Making a lathe steady rest - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 27 Old 10-20-2012, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Making a lathe steady rest

I showed my home made steady rest in another thread and was requested to write a "how to" for the folks who want to make their own steady rest.

The project begins with selecting a design.

I did the usual internet searching.

If you want to purchase plans, this site has downloadable plans for $9.99.
http://www.woodprojectsonline.com/st...teady_rest.php

I am comfortable seeing a picture and figuring out how to make the item.

This is a detailed PDF document to build a steady rest.
http://www.azwoodturners.org/SteadyRest.pdf

This site has links to several designs.
http://www.woodturningonline.com/Tur...s.php?catid=36

I based my steady rest on the 3rd site in the above link.

http://www.atbq.qc.ca/jm2/steady.htm

I have a 16in swing lathe, so I concentrated on the portion
"Steadyrest for Stubby 750 or any 16" Spindle Dia. lathe"

Once I knew the design I then had to begin to write out the details.

I normally do not work from plans, but I felt this project looks simple, but it needs attention to the details.

My picture of the paper layout needs enhancing, so saving the post in case my computer hangs while I am away.

Stay tuned.
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post #2 of 27 Old 10-20-2012, 05:27 PM
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Thx for an informative thread.

I should look up more threads you have started.

Dave The Turning Cowboy
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post #3 of 27 Old 10-20-2012, 05:32 PM
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That's more or less just like the one I built. I plan to make another one out of metal next year. Mine wobbles just a little bit. Hasn't been a problem for any of the turnings I 've done with it but it bothers me.
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post #4 of 27 Old 10-20-2012, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Next steps for a steady rest

Materials which will be needed.

a) Sheet goods or solid wood. I used birch plywood for the "ring" and a piece of red oak for the base.

b) Some type of wheel, roller or bearing. A lot of people use in-line roller skate wheels since they are readily available in most places.
I was going to purchase some, but I happened to see a pair of in-line skates in a yard sale for a mere $5. Not bad for 8 wheels.

FYI, if you just want to use the bearing, they can be popped out with a screwdriver very easily. I am going to use the bearing on a plane blade sharpening jig. Future post.

I wanted to use the wheels. I felt the plastic would grip the wood and also help to avoid marking the wood.

c) Nuts and bolts to attach the wheels, and for the adjustment mechanism.

d) A method to hold the jig to the bed of the lathe. I was going to cut a piece of plywood, but happened to find some steel plates in a local flea market, so I used one of the plates. See later picture.

My next step was to draw out the design full size. This helps in getting the cut lengths, and the paper pieces can be used to lay on the plywood to "nest" the pieces to minimize waste.

You will have to determine your own maximum diameter. The thicker the ring, the stronger it will be, but it will consume some of the potential diameter.

I started out with my ring being a nominal 2in wide and the wheel supports 2 1/2in wide.

I initially drew this out with the intent to follow the design in the internet link which has about 1in wide strips for the supports of the wheel spokes.

The most important piece of advise is MARK EVERYTHING. If you do not mark, I predict some challenges during construction and / or assembly.

You can see I had 3 pieces to cut. The centre was just to help in the layout of the spokes. I was designing for equal angles. This is not a requirement, but I think easier.

You can see I was intending in the bottom of the ring being glued into a dado in the bottom red oak plate.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_paper_layout_1005.jpg

I then measured the bed details so I knew the distances between rails, the machining for the lip, etc.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_bed_detail_1006.jpg

My first change to the design was that I decided to make the spoke support go full distance between the supports, so giving me full 1 1/2in thick ring, except for the 2 1/2in width of the spoke.

I felt this would help to make the jig stiffer. I am happy I did this.

Name:  Steady_rest_front_1008.jpg
Views: 2557
Size:  45.8 KB

The "back" side of the ring matches the 3 pieces of paper from my initial cut out. I placed the joints to be 1/2 way in the length of the spoke supports.

The cut outs were done on my bandsaw. I then cleaned up the outside edges with my disc sander and the inside edges with a 2 in dia. drum sander mounted in my drill press.

Name:  Steady_rest_back_1009.jpg
Views: 2709
Size:  49.0 KB

The bottom red oak had two dado's routed for the rails. I then hand planed the sides to match the slop of the lathe casting.

Another change from the design is that I have only a single bolt. I felt the plate I was using would hold the jig firmly enough. So far it does.

Time for a break. I need to save this.

Stay tuned for the next episode.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_bottom_1010.jpg
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post #5 of 27 Old 10-20-2012, 09:35 PM
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I wonder if I could make one for the mono tube lathe I have......

It's all fun and games until someone loses the Walnut.
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post #6 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oldmacnut View Post
I wonder if I could make one for the mono tube lathe I have......
The only difference is the method to attach to the bed, in your case a round steel tube.

Someone else mentioned about adjusting the jig by bolts to the bed. Here is my build on the idea.

Excuse the crappy drawing. I only have Open Office Draw installed these days and it does not have the capability of a real drawing program.

I think a U bolt could be used for to hold the base to the mono tube. The U bolts can be tightened with handle or nuts. I recommend jig handles since I like jigs to not require tools. Personal preference.

Since the tube is round, we need some method to orient the jig side to side, and keep the jig aligned. Building on the bolt idea, I am trying to show two carriage bolts with nuts above and below the base. I think these would only need to be be adjusted once if the space between the mono tube and the stand is consistent.

Comments welcome. I think there are a number of readers with the mono tube lathe. We should be able to come up with a workable solution.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_base_tube.jpg
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post #7 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Final details

Continuing the steps to make a steady rest.

The spokes which hold the wheels. I mentioned earlier I made these 2 1/2in wide. I was trying to make these stiff, and since they have a slot cut in the middle, if they are too narrow, they will flex.

The design I am using has only 3 spokes. I have seen designs with more. A 3 spoke design will give a slightly smaller minimum spindle diameter than a 4 spoke design. This was my logic.

The spokes are attached to 1/4in dia carriage bolts, so I routed 1/4in slots in the spokes. The length of the slot will depend on your lathe, the width of the ring, diameter of the wheels, etc.

The routing requires setting stops on the router table, or a mark on the wood. Some folks will not like doing the routing. The router bit was set to be a little higher than the plywood. The router is turned on and then the piece carefully lowered onto the spinning bit to start the cut. Note CAREFULLY. You need to be pushing the piece against your router fence and controlling the descent. It is not hard to do, but if you are not paying attention, you may ruin the piece.

It is easy to lay out the pieces and find the maximum and minimum points to rout out the slot. This empirical method is faster than calculation, and less error prone.

I cut off the corners at the wheel end to prevent interference of the spoke and the wood being turned.

I used lock nuts which have a plastic collar to grip the screw thread. I did not want these to come loose while in use.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_wheels_back_1011.jpg

The wheel side of the spokes. I decided to have the bolt head on this side. Personal preference, the head can be on either side.

The wheel circumference needs to extend beyond the spoke, but not by much. I think this is about 1/4in.

Name:  Steady_rest_wheels_front_1012.jpg
Views: 2740
Size:  48.0 KB

It is important to have some spacer between the wheel and the spoke. The spacer in this case is a couple of washers. Just ensure the washer contacts the INNER part of the bearing but not the OUTER part of the bearing. If your washer is too large, you will need to either find something smaller, or file down the washer.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_wheel_detail_1013.jpg

A detailed picture of the base. I mentioned earlier I was able to find these pieces of flat steel in a flea market. They span between the grooves in the rail and had a hole in the centre. I am using a carriage bolt, so all I had to do was file some corners in the hole to fit the head of the carriage bolt.

To prevent the bolt from falling out, I decided to epoxy the bolt to the plate. This is for convenience, not adding any strength.

This picture shows another change to the design. I glued in a couple of scraps of walnut as gussets to try to make the attachment of the ring to be base stiffer.

Making a lathe steady rest-steady_rest_bottom_plate_1014.jpg

To use the steady rest, the bolt is removed, the rest laid onto the lathe bed at the desired position. In this example, at the far end of a spindle.

The plate is located in the groove between the rails and the bolt inserted into the hole in the base, then tightened with the knob.

I have found this single bolt design to work for my needs.

The knobs on the spokes are loosened and the spokes moved to apply light pressure on the piece being turned, then the knobs are tightened.

If the piece has not been turned to final diameter you will not need to worry about the wheels marking the piece, since you will be later removing more wood.

If the piece is at final diameter, I apply masking tape around the piece where the wheels will make contact. This prevents the wheels from marking the piece.

Name:  Tool_handle_ready_for_drilling_0991.jpg
Views: 2765
Size:  67.3 KB

Thanks for reading.

I hope this inspires or helps someone to make their own steady rest.

I do not think I added anything which was not already posted somewhere else on this site, or other sites.

Perhaps the main benefit is to have this in the "online Cheers" forum as duncsass refers to this Woodturning forum.

Comments and questions are welcome.
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post #8 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 01:33 PM
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I will be making mine this week. Im a hydraulic design engineer by day, so i will design one in Cad and print scale templates on our bluebrint plotter should be good. I want to make some long stem goblets and this will help me a lot, thanks Dave....

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post #9 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 02:19 PM
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Thanks Dave. That was very well written and informative.
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post #10 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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I will be making mine this week. Im a hydraulic design engineer by day, so i will design one in Cad and print scale templates on our bluebrint plotter should be good. I want to make some long stem goblets and this will help me a lot, thanks Dave....
I am happy if this helps you.

I am smiling. Years ago I would likely have considered drawing this on the computer.

I never did get into CAD, although I worked with many CAD designers in my old company.

I was very good with a technical drawing package called Micrografx many, many moons ago back in the mid 90's.

Several hard drive crashes and upgrades later, I did not update the software.

Back in March I saw a demo of making a goblet at a woodturning show. The demonstrator did not use a steady rest so it is possible without a steady rest, but I agree with you if should be easier with a steady rest.
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post #11 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
The only difference is the method to attach to the bed, in your case a round steel tube.

Someone else mentioned about adjusting the jig by bolts to the bed. Here is my build on the idea.

Excuse the crappy drawing. I only have Open Office Draw installed these days and it does not have the capability of a real drawing program.

I think a U bolt could be used for to hold the base to the mono tube. The U bolts can be tightened with handle or nuts. I recommend jig handles since I like jigs to not require tools. Personal preference.

Since the tube is round, we need some method to orient the jig side to side, and keep the jig aligned. Building on the bolt idea, I am trying to show two carriage bolts with nuts above and below the base. I think these would only need to be be adjusted once if the space between the mono tube and the stand is consistent.

Comments welcome. I think there are a number of readers with the mono tube lathe. We should be able to come up with a workable solution.

Attachment 53325
Here, I'll throw this out real quick, as I am milling some Spalted Silver Maple today to sell hopefully...


Not sure how some people have their Monotube lathe mounted, but....

What about some T-Track bolted to the base (embedded of course) and a stedy rest that just sits over the tube, and can be tightened down with knobs, slide it to any position, tighten, etc.

Was just a 2 second thought while I was getting a drink.

Example

It's all fun and games until someone loses the Walnut.
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-21-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmacnut View Post

What about some T-Track bolted to the base (embedded of course) and a stedy rest that just sits over the tube, and can be tightened down with knobs, slide it to any position, tighten, etc.

Was just a 2 second thought while I was getting a drink.
That is a great 2 second idea.

It should work for the folks who have a top on their lathe stand.

I can think of many ways to make a saddle to fit over the tube and allow attaching to the T track. Alternate is for the base to straddle the tube and then have some brackets to attach to the T track.

I think you have a winner - at least for your lathe.
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post #13 of 27 Old 12-15-2012, 11:48 AM
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Continuing the steps to make a steady rest.

The spokes which hold the wheels. I mentioned earlier I made these 2 1/2in wide. I was trying to make these stiff, and since they have a slot cut in the middle, if they are too narrow, they will flex.

The design I am using has only 3 spokes. I have seen designs with more. A 3 spoke design will give a slightly smaller minimum spindle diameter than a 4 spoke design. This was my logic.

The spokes are attached to 1/4in dia carriage bolts, so I routed 1/4in slots in the spokes. The length of the slot will depend on your lathe, the width of the ring, diameter of the wheels, etc.

The routing requires setting stops on the router table, or a mark on the wood. Some folks will not like doing the routing. The router bit was set to be a little higher than the plywood. The router is turned on and then the piece carefully lowered onto the spinning bit to start the cut. Note CAREFULLY. You need to be pushing the piece against your router fence and controlling the descent. It is not hard to do, but if you are not paying attention, you may ruin the piece.

It is easy to lay out the pieces and find the maximum and minimum points to rout out the slot. This empirical method is faster than calculation, and less error prone.

I cut off the corners at the wheel end to prevent interference of the spoke and the wood being turned.

I used lock nuts which have a plastic collar to grip the screw thread. I did not want these to come loose while in use.

Attachment 53329

The wheel side of the spokes. I decided to have the bolt head on this side. Personal preference, the head can be on either side.

The wheel circumference needs to extend beyond the spoke, but not by much. I think this is about 1/4in.

Attachment 53330

It is important to have some spacer between the wheel and the spoke. The spacer in this case is a couple of washers. Just ensure the washer contacts the INNER part of the bearing but not the OUTER part of the bearing. If your washer is too large, you will need to either find something smaller, or file down the washer.

Attachment 53331

A detailed picture of the base. I mentioned earlier I was able to find these pieces of flat steel in a flea market. They span between the grooves in the rail and had a hole in the centre. I am using a carriage bolt, so all I had to do was file some corners in the hole to fit the head of the carriage bolt.

To prevent the bolt from falling out, I decided to epoxy the bolt to the plate. This is for convenience, not adding any strength.

This picture shows another change to the design. I glued in a couple of scraps of walnut as gussets to try to make the attachment of the ring to be base stiffer.

Attachment 53332

To use the steady rest, the bolt is removed, the rest laid onto the lathe bed at the desired position. In this example, at the far end of a spindle.

The plate is located in the groove between the rails and the bolt inserted into the hole in the base, then tightened with the knob.

I have found this single bolt design to work for my needs.

The knobs on the spokes are loosened and the spokes moved to apply light pressure on the piece being turned, then the knobs are tightened.

If the piece has not been turned to final diameter you will not need to worry about the wheels marking the piece, since you will be later removing more wood.

If the piece is at final diameter, I apply masking tape around the piece where the wheels will make contact. This prevents the wheels from marking the piece.

Attachment 53333

Thanks for reading.

I hope this inspires or helps someone to make their own steady rest.

I do not think I added anything which was not already posted somewhere else on this site, or other sites.

Perhaps the main benefit is to have this in the "online Cheers" forum as duncsass refers to this Woodturning forum.

Comments and questions are welcome.
Wow that looks nice! wonder if i could machine one?!
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post #14 of 27 Old 12-15-2012, 11:52 AM
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Wow that looks nice! wonder if i could machine one?!
Only if you use carbon fiber Haha,

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Only if you use carbon fiber Haha,
Why carbon fiber?
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post #16 of 27 Old 12-15-2012, 12:08 PM
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Why carbon fiber?
Anything else would be heavy probably.. wood is probably the best source

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post #17 of 27 Old 12-15-2012, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Anything else would be heavy probably.. wood is probably the best source
The metal ones are likely smaller or heavy.

Carter just came out with one which is lighter weight, but expensive.

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/208...multirest.aspx

This one is bent angle iron. Intended for the full size lathes.
http://theokspindoctor.com/rest.html

The part you could machine is the plate which goes under the bed reails to lock down the steady rest. I found a thick piece of steel, but you could make one to fit better than my piece of steel.
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post #18 of 27 Old 12-16-2012, 11:42 AM
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Why would it be bad if it was heavy? Just hard the move around?
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post #19 of 27 Old 12-16-2012, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Why would it be bad if it was heavy? Just hard the move around?
Some of us are feeling our "vintage" more than others.

These days any tool stand I make is on casters so easier to move around.

I hate taking my tailstock off. Somewhat heavy, awkward position since I am space constrained and have to work from the front of the lathe.

These days I need to pay attention to moving around dead weight. I try to avoid if possible.

If I had the choice of a light vs heavy item, and the light item did the required duty, I would likely prefer the light item.
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post #20 of 27 Old 12-16-2012, 11:57 AM
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I keep forgetting about the vintage or being old school part of wood working. I have access to high tech machinery so My mind immediately goes to that way of building. I do like the wood version and It would probably be much easier to make from wood. My initial thought that wood was too light and wasn't sure how good it would work for reducing vibration which is why I thought metal would be better. But you would know better than I would since I havnt used one yet.
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