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Thread: Adapting a spin indexer to my lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default Adapting a spin indexer to my lathe

    I want to mount my spin index to my lathe. Would you guys adapt the spin index so it sits right on the cross-slide, or would you put it on the compound swivel?

    Advantages of mounting to the cross-slide:
    1. easier
    2. more rigid

    Disadvantage:
    1. Advance spin index using the carriage hand wheel. Not very precise and can't lock carriage.
    2. Will have to implement some mechanism of revolving the spin index since I do want to be able to drill into the face or edge of the stock.

    Advantages of mounting it to the compound swivel:
    1. I can swivel the spin index, though I think 0 and 90 would be about I'll I'd use. But you never know.
    2. I can add a screw and advance the spin index like the cross slide. This would be a lot nicer than having the move the carriage.

    Disadvantages:
    1. more complex to make
    2. will have to modify the spin index so it has room for the compound screw and bearings, etc. Adding a handle could be tricky since the drawbar may be in the way.

    Opinions?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2002
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    Cheyenne Wyo
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    I made a poor man's indexer for the lathe, it's a 360 tooth section of band saw blade brazed on the edge of a metal disc, with every tenth tooth marked. Mounts outboard after removing the guard from the gear train. Then there's a little plunger gizmo that engages the proper tooth that mounts on the bull gear cover. I believe it was a 10 tpi blade, so the diameter is around 8". Works pretty good!

  3. #3
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    Aren't you talking about two different indexing tasks?

  4. #4
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    I don't know. I want to drill holes into the face of a disk and I want to drill holes in the edge of a disk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Central Virginia, USA
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    Is the work already in the chuck? If so, I would not take it out, just to move it to a spindexer on the cross-slide. Instead, I would attach a drill motor to my toolpost, and drill with that. Evan did some thing similar with a cheap small drillpress head?

    allan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo2
    I made a poor man's indexer for the lathe, it's a 360 tooth section of band saw blade brazed on the edge of a metal disc, with every tenth tooth marked. Mounts outboard after removing the guard from the gear train. Then there's a little plunger gizmo that engages the proper tooth that mounts on the bull gear cover. I believe it was a 10 tpi blade, so the diameter is around 8". Works pretty good!
    Gizmo,

    That is a very cool idea. Thanks for sharing it. I have filed it away for future reference.

    Brian
    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

    THINK HARDER

    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

  7. #7
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    Jan 2003
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    Utah
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    Default

    Here's another inexpensive option if one already has a dividing head...

    Make a removable shelf on the outboard side of the lathe's headstock. It needs to be situated such that when the dividing head is placed on it, it's axis will be lined up with the lathe's spindle. Then connect the dividing head to the lathe's spindle with a shaft. If one doesn't want to drill holes for the removable shelf, an independent stool can be used that is made to the correct height and just set it near the outboard side of the headstock. Accuracy is not a must here! If one has a small table top lathe then just make a "bench" to set it on thereby making lathe size irrelevant.

    For the shaft that attaches the dividing head to the lathe's spindle: Machine a piece of steel such that it has a "sliding" fit into the spindle. Then cut a slit down the center for at least a couple of inches; drill and tap one side of the "half" for a screw such that when tightened it will push on the other side thereby creating a friction connection to the lathe's spindle. Nothing needs to be particularly accurate as it is ONLY used by hand.

    The nice thing about this is that it is out of the way; allows accurate divisions; allows any division limited only by the dividing head used; and frees the cross-slide for other operations.

    NOTE OF WARNING: While attached, remove the plug to the lathe or make it inoperable.

    By the way... If you don't have a dividing head - GET ONE! These should be considered a must in any shop.

    .
    Last edited by Mike Burdick; 11-10-2011 at 01:38 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    533

    Default

    Versamil has one of the best approaches to add indexing to a lathe spindle. See the "indexing head" here:

    http://www.versamil.com/page9.html

    The two main elements for attachment, much as described above, are a split sleeve that fits inside the spindle bore and a collar that gets attached to the back of the lathe.

    For drilling with this unit, I added sleeve bearings and a close fitting sliding straight arbor to an Aloris type boring bar holder. At one end of the arbor, a ShopSmith type chuck (which fits a 5/8" shaft). The other end was turned down to 1/2" to be driven by an electric drill. This was easy to use and would get holes located with a couple thousandths -- basically within the chuck runout.

    The Versamil indexer, in combination with a Versamil, is also great for making spur gears, splines, and the like. I found it easier than setting up on the mill.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    London, UK
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    Lathe dividing according to me.

    Get a set of old plates, and work from there. Make sure there's a good simple numbers plate, eg a 15 to 20 plate.

    Make an adapter for the plates that anchors inside, or around, the gear train end of the spindle. Make a hinged indexing lever. Now you've got basic indexing for the spindle.

    Next, go for some mounts to hold drills and other tools in the compound or the cross slide.

    For the full Monty, anchor a 60 tooth spur gear on the spindle, and cut a worm to match, Mount it at the worm angle and have the plates fix up to index the worm gear. Now, your lathe is a gigantic dividing head, and you can drill your own plates. I know this method of gearing is only giving you point contact, but where's the wear ?

    Next, make your own 360 hole plate, and you won't use your dividing facility much again, but it's always there when you need it.

    I did all of that, but I skipped the step to make the hinged indexing lever. It's been one of those round tuit things with me.
    Richard

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Tony,
    Yeah I can see your point about using a spin index adapted to your lathe. A suggestion, Set up your bare indexer casting so the internal bore is 100% dead on aligned with your mills X axis. Make multiple passes on your mill till one edge of the spin indexers base is cleaned up. That's your external referance surface for aligning your indexer to the cross, longitudinal slides travel on your lathe. Depending on what work your planning, Then an aligned and machined area on the front or rear of the spin indexer would be worthwhile too. For real accurate work you could use a sine bar against those referance surfaces to angle the work. If it were me? I'd go with it mounted to the cross slide for all the reasons you listed. Obviously your lathe is a bit larger than a mini lathe so to mount it to the cross slide you'd need to work that out. If your lathe has a tee slotted cross slide then your good to go. If not? Your on your own. The only real issue is getting the c/l of the spin indexer true to the lathes c/l.

    I've read more than enough articals to agree about just how usefull lathe headstock dividing, And having live tooling on the cross slide really is. You'll never get work more concentric than it is while it's still held in the lathe where it was machined. Lot's of time savings, Offset a bit by setting up the headstock dividing system. A real good book and it doesn't exactly fit the equipment you'd probably use this on,But it will give you a lot of interesting ideas. George H. Thomas "Workshop Techiniques" ISBN 1 85761 106 3 This book deals with building the universal pillar tool, And the versitile dividing head and also goes into headstock dividing on various Myford lathes. All of this Myford designed headstock dividing equipment wouldn't be too hard to redesign for almost any lathe once the general design and ideas are understood.

    If all you want is a spin index on the cross slide then the headstock dividing information I listed is pretty well useless. But maybe somebody else will get something usable out of it.

    Pete

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