Although I shouldn’t have used a hardened shaft for the case, the rest of the diamond drag tool holder worked out well enough:
The dimension doodle shows what’s inside and gives some idea of the sizes:
From left to right, it’s an M6×1.0 setscrew to adjust the spring preload, a spring harvested from a cheap clicky ballpoint pen, a machined cap, a 3 mm rod (which should be a hardened & ground shaft, but isn’t) surrounded by a pair of LM3UU linear bearings, a machined coupler, and the stub of a diamond engraving tool’s shank.
Tapping 15 mm of M6×1.0 thread inside of the case took an unreasonable amount of grunt. Next time, brass.
The setscrew gets a little boss to hold the spring away from the adjacent threads in the case:
The little machined cap has a somewhat longer spring guide to prevent buckling:
The spring fits snugly on the slightly enlarged section inside the last few coils, with the rest being a loose fit around the guide. When the spring is fully compressed, it’s just slightly longer than the guide and can’t buckle to either side.
The cap gets epoxied onto the 3 mm rod with some attention to proper alignment:
The other end of the rod has a 3 mm thread, which would be a serious non-starter on a hardened rod.
The shortened diamond tool shank gets epoxied into the gizmo connecting it to the now-threaded rod, again with some attention paid to having it come out nicely coaxial:
The LM3UU bearings got epoxied into the case, because I don’t have a deep emotional attachment to them.
Unscrew diamond tool, push spring onto cap, drop rod through bearings, crank setscrew more-or-less flush with the end of the case, screw diamond in place with some weak threadlock, add oil to rod, work it a few times to settle the bearings, and it’s all good.
A quick spring rate measurement setup, with a brass tube holding the diamond point off the scale pan:
Note: WordPress just “improved” their post editor, which has totally wrecked the image alignment. They’re all set to “centered” and the editor says they are, but they’re not. It’s a free blog and I’m using one of their ancient / obsolete / unsupported themes, so I must update the theme. Bleh.