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Makin' a Steady

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  • Makin' a Steady

    I didn't get a steady rest with my lathe. Just been getting by without one. But when I think of all the time I've lost nursing some wobbly thing down to size that should have been on a steady, I could probably have built one.

    So I've started. Got a base, clamp, and ring so far.



    I'm thinking plungers through the ring on threaded rods with bearings on the ends for fingers. Mig welded construction. But I'd sure like to see and explore whatever else might be out there. Any pics or suggestions?

    Thanx in advance,

    SP

  • #2
    I don't have any pics or suggestions, but that thing looks heavy-duty. how wide and how thick is the ring?
    -Dan S.
    dans-hobbies.com

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    • #3
      What keeps chips from getting between the fingers and the work and leaving scratches?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by dan s
        how wide and how thick is the ring?
        The ring is 6" OD and 1"x1" on the cross section so the ID is 4". It's a piece of pre-hard 4140 I turned into scrap on a previous project.

        SP

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tony ennis
          What keeps chips from getting between the fingers and the work and leaving scratches?
          Your guess is as good as mine Macona! Are bearings a bad idea? Wouldn't be my first ....

          SP

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pntrbl
            The ring is 6" OD and 1"x1" on the cross section so the ID is 4". It's a piece of pre-hard 4140 I turned into scrap on a previous project.
            That wasn't a cheap mistake.
            -Dan S.
            dans-hobbies.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dan s
              That wasn't a cheap mistake.
              You wouldn't believe it, but I was actually attempting a backplate out of the 4140. I didn't know cast iron was better. Luckily my bro works at McMaster so I don't remember it setting me back too hard.

              SP

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              • #8
                a 1" thick by 6" dia chunk of 4140 prehard will run you $30-$50 depending on retailer.

                If you could find a big cheap bearing you could make a cathead style rest, then you wouldn't have to worry about chips. I don't think chips will be a problem on a steady though.
                -Dan S.
                dans-hobbies.com

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                • #9
                  I built one that looks alot like what you are starting with.I will be home in a couple of days and take a pic.I made some finger rollers with bearings.It works good. jim

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                  • #10
                    Go to Google, click on Images and search "steady rest" Got pages of good ideas.
                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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                    • #11
                      pntrbl
                      Sometime back I made a steady for my lathe. You may be too far along to use this idea, or maybe not. I was lucky enough to have a large (1 3/8") pillow block bearing from our local Scrappy. I made a base for it of the proper dimensions for my lathe, and mounted the bearing on the base. Originally, I used drill bushings that fit the bearing perfectly. and since I have several hundred of them in assorted sizes, this opened up many possibilities. Eventually, I turned down a piece of schedule 80 pipe to fit the bearing, and drilled/tapped three holes for 3/8" bolts. Now, I simply use the pipe in the pillow block with the bolts tightened down on the workpiece. No marring of the workpiece occurs because the pipe, workpiece et al turn freely in the bearing. This set up has worked well for me. Admittedly, I am limited to workpieces that are small enough to use with what I've described, but the basic idea would work for any size once you have acquired the correct bearing. I rarely ever work with anything over 1" OD, so the size limitations don't hinder me very often. The total cost for everything was probably less than $20.00...and a little shop time which I don't count as "cost". Just another idea you or someone might make use of.
                      There is no shortage of experts, the trick is knowing which one to listen to!

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                      • #12
                        You Old Dog , you're just one step ahead of me.

                        Did the same as you and yeah, a bunch of ideas here.
                        Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                        Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                        Location: British Columbia

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                        • #13
                          Quick and Simple way To keep Chips out..

                          I tape a Piece of Paper to Side of Steady (With Hole in Center)

                          I use mostly Brass Pads as I turn A lot of Blued Barrels (which are Tapered, and Hardened Roller Bearings Dig in and Pound Chips/Marks into Work.. ) Brass shoves them to side...

                          Usually with a Drop of STP, no Marks on Bluing...

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                          • #14
                            Make it so you can open it up to get your workpiece on
                            and off the lathe. Weld ears for hinges at the back and
                            make a latch at the front.

                            My first home made steady was plywood and didn't open.
                            It worked fine but it was not handy to use.
                            Since then I have made three steadies for different lathes
                            from 2" aluminum plate that did open and they were much
                            better because they would open. I was working with large
                            diameter tubing so my steadies would pass what would go
                            over the carriage.

                            Rollers make concentrated loads on the work and can emboss
                            chips in soft stuff. Bronze or cast iron slides spread out the
                            pressure and can clear chips better. They still can make
                            scratches.

                            Best regards, Charlie

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                            • #15
                              How about using nylon, delrin or PTFE pads for a steady? Anybody tried that?
                              Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                              Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                              Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                              Monarch 10EE 1942

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