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Steady Rest

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  • Steady Rest

    Just finished up my steady rest yesterday. It works fine. It's better than paying $150 for one with only brass bearing surfaces. Cost me $17 for bearings at BDU. All-thread at Lowes. Got the rectangular tubing free at scrapyard. Milled base on my new HF mini mill. Plus worked the slots on it for bearings. Second picture shows thread dial and QCTP I made from plans here and on other sites. It was fun now I can get to work on my Stirling heat fan.

  • #2
    The brass serves two purposes: it doesn't burnish the work surface or smash swarf into the part


    • #3
      I'd switch to brass on the contact points. A chip between a bearing and the part will generate very high loads, which is almost always bad. The brass tips are extremely forgiving, and work just as well.

      Nice job on the welding and fabrication. It looks very sturdy.
      Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


      • #4
        Looks good - well built!

        Like others have said, there are benefits to the brass contacts that might not be obvious. They also make commercial roller bearing steadies/followers, but the brass has remained by far the most popular for the above reasons. I recently picked up an old follower rest at an estate sale for 50 cents. It was a roller bearing one but one of the two bearings had its race cracked; I suspect this was caused by a chip working it's way between the roller and the work. Believe it or not ... a little chip can wreak havoc on the ball bearings. All the ball bearings in my TA on the Pacemaker were likewise destroyed.

        Just be careful to keep chips clear and you shouldn't have any problems


        • #5
          I have seen the bearings break from too much tension/pressure on the rollers, usually to the point of being white knuckle tight. I have both types, rollers and brass and each has it's place.


          • #6
            If using the bearing steadies, and they do have uses, it pays to slide a cardboard washer on the shaft to keep the chips out.

            My large TOS came with a steady with hardened steel buttons instead of brass or bronze. I was wary of this at first but provided they are lubricated they do the job very well, in fact it's got to be the best end of 35 years old and they are still in good condition and they do get a lot of use in my shop.


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


            • #7
              Good job of thinking out of the box. We seem to have this mentality that all this stuff for home use has to be castiron or solid stock. My light weight 2x72" belt grinder made from tubing does the same job as the one made from 3/8" thick stock but may be a bit noiser. No doubt that solid is always nice in machining but not always necessary to get the job done. I think you did a nice job on your project.
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              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


              • #8

                In 37 years of working in a large industrial machine shop producing centrifuges I never saw or used a steady rest with brass tips. All our steady rests were equipted with cam roller bearings. We used them on small parts and parts 30 feet long weighing several tons constructing huge center shafts for paper mill processing machinery. Never had any problems with chips hurting the part or the bearings. Of course we shielded the bearings by placing cardboard in front of them. That was part of the procedure of running these machines . Last lathe I ran had a 4 ft. chuck and it's bed was about 40+ ft. long and made by Poreba of Poland. It had bearings in steadie.I have pictures to prove this. If some one would want to see them I could post them. Thanks for the compliments , Boot