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Set screws messing up my spindle shoulder

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Jan 23, 2020
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None of my set screws on my 3 nova chucks line up with the shoulder they are supposed to tighten to. They are right on the edge so they mess up the edge on the shoulder. I cannot seem to find a spacer that I need for this. I'm guessing I can't just use any washer, as they are not machined to flatness. It needs to be pushed out toward the end of the spindle about 3/16" to be in the right spot for the set screws. The lathe is a Harvey T60-s.
 
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Feb 20, 2013
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I agree with John Lucas....only one of my chucks has a set screw and I don't use it. My spindle doesn't have a flat for a set screw so if tried to use one it would just damage my spindle. I do need a spacer(s) for some old small faceplates and homemade fixtures. I even use them on my tool rest post for automatic height adjustment. I have a bunch of these machined spacers in different thicknesses (about 1/16" thru 1/2") and ID's. I think they're called Arbor Spacers. Check Grizzly (cheapest), MSC, McMaster-Carr, etc.
 

john lucas

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If one wants to sand in reverse (or even carefully turn in reverse), then you need set screws.
I sometimes sand in reverse and often turn in reverse. Put the chuck on then snug it up against the shoulder with the chuck Key. I can only remember one time having a chuck come loose and I may not have used the snug method back in those days. It was a 19" roughed out bowl and the electronic brake on my then new to me Powermatic slowed it down too fast and it came loose. Havent had that happen since so it was probably something indid.
 
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I also don’t snug down the set screws, although both of my lathes have gouges in the shoulders. I tightened the set screws down 15-20yrs ago on my 3520 and forgot until after I really worked trying to get it off without loosening them :). You’d think I’d learn, but when I got a Comet2 unit came with a chuck installed. I figured out the set screws were down again after I tried to force the chuck off...some of us are dense!

I don’t reverse turn, but reverse sand often and have only had an issue when I stop a large bowl without having snugged it up.

I do use nylon washers, I purchased from Craft Supply I believe, to prevent the chuck from binding. If you need to stand off a little one or two of those washers might do the job for you.
 
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I have a lathe with E braking, and sand and turn in reverse. I use set screws in all chucks - some I needed to drill and tap. Yes the messed up the 1st thread from the shoulder - a different issue than the T60 spindle. I was able to so some lite file work to take care of it. 3/16” thick is really a bushing vs a washer. Search for a flat bushing With ID of your spindle - 1-1/4”?.

I have had several large turnings unscrew from the spindle even with tightening the chuck up - refuse to trust it, and if it holds its a b*tch to get off.
 
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The little thingy that comes with nova chucks that is supposed to go down the hole prior to the set screw is essentially gasket material cut to about a 1/8" diameter disc. (might be just a tad larger) It's hard to imagine that it makes much of a difference, but that's what Nova thinks we should use.
 
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I do most of my sanding with the lathe in reverse, use SuperNova2 chucks, no set screws, no spacer, have not had issues with chuck unscrewing from spindle. I hand tighten the chuck. It usually has a little rotational momentum when it seats, but I don't do anything specific to make it tight.

If you do feel need to use set screws, I'd also suggest the brass tipped ones. I got some from McMaster Carr for another application where I wanted to avoid scarring a surface. They worked well for it.
 
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You could turn a brass or aluminum spacer on your wood lathe if you can't find what you need.
A machine shop would use a round bar stock and drill a hole the diameter of your spindle and then part off the thickness of the needed spacer.
Another option is to find some flat stock the thickness you need and drill a center hole in the material then secure on a spindle or chuck and turn the outer diameter round.
The flat stock method would eliminate the problem of machining a flat surface and parting off the spacer with a hand held tool.
You can use carbide tools to easily turn/cut/machine brass or aluminum and your wood lathe has plenty of torque to turn smaller pieces.
Another option for a spindle chuck spacer is a hard polymer material which can also easily be turned on a wood lathe. I have several 3/16" thick spacers that I still use
that were turned from Corian type materials. Both sides of the spacer mate up against a flat surface so they are still in good shape after a number of years of regular use.
 
Joined
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The little thingy that comes with nova chucks that is supposed to go down the hole prior to the set screw is essentially gasket material cut to about a 1/8" diameter disc. (might be just a tad larger) It's hard to imagine that it makes much of a difference, but that's what Nova thinks we should use.
I did use those little red dots. They fall out as soon as you take the chuck off into sawdust land! But they do work if you crank down on the set screw.
 
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I did use those little red dots. They fall out as soon as you take the chuck off into sawdust land! But they do work if you crank down on the set screw.
Easy solution for the little red dots ... a leather punch (under $10 at Amazon) and and old belt, and you can make as many as you want. If they fall into the sawdust, no problem ... there's a pill bottle full of them in the tool cabinet next to the lathe. Here's a link to the punch I bought ...
 
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Roscoe, Illinois
@John Hicks Before I became more experienced at turning, I forgot to loosen the set screws on my Nova Comet at lest twice before unscrewing the chuck. Therefore I damage the spindle a bit but it doesn't have any effect on the tightening or loosening of the chuck itself even though I have scored the shaft a little. Now that I am more experienced, I don't make that mistake again, but I just live with the scoring. I do sometimes sand in reverse because it helps with slight tear out that I wasn't able to get smooth. I have less of that also now and so don't sand in reverse much but I still always use the setscrew just in case I do sand in reverse. If you never use the lathe in reverse, then I think you don't need the setscrew.
 
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FWIW ... the set screws for my chucks live in a little pill bottle right next to the one with the little leather dots! They are only installed in the chuck when I need them.
 
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Once you have a sheet of gasket material from the auto parts store to make your discs, you can punch one out with a variety of purchased punches, or you can use spent firearm brass. Rimfire 22 brass is pretty soft but 223 works well. If you know someone who likes to shoot, they almost certainly have an AR15 and 223 brass.
 
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Of course the OP could drill and tap a hole in the right place, never have to get a washer etc to fit in there after, just a one time job.

And yes a good idea to use a set screw when using a lathe with Ebrake and or turning in reverse, I have only once had a large piece come right off and rolling around on the floor, not a nice thing to happen, safety first and you might not get hurt.
 
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McMaster Carr has set screws with either brass or nylon tips - a bag costs a few bucks. I seldom use them, but they’re in all the chucks I use. The occasional reverse turning large, heavy blanks on a lathe with braking resistors taught me to anticipate the possibility of a chunk with a seven pound chuck bouncing around the shop. I only bother to tighten them when there’s a potential wanderer on the lathe, but glad I got them.
 
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McMaster Carr has set screws with either brass or nylon tips - a bag costs a few bucks. I seldom use them, but they’re in all the chucks I use. The occasional reverse turning large, heavy blanks on a lathe with braking resistors taught me to anticipate the possibility of a chunk with a seven pound chuck bouncing around the shop. I only bother to tighten them when there’s a potential wanderer on the lathe, but glad I got them.
Thanks, I just ordered some
 
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None of my three chucks have set screws and I set my brake time a little longer on the new VFD so as not to spin the chucks off when I reverse sand. None came off but the chucks came loose a couple times the way my old Delta drive braking time was set up.
 

Bill Boehme

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I have never used setscrews on a chuck, but if you do then don't use the typical hardware store setscrews that have a sharp cup tip. That type of setscrew is meant for digging in and deforming metal in order to permanently hold parts together. As others have suggested, go to McMaster-Carr to get setscrews with either a dog point or rounded tip or a softer material like brass or nylon.
 
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I do have more than a few chucks that use a locking grub screw and I use them with the little leather circles. Just order 50 brass grub screws off Ebay for $12.59.
 
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
I don't use set screws, but I do give the chuck a little flick to lock it in place. When shutting down, dial back the rpm first, wait a couple seconds, and then hit the brake.

Prior to learning this procedure, I once had a chuck with a bowl on the jumbo jaws come off and hit the floor, damaging the jaws. Something like this tends to make you remember to lock the chuck in every time! ;)

-----odie-----
 
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I do not use set screws. Haven’t had a problem and I do sand in reverse. I use to give the chuck a “flip” and there were times it was a bit difficult to remove. Now I bring it up to the face and then just give it a snug. This was something John Jordan indicated when he did a demo at our club.
 

john lucas

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I screw my all the way on gently. Then lock down using my chuck key. I often turn smaller pieces in reverse and sometimes sand in reverse. I have not had a chuck come loose. I do lubricate the mating surfaces with a light grade of oil. Then I wipe it off with a paper towel. Have not had a problem with it locking on the spindle or coming loose when in reverse
 
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I don't use set screws, but I do give the chuck a little flick to lock it in place. When shutting down, dial back the rpm first, wait a couple seconds, and then hit the brake.

Prior to learning this procedure, I once had a chuck with a bowl on the jumbo jaws come off and hit the floor, damaging the jaws. Something like this tends to make you remember to lock the chuck in every time! ;)

-----odie-----
That is why I slowed my braking speed time down on my PM lathe, even in an emergency situation, and probably even more so, I don't want a chunk of wood or a chuck adding to the emergency. I do spray PB Blaster on the spindle threads and face regularly. We, at regular intervals, would shut the refinery or sections of it down for maintenance and would work 12 to 16 hour days until it was up and running again. During one of those stints, I had gotten some sap that seeped in between the chuck and spindle. I had made it a habit of a final spin to lock the chuck. It took several days of soaking and working to get it loose. Now I keep it clean, sprayed and seat it firmly.
 
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I use the screws when I am doing anything over 14 inch. As to locking the chuck on I did the extra tighten until I learned better with a stuck chuck. Now I do not lube the spindle but only hand tighten the chuck firmly. Not sure what thread is on the screws but came from McMaster Carr and have brass tip.
 
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I had a piece try to back off the spindle just today. And - I was sanding in reverse, at low speed when I felt vibration, and saw a gap developing where the chuck should be seated against the spindle shoulder. So, yes, I will use set screws more religiously.

So - I ask:
1. What do you suppose the reason for the manufacturer installing the set screws in the chuck was...?;)
2. Why wouldn't we use them? (Not withstanding, improving them via brass or other softer material than the o.e.m. set screws...)

I really dont want to lose a piece, or worse - damage the ways on my lathe. And, since I turn some in reverse - and sand in reverse....I think my chances of a chuck coming off may be higher then those who don't.
 
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When I started turning my first good lathe was the Nova DVR3000 (which I still have and use as much as any other lathe in the shop). It came with an original Supernova chuck (new lathe new chuck in the box). About the same time I got a delta mini and I bought a cheap chuck (or it came with). That chuck would unwind every time I would use it and do you know what the first thing you do when that happens? You automatically try to catch it and you learn quickly (it was twice for me) and had cuts to prove it. I threw that chuck away and bought a Nova tommy bar chuck for it, problem solved (as this happened not in reverse but going forward, there was no reverse on this mini). From that experience and reading the Nova manual I found out what those little grub screw holes were for along with those little red pieces of leather. Now I caution you if you first do it to remember that you have done it because if you forget the removing of the chuck can damage the threads on the spindle (lucky for me that it came to me after I touched the first thread). With the Nova lathe there is a channel for that grub screw (as I believe there might be on the other lathes). Although I do use the grub screws I have found that all my chucks will stay on their lathes without using the grub screws even when running in reverse. I would never actually turn in reverse unless I had a grub screw in but sanding in reverse has never got a chuck to come loose.
 
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I think the mfg puts the set screws as an option. I always sand in reverse, but never turn in in reverse. I have not had a problem with my chuck coming loose. How wells the chuck is made plays a part IMO. If the face doesn’t contact the spindle well the chance of it becoming loose is greater.
 
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None of my set screws on my 3 nova chucks line up with the shoulder they are supposed to tighten to. They are right on the edge so they mess up the edge on the shoulder. I cannot seem to find a spacer that I need for this. I'm guessing I can't just use any washer, as they are not machined to flatness. It needs to be pushed out toward the end of the spindle about 3/16" to be in the right spot for the set screws. The lathe is a Harvey T60-s.
If I understand your problem I think you need a machined "arbor spacer(s)". I have some in 1" & 1¼" ID in several thicknesses. I used to buy them from Grizzly because they were cheaper. Just checked and they only have limited thicknesses but I'm sure MSC or McMaster-Carr has many more sizes - just cost a little more. I use them on my spindle when I use a few of my spindle adapters. I also use them on my 1" toolrest post when needed - held on with a small RE magnet.
 
Last edited:
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I did order one of those from grizzly. I have bought a couple of axminster 114 chucks and the set screws do not have the same location as the Nova SN2 chucks. It is farther away from the threads on the spindle.
 
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My Nova locking grub screw works on my Powermatic 3520b, My Nova DVR3000, My Jet 1642, My Nova DR14 and my 46-460 Deltas. My small Vicmarc. my Jet 1220 and my Vevor 1218 lathes do not have a space where a grub screw could hit without hitting threads.
 
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