Extended Mounting Screws for the Mini-Lathe Control Box
by Charles B. Levinski
I frequently remove the control box from my mini-lathe. Whether it is to adjust the belt tension, change the speed control potentiometer, work on the headstock, or just clean, I find myself dismounting it often. The most frustrating thing about removing it is inserting the lower two screws when replacing! The small gap between the bottom of the control box and the chip pan, coupled with the deep recess resulting from the control box dimensions, are not friendly to my fat fingers. It usually takes me 5-10 minutes just to replace these two screws.
I finally decided to fix the problem by making a long shaft with a knurled end and a threaded opposite end. The shaft must be long enough that the knurled end protrudes beyond the front surface of the control box by at least 1/2″.
I started with 1/4″ diameter aluminum rod, about 4-1/2″ long. I used a No. 19 drill bit (tap drill for an M5 x 0.8 mm thread) to drill one end 3/4″ deep, and then threaded it M5 x 0.8 mm. I then flipped the part and knurled the last 1/2″ of the opposite end.
I cut the head off a 25 mm long, M5 x 0.8 mm socket head cap screw, cleaned up the cut end, and threaded it into the rod using Loctite, leaving 1/2″ protruding, and let it set overnight. The next day, I placed a washer over the screw end to prevent the rod from pulling through the holes in the plastic control box and was able to quickly and easily thread both lower extended screws into place.
I find that the knurled 1/4″ diameter allows me to tighten the screws adequately, but you could choose to use a larger diameter rod, if desired. Best of luck with the modification!
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