0.35mm Off the Middle

The lead screw kit I recently acquired for the traverser included an 8mmx6mm flexible coupler for joining 8mm lead screw to a stepper motor. I had hoped that the specs meant 6.35″ aka 1/4″ but no such luck. My choices where either to go and buy an 8×6.35 coupler from my local robotics store (yeah, being able to say that is kind of cheating) or drill out the 6mm hole to take a 1/4″ shaft. The couplers are less than $10CDN so it isn’t that big a deal but I decided that drilling with my lathe was a capability I needed to exercise.

Of course, I didn’t have an appropriate set of drill bits so out I went to the local big box store. $50 later, I was ready to save $10. Payback on the lathe is going to take a long time at this rate. 🙂 Seriously, though, I think a boring capability (for bigger holes) is the only thing I still need to acquire. From hereon in, it should be all down hill.

The actual setup and operation was refreshingly simple, I just removed the set screws from the coupler, chucked it in the self-centering three jaw chuck, chucked the bit in the Jacobs chuck in the tail stock, adjusted for distance and drilled away. It took no more than five minutes.

If this was all I ever needed to do, the lathe would obviously be overkill. On the other hand, having one available makes this sort of thing dead easy and it gives me satisfaction to get useful things done with it.

Here is the setup with the work just done:upsized

And here is the coupler installed on the stepper shaft.quarterinched


That’ll Do


Second version of the roller gauge with the relieved center section. Second attempt at this design. Pro Tip: don’t part off the piece until you check that the rail actually fits in the slot.

I am getting somewhat faster at this. It took about 45 minutes for me to make it with all the measuring, re-measuring, calculating, and most especially, changing tools. The lathe came with a quick change tool post but only one regular tool holder. I have ordered some more holders and will probably hold off on the next one until the order gets here.

I have been plunking along on the tieplate infill and have gotten the traverser down to the fine adjustment stage. Time to get rolling on that.

Roller Gauge Mk1

Various people have asked me what the lathe is for. It is, of course, for many things (I have a hammer and I am looking for nails) but the first on the list is some Proto:48 roller gauges. The project was chosen since it is both straight forward machining and because I have an immediate use for them.

Straight forward is not the same as trivial and I am learning as I go. Twenty years is not the recommended period between class and practice. I am also learning things like where to go to get a replacement for the headstock v-belt and where to go to buy small quantities of metal.

Here is a piece of .5″ round brass rod chucked in a collet and ready for attempt number two. lathesetup

And here is the result of attempt number one. Despite a collection of learning moments, the end result is actually functional much to my surprise. The next version will have reliefs cut to clear other rails so I can use them in turnouts. The advantage of this type of gauge over the three point ones I have is that they don’t obscure a lot of the rails.gaugemk1

That’s Better

Fear not, this is not suddenly turning into a amateur machinist blog. That said, here is a shot of the new tool up on its stand and put back together. Various setup, maintenance and operation questions still to be resolved but I hope to get at those roller gauges soon.ml7.jpg

Heavy Metal!

When Trevor told me that he was acquiring a Sherline lathe, I promptly suggested that roller gauges would be an excellent starter project and that Proto:48 would be an excellent choice of gauge. Being the excellent friend that he is, Trevor suggested that I get my own lathe and make my gauges myself. There I sat until I overheard another friend discussing the sale of a lathe in the pub after a show. Being a bit late to the fair, I ended up on the waiting list in case the potential buyer decided to pass.

Here is my newest modelling tool: a Myford ML7 only a year older than I am sitting in the back of the modeller transportation unit.ml7woot

This is looking at the back with the motor detached and the tailstock removed to minimize the weight. I am fortunate to have the opportunity and means to take this machine into my keeping for a time. And also to have a couple of teenagers to help me get it into the basement. Getting things put back together will be an education.