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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

Free Plans: Jeroen Jonkman’s “Stirling 60”

Jeroen Jonkman built this Gamma type Stirling engine for his father’s 60th birthday.  He also drew a nice set of plans for it and is very generously sharing them.  You can download them here from MachinistBlog (PDF) or from HMEM if you’re registered there and logged in.  I asked, but Jeroen didn’t tell me much about himself.  But I can tell from the videos he uploaded to his YouTube channel that he’s a skilled machinist and prolific builder of model steam and Stirling engines, many of which are of his own design.  Jeroen is also Dutch and I find it interesting that two other Dutchmen, Jan Ridders and Jos De Vink, have built some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting model Stirling engines.  Jeroen has not produced as many engines as those two but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does someday. Continue reading Free Plans: Jeroen Jonkman’s “Stirling 60”

Free Plans: David Kerzel’s C02 Engine

Here’s another set of free plans and construction notes by David Kerzel.  These are for a CO2 engine which is much smaller than his very beautiful hit & miss engine, which you can also get free plans for.  David says the flywheel is too thick, which should be easy to fix.  He also thinks the cylinder looks too long.

Free Plans: David Kerzel’s Hit & Miss Engine

David Kerzel has free plans for this beautiful hit & miss engine he designed.  It may look like it’s made from castings but it’s actually made from bar stock.  The cylinder has a .75-inch bore and the flywheels are 3.5-inch in diameter.  The plans also come with some well-written and very helpful construction notes.  You can find the links to download David’s plans and notes near the bottom of this web page.

Random Quote

There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.

— Thomas Edison