for holding wood. While the rollers are better than soft tips, the wood will still be moving over the bearing surface and possibly crushing wood fibers or harming the finish. With the cat head and soft jaws/pads the wood will not move relative to the contact surface and damage will be further minimized.


04-17-2003, 08:07 PM
I use both types daily at work,I have found that the rollers work good so long as they are wide enough as not to form a groove in the shaft being turned.I have also found that cam followers are the best choice for the job,we have a big 24/120"lathe that came with ball bearings about 12 mm wide I found that even at moderate speeds the bearings would not hold up so I replaced them with cam followers that were 1" wide by 1"od worked great you can get them at W.Grainger,McMaster-Carr,Applied industrial tech,and Kamaan Tech in sizes as small as .125"bore .5"wide and.5"od

04-17-2003, 11:57 PM

I had to cut an inside thread in some sort of precision tubing. Something for a microscope I believe. A fairly long tube that needed outboard support. I made three teflon caps for the steady rest arms to support tube without scarring the surface. I was surprised at how resistant to wear the teflon was. They performed so well I just left them on, used them for other jobs.