I'm new here, but I've been searching and reading everything I can find on the 'net on various tools and techniques for knurling trying to figure this out.
Here's what I am trying to do - put a medium diamond knurl on 303 stainless rod about 9 mm in diameter (or 11\32" - same difference).
I don't have a lathe. I do have a drill press. I can cut and notch fairly thick steel with an abrasive wheel fairly accurately on my old Shopsmith, although it does take a good while. I have more time than money these days - sound like a familiar song?
Since I only care to knurl one diameter, I'm not sure I really need a lot of adjustment for rod diameter, and the good quality 3-wheel hand knurlers seem like overkill, besides which they cost a pretty penny. I've also seen negative reports on the cheaper import versions (like the Enco).
Anyway, I figure I ought to be able to make a knurler with 3 wheels that I can clamp onto the 11/32" or 9mm rod in the drill press (or horizontally in the Shopsmith chuck) and knurl away. I want to knurl sections long enough to cut apart and make tiny knurled knobs (1/2" long) to go on fine threaded rod for adjustments (4-40). They will attach to the threaded rod with a set screw. I'm willing to spend some time making the thing (day or so).
Here's the ideas I've been playing with. Please share your experience with knurling and knurlers.
Would a knurler with ONE female diamond knurl wheel and two brass (or aluminum or even rubber-covered steel rollers) to keep it centered on the rod work? Would this be more or less likely to track than other designs?
What about one right and one left diagonal knurl and either a third diagonal knurl or maybe just a centering wheel (like above idea - i.e., one less knurl roller to have to track the other)?
On small diameter rod like this, how difficult is it to make the knurling track, i.e., not double? (Not trying to start anything, I've read all the old threads, but I'm guessing those discussions were more addressing knurling rod at least 1/2" to 1" in diameter, and I'm talking a tad less than 3/8". I can't figure out if smaller diameter rod makes tracking any harder - or easier, for that matter - hey, wouldn't THAT be nice!).
Would smaller or larger diameter knurl wheels be better for this application? The knurls seem to be mostly 3/4", but I have seen 5/8". Are the beveled knurls helpful? I don't have to knurl up to any flanges or make neat transitions to un-knurled sections of rod.
I am still trying to make sense of all this TPI and diametrical pitch stuff - I have read and am still re-reading all the stuff pointed out here from all the knurl companies, perhaps I'm just being a bit dense. Will any of the standard knurls track on 11/32" rod (or 9mm, if that's easier).
I'd like a medium knurl, but I'll take what works, preferably without buying a bunch of different wheels trial-and-error. Not asking for promises or easy answers, just what you think might be helpful to a novice at this other than the reading I've done and just diving in.
Thanks in advance for any help, thoughts, ideas.
And BTW, I LOVE this group. Hate I didn't find it sooner!