Home Machine Shop Tool Making - Machining A Tailstock Die Holder For The Sherline Lathe - Part 1

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Machine Shop Tool Making, Machining A Tailstock Die Holder For The Sherline Lathe - Part 1, by Clickspring.

The Sherline lathe is perfect for making clock and watch parts, particularly small screws. Sherline make plenty of tailstock accessories to make the lathe more versatile, but one accessory that I haven't seen for sale is a moving tailstock die holder.

So in this 2 part series, I make one from mild steel and aluminum. This is another perfect mini lathe project, with plenty of lathe turning, drilling and tapping. Be sure to check out part 2 of the series next week.

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Other Videos to Watch:

How To Make A Clock Part 1 - Making The Frames

How To Machine A Small Lathe Carrier

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00:22 This is what I currently use for die threading on my larger lathes, and I'm using it as a guide for the design of this one.
00:42 There are recesses at each end to accept different sized dies, and grub screws to hold them in place, and compress them if needed. The grip pattern I'm using is consistent with some other Sherline accessories, like this little tool that holds watchmaker collets. I'm going to put in a series of close milled grooves around the perimeter, to give it a similar straight knurl look.
01:01 The shaft needs a zero Morse taper to fit into the tailstock, and the tool also needs a little handle to finish it off. Now the fact that it hangs out quite a bit from the tailstock influenced my choice of material.
01:16 Solidworks has this great feature called "Mass Properties", which tells me that if I make it from steel, its going to weight in at almost half a kilo, which is a bit much to ask of the little Sherline tailstock.
01:27 But with aluminium alloy, it comes in at around 150 grams which I think will be fine. I also need to consider the different dimple patterns that are found on modern split dies.
02:21 But there's a fair chance that the drill wandered a bit, while I was making it. And even if it didn't, I would lose all alignment anyway, when I flip the part to do the second recess, so I roughed out both recesses, but i've left them undersized, so that I can true them up to the bore using this stub arbor.
03:15 The part needs to be flipped, and then remounted to take care of the other end.
03:28 I wear breathing protection whenever I heat super glue. The part was then remounted on the arbor, and the other recess turned to final size. Next I marked out and cut the outside profile.
04:38 Without disturbing the part, I set up the vertical slide and dividing gear on the lathe to take care of the outside grooves.
05:13 I don't think the cutter profile is overly important, but I had this 90 degree countersink left over from another job, and it looked like it would do the trick.
05:22 So I centered the cutter on the work, and took extra care to make sure it was clear of the chuck, and that I had a temporary stop in place to stop me doing anything absent minded. The first cut is much like the wheel cutting
process. I took 2 cuts side by side, to judge the right depth of cut.
06:14 But what really stood out to me at this point, was the sound of the cutter. It was making a woody "knocking" sound, and cutting on the return pass. Definitely not the behaviour of a happy cutter. Plus the surface finish was terrible.
06:33 I was fairly sure the problem was that it was just a bit blunt, so I gave it a bit of time on the sharpening stone, and from there it cut beautifully.
07:45 The spindle was put in line with the axis
of the part, using an edge finder, and this time I used a bit of support, using this little machinists jack underneath the part. The downward force from the drill is significant, and I wanted to keep deflection to a minimum. I then drilled and threaded, the handle and grub screw holes.
09:45 A light touch with a countersink, and that's the part complete. The threading dies fit quite nicely in the recesses; not too tight that they get stuck,

Machine Shop Tool Making, Machining A Tailstock Die Holder For The Sherline Lathe - Part 1, by Clickspring.