Laying-out And Mounting Work

There is relatively little layout work to be done for most lathe work because of the lathe's ability to guide the cutting tool accurately to the workpiece. If center holes must be located and drilled into the end of a workpiece for turning lay out and center-punch the workpiece using other methods. Some suggested methods are to use a bell-type center punch between centers and this cannot be accomplished on the lathe, (Figure 3-32), use hermaphrodite calipers to scribe intersecting arcs, use the centering head of the combination square, or use dividers (Figure 3-33


Figure 3-32. Bell-type center punch.


Figure 3-33. Laying out center holes.


 Mounting Workpieces in Chucks

  When installing the chuck or any attachment that screws onto the lathe headstock spindle, the threads and bearing surfaces of both spindle and chuck must be cleaned and oiled. In cleaning the internal threads of the chuck, a spring thread cleaner is very useful (Figure 3-34).

Figure 3-34. Spring thread cleaner.

  Turn the spindle so that the key is facing up and lock the spindle in position. Make sure that the spindle and chuck taper are free of grit and chips. Place the chuck in position on the spindle. Engage the draw nut thread and tighten by applying four or five hammer blows on the spanner wrench engaged with the draw nut. Rotate the spindle 180°, engage the spanner wrench, and give four or five solid hammer blows to the spanner wrench handle. The workpiece is now ready for mounting.

  Work automatically centers itself in the universal (3 jaw) scroll chuck, drill chuck, collet chucks, and step chuck, but must be manually centered in the independent (4 jaw) chuck. To center work in the independent chuck, line the four jaws up to the concentric rings on the face of the chuck, as close to the required diameter as possible.

  Mount the workpiece and tighten the jaws loosely onto the workpiece (Figure 3-35). Spin the workpiece by hand and make approximate centering adjustments as needed, then firmly tighten the jaws.

  For rough centering irregularly shaped work, first measure the outside diameter of the workpiece, then open the four jaws of the chuck until the workpiece slides in. Next tighten each opposing jaw a little at a time until the workpiece is held firmly, but not too tightly. Hold a piece of chalk near the workpiece and revolve the chuck slowly with your left hand. Where the chalk touches is considered the high side.

    Loosen the jaw opposite and tighten the jaw where the chalk marks are found. Repeat the process until the workpiece is satisfactorily aligned.


Figure 3-35. Mounting work in a 4-jaw independent chuck.

  To center a workpiece having a smooth surface such as round stock, the best method is to use a dial test indicator. Place the point of the indicator against the outside or inside diameter of the workpiece. Revolve the workpiece slowly by hand and notice any deviations on the dial. This method will indicate any inaccuracy of the centering in thousandths of an inch.

   If an irregularly shaped workpiece is to be mounted in the independent chuck, then a straight, hardened steel bar can be used with a dial indicator to align the workpiece. Experienced machinists fabricate several sizes of hardened steel bars, ground with a 60° point, that can be mounted into the drill chuck of the tailstock spindle and guided into the center-punched mark on the workpiece. A dial indicator can then be used to finish aligning the workpiece to within 0.001 inch. If a hardened steel bar is not readily available, a hardened center mounted in the tailstock spindle may be used to align the work while using a dial indicator on the chuck jaws. This method is one of several ways to align a workpiece in an independent chuck. Ingenuity and experience will increase the awareness of the machine operator to find the best method to set up the work for machining.

  When removing chucks from the lathe, always use a wooden chuck block under the chuck to support the chuck on the lathe ways. Use care to avoid dropping the chuck on the ways, since this can greatly damage the lathe ways or crush the operator's hands.


Figure 3-36. Work clamped on faceplate.

Mounting Work to Faceplates

 Mount faceplates in the same manner as chucks. Check the accuracy of the faceplate surface using a dial indicator, and true the-faceplate surface by taking a light cut if necessary. Do not use faceplates on different lathes, since this will cause excessive wear of the faceplate due to repeated truing cuts having to be taken. Mount the workpiece using T-bolts and clamps of the correct sizes (Figure 3-36 ). Ensure all surfaces are wiped clean of burrs, chips, and dirt. When a heavy piece of work is mounted off center, such as when using an angle plate, use a counterweight to offset the throw of the work and to minimize vibration and chatter. Use paper or brass shims between the work and the faceplate to protect the delicate surface of the faceplate. After mounting the work to an approximate center location, use a dial indicator to finish accurate alignment.

Mounting Work Between Centers

  Before mounting a work- piece between centers, the workpiece ends must be center- drilled and countersunk. This can be done using a small twist drill followed by a 60° center countersink or, more commonly, using a countersink and drill (also commonly called a center drill). It is very important that the center holes are drilled and countersunk so that they will fit the lathe centers exactly. Incorrectly drilled holes will subject the lathe centers to unnecessary wear and the workpiece will

not run true because of poor bearing surfaces. A correctly drilled and countersunk hole has a uniform 60° taper and has clearance at the bottom for the point of the lathe center. Figure 3-37 illustrates correctly and incorrectly drilled center holes. The holes should have a polished appearance so as not to score the lathe centers. The actual drilling and countersinking of center holes can be done on a drilling machine or on the lathe itself. Before attempting to center drill using the lathe, the end of the workpiece must be machined flat to keep the center drill from running off center.


Figure 3-37. Correctly and incorrectly drilled center hole.

   Mount the work in a universal or independent chuck and mount the center drill in the lathe tailstock (Figure 3-38). Refer to the section of this chapter on facing and drilling on the lathe, prior to doing this operation. Center drills come in various sizes for different diameters of work (Figure 3-39). Calculate the correct speed and hand feed into the workpiece. Only drill into the workpiece about 2/3 of the body diameter.

high speeds and feed them into the work slowly to avoid breaking off the drill point inside the work. If this happens, the work must be removed from the chuck and the point extracted. This is a time-consuming job and could ruin the workpiece.


Figure 3-38. Center drilling.

 To mount work between centers, the operator must know how to insert and remove lathe centers. The quality of

 workmanship depends as much on the condition of the lathe centers as on the proper drilling of the center holes. Before mounting lathe centers in the headstock or tailstock, thoroughly clean the centers, the center sleeve, and the tapered sockets in the headstock and tailstock spindles. Any dirt or chips on the centers or in their sockets will prevent the centers from seating properly and will cause the centers to run out of true.

  Install the lathe center in the tailstock spindle with a light twisting motion to ensure a clean fit. Install the center sleeve into the headstock spindle and install the lathe center into the center sleeve with a light twisting motion.

  To remove the center from the headstock spindle, hold the pointed end with a cloth or rag in one hand and give the center a sharp tap with a rod or knockout bar inserted through the hollow headstock spindle.

   To remove the center from the tailstock, turn the tailstock handwheel to draw the tailstock spindle into the tailstock. The center will contact the tailstock screw and will be bumped loose from its socket.


Figure 3-39. Common sizes for combination countersink and center drill.

Figure 3-40. Checking and truing a 60 degree lathe center.

  After mounting the headstock and tailstock centers, the accuracy of the 60 point should be checked using a center gage or a dial indicator. If the center in the headstock is not at 60°, or is scarred and burred, it must be trued while inserted in the lathe headstock spindle. If the headstock center is a soft center (a center that is not heat-treated and hardened), it can be turned true with the lathe tool bit. If the center in the headstock is hardened, it must be ground with a tool post grinding machine to get a true surface (Figure 3-40).

  To turn a soft center true with the lathe, first set up the tool bit for right hand turning, center the tool bit; then, rotate the compound rest to an angle of 30° to the axis of the lathe (Figure 3-41). The lathe speed should be set for a finish cut, and the feed is supplied by cranking the handwheel of the compound rest, thus producing a clean and short steep taper with an included angle of 60°. Once trued, the center should stay in place until the operation is completed. If the center must be removed, mark the position on the center and headstock for easy realignment later.

  Lathe centers must be parallel with the ways of the lathe in order to turn workplaces straight and true. Before beginning each turning operation, the center alignment should be checked.

The tailstock may be moved laterally to accomplish this alignment by means of

adjusting screws after it has been released from the ways. Two zero lines are located at the rear the tailstock and the centers are approximately aligned when these lines coincide (Figure 3-42). This alignment may be checked by moving the tailstock up close to the headstock so that the centers almost touch, and observing their relative positions (Figure 3-42).

Figure 3-41. Turning of soft center true with the compound rest.


Figure 3-42. Checking the alignment of centers.

    The most accurate method of checking alignment of centers is by mounting the workpiece between centers and taking light cuts at both ends without changing the carriage adjustments. Measure each end of this cut with calipers or a micrometer. If the tailstock end is greater in diameter than the headstock end, the tailstock is moved toward the operator. If the tailstock end is smaller in diameter than the headstock end, the tailstock is moved away from the operator. Take additional cuts in the same manner after each adjustment until both cuts measure the same.

   To setup the workpiece between centers on the lathe, a driving faceplate (drive plate) and lathe dog must be used.

    (Figure 7-43). Make sure that the external threads of the headstock spindle are clean before screwing on the driving faceplate. Screw the faceplate securely onto the spindle. Clamp the lathe dog on the workpiece so that its tail hangs over the end of the workpiece. If the workpiece is finished, place a shim of soft material such as brass between the setscrew of the dog and workpiece. Mount the workpiece between the centers. Make sure that the lathe dog tail tits freely in the slot of the faceplate and does not bind. Sometimes, the tailstock center is a dead center and does not revolve with the workpiece, so it may require lubrication. A few drops of oil mixed with white lead should be applied to the center before the workpiece is set up. The tailstock should

Figure 3-43. Holding work between centers.

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