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Thread: Home-Built Lathe Steady

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    29,086

    Home-Built Lathe Steady

    I mentioned this in another thread, so I thought I'd show a few pics of a lathe steady I built recently. It's made primarily of 1/2" BB ply, except the base, which is jarrah. The "ring" is two layers of 1/2 ply glued and pinned together, and the "arms" are a single layer. I painted the ring bexause I originally cut the slots for the two lower arms at the wrong angle, and had to fill the slots and re-cut them correctly. I also filled any countersunk screw holes. The paint hides the patches.

    The base is made of some leftover jarrah I had. I figure if it's good enough for piers and heavy piling, it'll hold up for my needs. To mount the ring on the base, I cut long slots in the bottom of the ring with the mortiser, then glued and screwed the base into the slot from above and below. It's not going anywhere. I originally thought the plywood arms would be too flexible, but so far they've proven to be plenty stiff. The ring is also very rigid.

    The wheels, bearings and axles were purchased on eBay. I read somewhere recommending the use of softer wheels (78a to 80a, with lower numbers being softer). These are 78a wheels and they do have a little "give" to them, which I believe is a good thing.

    The upper left-hand arm and wheel do block the beam of the laser (but not the bar holding the laser), so I think I'll cut another slot at the 9 o'clock position for that arm and move it there when I'm getting down to the last bit of finishing the inside.

    Here are a few pics and a sketch:

    Front side:

    Attachment 5118

    Back side:

    Attachment 5119

    Base:

    Attachment 5120

    And a sketch showing more clearly how the base is inserted into a slot in the ring, although I didn't bother rounding the corners of the ring as shown in the sketch:

    Attachment 5121

    So far, with a single use, the steady seems to be doing what it's supposed to be doing. Now if I could only get the lathe back in business. (Parts have been ordered.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,585
    Very nice job, I need to make a better one, or get some better wheels, the ones I have "wobble" which don't work well with keeping things "Steady"

    How much did you pay for four wheels?

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    29,086
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...How much did you pay for four wheels?

    Cheers!
    I got 16 wheels and bearings, with 8 axles, for $26.50 shipped. I'm planning to hang onto the remaining four axles and four of the wheels for potential future projects, but I'm considering selling the rest of the wheels and bearings.

    I know a lot of guys have had good luck buying used rollerblades at thrift stores, but I dunno if Tokyo has much of that sort of thing. These run real smoothly, although I did use some CA glue to hold the wheel hub onto the bearing a bit better. It's a friction fit, and with a bit of sideways pressure on the wheels, they would get unseated and start to wobble. The CA sees to have fixed the problem, but I can still pop them out if need be with a well-placed tap from a hammer. I'll have a better feel for how it works after a few more miles of test driving.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    348
    That's a good looking set up Vaughn. Someday (I have a lot of somedays to catch up on) I'm going to build one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,697
    Good looking set up, and apparently very effective. Wouldn't work on my Grizzly. The motor is mounted 'backwards' and doesn't allow anything larger than the 14" swing to be near the spindle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Hey Vaughn great minds must think alike. I built one just like yours. I really like the way it works so I built a small one for the Rikon. I went to Target and bought 2 pair of skates cheaper than I could get them off ebay. Here are my pictures and all from scrap wood. The first 2 are the big one and the second 2 are the little one.

    Vaughn how does that work with the laser? Does it interfer? Thanks.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, Texas
    Posts
    83

    I Want One!

    Hello Vaughn and Bernie,

    Both of your steady rests look great! I need to build one, or two, or three. When you get a chance to use it, let us know if you have any problems with it marking the bearing spot. I know you can protect the area somewhat with tape, but I'm curious if any compression marks will show up, especially on soft hardwoods. Bernie, you may be able to answer this now??? Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  8. #8
    Steve Clardy Guest
    Good looking SR there Vaughn and Bernie

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
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    Good-looking steady, Bernie. I like the t-track for the arms...great idea, especially when Rockler has their t-track on sale (like now).

    Steve R, my experience is still very limited with these things, but from what I've been told, the main reason for buying the softer wheels (78a to 80a) is to avoid making compression marks on the piece. Soft is a relative term here, but the 78a rubber is about as resilient as a superball. (Remember those?) Firm, but it definitely has some 'give'.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    4,834
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Russell View Post
    Hello Vaughn and Bernie,

    Both of your steady rests look great! I need to build one, or two, or three. When you get a chance to use it, let us know if you have any problems with it marking the bearing spot. I know you can protect the area somewhat with tape, but I'm curious if any compression marks will show up, especially on soft hardwoods. Bernie, you may be able to answer this now??? Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Steve it does leave a mark but nothing that can't be taken care of with a little sand paper. I haven't had any problem on that regard.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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

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