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  • MW article about the Watts Bros floating chuck

    I read the article in MW about the Watts Brothers Tools floating chuck for drilling square and hex holes. I actually called Watts Bros to get info on one and the lady who answered the phone got all pissy and asked if I wanted info because of an article or if I really needed the info. I told her I owned a machine shop and wanted to order one for a specific job I had. I guess quite a few people must have called Watts because of the article. I eventually talked to someone there about what was involved in ordering one. They told me it would take about ten days for them to make it. The price was more reasonable than I expected but due to the delay in getting it I didn't order it. This got me looking for another method on the net where I found some other options. One was the Slater Tools rotary broach. I thought some here would be interested in watching the video of the rotary broach so here it is,
    http://www.slatertools.com/video.htm
    Mark Hockett

  • #2
    Funny timing Mark -- I've recently lucked into both on Ebay:

    Watts drill with a hexagonal drill bit for $36

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=330205894274



    ...and a like new Slater rotary broach for $125 (Yikes!):

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=130202927026



    I did call Watt Brothers Engineering in Pennsylvania a couple of months back during the tiff between JTiers and Fuzzbean, and they were very polite and professional: The drills are $100 each, the square templates are $70 each, and the Watts floating toolholder is $340.

    The Slater rotary broach is $1250.

    Both methods are limited in depth: Slater and Watts both recommend not to exceed 1 1/2 times the bit diameter.

    It's going to be a couple of weeks before I have time to set them up and do some side-by-side comparisons, but I'll take plenty of pictures...
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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    • #3
      The good news is you can make the broaches for the Slater (provided you have a surface or T&C grinder with an indexing head).

      The Slater can run in a lathe or mill. The Watts probably only in mill or dp because of need for stationary template.

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      • #4
        Now THAT'S interesting. I never got into production lot small parts so there's this big hole in my so-called expertize. I love it when I'm showed something new (to me).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lazlo

          ...and a like new Slater rotary broach for $125 (Yikes!):
          How are the bearings and the tool holder retained on the Slater?, as you might recall with my design (which im still refining its kinda on a back burner at the mo) used a threaded collar at the front, but the slater doesnt have that, are the bearings retained and preloaded by some method between the holder and the shank? any info you can pass on would be of great help to my design!.... though your lucky enough not to need my design anymore:P *secretly green with envy*

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Forrest Addy
            Now THAT'S interesting. I never got into production lot small parts so there's this big hole in my so-called expertize.
            Would that be a square hole Forrest?
            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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            • #7
              lazlo,
              That was a score on those tools. The price I got from Watt's was lower but it must have been for a smaller unit. I wanted the one that will do up to a 7/16" square.
              Mark Hockett

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              • #8
                That's very cool....thanks for the link.

                When I read the article I thought the author was kidding....then I looked at the April date on the issue, that coupled with what seemed like some cryptic and possibly tongue-in-cheek references in the text I thought I was being fooled.

                I'm no expert, but machining can seem fairly straightforward sometimes....it's nice to see something that can confuse the hell out of me once in a while.

                John

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                • #9
                  Yup..Thanks for showing that. That's pretty cool stuff alright.
                  Laz...good score! I'm also green now.
                  I wonder how many of them have ended up on Ebay with a non description and went cheap?
                  Until now I could have looked one of them right in the face and wouldn't know what it was.
                  That'd be like my 4" to 12" Mitutoya inside mic set. Was advertized on Ebay as "Some kind of machinists stick things." By a woman who buys stuff from yard sales. She gladly took my $40 for the set.
                  Russ
                  I have tools I don't even know I own...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DR
                    The Watts probably only in mill or dp because of need for stationary template.
                    We have a set of Watts drills at Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association (http://www.tuckahoesteam.org). We demo these at our annual show every year and they are quite a hit. You can buy template holders to fit round stock so that the tooling can be used in a lathe. I found Watts Bros. to be very helpful. There are (IIRC) 3 different sizes of chucks.

                    Nice to find a company thats still in business after ~100 years under the same ownership.

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                    • #11
                      Confusing article

                      I read the article in MW and came away puzzled.

                      I didn't get any sense of how this tool managed to create the square holes.
                      There were just a few pictures of the tool and some pictures of the finished holes.

                      A picture or two of the tool in action with some explanation of how it manages to create the square corners would have been helpful.

                      Basically the article said that "this tool exists and works." Here are a couple of pictures of the tool and the holes it can make.

                      I too was thinking that it might have been an April Fools joke.

                      Fixxit
                      457863656C73696F7220212000

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mark Hockett
                        The price I got from Watt's was lower but it must have been for a smaller unit. I wanted the one that will do up to a 7/16" square.
                        Right, there are 3 Watts heads (which are basically Oldham couplers): Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3. The one in the picture I posted above is a Number 1 head (that's a Morse Number 1 shank, for perspective).

                        I think the $340 price I got was for the number 2 Watts head.
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Simon,

                          any info you can pass on would be of great help to my design!
                          Sorry I haven't had a chance to reply to your email about your (excellent) SolidWords design -- between the newborn and 10 days at Disney World, my schedule has been crazy...

                          Originally posted by sconisbee
                          How are the bearings and the tool holder retained on the Slater?, as you might recall with my design (which im still refining its kinda on a back burner at the mo) used a threaded collar at the front, but the slater doesnt have that, are the bearings retained and preloaded by some method between the holder and the shank?
                          There's a counter-sunk preload nut that's inside the spindle bore:



                          By the way, I haven't had the Slater spindle apart yet, but it looks like it uses three bearings: a needle bearing, a deep grove ball thrust bearing, and a radial ball bearing. The needle bearing isn't shown in this picture, so I'm guessing that it's a drawn-cup needle bearing for radial thrust, at the end of the spindle:

                          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fixxit
                            I read the article in MW and came away puzzled.
                            ...
                            A picture or two of the tool in action with some explanation of how it manages to create the square corners would have been helpful.
                            We've had quite a few enthusiastic discussions here about how the Watts drill works :
                            How Do I Make a Square Hole

                            The simple answer is that the Watts drill is a relative of a Reuleaux Triangle -- it has a fixed width across any cross section of the triangle. So when a Reuleaux Triangle is rotated around a set of 4 ellipses, the path will mathematically touch all the points on all fours sides:



                            A Watts drill operates in similar fashion, but it orbits around inside the workpiece via a special floating holder which allows the drill to wander in 2 axis', and it needs a square jig to keep it constrained within a square outline:



                            Since the theoretical path of a Reuleaux Triangle is predetermined, it shouldn't be necessary for a floating chuck or the hardened guide -- you could just orbit the drill across the flattened elliptical path, and it would generate the mathematical outline in the animated .GIF.

                            There's a blacksmithing book by Weygers which describes the orbit of the Watts drill as the following:

                            "With the cutting edge in a flat plane, however, the drill is allowed to wander in whatever direction the cutting forces dictate. It is here that the brittle-hard square jig, when fastened to the workpiece, is used to confine the drill's motions to a wobbling one, forcing it to slide along the square's sides as dictated by the jig."

                            The other difference between the Watts drill and a Reuleaux Triangle is that the Watts drill has flat sides, where the Reuleaux Triangle cantilevers off the sides of the square with it's curved sides.

                            One other interesting thing about the Watts drill (and the rotary broaches) -- they can cut just about any arbitrary 2D symmetric polygon. In the case of the Watts drill, the drill will have one less blade than the polygon it will cut: so a square Watts drill has 3 flutes, and my hexagonal Watts drill has 5 flutes. You still need the polygon jig, so in my case I need a hardened hexagonal jig for the 5-fluted Watts drill.
                            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                            • #15
                              From the Slater Handbook:


                              enjoy...

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