Mini-Lathe: Control Box Cover Screws

It’s easier to remove the leadscrew while dismantling the carriage and apron, which requires removing the cover from the control box containing all the switches & knobs. Come to find out the “cover” actually holds all the gadgetry onto the headstock:

LMS mini-lathe - control box interior

LMS mini-lathe – control box interior

I want to replace the Power indicator with something visible in normal shop light; judging from the connectors and overall brightness, it’s a neon bulb inside a green housing.

Anyhow, the four screws holding cover to the headstock weren’t identical:

LMS Mini-lathe - cover screws

LMS Mini-lathe – cover screws

I thought the oddball screw was deliberate, perhaps fastening that corner to a plastic frame of some sort, but it turned out to be a quick fix for a boogered tap job:

LMS Mini-lathe - mistapped cover hole

LMS Mini-lathe – mistapped cover hole

A bag of 4 mm knurled brass inserts will arrive in a while, after which I’ll drill out all four holes and epoxy inserts in their place. Might have to use stainless hardware, just for nice…



Tool Drawers: Cheap Foam Liner

You can get fancy closed-cell foam sheets for the bottom of your tool chest drawers and tote, but it seems awfully spendy, even with Harbor Freight quality plastic, for something that you must cut-to-fit. The drawers are just under 22×11 and 22×17 inches, so a 18×72 inch roll would line maybe three drawers; call it three bucks per drawer and, with nearly three dozen drawers to line, I’d rather drop a hundred bucks on tools.

Rather than do that, the usual eBay supplier provided 150 feet of 1/8 inch x 24 inch white polyethylene closed-cell foam sheet for $27 delivered:

Polyethylene foam sheet - roll

Polyethylene foam sheet – roll

It’s intended for packaging small items for shipping, but I’ll never tell.

I mooched Mary’s 2×3 foot rotary cutting mat (this reenactment shows the awkwardly sized 17×23 inch mat), her longest quilting rulers, and dullest rotary blades:

Rotary cutting foam sheets

Rotary cutting foam sheets

After a few mis-steps, I got the hang of it:

Foam-lined tool tray

Foam-lined tool tray

It’s not as contrast-y as black foam, but I can still find the tools:

Foam-lined tool drawer

Foam-lined tool drawer

And I have plenty of foam left over for shipping small things, if I ever do any of that…



Salted Rabbit

The original owner of our house positioned two blue plastic barrels along the driveway, filled with salt for ice melting. We’ve neither used the salt (a snowblower suffices for most storms) nor removed the barrels; they’ve been in those spots for at least three decades.

Many critters pause in front of the barrels:

Rabbit at salt barrel

Rabbit at salt barrel

Those who fit often hop inside:

Rabbit inside salt barrel

Rabbit inside salt barrel

We’re pleased to provide public salt licks!

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Mini-Lathe: De-oiling the Chuck

The mini-lathe arrives covered in oil and the chuck is no exception. Wrap it in a paper towel, spin it up, let it sling out (nearly all) of the excess oil:

LMS mini-lathe - chuck de-oiling

LMS mini-lathe – chuck de-oiling

Unwrap, enjoy…


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Mini-Lathe: Carriage Stop Improvements

I got an LMS adjustable carriage stop along with the mini-lathe to simplify cutting things to length. A few tweaks make it much less annoying to use:

LMS Mini-lathe - carriage stop - crude shim

LMS Mini-lathe – carriage stop – crude shim

The fluorescent red tape makes the handle stand out vividly against the general clutter. It lives in the shadow of the chuck, where an extended jaw could end its life, so some protective coloration seemed in order.

The screw threaded into the lower part holds it together, but, as with the carriage retaining plates, only the outer edge clamped onto the lower part of the bed. Three layers of credit card plastic fill the gap and allow just enough compression to go from “freely sliding” to “firmly clamped” in half a turn of the lever.

The washer lets the lever turn easily on the upper block.

Remove the screw and spring from the lever to lift and properly re-index it on the internal nut.

The spring on the adjusting screw seems too long and exceedingly stiff for the task at hand. The Big Box o’ Little Springs didn’t offer a suitable replacement, so adapting / making one goes on the to-do list.

It really needs a sliding pin just to the left of the lever screw to hold the lower block in alignment, but that’s definitely in the nature of fine tuning.



Mini-Lathe: Apron Shim

Eks gave the traverse crank a few twirls, told me the gear was engaging the rack entirely too tightly, and recommended shimming the apron:

LMS mini-lathe - apron shim

LMS mini-lathe – apron shim

Of course, he was right.

Took two 18 mil shims to make it feel right, for whatever that’s worth.

That isn’t the prettiest solution, but it’ll suffice until the ways wear a bit more, things settle in, and I can cut a proper shim to surround the bolt holes across the entire bearing surface.

You can just make out the transparent plastic sheet that serves as a chip shield around the traverse gear shaft; kudos to LMS for that upgrade.

A chip shield tube / roof over the leadscrew is in order, too.



American Standard Faucet O-Ring Replacement

The never-sufficiently-to-be-damned O-rings in the kitchen’s American Standard faucet wore out again; the faucet spout went from a tolerable piddle to a major flow over the course of a few weeks.

The inner circumference of the bottom O-ring had most of the wear:

American Standard faucet - worn lower o-ring

American Standard faucet – worn lower o-ring

In cross-section, it’s more of a D-ring:

American Standard faucet - worn lower o-ring - section

American Standard faucet – worn lower o-ring – section

Once again, I soaked the spout & pillar in vinegar to remove the mineral deposits (despite the soft water), gave them a light sanding with 800 grit paper to regularize the surfaces, cleaned everything up, lubed it with petroleum jelly, and it’s all good.

Disassembly and replacement went smoothly, mostly because I could look up what I did before and avoid all the usual mistakes.