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The following is a Sneak Preview of the December 2008/January 2009 issue of Machinist’s Workshop
A Rolling Steady Rest for the Sherline Lathe
As a relatively new home shop machinist, I have been tackling small projects in order to build up experience with my new Sherline lathe and mill. Like many others, it was my intention to develop these skills to aid my modeling, but I’ve have found that it is just as rewarding to work on projects to improve the base equipment as it were.
One such project, and the subject of this article, was a desire to upgrade the Sherline steady rest to one with roller bearings. Similar projects have been described on the Internet, but I thought nothing of it until one day I happened to be in a surplus store and was rummaging around looking for "treasure." I came across some small ball bearings in one of the bins and fished one out (.5" OD) that looked potentially useful for this specific project. At $2, I thought that they would be good candidates for my project and picked one up to create a prototype. Similar bearings can be found at many suppliers.
I didn't go the extent of creating drawings or plans; instead I eyeballed the dimensions and used the Sherline-supplied brass fingers and the bearing as the basis for the dimensions of the prototype. It was quite fortuitous that the inner diameter allowed a 10-32 screw to pass with a bit of persuasion, I might add. After a bit of cutting, turning, drilling and tapping, I had a workable sample that was the basis for completing the remaining two fingers.
To ensure that parts were machined identically (or reasonably close), I used stops for each of the setups.
What most will like about this project is that it is relatively easy and yet there is a real feeling of satisfaction once completed. The other advantage is that the materials needed are either at hand or can be readily obtained.
"A Rolling Steady Rest for the Sherline Lathe" appears in the upcoming December/January issue of Machinist’s Workshop. If you are a subscriber, stay tuned! The issue will be in the mail soon!
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