make your own steady rest

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  • #48322
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hi everyone, I had made something like this in the past and thought I would wait for the real thing if I could find one. One had come up on eBay and the price went sky high so I decided to make another one. I am sure there are many different and better ways to accomplish this task but I hope this motivates you as I imagine I saved more than a $100.00 and briefly explain how I went about making this steady rest.I found all the parts at the local hardware store for about $15.00 I drilled out the threads on the couplers with 3/16 drill bit making sure the brass rod would snugly slide thru. I didnt get a picture of this but I used a large hex nut centered in the steel ring which gave me a pretty good reference to the angles, if you use a flat face of the brass rod thru the housing you just made then the hex nut gives you 3 of the six sides for reference, hope that makes sense 🙄 . I used a silver solder to place the couplers, thinking that will allow me to move them when setting up at the lathe using a #29 drill bit and a 8-32nds tap I drilled thru the coupler and the metal ring, I wanted the threads to go thru both. I changed my mind on how I was going to do the knurled knobs that hold the brass rods and ended up just screwing in a machine screw tight and punching the backside of the brass knob to hold the screw. I then found some metal in the shop to make the base. my idea was to have the base finished so I could tighten it onto the lathe bed, adjust if needed, line everything up and clamp together to a good center. a simple angle bracket and a 1/4 x 1/4 piece of steel sized in width for my lathe then brazed together, a nut on the top with a through hole to it from the bottom for a knob, using the lathe and a small piece of steel rod I clamped the top and bottom together, this is when I was able to true up the brass rods to center. I then brazed the bottom to the top, I messed up as it melted the solder that was holding the couplers on, luckily they stayed pretty close and I readjusted them again, I think I would do that a little different next time. Chucked up the brass rods and put a little detail on them, by the way I used the 3/16 rod because In wanted to be able to use wood dowel in this also.. if anyone has some better ideas please add to this. Thank you, William

    #52035
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    That there William is an awesome idea! I have been looking for something similar myself. Give yourself a massive pat on the back from me :)

    #52036
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    That looks great William!
    I’ll bet this is gonna be a very helpful post for many of us.
    Thanks!

    Bob

    #52037
    digitaltripper
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 17
    • Total Posts: 102

    Ok William, I need one…How much?

    Jim

    #52038
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Jim, who am I to make this for you, (I am flattered at the proposal) :D , I am sure you would be able to make one much better!!!! ;) I would think your cost for parts would be about $10-$15. One thing I am thinking about is to have it attach to the lathe quicker instead of using a threaded rod, possibly some kind of fold over cam to pull it tight to the bed of the lathe???? I would appreciate your ideas. William

    #52039
    showaddywaddy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 18
    • Total Posts: 45

    i will try that very good i have a problem i,m a new gut on the form i cant fiend the way to post can you tell me how its done showaddywaddy

    #52040
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    If you look at the general discussion board you will see a small white box with pink writing saying “New Topic”. Just click on that and it will start you a new thread. Any problems please let us know :)
    Good luck,
    Paul.

    #52041
    showaddywaddy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 18
    • Total Posts: 45

    thanks paul

    #52042
    dave booth
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 56

    Everyone has his own method of skinning a cat. Here is a steady rest I made several years ago, because the ones on eBay were ridiculously expensive. This one is made to fit my 8mm Peerless lathe. The basis is a piece of 3/16″ thick aluminum plate, which I got from a shop in Baltimore that makes prosthetic limbs and braces. They have a lot of smallish, odd sized pieces of scrap, and were willing to part with a shoebox full for $5.00. (I also bought some stainless steel flat and bar stock from them for a similar price.) When I made miner, I still had a Unimat 3, so it was a simple matter to mill slots, but I used the same method as Will to lay them out – I had a 3/4″ hex nut that came from who knows where (I never toss anything out, until I am sure I will want it the next day – ) Cutting and fitting the bottom to my Peerless ways was one of those “cuss and fit” projects; I’m sure some of you machinist types could figure out a way to measure and lay it out, though. If you look carefully at the photo, you will see I number stamped the rests and the slots, because my milling setup was not as rigid as it probably should have been. (If I had it to do over, I’d run the mill at a higher RPM, and feed it more slowly) Each rest was individually filed to fit that particular slot. They don’t show up well in the photo, but each rest also has a slot cut for the mounting screw, so that I can adjust it. The screws are #4-40. I drilled and tapped the bottom for #8-32 threaded rod. Fender washers and a wing nut secure it to the ways. (I use a pair of fender washers, because a single one has a little too much flex to make me comfortable.)

    Incidentally, when machining aluminum, kerosene is your friend. Except I use a little fuel oil robbed from my furnace, because it is an easy matter to go down in the basement and open the bleed valve on the furnace pump to steal a cup or two. If you haven a handy supply of either of those, go to your local automobile filling station, and buy a gallon of Diesel fuel – it is all essentially the same stuff. Kerosene is also great cutting oil to use for touching up your pivot burnisher, and your screwdrivers and gravers.

    I will make up another post, wherein I talk about cutting lubricants, and which ones to use for what metals, and where you can get the stuff cheaply.

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willofiammake your own steady rest