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Thread: Indexing.

  1. #1

    Indexing.

    The time has come. I have outgrown my little HF mini-lathe. I still love turning pens on it but I want another toy so I can set up the HF as a finish lathe only.

    I'm seeing a lot of lathes with "Indexing" could someone please give me an easy to understand explanation of indexing and why I would ot wouldn't want that feature?

    Drew
    Husband and Daddy is my primary job, the other thing I do is for money.
    www.blackswampwoodturning.webs.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Indexing is the ability to hold the spindle at a fixed position (with the lathe turned off) so you can do certain things to your work. e.g. flat sides, carving, other engravings.
    With the addition of some special accessories for engraving it can be very useful.
    I am not anywhere so advanced that I need all that. But I do lock my indexer for hand sanding, especially longitudinally.
    Indexers can have from four to 24 locking positions. I believe most have 12.
    These days, I believe any lathe you buy above HF quality will be an indexing type.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3

    Ok...

    I think that makes sense to me although I still don't understand the real benefit of it I guess.

    I can see the benefit of locking the spindle but why would it be called indexing and not spindle lock? I must be missing something.
    Husband and Daddy is my primary job, the other thing I do is for money.
    www.blackswampwoodturning.webs.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,462
    Indexing allows you to accurately lock the spindle in a specific place, say every 10 degrees. A simple way to look at this would be if you built a router jig above the workpiece on the lathe and wanted to route a decorative straight groove every 15 degrees on a table leg. Just lock the spindle every 15 degrees, then plunge the router to make the groove, move on to the next 15 degree mark, etc.

    Indexing is a machinist's term as well for the same process.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I just use my indexer as a spindle lock. It is still an indexer.
    Actually my lathe has it's own spindle lock. But some genius engineer designed it with a strong spring that has to be held in to lock. My thumb almost isn't strong enough to hold it in and, if I do, it reduces me to working with only one hand. I suppose it is considered a safety measure so one does not turn on the motor with the spindle locked.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
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    Darrin hit the nail on the head. It is so you can lock the spindle say every 10 degrees for carving, burning, or whatever embellishments you want to add at specfic point on the turned piece. I like Frank will lock my spindle when I do hand sanding or to remove my chuck if it has tightened slightly.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, NC
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    I have only used the index on my lathe once and that was to burn a small design into the rim of a bowl. I used and old leather tooling punch that I sharpened a little bit more and heated with a torch.
    My lathe has 24 index points so I can have 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, or 24 equal points locked in the circumstance of the item.

    Bernie said ...or to remove my chuck if it has tightened slightly. The key word being sightly. If you use the index pin and have to bang on a chuck to get it off you can shear the pin .
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

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