Another year is officially over. Moving on.
When I first started using my lathe, I noticed that one of the two small bolts that secured the compound to the cross slide was stripped, and couldn’t be tightened down fully.
But since the other one worked and the compound seemed stable, I postponed the replacement of this bolt.
Recently I had been using my lathe for a lot of stainless steel parts, and the added strain of the harder metal took a toll on the remaining bolt; to the point that, when I tried to tighten it down the other day, it also stripped.
I could procrastinate no longer, I had to fix this thing.
The problem was that the heads of these bolts was a semi-rounded T-bolt and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find a replacement part easily. Plus I wanted to use my lathe NOW, not wait for shipping.
So I decided to recycle the bolt heads.
Here’s how it went:
Then I took them over to the welder and glopped a Cheerio of molten metal on top. This didn’t have to be a very strong weld, just enough to keep the machine screw head from spinning in the T-bolt head.
I used the milling machine again for cleanup, and once I trimmed the bolts to length, I was back in business.
For lack of specific knowledge and due to a general laziness when it comes to looking things up on Google, I’m calling this part of the bandsaw fence a “carriage”:
(actually, I’m not certain my affliction can be considered “laziness” since I just went through the trouble of drawing a picture instead of just looking up the correct name… maybe I just feel like it is a carriage, whether or or not that’s what it’s officially called).
In any case, after completing the rail, I turned my attention to the part connecting the fence to the rail.
Essentially this works like a C-clamp, with the rail being pinched between a screw and a pressure plate. The construction may vary, but the most important aspect is that the carriage must be designed so that it is rigidly square with the rail when it is tightened in place.
I used a small piece of angle iron to act as the pressure plate. I shortened one side of the “L” (the “pressure plate” side) so that it wouldn’t hit the bolts on the underside of the rail.
Then I attached a vertical piece of steel that I milled flat and square. I kept it parallel to the angle iron by clamping a piece of metal in between it and the short end of the angle while welding it.
I drilled and tapped 1/4-20 threads into the vertical piece of steel and ran a Rockler star knob through it.
This tested okay, but I didn’t want the screw to mess up the rail over time, so I added a thinner piece of steel that was flexible enough to allow the fence to move while the knob was loose and still bear down hard on the rail when the knob was tightened.
So now I had an assembly that could be locked into any location with a mounting surface that was consistently parallel to the rail. The next step was to make a bracket that the fence itself could attach to.
I made the bracket out of a piece of trailer hitch tube I had leftover from another project.
I started by milling two sides flat and square with each other.
After that I cut off the other two sides and shortened one side so that the other would stick up above the bandsaw table perpendicular to the shorter side which would be mounted to the rest of the carriage assembly.
I mounted this with a single 5/16″ bolt through the carriage assembly, which allowed it to be pivoted as necessary to keep the upright portion vertical (parallel to the blade).
And now I could turn my attention to the final component: Part 3 – the Fence!
I really enjoy reading blogs and articles about peoples’ projects and their tools and techniques.
But something that tends to stick in my mind even more than these little “how to” stories with their various tips and tricks are the mistakes made.
I like it when a craftsman has the honesty to point out the errors they made, and the various ways not to accomplish a goal.
Being a mistake-prone person myself, it’s nice to have a hefty knowledge of what not to do while figuring out what my next steps should be.
This weekend I made a couple mistakes, but I fear that their value lies in entertainment more than education, since I’m fairly certain that very few people out there would have thought these mistakes were a good idea to begin with.
I suspect that I have been gifted with a peculiar form of creativity: the ability to think of and carry out completely unprecedented errors.
I will share with you my lessons learned:
- Do not wear sandals while welding
- Sparks and slag are subject to the effects of gravity, and as such they will tend to move down from the work piece and on to your feet
- Many of the pieces of hot falling metal will fall elsewhere or harmlessly bounce off your skin, but a small (yet significant) percentage will either stick to your skin or lodge between your toes
- Lesson Learned: the resulting distraction is likely to cause a poor quality weld
- Do not use Masking Tape to protect items near your weld
- Although the sparks and slag may seem more likely to deflect off the tape, the quantity or sparks involved greatly increase the likelihood of detrimental effects to the tape’s integrity
- Lessons Learned:
- Burnt masking tape is much harder to remove than raw masking tape
- The resulting flames from the tape itself likely pose a significant threat to the item or surface you were trying to protect