View Full Version : follow rest use

03-14-2011, 10:16 PM
i dont quite grasp the working of the follow rest from what i understand it supports the part of the work that is being worked so it needs to be readjusted at every cut ? or did i miss something here please enlighten me

03-14-2011, 10:25 PM
Yes to the re-adjustment every cut. As best I know it is used for light and long pieces of material to prevent deflection.

I am currently working with some water pipe and have to back off the follow rest when it gets to the shoulder of the cut near the head stock.

03-14-2011, 10:32 PM
i see sounds like it would be used but rarely as it would be very time consuming how would it be used in threading for example ?

03-14-2011, 10:57 PM
I have no experience in using the follow rest in threading but believe it would function thr sme but might need tightening as the thresds wear groves. I adjusted mine at the start of each cut and backed the individual bars out as the lathe continued cutting. I do have a guide that uses an "L" shape and yes that would be more time consuming.

03-14-2011, 11:02 PM
threading would keep a constant OD beween cuts.

The point of the follow rest is this.. Consider turning a 10" long peice thats 1/4" in diamiter.. Without a tailstock no less.

If you try and cut such a long slender peice, it will just deflect away. Maybe ride up ontop of the tool, bend, and start whiping around dangeriously.

Its also useful for other weak/long objects, Like say you wanna work near the end of a 20" long, 2" OD thin wall pipe. Its too big to fit through the hole in your headstock, So you gotta have it sticking out from the chuck.

Well, First off, your likey crimp the tube just trying to grab it securely in the chuck. Once you got that figured out, you'll realise trying to cut it near the end results in massive vibration (More like a howling sound) as the pipe resonates, and/or deflecting away, causing a bigger diamiter at the end of the pipe compaired to a cut near the headstock of the lathe. Follow rest would give it a secure support behind the tool, and stop the resonation, And keep it from deflecting and producing a taper.

03-14-2011, 11:07 PM
A note of clarification; I have two follow rests, the newer one has individual rods wit brass tips tha screw in or out independent of the other rod (both rods have replaceable brass tips. The older follow rest has the "L" shape to hold the top and the back simultaneously thus the lathe must be stopped for any adjustment. Using the new one is a lot faster than the older one.

Forrest Addy
03-15-2011, 12:17 AM
Every feature and attachment in the machineist trade has some disadvantages; no less for a follow rest. They're used as stated to support work against cutting forces at the point of operation but they are not a cure all. You may wish to lead the cut, trail the cut, or follow the cut depending on what you are doing.

A follow rest is indespensible for cutting lead-screw threads, long shafts, details on long shafts etc. As with a steady rest a follow rest may be used with a bushing and always with a chip shield or a flinger in place to prevent chips from being run under the jaws.

It's smart to be skeptical over the claimed features and uses of this item or that. "Show me" is only common sense. As with anything you need to prectice with a follow rest preferably on work that's inexpensive if you screw it up or practice exercises on surplus material., I suggest the first thing to practice using a follow rest is making a simple lead screw. Skim stock to a long constant OD then cutting an Acme thread on it to a standard size; then bole a nut to fit it with 0.003" backlash .

03-15-2011, 12:11 PM
thank you all for your explanation now i understand i made a follow rest for practice now i can use it lol have a nice day :) jack

03-15-2011, 01:26 PM
If you set the follower in front of the cut, then you won't need to re-adjust your follower with every new bar.
However, if you're making several passes on one bar, then YES, you will need to re-adjust the follower.

03-15-2011, 04:01 PM
so it needs to be readjusted at every cut ?

its worse than that.....if sometimes needs adjusting throughout the cut. on a light lathe the difference between the support of a centre and travelling steady and just the steady as things near the middle of long slender work can really affect things. I remember making a cross feed screw for a mill once and using thread wires to check set up a pattern of increasing the pressure of the fingers as it neared the middle and backing off as it got to the head stock. Of course that's after lots of futzing around making sure lathe levelness and tailstock alignment weren't compounding things...that was a tedious job. Now with my big lathe the travelling steady is about the most massive one imaginable and that problem doesn't seem to exist that i've noticed...but be aware of its potential with a light lathe.

fortunately travelling steady work is isn't that common, at least for me. I always found it a bit of pita....but when you need to make the long slender piece you'll be glad for having one

03-15-2011, 05:56 PM
I must be drunk. I just posted a dumb question in another thread, and I have one for this one too.

Why is there not (I assume) a device that is mounted on the carriage that really does "follow" the cut? I could see if the cut had multiple diameters, but if threading, or making straight cuts along a long single diameter, why not have the follow rest really follow the cut as it's happening? Seems like ball bearing support right beside the cutting tool would keep things quite stable.

Sorry, blame this question on Corona/lime.

03-15-2011, 06:03 PM

Like this:


03-15-2011, 06:19 PM
Freakin BINGO!!!

Now why wouldn't that be a real follow rest? It FOLLOWS! Wouldn't the other thing just be another steady rest- especially if it has to be adjusted all the time?

I do not own either device (though I am looking). I can see the need for a steady rest, not so much a conventional follow rest. The one you linked to seems to be a great addition to long slender turning.

Thank you Russ.

03-15-2011, 06:24 PM
garagemark: Follow rests DO bolt to the carriage and follow the cut.

Steady rests bolt to the ways, and don't move by themselfs

Steady rests do not need adjustment after every cut, only when you need support moved. Since you can't cut 'under' a steady rest.

Follow rests do need adjustment after every pass on the same stock, Because they DO follow the cuting action, and hence the diamiter they grip onto is diffrent every pass.. Unless..
You use a follow rest to cut something in *1* pass to desired size. You can do it with some stock, depending on the diamiters/lengths/torques involved. Then you can then cut another bar with the exact same setup, to the exact same tollerance with no taper, in one pass. Great for production of multiple items.

Also, When a steady rest is in use, its often a long slender part, At a low feed rate (Finishing) this can take a few mins per pass, So you may not be readjusting the steady rest nearly as often as you think.

03-15-2011, 11:46 PM
Steady rests bolt to the ways, and don't move by themselfs

Steady rests do not need adjustment after every cut, only when you need support moved. Since you can't cut 'under' a steady rest.

garagemark, just so we're not compounding the confusion, there's some geographical differences in nomenclature. Many of us, quite correctly, refer to them as the travelling steady rest and fixed steady rest while others call them follow rest and steady rest, equally correct....if you didn't know that, the conversation might not make huge sense.... or least might appear to have a quantity of contradictions well in excess of a normal hsm bbs thread :D