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Tru-Trace Lathe Tracing Attachment

Tony Wells

Former Vice President
Staff member
Administrator
#2
They are used on lathes to cut profiles and contours that would be difficult or near impossible manually. A flat template is created that mounts on it and contact is maintained on the template by a tracer pin that is connected to a hydraulic valve. The hydraulics control the X axis of the lathe, so that when you engage the Z axis feed, the cutting tool makes a cut that matches the template. The templates are a little tricky to make, as you have to allow for the contact pin diameter.

I imagine that they aren't all that popular nowadays, with CNC all over the place, but at one time, production shops used them extensively. I ran one on an American Pacemaker for a while. Kind of boring after a few days of watching it. They don't thread, but turning and boring work they do pretty good.
 

george wilson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#3
I have a little Lehigh(sp?) mechanical tracing attachment I've used for many years. It just is a hardened steel block with a built in linear bearing that moves the tool in and out. A follower stylus moves against a template you make from 1/8" steel flat stock.

It has always worked just fine.
 

4gsr

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#4
I don't claim to be an expert at this stuff, but that one on ebone has a missing piece to it. it's missing the template holder that holds your template.
I threw away two tracer valves when I cleaned out my Dad's old shop when we sold the old homestead. :crying: years back.

Ken
 

Glmphoto

Active User
Active Member
#5
I have a little Lehigh(sp?) mechanical tracing attachment I've used for many years. It just is a hardened steel block with a built in linear bearing that moves the tool in and out. A follower stylus moves against a template you make from 1/8" steel flat stock.

It has always worked just fine.
Can we get a few photos of that unit?
 

tarmo120

Active User
Active Member
#6
I believe this is the same attachment that Keith Fenner is using on his big lathe.
He has quite a few videos on how it works and shows.