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My New Steady Rest

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mark_f

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#1
Quite a while back , I built a steady rest for my lathe. It used the telescoping arms which I really like. I am not happy with the look of the body on the steady rest. I want something closer to the original styling.
image.jpeg See what I mean. It just don't look right. It functions just fine, it's the look.

image.jpeg
image.jpeg I ordered this piece of steel tubing. It is 6" OD, 3" ID and 1 1/2" thick. I wanted a little bigger OD So I could keep the 4" ID, but it was not available.

I put the tubing in my lathe, faced both sides to 1 1/2" thickness, then turned the ID to 3.140", And the OD TO 5.940" to true it up.
image.jpeg I put the finished ring on my rotary table on the mill , centered it to within .001" , then drilled a .3125 hole every 120 degrees. Next I milled a 1" X 1" flat over each hole. These will get bored to .875" to fit the telescoping assemblies from my old steady rest. You can also see the hinge that is clamped in place and ready to be welded.

image.jpeg This is another view of the hinge.

image.jpeg This is the locking bolt block to hold it closed , also clamped in place to be welded. After welding, the ring will be cut in half. The lock bolt will be a swing away bolt.

Now, one other reason for rebuilding the steady rest is the top hole in the old one got drilled at a slight angle instead of square. This makes it not perfectly line up with the bottom two fingers. While it is functional, it is a cosmetic thing and bothered me since I built it. Plus the "look" bothers me.

image.jpeg I slid some 5/16" diameter rods in the reamed holes to check the alignment and as you can see here, it is good. The other purpose for these "alignment" rods is, this is too big to put on my mill and I don't own a boring head , however, I will put it on my milling table for my lathe and I can use my 4 jaw chuck boring head conversion to bore the holes on the lathe. ( that is how I did the original one). I will clamp the rod in a collet on the lathe spindle and that will align the hole for boring.
image.jpeg This photo shows the hinge and lock bolt block clamped for welding. I want these TIG welded but I am not allowed any where near a TIG welder. It will screw up my pacemaker. I now am held up until I find someone to weld the assembly.

I also have a better idea for the base to mount the steady rest to the lathe.
 

Randall Marx

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#2
Beautiful work, as usual, Mark! Looking forward to seeing this one completed.
 

mark_f

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#3
I got the hinge and latch TIG welded on my new steady rest. Now I can get to the finish machining

image.jpeg image.jpeg
 
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Randall Marx

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#4
Looks good from here! Getting the popcorn so I can enjoy the performance as you finish this project. :D
 

mark_f

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image.jpeg The next thing to do on this is bore the holes for the telescoping assemblies. To do this, I put the milling table on my lathe.
image.jpeg The piece is shimmed up to the right height and clamped in place. To locate the piece, a 5/16" diameter rod is put in the collet chuck. The part has a .3125 reamed hole. The rod is inserted into the hole in the part and it is clamped. This aligns the part for boring. I tightened the gib on the cross slide so it can't move.

image.jpeg

The next thing is to drill the hole out to .750"
image.jpeg

Now the hole can be bored to .875"
image.jpeg image.jpeg To bore the hole , I will use my little invention. It is a setup I made to convert my 4 jaw chuck into a boring head.

image.jpeg Here the hole is being bored. It must be a "hand" press fit on the sleeve.

image.jpeg The finished hole. This came out perfect. It took two hours to set up, drill, and bore. It stakes several passes to bore. The last ones only cut .001" to "sneak" up on the size. The fit and finish is excellent. Now...... Two more to do. image.jpeg
 

f350ca

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#6
Nice work as always Mark. Wonder if the ring will spring when you cut in two.
 

mark_f

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Nice work as always Mark. Wonder if the ring will spring when you cut in two.
No..... It is heavy enough it won't move. The previous one did not move.
 

mark_f

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#8
All the holes are bored , drilled , and tapped as required. Now it is time to cut the ring in half.
image.jpeg I clamped it in my saw and started cutting down the center.

image.jpeg It is cut in half and the hinge worked perfectly.

image.jpeg Next I will trim up the hinge and clamp. Then start making the base.
 

mark_f

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#9
I got the telescoping assemblies installed.
image.jpeg They meet in the middle perfectly. I also made a hinge pin from .4375 drill rod. Fastened on each side with a "e" clip.


image.jpeg
image.jpeg

image.jpeg The swing away clamp bolt is next. Made from .750 drill rod.
image.jpeg The brass knobs lock the fingers.
image.jpeg image.jpeg

image.jpeg Next is to make the base. I have a couple designs but not sure which I want to use yet. I am extremely pleased with this piece so far.
 

mark_f

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#10
I cut a block out of the old steady rest body to make the block for the base.
image.jpeg I cut the 90 degree groove to fit the lathe. image.jpeg It fits perfect. The .875" hole is in the center where I need it. I will make a bushing for it to hold the clamp bolt. I will make a front and rear plate to fasten the base and the steady rest together.
 

firestopper

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#11
Excellent work sir, your projects and methods always inspire!
 

savarin

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#12
awesome project, theres something a little steampunk like about it.
 

rwm

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#13
Nice and solid looking! I may have to make one.
R
 

Randall Marx

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#14
Once again, this is looking great so far! I'm looking forward to the conclusion.
 

mark_f

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#15
I decided how I want the base to look.
image.jpeg
I machined a notch in the body of the center rest to allow clearance for the clamp bolt. I put a .750 steel tube in an ER collet and closed the steady rest on it. This centers the steady rest to the lathe spindle.

image.jpeg I put the base on the lathe bed to locate it and made two uprights to connect the two. I clamped everything together so it can be welded.

image.jpeg The assembly is ready to go to the welder. It will be TIG Welded together. Then ..... polish and paint.
 

mark_f

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#16
awesome project, theres something a little steampunk like about it.
I wanted it to look more like the factory one. I wasn't happy with the first version I made. I like this one.
 

savarin

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#18
any chance of an exploded view of the fingers Mark?
 

mark_f

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#19
any chance of an exploded view of the fingers Mark?
I will dig up my prints and post them. Since I made so many changes , they should not infringe any copy wrights.
 

savarin

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#20
thanks or just unscrew one and take a pic
 

mark_f

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#21
any chance of an exploded view of the fingers Mark?
Steady rest guides comleted.jpg These are the finger assemblies I made. There are 4 pieces to each one. Because South Bend used a bastard thread that would be difficult or maybe impossible to duplicate, I had to change the threads and lengths of parts to configure to get the correct travel rates of the finger and knob that would work.

steady rest assembly.jpg This is the SB drawing with changes to show what I built.


I found I did not make drawings as I worked from the South Bend blue prints making changes as I went. I will be making a set of prints for my entire new version steady rest, soon. Once they are done, I will send them to anyone that asks for them.
 

mark_f

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#22
thanks or just unscrew one and take a pic
They don't just unscrew and come apart. They are strange to assemble. You put the finger in the sleeve with the screw screwed into the finger, then start the knob on the sleeve threads and once everything is started and aligned you insert the pin in the top of the knob that locks the screw to the knob.
 

rwm

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#23
Im confused about threading both the finger and the sleeve. I assume they are different thread pitches? Is there an advantage to this type of "compound" thread? Why not just thread one or the other?
R
 

mark_f

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#24
Im confused about threading both the finger and the sleeve. I assume they are different thread pitches? Is there an advantage to this type of "compound" thread? Why not just thread one or the other?
R
I'm not sure I understand your question. The finger is left hand thread and the knob is right hand thread. when the knob is screwed inward the left hand thread in the finger extends it. This gives a rapid travel and a longer available distance of travel. The knob is 14 TPI. This gives a total travel of 1 1/4 "in 17 turns over the length of the sleeve. The finger is 16 TPI and gives the finger .900"of travel in the number of turns the knob is turned. This gives a total finger travel of 2 1/8" roughly. Clear as mud.... right?

If you mean, why not the same thread, it is because these pitches work out to give the required travel and are the closeest to one another for the diameters meaning 7/8" and 3/8".
 
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mark_f

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#25
I have prints for anyone who would like them. PM me here for them. The prints are for the fingers only. They can be used for any size steady rest up to a 4" bore. Just make a body 1 1/2" thick and 1 1/2" wall thickness.
 

Silverbullet

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#26
I have prints for anyone who would like them. PM me here for them. The prints are for the fingers only. They can be used for any size steady rest up to a 4" bore. Just make a body 1 1/2" thick and 1 1/2" wall thickness.
I need to make one for my logan 11" . All these projects how do you do it , I'm in a wheelchair and can usually out work most of the guys who work next door to me . But I don't think I can keep up to you my friend. You must have been a great asset to whoever you worked for.
We're pretty close I think less then a hundred miles apart. Thanks for this build I can't justify $300.00 for a steady rest. But I may be able to pick up the materials for this a little at a time. Money's never enough when all you've ever lived on is SS disability. YUPP over thirty years now close to FORTY. Man time sure flies faster then a speeding bullet. Thanks Mark
 

Silverbullet

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#27
Hey Mark I was just thinking ask your doctor if you were to wear a layer of lead over the pace maker . You may be able to do your welding . I've got a stimulater in my back for a problem I have but it hasn't worked in 15 years now. Tried to get him to take it out in 09 but because of the pulmonary embolism he didn't. But I mig and stick weld all the time , I'd love a tig but way more then I can afford now. in a few years maybe. Oh well ask him couldn't hurt .
 

mark_f

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Hey Mark I was just thinking ask your doctor if you were to wear a layer of lead over the pace maker . You may be able to do your welding . I've got a stimulater in my back for a problem I have but it hasn't worked in 15 years now. Tried to get him to take it out in 09 but because of the pulmonary embolism he didn't. But I mig and stick weld all the time , I'd love a tig but way more then I can afford now. in a few years maybe. Oh well ask him couldn't hurt .
That won't work unless maybe you were "encapsulated" in lead because it is the magnetic fiel that is all around that is the problem. I cam mig weld a little if I stretch the leads out and get as far from the transformer as possible but I can't be in the same building as the TIG welder unless I'm a good ways away. The high frequency field will fry the pace maker. I have a pace maker right now and am also getting a spinal stimulator put in soon . The stimulator can be turned off and I don't believe a welder will bother it anyway...... But it was a good idea about the lead.
 

mark_f

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#29
I need to make one for my logan 11" . All these projects how do you do it , I'm in a wheelchair and can usually out work most of the guys who work next door to me . But I don't think I can keep up to you my friend. You must have been a great asset to whoever you worked for.
We're pretty close I think less then a hundred miles apart. Thanks for this build I can't justify $300.00 for a steady rest. But I may be able to pick up the materials for this a little at a time. Money's never enough when all you've ever lived on is SS disability. YUPP over thirty years now close to FORTY. Man time sure flies faster then a speeding bullet. Thanks Mark
PM me your email address. I will send the prints to you. Thanks to medical technology, I can get out of my chair some now. I can get around the house ( still fall once in a while)but don't go out with out my chair or at least crutches. I can't even get my wheel chair in the shop anymore , it is so crowded. I have stools I sit on now. It is easier than working from the wheel chair.
I know what you mean. Social security don't go far. If we that close, we should get together sometime.
 

savarin

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#30
Would a full Faraday shield work? Chicken wire and al-foil
 
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