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  • Making a chuck key..

    Seems I can't find mine,, I need a 9/16 one .. about 6 or 7 inched to the T.
    in the interest of looks , and wanting shiny , . I have 2 thoughts , make one out of a 4 way spinner lug wrench.
    or use a 3/4 drive extension about 6 inches long.. drill fat end for a bar, square end mill down to fit ...
    what have you guys done. ..?

  • #2
    I've made a couple from 17-4 pre hardened stainless. Cuts nicely with pointy carbide inserts, and will polish up just as shiny as you'd like. But mine was surplus, so I don't know how easy it is to find or how much it costs.
    I cut it off twice; it's still too short
    Oregon, USA

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    • #3
      Recycled tools are an option. Given that they are often cheaper than the steel to make them maybe a good option. I like 4140HT otherwise, and I can always heat treat if i need tougher. O1, W1, all options.
      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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      • #4
        Last couple I made were simply mild steel. Milled a square on the end using a 5C block, milled a 'saddle' in the opposite end for a crossbar, TIGged together. Mild holds up just fine unless you're using a cheater bar to tighten the damn thing.

        Doc.
        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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        • #5
          There were 9/16 drive Ratchets and Sockets years ago maybe could stumble on to a extension some place,I have a few 9/16” sockets.I also have a complete Snap On 9/32” drive set.

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          • #6
            for decades i looked at spung keys as annoying gimmics. last year i managed to do it: banged the key agains the way with 5 kw.

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            • #7
              Dian: I feel your pain. I was within an inch of powering my lathe up when I noticed the key was still in the chuck. Yikes.

              My chuck take a 3/8" extension. Fits nicely into the ratchet at the other end and reaches past the gear box from the front OR top. Stock key only reaches from the top.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dian View Post
                for decades i looked at spung keys as annoying gimmics. last year i managed to do it: banged the key agains the way with 5 kw.
                What is a spung key???? I'm guessing you mean a key that came with the "self ejecting" feature. All my Bison chuck keys came with that spring. Took them off before I even used it. Big PIA.
                I can understand it as a safety feature but I've been in the habit since day one with a lathe to never leave the key in the chuck.

                I can just see what a PIA it would be to have to open a chuck even half way from closed having to either try and hold the key in the hole trying to keep it from popping out or sticking it in there every half turn. I'm used to holding the shaft of the key with one hand and spinning the T with the other. Can't do that with a spring loaded key.

                I put that gimmick in the same category as trick bottle caps.

                JL...............

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                • #9
                  My recently made replacement has 2 features better than the original: it's heavier and it fits more closely in the socket. Why better? Because it spins with 1 finger better.

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                  • #10
                    I made one from a socket extension. But instead of machining the square to size, I just heat and beat it to size. Can still see remnants of the socket retaining ball in the square end. Ugly but effective. It was either that or a grinder because I did not have a mill at the time.

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                    • #11
                      Click image for larger version

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ID:	1926111I made a key for my Atlas lathe out of Aluminum with a steel insert and it worked great. I bought a 4 jaw last year and the key was lost in shipping. So I made another for that chuck and it needed the step for clearance. The Aluminum feels nice on the hands and I made them on the small side so I don't tend ot overtighten things.

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                      • #12
                        you guys spinning the key with one hand or one finger must have pretty loose chucks.

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                        • #13
                          I buy too big off eBay, pick looks that strike me, then mill it to fit my chuck

                          Boats

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                          • #14
                            You guys will laugh and shake your heads but when I bought my 9" SB I didn't like the key that came with it so I made one...out of 3 pieces of 1/4" pipe and a T- fitting and by welding a piece of square stock into the end of the stem pipe.
                            Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dian View Post
                              you guys spinning the key with one hand or one finger must have pretty loose chucks.
                              If by "loose" you mean worn or inferior, I don't agree. I have a Bison 3-jaw & a 4-jaw, each 6". Bought new and not used that much. Each is loose.

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