February 01, 2012

Thanks to all of those who provided such great feedback about the video I did  on making Payne-style acorn caps! It was a fun project and has inspired Junior and I to try and do a few more over the next couple of months (at least if we can get the time!).

One thing that the video also inspired me to do was to retire the tool post I was working with and make a new one altogether. A tool post is a pretty standard piece of lathe equipment and its purpose is to hold whatever tool you’re working with to machine your material. Basic, but pretty important. You can see the piece of machinery I’m talking about in these two photos.

Here I am attaching the tool post to the Lathe.

Marc Aroner Lathe Tool Post

 And here it is being used to apply the knurl to the finished cap. You can see in the photo below that there is a portion of the tool post that is angled up slightly, a problem which I had fixed at an earlier point but which was now breaking again.

Marc Aroner Machining Hardware

Anyway, last week before the Somerest show I managed to carve out a few hours to go ahead and make a new one. Some of the photos below are a little blurry but hopefully you get the idea.

The first basic step involved getting the stock material cut and then machining all of the surfaces so that it squared up nicely. In this photo the new block for the post is in the lower right hand part of the picture.

Marc Aroner Machining Tools

The next steps involved turning the top so that there was a nice little rise for the handle to bed on, and then milling out the parts of the block to create the spaces for the tools to rest. I machined the slots for the tools so that they were a few thousandths below the center line (which gives you a much better cut when you use a plastic shim) and good for 3/8” tooling (I also machined one that was quite a bit lower that I could use for my knurl holders). The last thing I did during this phase was to machine one slot at a 3 degree incline so that I could easily adjust the height of the tools by sliding it back and forth slightly in the slot and thus raising or lowering the point at which it touches whatever material I’m working on.

Marc Aroner Machining Tool Post

Marc Aroner Machining Tool Post 2

Here’s the semi-finished tool-post with all of the slots machined out.

Marc Aroner Lathe Tool Post 2

The last step was to machine the holes for the screws that lock each tool in place in the slots. Below you can see the new tool post on the left with the freshly machined slots and holes, and my old (and somewhat battered) one on the right. I’m looking forward to using the new one since I anticipate it being especially helpful with much of my work!

Marc Aroner Lathe Tool Post Finished

 -Marc


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