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Building A Steady Rest

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  • Building A Steady Rest

    I've given up trying to get a steady rest for my 9" South Bend. I considered purchasing a new steady from Grizzly and adapting/fitting as needed, but that option is an expensive gamble I'm not willing to take part in. Used steady rests for the 9" on everyone's favourite auction site rapidly increase to prices I'm not willing to pay. So, I've decided to make one. I've made a paper template, mainly to get the fit of the lathe ways and drew the rest of it so it looked "right". A wooden pattern of 1/4" ply followed so the fit to the ways could be fine tuned. I have a general idea of how the thing is going to open, close and lock.

    I know there are people out there who have made their own steady rests. What I am requesting is your advice. What worked for you, what didn't work, what would you change if it had to be done again etc. What parts need to be accurate? Photos would be great if you have them.

    I'm doing more and more work on long round stock that won't pass through the lathe's spindle. With no steady rest my only option has been to file the ends as square as I can, find center with a center finder (lots of special end caps have been made) and then hand drill centers. It works but I'm wasting a lot of material. Help a guy out. I'm getting tired of work-around solutions.

  • #2
    Tom Lipton made an 11-part series on his steady rest. You might want to make yours a bit smaller

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XpC...Wm-jO1v67Bfjkf

    Blog http://oxtool.blogspot.com.au/2013/0...eady-rest.html


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    • #3
      Tim have you considered Andy Lofquist's 9" steady rest casting kit? Might make the build a lot easier for you if it fits into your budget: http://www.statecollegecentral.com/m...the/MLA-9.html
      Max
      http://joyofprecision.com/

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      • #4
        A prolific if not precise fabricator; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWeGc34fgNQ
        His creativity and ambition are remarkable and he certainly uses his builds.
        Len

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        • #5
          I'm in the same boat with my Boxford. Thinking I will have some plate cut to rough dimensions and machine to spec. If you do the drawing yourself, it's pretty affordable.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by QSIMDO View Post
            A prolific if not precise fabricator; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWeGc34fgNQ
            His creativity and ambition are remarkable and he certainly uses his builds.
            I think he knows exactly when and where he needs the precision. Keeps him prolific.

            That channel perpetually impresses me.

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            • #7
              I've got a 13" Standard Modern. Steady rests for those are rare on eBay, and expensive. And new parts, through LeBlond, are even more expensive.

              I considered making one from scratch, but decided that adapting a steady from a different lathe would be much easier.

              The critical piece is the baseplate, and is the only piece for which great accuracy is necessary. It has to fit the vees of your ways very well, so that you can set it to your workpiece at the headstock or tailstock and then move it to where you need it and maintain that alignment. I started with a piece of scrapped snowplow edge. Surface ground it to about 3/4", milled a groove to fit the lathe vee way.

              I got a steady for a slightly larger South Bend, from which I had to mill quite a bit off the bottom to bring it to the correct height. The center height and the exact position on the baseplate, while they should be as good as you can get them, are not absolutely critical. The adjustment of the fingers will - unless you are working with a very small diameter workpiece - easily compensate for any misalignment of the steady.

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              • #8
                Bunch of good tips and ideas here:

                http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...ch+steady+rest

                I'm pretty sure that someone shows a beauty he made for his Monarch lathe in the Shop Made Tools forum.
                Best wishes to ya’ll.

                Sincerely,

                Jim

                "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

                "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

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                • #9
                  I think his name is J King. Always does top quality work.

                  Hal

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by softtail View Post
                    I'm in the same boat with my Boxford. Thinking I will have some plate cut to rough dimensions and machine to spec. If you do the drawing yourself, it's pretty affordable.
                    The Boxford uses the same Steady as the Southbend, because the Brits used SB drawings (Way dimensions/profiles )when they first designed the Boxford at the end of WWII
                    I have a factory SB steady and a SB taper attachment on my Boxford, so Andy's kit may be of help to you

                    Rich

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                    • #11
                      Gentlemen, many thanks. This is exactly the kind of information I was searching for.

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                      • #12
                        Home made steady - not Shop Made Tools

                        Originally posted by Hal View Post
                        I think his name is J King. Always does top quality work.

                        Hal
                        Yep, found it. Thanks Hal, I feel that it deserves showing again...... and again........ and again:



                        Link to thread:

                        http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...me-made-steady
                        Best wishes to ya’ll.

                        Sincerely,

                        Jim

                        "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

                        "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
                          The Boxford uses the same Steady as the Southbend, because the Brits used SB drawings (Way dimensions/profiles )when they first designed the Boxford at the end of WWII
                          I have a factory SB steady and a SB taper attachment on my Boxford, so Andy's kit may be of help to you

                          Rich
                          I'm actually making more of a cathead design with a very large sealed bearing.

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                          • #14
                            If all you need to do is hold stock for center drilling, the rest can be much, much simpler by using the tool holder. That was my need and the rest I made was really, really simple ... OK, it's crude. I was ij the middle of a project that needed it and "fast" was the main criterion. It's here:
                            http://www.mwdropbox.com/dropbox/MockSteadyRest.pdf

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                            • #15
                              Bob, using the tool post had never occurred to me. That is a brilliant solution to my major problem. Thanks for sharing it.

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