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Mahlon I use one of these. http://www.taigtools.com/c1151.html When I use the live center I always use a center drill to make a dead center dimple for the tip to fit in. I like turning between centers because it is very stable. One thing I have found is if you take a big cut the piece can flex which will give you that thread look if not using a dead center. Flex can also cause your piece to not be the same diameter from end to end. I only use the steady rest after I have cut the piece down to size and then start cutting the pivots on the ends. Then I burnish and polish the pivots using the steady rest. Also if I need a piece 2 1/2″ long I will cut a 3 1/2″ piece. I use the ER collets and let 3″ stick out and again using the live center. I use the minimum amount sticking out of the collet as I can. I have found even at 1/4″ if you have more that 3″ sticking out of the chuck/collets you can still get flex.I found 1000 rpm and a slow feed rate works best for me. Hopefully others with more metal working experience than me will chime in.