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Centre Finder

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  • Centre Finder

    I have 12 bearing blocks to do out of rectangular stock. These need to be identical and are offset in the bar stock.
    I have marked them out with a vernier hight gauge and spotted them with an optical punch so these are spot on. The first one I setup with a sticky pin and dial gauge. Didn't take long but I wanted to speed it up a bit so I went into the shop tonight and made this centre finder up.

    Not saying this is unique, not much is, but it's something I cobbled up in about 30 minutes.
    Pic at:-

    The body is a bit of hex bar about 6" long in total. No reason for the hex, it could be round but I had three design changes between the saw and the lathe
    About 1 1/4" is turned down one end to about 1/2 so it can fit in the tailstock chuck. This part is drilled and reamed 1/8" for 1 1/2"
    It's then turned round and drilled to meet the 1/8" hole to about 1/2" diameter. This is only clearance so it doesn't matter about size.
    Next a bit of 1/4" plate was welded on to form an ear for a clock to bolt to.
    Last bit is a piece of 1/8" drill rod or silver steel with one pointed end and the opposite end held in the reamed hole with a small grub screw.

    Method of operation:
    Put atachment in chuck, offer up to the centre punched mark and rotate the lathe by hand. Any run out will be shown on the clock. Adjust the 4 jaw as per normal using only one pair of jaws at a time.
    Got the second one setup in just less than 30 seconds.

    I make no apologies for the state of the attachment. This was a rush job and needs play a greater part than shiny surfaces. It works and it's quick.
    Feel free to make or modify as it suits.

    John S.

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.

  • #2
    When I was an new apprentice and when I was sure my trade instructor was an ogre instead of a harsh talking softie, he put me in the school shop to make a dozen center finders similar to those you made.

    He had me cut 8" pieces of 1/4 drill O-1 rod, hand forge the end flat 1/4 wide x 0.050 " x 1 1/4 long and make an upset bend 90 degrees to the side. Following McBride's sketch, I made a U-bend 180 degrees on a 3/16" radius so there was a springy tab in line with the drill rod axis.

    Then I coned the opposite end 60 degrees and drilled a #3 center hole in the tab concentric with the ground diameter of the drill rod.

    Set the cone in a center punched hole and nudge the tailstock center in the center holes of springy tab and you have a centering thingy with limited spring accomodation of axial movement.

    It served the same function as the gadget you show. I still have one someplace. Wish I could post a picture.


    • #3
      John -

      Neat gadget! Neat picture. I guess if you have an alternative way to hold the clock, you could just put the drill rod directly in the tail stock chuck. Or am I missing something?



      • #4
        Pretty neat John.. My magnetic base would work too? We used to line up couplings with two dial indicators, check the weeble and wooble.

        What I am still learning, all the set up can be ruined by one lil chip in under the morse taper or in the kwik switch tool holder.

        Thanks for the post.


        • #5
          John Stevenson:
          Looks quite usable to me - Bodging at its best!

          BTW - you have nice flat stock, must be British Steel! We had a British Steel distributor here and their stuff was beautiful too - even the Cast bar 20" in diameter.


          • #6
            Ideal made a similar item for their mechanical indicator years ago. It combined the spring loaded type wiggler with a holder for the indicator. Patent has long since expired.
            I prefer the Starrett gimbal center finder for quick setup. Can get as close with that as with most indicators in no time at all.
            Jim H.


            • #7
              I just wanted something that was permanant.
              This was an old clock off a redundant test rig so I can leave it setup and just pop it in as needed.

              John S

              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


              • #8
                Nice and quick I like that. Good job.

                Paul G.
                Paul G.


                • #9
                  Mark 2 released.
                  Ok quick mod this morning before I stared on the other blocks.
                  Took the dial gauge clamp off and just put a simple 2 holes link on to tilt the dial gauge so it can reach the end of the 1/8" rod.
                  Works a lot better this way.


                  John S

                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                  • #10
                    Very nice. There will be on in my tool box before long.
                    To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison