Bowl / Hollow Form steady rest

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Mark Hepburn, Apr 22, 2014.

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  1. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    Steve - do you use all those brackets? Jeff Nicols has a design available on his website for a movable bracket that I was considering, but found that three wheels positioned at 120 degrees apart and angled at 7 degrees from the vertical (similar to Steve Sinner' steady) gets the job done nicely. I've found that for bowls, something like the OneWay bowl steady works well because the wheels can be placed so they are perpendicular to the bowl surface so they track well. Couldn't see building one in unless I could figure a way to angle the wheels to the bowl's surface, and, quite frankly, that was way to much work and I find a bowl steady is only very rarely needed and usually more trouble to setup than help in turning. A hand on the outside countering the cut works just as well and is much quicker to deploy.

    The steady can be placed either way on the la†he bed - I offset the ring to the front of the base plate (ring's vertical surface forward) so the banjo could be moved in as close as possible to the piece. The adjustment knobs for the wheel arms are pretty much out of the way in use. The wheel arms can also be rotated 180 degrees in the bracket so the wheels are slightly in front of the rings vertical surface if needed. I haven't found the occasion to do that as of yet.

    I'm not and engineer, but I'm of the opinion that simpler solutions are generally easier to implement.
     
  2. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Guys, in re-reading my post, I realized I didn't explain clearly. I was referring not to flat stock but square tubing, which turned out to have a wall thickness of + 1/8 inch. I think it's something like 8 gauge.

    Talked to a buddy who said it's easily adequate for this purpose. He did suggest that if I went with a square frame to use gusset plates on the corner joints to eliminate deflection and enhance rigidity.

    The goal here was to use free stock and get working on the rest. So I cut the stock, dry fitted and deburred and so on. Turns out cutting stock that thick takes forever. Monday it gets welded and meanwhile I'll be looking for wheels.

    I'm in the middle of turning a form for my beloved for Mother's Day and just bit off more than I can chew. This rest will get me out of the bind I out myself in. The troubles we newbies make for ourselves :).

    I really appreciate the help here. I never would have attempted it without the encouraging advice.

    I'll post photos when it's finished. This will be a simpler version than you suggested Steve, but I'll be making something for my other lathe down the road and it will be more challenging to be sure. Gotta crawl before you walk, right ? :)
     
  3. Glen Blanchard

    Glen Blanchard

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    Mark - Sounds as if you have decided to fabricate your own, so my post is meant primarily for informational purposes. I had built my own steady rest from plywood for my small Delta 46-460. I recently took delivery of a Robust American Beauty, which of course meant that my older home made rest would not work, and I decided I wanted to purchase rather than fabricate my next steady rest. I bought JT Tools Smart Steady and really like it. It is very VERY stout and well built. I believe it will fit virtually any lathe, but one of the things I like the best about it is that it does not wrap 360* around my blank. I frequently use an articulated hollowing rig with laser, and not having circumferential coverage means that the rest will not block the laser. Thus, the Smart Steady seldom needs to be relocated once set in position. Another big advantage over many other steady rests is that it breaks down making storage easy. I have no financial interest in JT Tools - just a happy customer and offer this as another option for those considering such a purchase.

    This, from the JT Tools website:

    Look closely at the new SmartSteady and you will see a uniquely designed configurable, adjustable steady rest that works on virtually any lathe. From 10" to 25" swing lathes this great product handles all of your steady rest needs for hollow forms, bowls, platters and even most spindles. SmartSteady's tiered adjustability allows you to put supporting wheels in contact with virtually any type of turning. Plus you can use it on multiple sizes of lathes so one SmartSteady will allow you to move up to a larger machine and yet still use it on your smaller machine. Complete modularity and a small factor with relatively light weight make the SmartSteady easy to get on and off the lathe - one piece at a time. No lifting of a large heavy hoop or frame that is only usable on a single swing size. And that great modularity lets you quickly break it down for easy storage on a shelf or in a drawer or cabinet. SmartSteady utilizes a classic three-wheel configuration but it's design provides for an almost infinite amount of adjustment and placement of each wheel on the turning. The best arrangement of the 72mm diameter wheels is completely at the discretion of the user. You can run each wheel on a slightly different path to reduce "tracking" on the outside of the form. Plus, independent placement also allows you to work around any inclusions or imperfections in the surface of the turning.​
     
  4. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Glen, thanks very much for this info. I really do like the SmartSteady quite a bit. It looks like it's really stout and as you said, not being enclosed as most others are is a plus. I literally just finished prepping the metal parts for my rest yesterday and am going to see it through, but I have a larger lathe that I will for sure need a steady for. This one is far more appealing than the others I've looked at.

    Did you get yours from a retailer or direct? I googled several ways and couldn't find a source other than JTTools. And that Gizmo looks pretty amazing too.
     
  5. Glen Blanchard

    Glen Blanchard

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    I believe Tom only deals direct. He puts out a very well designed and stout product and he's wonderful to deal with. I have Tom's Gizmo, vacuum hub, vacuum adapter and offset tool rest in addition to his Smart Steady. I am extremely pleased with each. Again, no financial interest - just a very happy customer.
     
  6. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    That Gizmo looks like just the thing for a future purchase. I'm not yet experienced enough to begin that type of work but large hollow forms are the direction I'm headed. Thanks again Glen.
     
  7. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Almost finished, warts and all

    So I assembled the rest today and put it through its paces. Here it is in all it's glory. Please feel free to snicker at my welds :D. First time ever but under the supervision of a 15 year veteran ship fitter. But I have to say it was a fun build.

    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg

    So far so good,but I forgot to make a mounting plate and just cut a block of oak for now. I'm also thinking about mounting a guide on the outside of the bed ways to keep it square. For now I'm using a small square to true it up. I mounted the knobs outboard so they are out of the way. They're some hole saw cut offs I had, sanded, shellacked and epoxied the bolts on.

    It's extremely rigid and the wheels track right. Got the wheels for five bucks at the Salvation Army store. Anyone have any ideas on how to buff the wheels smoother?

    Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their help and thoughts. Very much appreciated.

    It cost me $18 dollars including wheels and a can of paint. Would I make another one? Nope. I'll save my pennies and buy the next one. That SmartSteady suggested by Glen really looks like it may be the next big ticket item. But then ,most of these turning tools are big ticket items aren't they?
     
  8. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    You could try putting a small block on the bottom between the ways to square. If it connects to each side of the steady then a flat metal piece hanging in center (like the banjo) with center knob to lock in place. The block could also be metal, but will have to just be tight enough for a slide fit.
    On the wheels try a belt sander, may work.
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The purpose of the slot between the ways is for alignment. The bottom of the steady rest ought to have a guide plate that fits without any slop -- don't worry about making it slide easily as that is not necessary. Don't count on the outside of the ways as being a good reference for alignment.

    A steady rest is no better than the wheels. Rough wheels = rough rest (rough wheels will cause the HF to vibrate -- fine for chatter work, but otherwise not good)

    Other than buying new wheels, you can true them up on the lathe using a very sharp scraper and very light touch, but please pu-u-u-u-l-e-e-e-e-z-z-e-e don't use a belt sander or else they will become so out of round that they won't be salvageable.

    My steady rest has a roll pin on either side of each wheel which can be used as a micro tool rest for truing them. You ought to be able to rig some sort of temporary rest to do the same thing.
     
  10. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

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    You have made what appears to be a fine rest. I bet if you invest in new wheels the noise level will drop dramatically. Bill's suggestion about the guide plate is dead on, a must.
     
  11. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Gerald, thanks. That's what I think I'm going to do. Bill also suggested the metal between the ways and I think a piece of 1.75" C channel stock is a precise fit.
     
  12. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Hi Bill. Thanks for checking in. I hadn't realized that the outside of bed ways may not be as precise, but clearly the slot is true and parallel. So my understanding here is that a plate mounted under rest and parallel will assure a correct position relative to the axis of the lathe, and do so without my having to manually square it up with each use. Much better than what I'm doing now.

    The wheels aren't great that's for sure. I'll try turning them smooth and if no improvement, I'll just bite the bullet maybe on new wheels. The whole thing has cost less than twenty bucks so far :)

    Would you mind listing a photo of your roll pin? I'm not understanding what you mean.
     
  13. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Hey Dwight, and thanks. Yes, I'm going to do both. If I can't improve in the wheels then it's off to the cycle shop tomorrow. Don't want to ruin a piece by cheating out on an already cheap rest :D

    Other than the wheels, it really is surprisingly good and very rigid. Zero flex as far as I can tell having tried to bring a lot of pressure to bear on a test piece. Dead true turning as far as I can tell by eye or hand.
     
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm out of town so I can't take a picture now, but if you go to this link http://www.turnrobust.com/Bowl_Steady_Rest.html, you might be able to see the roll pins attached to the arms close to where the wheels contact the wood. The primary purpose of the pins is to reduce the chance of a finger or tool getting pinched between the wood and wheel.
     
  15. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Thanks. I took a look and see what you mean. It'll require some thought nut the cutlass doing should not be difficult.
     
  16. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    You don't need a steady rest

    Steady rests are necessary when doing large work with chucks. I do hollow-forms up to 22"-dia and have never had a problem using a Oneway faceplate and no steadyrest. If I'm doing a smaller piece of 16" dia or less, I'll use the Oneway 4" - larger and I use their 6". I do about 20-pieces per year and have never had a problem.
    I'll start with the log on a 1.5" spur drive on what is to be the top of the vessel - drilling a shallow hole with a 1.5" forstner is critical. Of course to get the piece on the lathe, a chain hoist is needed - some weigh 300-lbs or more. Crank down the tailstock and start knocking down the facets. I'll do the bottom profile and then turn the face-plate tenon. It's critical that this be flat and the same dia as the faceplate.
    Position the faceplate on the tenon, mark one hole at 12-o'clock, drill with 11/64 for #14 SS sheet-metal screws - oval heads give a little more bite for the screwdriver - insert one screw. Then determine the rest of the holes with a SELF CENTERING DRILL GUIDE (available any hardware), remove the one screw holding the faceplate, and drill all hole with the 11/64 using a depth stop. I use two different screw lengths: 1.25 for the six inner holes, 1" (points ground off) for the twelve outer. The reason for the shorter screw is that the last cut before finishing is to cut under the 6" faceplate to achieve a 4" base - as the tenon is typically 1" long, I avoid unsightly filled holes near the bottom.

    If this seems too much hassle, add one more step: after the rough has dried for up to a year, I'll put the dry and warped piece on the Kelton mandred just to true the surface for the faceplate. New holes are drilled - the tenon looks like Swiss cheese.

    I've never had a piece come off or even wobble. But that's because I go to great lengths to have a flat surface for the faceplate, all screw holes are centered in the faceplate holes, all screws are used - no exceptions

    The only time I'll use a steady rest is doing large, heavy (350-lb+) that are also tall (30" length). To my thinking, cantilevering out that far and then subjecting to the rigors of hollowing might be a bit much.
     
  17. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    John,

    I've copied and pasted this because I do plan on turning large items in the future. I just bought a VB 36 (ordered it in January and it just arrived). I don't yet have it installed but will soon. This is very helpful information because I realize large turnings are quite a different thing.

    I built the rest because I screwed up when planning a staved ginger jar. I don't have any hollowing tools, built the entire jar and had to somehow clean out and smooth the interior. It flew off the chuck a few times and then once nearly across the shop. Hence the steady rest.

    On the other hand, I used a waste block for a vase I turned of similar depth and diameter at bottom, and boy did it go well. Turn, finish, part it off the block that I screwed to the face plate and done.

    I looked at the Kelton Mandrel (had never heard of it before) on Craft Supplies' site. That's a pretty slick tool.

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  18. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I don't see a drawing, any idea how thick they are?
     
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Depending on diameter, they are either 1/8" or 3/16" (16" diameter and larger is 3/16"). I saw one made for a Powermatic 3520 and it was plenty sturdy.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  20. Max Taylor

    Max Taylor In Memoriam

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    Woodturning Designs

    I noticed those posts were oldq. Woodturning Designs recently w`ent belly u.
     

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