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Pass Along MW


Pass Along MW
April 08

Taper Cutting Checks and Setup
From Machinist's Workshop

Drop Cap o


his simple method for checking and setting up for cutting a taper on your lathe works equally well, whether using the compound or a taper attachment. In order to achieve the best accuracy, the workpiece must be smooth and in line with the lathe axis. If it isn’t, take a light cut, just deep enough for total clean up.

Next, mount a dial indicator with at least one inch of travel in the toolholder. Set the compound to the taper desired, using the degree marks on the compound scale. Adjust the indicator so that its shaft is on the centerline of, and perpendicular to, the axis of the lathe. Move the indicator until it contacts the work and zero the dial. Zero the compound handwheel dial and move the compound exactly one inch, using the compound handwheel.

Make sure that you move in a direction that brings the indicator into the work and that you take up any backlash in the screw before setting your zero.

The sine of the angle that you wish to cut should equal the indicator reading after moving one inch. If not, back off the indicator using the compound handwheel, make a small adjustment to the compound rest angle and check again. Continue this adjust-and-check routine until the indicator reading matches the sine of your angle. Because the proper setting is completed before any cutting, the chance of cutting off too much material before the angle is correct is greatly reduced.

When using a taper attachment, set up a dial indicator in the toolholder, touching the work in the same manner as used for setting the compound. Set another indicator to allow you to accurately move the carriage exactly one inch. Read the deflection on the toolholder indicator. The tangent of the desired angle should equal the indicator deflection if the carriage moves 1". Adjust the taper attachment and check until you get it right on. I hope this tip helps to make life a little easier when it is time to cut a taper.

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