Mini-Lathe vs. Case-Hardened Shaft

While doodling a drag knife holder for the Sherline, I figured a 3/8 inch shaft would hold all the parts and fit neatly into a standard Sherline tool holder, which it did:

Sherline Diamond Drag Holder - installed
Sherline Diamond Drag Holder – installed

Having recently upcycled a 3/8 inch shaft from the Thing-O-Matic into a pen holder for the CNC 3018-XL, I cut off another section with an abrasive wheel, then tried to face it off:

Hardened shaft facing - abrasive step
Hardened shaft facing – abrasive step

Although the mini-lathe’s carbide insert gnawed at the shaft’s case-hardened shell, it obviously wasn’t making much progress against that step.

Back to the abrasive cutoff saw:

Hardened shaft facing - abrasive flattening
Hardened shaft facing – abrasive flattening

Which looked better, although it still wasn’t quite perpendicular to the shaft axis.

Back to the lathe:

Hardened shaft facing - lumpy face
Hardened shaft facing – lumpy face

Well, it’s better, but it sure ain’t pretty.

Put gently, the mini-lathe’s lack of rigidity doesn’t help in the least. The compound was a-reelin’ and a-rockin’ on every revolution and eventually turned a slight tilt into a distinct radial step.

Memo to Self: Dammit, use a brass rod!

7 thoughts on “Mini-Lathe vs. Case-Hardened Shaft

  1. Yeah, I am not thrilled with the mini-lathe. Every time I ask it do do something I need (meaning steel as opposed to something I want which can usually be plastic or non-ferrous) it falls insufficient in my admittedly unskilled hands. I’ve been thinking a lot about one of these, lately:

      1. Agreed on all counts but I have made mine work. It just takes higher speed, smaller bites, and more patience. I have had some very nice surface finishes, but eventually I would like a heavier and more capable lathe as well. Oh yeah, and more free time too.

          1. I know what you are saying but at this point how much more can I lose? I’ve lost one of two of my best friends, all my grandparents, a brother in law, and worst of all, my wife due to cancer, all in the last 6 years. I still have my parents and all my siblings. I’m only 54 too and doing the best I can. So yeah, how about some free time without or due to consequences.

            1. As Jim Morrison put it, no one here gets out alive, but … not all at once like that. Our sympathies.

              Around here, everybody’s shut in (“New York is on PAUSE“) and must stay inactive for months to tamp down the death rate. I get the distinct feeling not everybody has Something To Do, other than hit Refresh on their Facebook feed, and this supercooled calm won’t survive the next few weeks.

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