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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.