Posts Tagged Mini-lathe

Minilathe MT3 Spindle Collet Fitting

I’ve used the LMS set of inch-size MT3 spindle collets on occasion, but releasing them required an unseemly amount of drawbar battering. It recently occurred to me to check their fit in the spindle taper:

Minilathe - MT3 collet - taper test

Minilathe – MT3 collet – taper test


The only place they touch the spindle is right around the base, so it’s no wonder they clamp poorly and release grudgingly. I tried several others with the same result.

Cross-checking shows a much closer fit along the entire length of the dead center, so it’s not the spindle’s fault:

Minilathe - Dead Center - MT3 taper check

Minilathe – Dead Center – MT3 taper check

Stipulated: we’re not talking toolroom precision here

I set the collets on centers:

Minilathe - MT3 collet - drive setup

Minilathe – MT3 collet – drive setup

And proceeded to file away the offending section to move the clamping force closer to the business end of the collet:

Minilathe - MT3 collet - filed result

Minilathe – MT3 collet – filed result

I did the small collets, the ones I’m most likely to need, and left the big ones for another rainy day.

They don’t have much clamping range and seem good only for exact-inch-size rods.

I should lay in a stock of ER16 and maybe ER32 collets for small stuff.




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!

, ,


Kenmore Progressive Vacuum Tool Adapters: Third Failure

The adapter for an old Electrolux crevice tool (not the dust brush) snapped at the usual stress concentration after about three years:

Crevice tool adapter - broken vs PVC pipe

Crevice tool adapter – broken vs PVC pipe

The lower adapter is the new version, made from a length of 1 inch PVC pipe (that’s the ID, kinda-sorta) epoxied into a revised Kenmore adapter fitting.

The original OpenSCAD model provided the taper dimensions:

Electrolux Crevice Tool Adapter - PVC taper doodles

Electrolux Crevice Tool Adapter – PVC taper doodles

The taper isn’t quite as critical as it seems, because the crevice tool is an ancient molded plastic part, but a smidge over half a degree seemed like a good target.

Start by boring out the pipe ID until it’s Big Enough (or, equally, the walls aren’t Scary Thin) at 28 mm:

Crevice tool adapter - boring PVC

Crevice tool adapter – boring PVC

Alas, the mini-lathe’s craptastic compound has 2° graduations:

Minilathe compound angle scale

Minilathe compound angle scale

So I set the angle using a somewhat less craptastic protractor and angle gauge:

Crevice tool adapter - compound angle

Crevice tool adapter – compound angle

The little wedge of daylight near the gauge pivot is the difference between the normal perpendicular-to-the-spindle axis setting and half-a-degree-ish.

Turning PVC produces remarkably tenacious swarf:

Crevice tool adapter - PVC swarf

Crevice tool adapter – PVC swarf

The gash along the top comes from a utility knife; just pulling the swarf off didn’t work well at all.

The column of figures down the right side of the doodles shows successive approximations to the target angle, mostly achieved by percussive adjustment, eventually converging to about the right taper with the proper dimensions.

Cutting off the finished product with the (newly angled) cutoff bit:

Crevice tool adapter - cutoff

Crevice tool adapter – cutoff

And then It Just Worked™.

The OpenSCAD source code for all the adapters as a GitHub Gist:

, ,

Leave a comment

Modifying a 2.5 mm Collet Pen Holder for a 3 mm Diamond Engraver

Of course, the diamond engraving points have a 3 mm shaft that doesn’t fit in the 2.5 mm Collet Pen Holder, but making a hole bigger isn’t much of a problem …

Commence by drilling out the collet closer nut:

Collet Holder - closer nut drilling

Collet Holder – closer nut drilling

The hole didn’t start out on center and I didn’t improve it in the least. A touch of the lathe bit and a little file work eased off the razor edge around the snout.

The knurled ridges at the top are larger than the threaded body, which requires a shim around the threads to fit them into the lathe chuck. Start by cutting a slightly larger ID brass tube to the length of the threaded section:

Collet Holder - brass shim cutoff

Collet Holder – brass shim cutoff

I finally got a Round Tuit and ground opposing angles on the cutoff tool ends, so I can choose which side of the cut goes through first. In this case, the left side cuts cleanly and the scrap end carries the thinned slot into the chip tray.

Grab the tube in a pair of machinist vises and hacksaw a slot:

Collet Holder - brass shim slitting

Collet Holder – brass shim slitting

Apply a nibbler to embiggen the slot enough to leave an opening when it’s squashed around the threads:

Collet Holder - brass shim around threads

Collet Holder – brass shim around threads

Put a nut on the collet threads in an attempt to keep them neatly lined up while drilling:

Collet Holder - collet drilling

Collet Holder – collet drilling

Drill the hole to a bit over 3 mm in small steps, because it’s not the most stable setup you’ve ever used. Eventually, the diamond point just slips right in:

Collet Holder - 3 mm scribe test fit

Collet Holder – 3 mm scribe test fit

Reassemble in reverse order and It Just Works:

Collet Holder - finished

Collet Holder – finished

Now, to scratch up some acrylic!

, ,


Cheese Slicer Rebuild

The cheese slicer frame looked much better after sandblasting with 220 aluminum oxide grit:

Cheese slicer - sandblasted

Cheese slicer – sandblasted

The flower bed outside the Basement Laboratory door seems a bit dusty, though.

Slathering it with JB Weld steel-filled epoxy went reasonably well:

Cheese slicer - JB Weld curing

Cheese slicer – JB Weld curing

JB Weld is much much more viscous than the clear XTC-3D I used last year and the final coating, while smoother than what you see here, has too many sags and dents to say “good job”. I didn’t bother coating the upper tips, because the epoxy will wear off from my morning KP.

The aluminum roller turned on those bare stainless steel screws in the tray, with the threads chewing into the roller bore. While the epoxy was curing, I drilled out the roller to remove most of the ridges:

Cheese slicer - drilling roller

Cheese slicer – drilling roller

Cut a pair of stainless screws slightly longer than the old screws, then turn the threads off to make a shaft:

Cheese slicer - screw reshaping

Cheese slicer – screw reshaping

The lathe spindle runs in reverse, so the cutting force tends to tighten the screw in the nuts. The big old South Bend lathe had a screw-on chuck and didn’t really like turning backwards.

The new screws won’t win any beauty prizes, but they get the job done:

Cheese slicer - screw shafts

Cheese slicer – screw shafts

Turn a Delrin rod to a press fit in the drilled-out roller:

Cheese slicer - turning Delrin bearing

Cheese slicer – turning Delrin bearing

Part it off, repeat, ram them into the roller, then drill to a loose fit around the smooth-ish screw shafts:

Cheese slicer - drilling Delrin bearing

Cheese slicer – drilling Delrin bearing

Reassemble in reverse order:

Cheese slicer - rebuilt

Cheese slicer – rebuilt

Looks downright industrial, it does.

Stipulated: this makes no economic sense, apart the simple fact we appreciate utensils that just work.

, ,


Doorknob Repair

The outer doorknob on the kitchen pantry became very loose and sloppy, with the screw holding the inner knob on the shaft remaining snug. Obviously, something else was wrong inside the door.

A spring clip should retain the outer knob in the escutcheon:

Doorknob - worn retaining flange - detail

Doorknob – worn retaining flange – detail

The flange holding the clip has worn away, letting the clip fall loose. A side view shows the problem:

Doorknob shaft - worn retaining flange

Doorknob shaft – worn retaining flange

Yes, the knob’s chrome plating is in sorry shape after six decades of wear. I’d rather keep using a solid knob, instead of force-fitting some contemporary half-assed / cost-reduced junk into the door.

Reference: beausage. I say it “beau-sage”, the beauty that comes from usage.

The shaft consists of three triangular rods, with the setscrew on the inner knob pressing against the smaller rod to lock all three of them in place and eliminate all rattle & play:

Doorknob shaft - detail

Doorknob shaft – detail

A tapered pin (!) locks the three shaft rods into the outer knob:

Doorknob shaft - tapered pin

Doorknob shaft – tapered pin

Some doodling, most of which turned out to be irrelevant, captured the essential dimensions and suggested how to replace the flange:

Doorknob - dimension doodles

Doorknob – dimension doodles

The stock is 11/16 inch O-1 oil-hardening rod, forever to remain unhardened:

Doorknob - retainer ring boring

Doorknob – retainer ring boring

I drilled a few holes to get up to 1/2 inch, the largest drill bit I have and just barely clearing the the boring bar.

With the hole bored out to fit the end of the knob, cut it off:

Doorknob - retainer ring cutoff

Doorknob – retainer ring cutoff

Trial-fit the ring on the knob with the spring clip:

Doorknob - retainer trial fit

Doorknob – retainer trial fit

Reinstall the shaft, tap in the retaining pin, then epoxy the ring in place with the knob supported from below to eliminate having to fiddle with the spring clip:

Doorknob - retainer ring epoxy

Doorknob – retainer ring epoxy

Add a few dots of oil here & there, reinstall the parts in reverse order, and the knob works perfectly again. Still looks heavily used, of course, but that’s OK.

They definitely don’t make ’em like that any more …




Presta Valve to Schraeder Hole Adapter

The front rim on my Tour Easy developed a distinct bulge, of the sort usually caused by ramming something, but I’m not Danny McAskell and the bulge got worse over the course of a few weeks, suggesting the rim was deforming under tire pressure. Having ridden it upwards of 35 k miles with plenty of trailer towing and too much crushed-stone trail riding, the brake tracks were badly worn and it’s time for a new rim.

An Amazon seller had an identical (!) rim, except for the minor difference of having a hole sized for a Schraeder valve stem, rather than the Presta valves on the original rims. One can buy adapters / grommets, but what’s the fun in that?

The brake track walls are 1.5 mm thick on the new rim and a scant 1.0 mm on the old rim, so, yeah, it’s worn.

A few measurements to get started (and for future reference):

Presta to Schraeder Adapter - dimension doodle

Presta to Schraeder Adapter – dimension doodle

If you don’t have an A drill, a 15/64 inch drill is only half a mil larger and, sheesh, anything close will be fine.

Introduce a suitable brass rod to Mr Lathe:

Presta-Schraeder Adapter - parting off

Presta-Schraeder Adapter – parting off

Break all the edges and drop it in place:

Presta-Schraeder Adapter - installed

Presta-Schraeder Adapter – installed

One could argue for swaging the adapter to fit flush against the curved rim, but commercial adapters don’t bother with such refinements and neither shall I.

The 7.0 mm length got shortened to fit flush with the center of the rim:

Presta-Schraeder Adapter - valve stem installed

Presta-Schraeder Adapter – valve stem installed

It’s brass, because the rim is heaviest on the far side where the steel pins splicing the ends live, and, with the tube & tire installed, the rim came out almost perfectly balanced. Which makes essentially no difference whatsoever, of course.

The shiny new rim sports shiny new reflector tape (from the same stockpile, of course).

That was easy …

, ,