Laying out a steady rest ring

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ericc

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I am making a simple steady rest. It was forged from a 3/4" pipe nipple. There was something I learned about forging pipe. Of course, never quench it. If making a square cross section, do not go all the way to square until the scrolling is nearly complete, else the sides will collapse and cannot be fixed.

Here is a method of finding the centerline. Remember that the ring is not exactly a circle, and it is not symmetric. Use a cardboard disk with concentric circles on one side and a vertical centerline on the other. Use a flat table and line up with a combination square.

IMG_20190203_155116.jpg

IMG_20190203_155044.jpg
 

hman

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That's a fascinating concept - using blacksmithing techniques to build an accessory for a precision tool! Gotta ask a question, though - is your anvil calibrated in thousandths or tenths? :) Can't wait to see the final result. I bet it'll be a real gem.
 

Latinrascalrg1

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Ok im along for the ride. If you wouldn't mind please elaborate a bit on the "3/4 inch pipe nipple"for us? Not sure what aspect the 3/4" is referring to! And what is the overall OD size in the pictures you posted?
 

ericc

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The pipe is 3/4" black iron pipe, suitable for gas. It can be safely forged. I have a lot of respect for structural steel smiths. These are blacksmiths whose media is structural steel: pipe, tube, channel, angle, etc. Some really creative organic forms can be extracted from this stock. In the old days, almost everything was made by a blacksmith. My quick change tool post was hand forged and the central hole hot punched. This is the only precise feature, and, of course, it was finished by boring. The steady rest only has two precision features, the base groves and the plane of the fingers, which must be normal to the spindle axis. The OD of the ring is 4-5/8". It is close to flat. The plane of the fingers will be established with reference to the base with a horizontal mill. Just a small cut should be necessary. Remember, in the old days, all tools were carbon steel, many of them forged on site.
 

ericc

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Here are the contact fingers. They don't need a great amount of precision. The finger just needs to slide without too much slop. A finished one is shown. It's finished on slide sides and sides of finger. The other two and the finger are hot from the forge. First, butcher to set groove, then set hammer to square it, then run a fuller down the middle to accommodate the adjustment screw.

IMG_20190210_155841.jpg
 

ericc

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Are those crocs steel toe?
Ha, ha. No steel toes. Also these crocs melt pretty easily, but they are great for just puttering around. I wear work boots when I'm forging. Interestingly enough, shoes like clogs and crocs are safer than boots if you don't make sure to pull your pants legs over the open tops of the boots, especially when working on small fiddly bits. Dropping a hot bit into your shoe can be a life changing experience, especially if you have diabetes.
 

Cadillac

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Using a torch or arc welding and socks do not mix. Has happen one to many times franticly unlacing boots to get the slag burning through the socks. :mad:
 

RJSakowski

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Ha, ha. No steel toes. Also these crocs melt pretty easily, but they are great for just puttering around. I wear work boots when I'm forging. Interestingly enough, shoes like clogs and crocs are safer than boots if you don't make sure to pull your pants legs over the open tops of the boots, especially when working on small fiddly bits. Dropping a hot bit into your shoe can be a life changing experience, especially if you have diabetes.
I learned to pull my Levis over my boots when cutting with an O/A torch. Previously, I wore them tuckled into my boots to keep them from getting full of mud. Dropping some molten slag into my boot was a turning point. To this day, some forty years later, I never tuck my Levis into my boots.
 

RJSakowski

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I am making a simple steady rest. It was forged from a 3/4" pipe nipple. There was something I learned about forging pipe. Of course, never quench it. If making a square cross section, do not go all the way to square until the scrolling is nearly complete, else the sides will collapse and cannot be fixed.
An interesting choice of starting materials. Why pipe rather than bar stock?

I am fortunate to have a good supply of heavy iron and probably would have elected to cut the piece from 3/4" or 1" plate.
 

ericc

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An interesting choice of starting materials. Why pipe rather than bar stock?

I am fortunate to have a good supply of heavy iron and probably would have elected to cut the piece from 3/4" or 1" plate.
After my experience, as well as consultation with experts (Megan Crowley demoing at the California Blacksmith Association spring conference), solid would have been a better choice. I thought that it would have saved material, since this pipe has pretty good strength, but the problem is that the pipe always wants to collapse. It is essentially impossible to keep it open, and Megan told me that it is even harder hot. A better choice would have been beefy flat bar, bent the hard way. Or, if you want to economize, a fabricated square tube made from rings and semi circular bands of flat bar. Full coverage welding would be unnecessary.
 

ericc

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I'd love to see photos of that too!
-brino
It's a sad looking, makeshift tool. I put it together mainly for demos where I cannot use a real guillotine tool . I'll get a couple photos of both. The "knurling" that these tools produce is not up to the standards of a modern lathe knurling tool, but they give the piece an old timey look. I made a fully forged jeweler's saw, and it looked the part with guillotine forged thumbscrews.
 

RJSakowski

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After my experience, as well as consultation with experts (Megan Crowley demoing at the California Blacksmith Association spring conference), solid would have been a better choice. I thought that it would have saved material, since this pipe has pretty good strength, but the problem is that the pipe always wants to collapse. It is essentially impossible to keep it open, and Megan told me that it is even harder hot. A better choice would have been beefy flat bar, bent the hard way. Or, if you want to economize, a fabricated square tube made from rings and semi circular bands of flat bar. Full coverage welding would be unnecessary.
To prevent co;;apse when using pipe or tubing with transverse mounting holes. I will weld in a bushing. In the case of my trailer hitch, a bushing machined to fit inside the square tube and tack welded to secure in place. I can torque a 5/8" grade 8 bolt to over 300 lb-ft with no fear. I used the same approach on the transome on my boat when I rebuilt it. In that case, the wood compresses over time and water seeps in causing rot. I machined stainless steel bushings for the motor mount and aluminum bushings for all the other through holes. No concerns about the fasteners loosening.

In your case, since you can't insert a bushing from the inside, I would bore the holes oversize and machine bushings to fit and weld them in.

Regarding alternative starting materials. 1/2"x1" flat stock shouldn't be too bad to work. It is essentially the material used to make draft horse shoes and the geometry isn't to much different. The leg vise and bending fork would be my weapons of choice with corrections for twist at the anvil. Once the basic shape was roughed out, some tweaking on the anvil horn or cone should get you close to a finished form.
 

ericc

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Regarding alternative starting materials. 1/2"x1" flat stock shouldn't be too bad to work. It is essentially the material used to make draft horse shoes and the geometry isn't to much different. The leg vise and bending fork would be my weapons of choice with corrections for twist at the anvil. Once the basic shape was roughed out, some tweaking on the anvil horn or cone should get you close to a finished form.
Hi RJ. This is exactly how I would do it now, after the previous experience. 1/2 x 1 would be done in about a third the time required to bend that dumb pipe.
 

RJSakowski

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Experience is a good teacher. Your bending the pipe reminded me of a workshop we hosted with Francis Whittaker in the late seventies. Francis was showing us how to bend angle iron into a curve using bending forks. The problem with angle iron is if you try to bend it with one leg flat, it curves due to stretching. So first you bend the other leg in the opposite direction and when you bend your desired bend, the first curve straightens out to flat.
 
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