Skip to main content

Accessory Rail for Watchmakers Lathe

As part of the design process for the new lathe stands, I incorporated an accessory mounting system into the top edges of the brass stands. I had been planning on an adjustable rail system that would mount to the stands and allow me to install dial indicators to improve the accuracy of the lathe from an operator standpoint. The results are below.

Accessory rail and dial indicator mounted.

Because watchmakers lathe of this kind have a cross slide that is not permanently captured to the bed ways and because that cross slide must be capable of being repositioned in the Z and X axis, I had to come up with an approach that would allow a lot of adjustability while getting the dial indicator away from the small feed screw handle so as not to make it more awkward to use.
I decided to engineer a push bar holder that would mount to the bottom of the back end of the bottom slide. You can see how far it drops below the cross slide leaving plenty of room to turn the crank and have good visibility to the dial as well.
Cross Slide push bar extension with final contouring
These few shots show the extension prior to the contouring above. I didn't feel the part had the elegant look that much of the rest of the lathe does so I reduced the material on either side of the support webbing and contoured it in with a ball end mill. Now it visually fits the lathe!
Cross Slide Push Bar Extension for activating dial indicator
Cross slide extension and adjustable indicator pawl
The rail system is full adjustable and I've already used it to pivot up above the bed rails so that I could use the dial indicator to center a piece of round stock in the four jaw chuck.
Adjustable accessory rail system for Watchmakers lathe
I designed the pivot knuckles to use these nifty camera mounting bolts that have bale levers that pivot out for easy adjustment
folding bale levers for adjusting the accessory mount arms.
The extension system on the bottom of the cross slide has a sliding shaft with a pawl that can be rotated to different heights. The pawl was fun to make using the face plate with a jillion holes I made last year. Really worked nicely with the printed bronze infused tiny clamps I created as well.
clamping faceplate aligning brass pawl for machining

Using small boring bar to bore mounting hole in adjustable dial indicator pawl
It's all amazingly rigid and 1000% adjustable. I have plans for a longitudinal dial indicator I'm building next to mount on this system. Love it when things work out as intended.
Mounting rail system in place on watchmakers lathe

Mounting rail system leaves lots of hand space

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Indexing tool for watchmakers lathe

Hello friends
Today I completed the indexing tool for the watchmakers lathe. I've had on my wish list making some very fine rope knurl wheels and in order to do this I needed to be able to very accurately index the chuck. Having recently completed the new stands for the lathe with the accessory mounting t-slots, it seemed a perfect opportunity to design the indexing set up around just that. Below are the results

I had used the indexing pin and holes that come stock on the back of the headstock phenolic pulley. It's very hard to get light into there to insure a visual confirmation of inserting the pin into the right hole. I designed this new unit to put the pin on the back of the indexing plate and I put the pin support arm out far enough for good light and good visual line of sight.

I designed and 3D modeled the mounting tabs that use a 1/4-20 bolt to slide into the T-slots. You can see the mounting here.

I also developed the indexing pin as a spring loaded assembly. The insid…

Step #1: Imagining the WW lathe Steady rest

After weeks of creating temporary solutions for holding longer pieces of stock and after an equal number of weeks searching online for a micro-adjustable steady rest (ebay included), I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of what was available for my beautiful little WW lathe were steady rests with much more basic functionality. Additionally, the vintage steady rests were regularly selling for astronomical numbers on Ebay. I resolved to design exactly what I wanted and make it! (Below is the completed result of what began as this wish to have something better than what was available). It is now working so well, I decided to do more than post the fun of making it. I'll be offering the main parts as a kit for anyone who is interested and I'll do my best in this blog to detail all the specific process insights I learned while making this wonderful tool .
It is now working so well, I decided to do more than post the fun of making it. I'll be offering the main parts o…

Step #2: Designing and Modeling the Steady Rest

I have a lot of experience in going from concept to prototype as I am inventor with an industrial design degree and am fully trained in drafting and modeling my designs in a 3D program, and have had many of them rapid prototyped using today's cutting edge services available online.
I had also been experimenting with making parts from bronze infused stainless steel from shapeways rapid prototyping service and had been extremely impressed with how detailed, dimensionally accurate and functionally strong the parts made from this material and process were.

Diving in, I developed a micro-adjuster system that was low profile and could be adjusted with finger pressure yet lock down rock solid once dialed in. I also wanted the steady rest to pivot open like on the big boy lathes for the ability to perform multiple machining operations on a part and replace it into the lathe with extreme accuracy. It's also great for multiple parts in small runs.

It was also important to me to make th…