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Bird Feeder Unbending

At some point in its history, the left rail holding the wood perch on our industrial-strength “squirrel proof” seed feeder took a hit, most likely from being dropped:

Squirrel on bird feeder

Squirrel on bird feeder

I finally got a Round Tuit and un-bent the poor thing:

Bird feeder - rail un-bending

Bird feeder – rail un-bending

Because the bend happened at the base of the vertical strut holding the shutter, I clamped a Genuine Vise-Grip sheet metal pliers along the straight section. The Craftsman knock-off Vise-Grip then applied torque at the bend, rather than just making things worse, and some two-axis tweakage lined up the rail pretty well.

With the bend taken care of, I clamped the rail in the bench vise with some scrap wood around the strut:

Bird feeder - warped rail

Bird feeder – warped rail

A percussive adjustment jam session flattened the top flange, leaving both sections as flat as they’re gonna get.

While I was at it, I turned a pair of stepped aluminum washers for the new wood rod:

Bird feeder - parting off washer

Bird feeder – parting off washer

Which looked about like you’d expect, including a little chatter from the cut off tool:

Bird feeder - perch hardware

Bird feeder – perch hardware

Yeah, I drilled the wood rod on the lathe, too; I loves me some simple lathe action.

Reassemble in reverse order and it’s all good:

Bird feeder - perch installed

Bird feeder – perch installed

We’re supposed to bleach the feeder every week to kill off the bacteria causing House Finch Eye Disease and, while I can’t promise a weekly schedule, we’ll (try to) reduce the amount of crud on the feeder this year.

If you’ve got a feeder, sign up for Project Feederwatch and do some citizen science!

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  1. #1 by David L on 2018-11-21 - 18:34

    Looks like you’re parting off conventionally on a mini lathe. I had no end of problems (chatter and broken tools) parting off (especially steel and brass) until I started doing it backwards with an upside down tool.
    The explanation is here : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-RZRq0olsxM

    • #2 by Ed on 2018-11-24 - 11:36

      I’d seen parting done upside-down behind the spindle, but never reverse-in-front! The cross slide just doesn’t go far enough to put the tool behind the spindle, so I though it was impossible.

      The QC holder will accept the tool upside-down, which puts the cutting edge so far below the “normal” position the holder must sit halfway out of the toolpost with the height setting nut an inch above the top. Probably doesn’t make much difference to the overall rigidity, methinks. [grin]

      The comments mention putting too much strain on the dovetails, which seems like a non-issue for my kind of tiny jobs on a tiny lathe.

      It’s all set up for the next time around. Maybe I should sacrifice a circular saw blade to get a custom-made tool at the proper height?

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      • #3 by David L on 2018-11-28 - 12:42

        Yeah, it’s a (somewhat) unique to mini-lathe owners solution due to the combination of easy reversing, non-screw off chuck, and poor rigidity.

        With the tool it upside down, my QC holder is just at the top of the dovetail, so not bad. I do occasionally forget to leave enough room to account for the cutting bit being on the “wrong” side of the cut off tool shank, but nothing a quick rechuck can’t fix.

        I have a holder for a 1/2” HSS cut off blade. I’m tempted to try one and see if I can get it mounted at the right height upside down. At least that shouldn’t be on the wrong side….

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