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CNC Workshop 2016


Flag Pole Finial

by Ray Miller

Over the years I’ve used a piece of 1/2″ conduit as a flag pole and always meant to machine a proper finial for it. Finally, in retirement, I got around to it. PhotoThe finial was made completely by eyeballing as I was working on it. The only measuring I did was to match the ID of the conduit, .614″ ; the rest of the cuts were done to about what looked right! The measurements mentioned in the following description were taken after completion.

I mounted a piece of Ø1.4″ scrap aluminum in the three-jaw chuck and center drilled the end to allow support from a live center mounted in the tailstock.

Using the cutoff tool, I cut a groove 1/2″ from the tailstock end to a diameter of .614″ to mark the end of the section that fits in the conduit. I then moved towards the headstock and made three cuts with the parting tool. The resulting width of this new groove was about 3/16″, with the center cut made a little deeper than the outer ones. Then, using a chain saw sharpening file, 3/16″ in diameter, I rounded the bottom of this groove.

Moving 1-1/2″ towards the tailstock, a plunge to 1/2″ diameter marked the end of the tapered section of my finial. The compound slide was set to 75°. PhotoLocking the carriage, I used the compound slide to make taper cuts, creating a cone 1.06″ in diameter at its base.

The stock between the tailstock and the first groove was removed to a diameter of .614″ to fit the conduit.The stock between this section and the groove I finished with the file was cut to a little under 1″ in diameter. Then, in order to round this stock I used a Craftsman molding head cutter, No. 9-23523, mounted in the tool post holder.

The piece was then flipped around in the three-jaw chuck and clamped on the portion that is to be inserted into the flag pole. Using a 3/4″ hole saw mounted in the tailstock chuck, PhotoI removed excess material from the end of the cone creating an aluminum washer as scrap.

With the compound slide still set at 75° degrees, the cone shape was completed by removing the stock from the backside of the cone with the spindle rotation in reverse. I used a file to round off the point.

The finial was completed by drilling and tapping for a 4-40 setscrew to mount it securely in the flag pole. The finial finishes off my homemade flag pole nicely!

Although a simple project, I thought the readers might be interested in my use of a woodworking molding cutter blade in a metalworking environment to create decorative effects without having to grind tools to a special shape.

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