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MachinistBlog.com

Plans, projects and how-to's for home machinists

Rear-mounted Parting Tool Holder for Sherline Lathe

This is the rear-mounted parting tool holder for my Sherline lathe.  It’s based on a design that’s been around for decades and I made it about 12 years ago, before Sherline offered one for sale. It is just a block of 6061-T6 aluminum and it cost almost nothing to make. Further on you’ll find drawings that will help you make your own. The design could probably be adapted for 7×10/12 mini-lathes, which are notoriously bad at parting-off.

Yeah, I know its beat up and ugly but it is extremely solid and functions perfectly. As you know, a rear mounted parting tool pushes the carriage down instead of raising it up so rigidity is markedly enhanced. My parting tool does not chatter, dig in, or deflect. It cuts cleanly in all materials I have used it on, at speeds averaging 2-3 times normal turning speeds.

The main features of the tool holder are

  • It accepts all 1/2-inch tall P-type blades, mounted upside down.
  • The bottom of the slot is on the exact centerline of my particular lathe. This allows the tool to be extended however far I need while still remaining at centerline. Canted designs do not do this. The Sherline OEM tool holder may not be on the centerline either so a shop-made one is a better option.
  • There is a ledge on the bottom of the tool holder that automatically aligns the tool perpendicular to the work. A single screw locks the tool to the carriage in a few seconds. The ledge eliminates the possibility of movement, even under very heavy loads.

Inverting the parting tool does several things

  • Improves geometry. Instead of being a zero-rake cutter an inverted tool has back rake, which assumes the importance of side rake on a turning tool. This not only reduces cutting forces but also greatly improves chip ejection from the cut and thereby also reduces cutting temperatures. Furthermore, the 5-degree side rake on a P-type tool also narrows the chip, improving chip ejection even more.
  • Improved oiling. On an upright parting tool the chips are piling up on top of the blade and carry much of the cutting fluid away before it even gets to the tip. With an inverted tool the oil gets to the tip first, further reducing cutting temperatures and improving both accuracy and finishes because the cut is no longer dry.

So, you have greatly increased rigidity, reduced cutting forces and cutting temperatures, improved oiling, and the ability to cut at higher speeds that leads to improved accuracy and finishes. With all of this I cannot imagine why a guy wouldn’t rear-mount a parting tool!

I also believe the improved geometry allows a blade to cut a larger work piece than expected. A P1N blade is usually used for work up to 3/4-inch OD but I use mine on work up to 1-1/2-inch OD, double what you would expect to be able to cut. I do alter the angle at the nose of the tool; I use 7 degrees instead of 5 or 10. I have found edge life to be greatly improved, while still clearing chips easily.

Here is an example of a cut made in 12L14 mild steel. The OD is 1-1/4-inch at the cut. Depth of the grooving cut is 5/16-inch and I made two cuts side by side to allow my turning tool to fit in there. Speed is 1200 RPM and I purposely extended the blade about 5 times more than needed for this depth of cut to see if I could induce chatter – there was none – note the finish inside the groove. This part was later parted off about an inch from the chuck at the same speed and came off cleanly. I assure you that I cut like this all the time, in all sorts of materials.I set cutting speeds based on how the feed feels. The tool should cut freely and easily but allow me to feel the tip in contact with the work while feeding at a pace I can keep up with comfortably. Because the tool cuts so well there is little fear of digging in or chattering so speeds and feeds are much higher than you would expect. Continue reading Rear-mounted Parting Tool Holder for Sherline Lathe

New V-belt makes speed changes easier

Changing the spindle speed of your Harbor Freight 8×12 or Lathemaster 8×14 lathe will probably be easier if you replace the factory belt with a size 3L300, which you can buy at most auto parts stores for about $5.  The original is so tight that changing the spindle speed by moving it to a different set of pulleys can be an unpleasant chore.  Richard on the Lathemaster Yahoo discussion group discovered that the 3L300 is just a little bit bigger and it makes speed changes much easier.  I tried one, along with others members of the group, and we found that he was right.

Mine was made by Dayco and I bought it at a NAPA store.  Another store I’d visited didn’t have one in stock and they tried to sell me a heavy-duty version which I declined, because it cost twice as much and I didn’t think I needed or wanted a heavy duty belt.  (Addendum 3/18/2011:  I’ve heard that the Gates 6730 belt is the same size, 3/8 x 30-inches  or 9mm x 760mm.)

Carriage Lock Modification for 8×12 or 8×14 Lathe

This is Steve Shyver’s carriage lock modification for a Harbor Freight 8×12 or Lathemaster 8×14 lathe (both lathes are the same size if measured the same way).  His handle replaces the easy-to-misplace hex wrench that comes with the lathe.  Its longer length also makes it easier to turn.

Steve made it using a M8 stainless steel cap screw with a press-on cap he fabricated.  The cap allows the handle to be adjusted so it’s in the proper position when unlocked.  To allow some additional adjustment he put a loose-fitting thick washer under it that can be made thinner to change the position of the handle.  Less than a quarter-turn is needed to lock the carriage.

Steve also told me how to fix a small problem I was having with my 8×12.  I had to really tighten the locking screw to keep the carriage from moving.  Steve told me that less force would be needed if the two M5 cap screws to the right of it were a little loose so the brake “shoe” could rock and pull up against the bed when it was tightened.  The two screws can be seen under the handle in Steve’s first picture.

Steve can be found on the Lathemaster Yahoo Discussion Group, which is a good group to belong to if you own a 8×12/14, 9×20 or 9×30 lathe.

Photos by Steve Shyver (The SteamshipCO).  Text by Rob.

Snub’s ball turning tool

I think this is a brilliant idea.  “Snub” made a ball turning tool and used a 4-jaw chuck as the base.  He says it works perfectly and leaves an almost perfect finish.  I don’t doubt him because of the weight and rigidity of the chuck and the large bearing he used as a pivot.  His design also looks like it is quick and easy to make.  Notice that he didn’t make a holder for the carbide insert.  Instead took an existing holder and drilled it so he could bolt it to a piece of steel.

Unfortunately, you can’t use Snub’s idea if you have a small lathe.  It would definitely be too tall for a 7x mini-lathe, and I don’t think it will work on my 8×12 even if I use a shorter 3-jaw chuck and somehow directly mount it on the ways.

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