Pen Blank Drilling on Lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Pen Blank Drilling on Lathe

I want to use my lathe to drill pen blanks and have a few questions for some of you that do it this way.

I find it hard to get consistent results on my bench drill. Even a couple of degrees out means the drill bit can go through the side of a thin resin pen blank (some of them are only 17mm square). Despite my best efforts and even building a jig to hold the blanks and using clamps and levels etc. I simply can't seem to get it consistently right. Some are fine, some blow out and some drill through the side. It's too expensive to have this trial and error approach.

On my lathe (Rexon) I have just fitted a Nova G3 chuck so I mount the blank in that. However is there a way to ensure it's centered?

At the tailstock end I have a MT1 taper, so have bought some drill chucks for the lathe (three different sizes) all with MT1 taper fittings, that they just push onto when mounted in the tail. However there is no way to stop the chuck from spinning when the drillbit is inside the blank... I'm having to wear a heavy glove and carefully hold the drill chuck to stop it from spinning. Am I missing something?

To move the tailpiece towards the blank ensuring the bit enters it centrally, I have to un-clamp it, which makes it less precisely set up dead center and adds a little bit too much flexibility... again am I missing something?

I've tried it today and it is a little more precise, but I'm a bit nervous when the drill chuck starts to spin if the drillbit is a little clogged, as when then I pull the tailpiece away, the drill chuck head seems to occasionally want to stay with the blank end and starts to pull off the MT1 arbour... obviously this would be very dangerous if it came off whilst turning.

How do others have it set up?

I know the sharp intake of breath some will take when they hear I'm wearing a glove when using a lathe, but I'm really careful and only holding the drill chuck near to the tailpiece, which should not be spinning and is not directly driven in any way.

I know the Rexon is not the greatest lathe, but it's a good size for pens, all I can afford right now and it's variable speed from 500 to 5000.

I appreciate it if anyone has any suggestions and comments.

Cheers,

Chrome
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 02:19 PM
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I'm not sure why the drill chuck is spinning -- mine doesn't when it's fully seated in the tailstock.

First question though -- which part is it that's spinning? Typically a drill chuck is itself a push-fit onto a piece of metal which is a Morse taper for the tailstock at one side, and a taper for the drill chuck mechanism at the other.

If the entire thing -- drill chuck and Morse taper -- is spinning, it could mean it's bottoming out in the tailstock quill, and extending the quill a half inch or so could get it to seat properly. (Reversing the quill into the tailstock will then free the Morse taper when you want to remove it.)

My drill chuck sometimes comes loose on the end of the Morse taper as I'm backing out of deep holes -- then it's just a matter of stopping the lathe and unscrewing the drill out of the workpiece.

Cleaning off the metal-to-metal surfaces with some mineral spirits (or meths or acetone) might help.

HTH

Duncan

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
I want to use my lathe to drill pen blanks and have a few questions for some of you that do it this way.

I find it hard to get consistent results on my bench drill. Even a couple of degrees out means the drill bit can go through the side of a thin resin pen blank (some of them are only 17mm square). Despite my best efforts and even building a jig to hold the blanks and using clamps and levels etc. I simply can't seem to get it consistently right. Some are fine, some blow out and some drill through the side. It's too expensive to have this trial and error approach.

On my lathe (Rexon) I have just fitted a Nova G3 chuck so I mount the blank in that. However is there a way to ensure it's centered?

At the tailstock end I have a MT1 taper, so have bought some drill chucks for the lathe (three different sizes) all with MT1 taper fittings, that they just push onto when mounted in the tail. However there is no way to stop the chuck from spinning when the drillbit is inside the blank... I'm having to wear a heavy glove and carefully hold the drill chuck to stop it from spinning. Am I missing something?

To move the tailpiece towards the blank ensuring the bit enters it centrally, I have to un-clamp it, which makes it less precisely set up dead center and adds a little bit too much flexibility... again am I missing something?

I've tried it today and it is a little more precise, but I'm a bit nervous when the drill chuck starts to spin if the drillbit is a little clogged, as when then I pull the tailpiece away, the drill chuck head seems to occasionally want to stay with the blank end and starts to pull off the MT1 arbour... obviously this would be very dangerous if it came off whilst turning.

How do others have it set up?

I know the sharp intake of breath some will take when they hear I'm wearing a glove when using a lathe, but I'm really careful and only holding the drill chuck near to the tailpiece, which should not be spinning and is not directly driven in any way.

I know the Rexon is not the greatest lathe, but it's a good size for pens, all I can afford right now and it's variable speed from 500 to 5000.

I appreciate it if anyone has any suggestions and comments.


Not sure how much help I can provide. Lets start with the drill chucks. WHY WHY WHY 3 different sizes?? Waste of money there. 1/2" all you need. Are you sure they are a Morse taper#1 as you say you have??? You are putting the chuck in the tailstock correct???? If all is correct then check the taper for dirt rust or debris on both female and male ends. When installing you need to run the tailstock out a ways so that the drill chuck seats all the way in. You should feel it grab tightly if done correctly and you should not be able to spin it by hand. If you can spin by hand then you need to crank the quill wheel out abit more. Do this till it can not spin. OK that is all I can say on that.

Now for drilling accurately. Here is the chuck I bought and it is money well spent. Can be used on round blanks, square blanks and odd shaped blanks. http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CSCPENCHK.html

Now here is the method I use to accurately drill a blank. I find the center of the blank as normally done. You better know how to do this???? I then use an awl to make a dent in the center crosshairs. If my blank needs to be super centered because of segmenting, I will first turn the blank round. Now I install the blank in the chuck I shown, you can use a 4 jaw chuck if need be. I keep the chuck loose. I then install a live center in the tailstock. I use the point of the live center and line it up with the dent of the center mark. With that still engaged I then lock down the chuck in the headstock, making sure it sits properly in the chuck. I then back the tailstock off and put my drill chuck in. I then take a centering bit and run that abit in. I then replace with whatever bit I need for tube size. I slowly advance the tailstock quill because the bit will grab very quickly so need to go slow till its starts cuting its own size hole. I also hold the drill chuck steady as It advances. Clear the hole as need be. Simple as that. Good luck.

John T.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTTHECLOCKMAN View Post
... I then take a centering bit and run that abit in. ...
John --

I wasn't sure what this means, so I looked it up but found multiple descriptions of "centering bit".

Can you explain it please? (or provide a link to one in a store)

Thanks --

Duncan

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 08:37 PM
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The chuck I bought came with a tab at the end of the morse taper (no idea what that's for) but it prevented it from seating completely. I just ground it off. I still have to hold it occasionally to keep it from slipping.
As for you trouble advancing the tail stock precisely, the quill on my Delta has some play unless I tighten the quill lock (if that's what it's called) down to the point that it takes some effort to crank it out. I may be missing something too but that method seems to work for me.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-17-2012, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
John --

I wasn't sure what this means, so I looked it up but found multiple descriptions of "centering bit".

Can you explain it please? (or provide a link to one in a store)

Thanks --

Duncan
This is the centering drill bit I refer to.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA300_.jpg

being short it will not deflect. You can get them from Enco, Amazon.com or any good tool place.

John T.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-18-2012, 02:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTTHECLOCKMAN View Post
This is the centering drill bit I refer to.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA300_.jpg

being short it will not deflect. You can get them from Enco, Amazon.com or any good tool place.
The center drills are also available at Penturners Products, & Harbor Freight also.

http://penturnersproducts.com/index....products_id=47

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece...tip-42280.html

James
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Last edited by jlord; 04-18-2012 at 02:08 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-18-2012, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JTTHECLOCKMAN View Post
Now for drilling accurately. Here is the chuck I bought and it is money well spent. Can be used on round blanks, square blanks and odd shaped blanks. http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CSCPENCHK.html

I use this same chuck if I decide to drill on the lathe instead of the drill press. Works well. Also available thru Barry Gross's site.

http://www.bgartforms.com/index.php?...ory&path=39_42

James
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