Fixing a Fancy Bolt

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.
Lathe compound repair

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:

First I took the nuts from the bolts and dug through one of the spare parts bins to find a machine screw with the same thread size and diameter.
Lathe compound repair

After this was accomplished, I bashed my knuckle.
Lathe compound repair

Then I place the old bolt shafts in the lathe and drilled the head off after center-drilling and countersinking it.
Lathe compound repair

Lathe compound repair

Lathe compound repair

Next I worked the new screws with a file in my lathe until they fit the countersunk hole nicely.
Lathe compound repair

After I was satisfied with the fit of the heads, I brought them flush on the milling machine.
Lathe compound repair

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.
Lathe compound repair

I used the milling machine again for cleanup, and once I trimmed the bolts to length, I was back in business.

Lathe compound repair

lathe repaired


Garage Sandals: a Title, Not a Recommendation

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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