DIY steady rest for metal lathe
The basic shell is done. Now I have to slot the 3/4" square stock to make the arms, install the bearings, and weld on short sections of 3/4" stock to the ring, and I have an incredibly crude steady rest for my lathe:
Here's all the pictures if you're interested:
Making this is my cheap-bastid approach to avoiding spending several hundred dollars for a used steady rest off ebay or a surplus industrial supplier. So far the materials (including the three bearings) have cost me less than $30 including tax.
I didn't see where it says so but.... is that for a Clausing 6300 or so? Got that ridged "lay no tools on me" headstock look. Curiousity I guess.
Good eye! Yes, it's a Clausing 6300 series (6303?, 6309?) 12x24 Lathe.
Saving dollars AND doing a job that provides satisfaction is the fun, right?
Do you intend to rib the ring?
It looks good Fred. Good photo sequence too.
Yep, making stuff *usually* satisfies my cheapness, and of course making anything that works is satisfying.
Unfortunately I average about 50/50 when it comes to things working out well
As far as ribbing, the outer ring while much thinner than I would have liked (went with what's available), it seems fairly stiff. When I had it in the chuck I wasn't able to warp it while tighting the chuck, but that doesn't mean under the load of boring thick stock it won't flex or wobble.
I'm not sure how to do ribs actually... one option I intially considered, then stopped thinking about, was to take a piece of 1/4" plate that's slightly larger than the ring, and cut out the ring's OD, then weld it around the perimeter, and use it to put the bolts through for the arms, to the back pieces I haven't welded on yet. I stopped thinking about this plate because I decided I wanted the boltheads to directly clamp the arms to the backing posts, for lack of a better word, for maximum tightness. I didn't want the arms to work loose. Going to use fine thread grade 8 bolts too.
The steady rest is at the beginning of a daisy chain of projects actually...
I installed a small snowplow onto my riding mower... and wanted to actuate it with air cylinders. I tried making them however I couldn't get a super fine finish on the ID due to the tubing I used wiggling just slightly as pressure from the cutter is applied. HSS or carbide, dry or sopping in cutting fluid. A steady rest is necessary, so that's what sparked my deciding to make one.
All because I was too cheap to find suitable air cylinders in the marketplace
Needed a pair of air cylinder to actuate it up and down, left and right (need steady rest for this)
Last edited by midiguy732; 12-01-2006 at 03:39 PM.
Well it's a little off topic but if you want cylinders to move the blade, up down tilt angle whatever, for a riding mower size snowplow, go to your local junkbin landfill.
Look for the old 10-12 satellite dish actuators, and the the dish linkages will come in handy. Just an idea that might work for you that eliminates hydraulics on the small lawn tractors. It ain't gonna move much snow anyways, but it's still better than a shovel.
That might be another project.....
Your steady rest should look and perform well, when finished,
I constructed one for my SB10L, using oxy,power hacksaw, drill press
A piece of .5x2" flat steel was cut across at 45 degrees, the pieces reversed
and welded to .375x1.5 flat bar, this was then cut to the correct length
to fit the lathe bed. The angle was filed to obtain a neat fit, this was then
clamped square to the bed, a .25x.75x2 flat was clamped on the underside
against the outside way and then welded on the ends.A .375 hole was
drilled in the centre, a corresponding .5x2" flat was cut ground and drilled
to be used as a clamp.
A plate aprox 7"x8" was welded centre on the above after a 1" hole was
drilled just inside on centre,and the remaining portion was cut out and
filed to accomadate the clamp bolt.
After an appropriate drill bit was placed in the chuck, the assembly was
lightly clamped in lathe and marked accordingly. This mark was then
centre punched and used as a reference for all future layout.
The outer portion was oxy cut to shape using aprox a 3" radius, the lower
part being profiled along the lines of steady rests shown in "How to Run
a Lathe", .25" holes drilled at certain points assisted in this.
a 4" dia centre was then cut out, and all oxy cuts ground and tidied up.
Lugs to accomadate the jaws were then welded in place.(.375x1x2.125)"
Jaws were fabricatered from .375 square steel, and held in position by
.375 bolts in tapped holes. Two sets of jaws were constructed,3" & 3.5".
Adjustment is made by threaded .375 bolts mounted in lugs welded at
right angles to the jaws..375x1" flat being used.
The circle was then cut accross the centre with a hacksaw and a hinge
and clamp constructed and welded in place.
This steady works well, at the present time the jaws are only mild steel,
but with suitable lubricant seem to work OK, may fabricate some with an
overlay in the future.
I'm aware that the mower is going to be traction impaired, since the engine is in the front and the clipping catchers are empty. More than likely I'll be putting rocks, bricks, or scrap metal in the catchers to balance things out. The goal is to push the bulk of the snow, then finish up with a shovel. My back unfortunately cannot handle lifting snow all day, but scraping the surface I can do no problem assuming the hot chocolate supply is continual.
I went to several somewhat local junkyards to see what was available, but didn't see any sat dishes, I found two things reasonably close... a full meyers plow rig (minus the plow) but it weighed more than my riding mower, and of course the silly little side window actuators found in many minivans, which have a whopping travel of about an inch. For a while I debated using the lathe to make a simple aluminum spool (like a fishing reel, just longer) and attaching it to a wiper motor as most of them have worm gears and are geared down suitably. Both yards wanted $40 for wiper motors in "no idea if it works, but electrical items cannot be returned or exchanged" so since I had a small (and I mean small!) air compressor from a luxury car's air suspension sitting around doing nothing... and some 4" OD black pipe lying around... you see how this progressed
Ideally I'd find an atv plow mount and driving assembly, but didn't get that lucky unfortunately. Did get the plow though... $25 in what looks like unused condition!
RW - sounds like you made a really nice unit... might you have a picture of it?
cheap but not necessarily nasty:)
50/50 is good betting odds Fred.
Currently I`m knocking up a mobile frame for my 4 x 6 bandsaw and have tacked the axle supports, removed and retacked twice; now she`s OK. The design? feature is unequal fulcrum points, it raises and lowers like a camel...front feet first, followed by the rear set . Two sets of mower axles/wheels ,swivel castors and a modified old steel frame.
Like a lot here, there are no holes in my pockets either .
very cool steady rest. i have been thinking about how to make one for my old SB 11" and may borrow some of your ideas.
one question comes to mind, you could stick some huge piece of round stock in that thing. why did you make it that diameter and not, say, 4"? just wondering. bigger is usually better and i was thinking of making a smaller rest, but if yours is as stable as you say, i may go bigger.