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Thread: How to Remove a Stuck Chuck -- Tutorial

  1. #1
    Clemson is offline Aluminum
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    Default How to Remove a Stuck Chuck -- Tutorial

    This comes up often enough that I would like to show how I remove stuck chucks. This method did not originate with me. I learned it from the fellow who sold me my lathe. The photos are of my 13 x 40 South Bend. There may be issues with using this method with other machines, but I am sure that folks will chime in with nuances that may be required.

    If I have a stuck chuck, first I spray the spindle around the chuck threads with Kroil. The stuff is magic, plain and simple. Then I go to work on the chuck.

    This shows a 3-jaw chuck mounted on my lathe:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal002.jpg

    I made a block from plywood and a 2x4 to fit the lathe bed under the chuck. This is important to protect the ways. I always use it when changing chucks, stuck or not:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal013.jpg

    I use a block under a chuck jaw. This one fits great and is made from a piece of square steel tubing. I keep it under my workbench.


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal003.jpg

    The covers over the gears have to be opened and removed as necessary to allow access to the rear end of the spindle:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal006.jpg

    This wrench is made from a 3/4" piece of aluminum that I bored and split. I then attached it to a piece of 1 1/4" square steel tubing for a handle. Construction details are unimportant. I use a dusting of pine rosin from a Little League pitchers rosin bag (Walmart sporting goods) on the wrench faces where it grips the spindle. It helps to keep the spindle from slipping:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal007.jpg

    The wrench is clamped to the spindle outboard of the threads on the smooth portion:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal008.jpg

    I sometimes use a 1" bar inside the handle as a cheater, but this is normally enough torque to get the chuck started off:


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal010.jpg

    Next time you install a chuck, remember to oil the threads first. Never spin it on to install it. Just screw it up snug by hand.


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...Removal012.jpg

    Clemson
    Last edited by Paula; 10-27-2009 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Oversize images
    S_W_Bausch likes this.

  2. #2
    CNC-Joe is offline Aluminum
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    That's great! I can see another project on the horizon......

    Thank You for sharing that!! That is really nice that you put together such good pictures for the rest of us.
    Last edited by CNC-Joe; 09-11-2008 at 08:36 PM.

  3. #3
    intrepid's Avatar
    intrepid is offline Cast Iron
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    Thanks Clemson!

    That is a great instruction for me and others. Very simple and effective. And your pictures show the necessary details. This is the very kind of things that make this forum so great.

    Thanks again for you tip!

  4. #4
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    Nice approach to a sticky problem.



    Folks please note that if you have a lever-operated collet
    setup on the lathe in question, do NOT clamp to the
    portion of the spindle that the collet closer engages
    with.

    The gear and spindle extension are fixed to the spindle
    itself with a very modest woodruff key. It will shear
    right in half if the chuck removal torque is put through
    the key.

    You can see the keyway in the photos above btw.

    If using this method, use a puller to remove the closer
    adapter first.

    Jim
    Bugsyweasel and Ducati900ss like this.

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    Doug S. is offline Cast Iron
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    Folks please note that if you have a lever-operated collet
    setup on the lathe in question, do NOT clamp to the
    portion of the spindle that the collet closer engages
    with.
    Don't own one, still laughing.


    Clemson, Nice setup, I can make a slide on wrench for mine, and added it to the someday list. Like someday when get a chuck stuck! =)


    Doug S.

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    intrepid's Avatar
    intrepid is offline Cast Iron
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    Next time you install a chuck, remember to oil the threads first. Never spin it on to install it. Just screw it up snug by hand.

    Clemson[/QUOTE]


    Clemson,
    What oil are you using on the threads? Would it be a bad idea to use an anti-seize?

  7. #7
    dullvinci is offline Aluminum
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    The best part of this method is that it puts no strain on the lock pin, which is what most other methods do. Nice demo!
    chaz

  8. #8
    Clemson is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by intrepid View Post
    Clemson,
    What oil are you using on the threads? Would it be a bad idea to use an anti-seize?

    I keep a Plews oiler with ISO 46 oil in it for my gear train. I just squirt a bit of that onto the threads and the flat when I install a chuck. I would NOT use grease of any sort there -- not even "neverseize." Grease attracts chips, and no good can come of having chips in your threads.

    Clemson

  9. #9
    Clemson is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by dullvinci View Post
    The best part of this method is that it puts no strain on the lock pin, which is what most other methods do. Nice demo!
    chaz
    Chaz, you are correct. There is no stress on either the pin or the back gear. Changing chucks is the operation most likely to strip teeth from your back gear. Putting the strain on the spindle keeps both the pin and the gear out of the equation entirely.

    Clemson

  10. #10
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    aboard_epsilon is offline Titanium
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    if you have a steel back plate ...that may be the reason it's getting stuck .

    all the best..markj

  11. #11
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    "Changing chucks is the operation most likely to strip teeth from your back gear."

    Respectfully disagree on that one.

    Most likely: engaging or disengaging the back gears while under power is the single
    biggest contributor to missing dentition on back gears. And reverse tumbler gears,
    while we're at it.

    Jim

  12. #12
    Clemson is offline Aluminum
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    Touche!

    You are right, of course, Jim. I should have said "...when the lathe is not under power...."

    And, in fact, all of us engage the back gears for routine chuck changes. It is trying to unstick a chuck, when we use back gear indiscriminately, that gets us into problems. That is when the wrench can save you some grief!

    Clemson

  13. #13
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    You've got me curious now - clearly the spindle wrench as shown is perfect for the
    stubborn chuck - but if I could:

    A show of hands, please, who's actually done a set of back gear teeth to death
    by removing a chuck using the back gears to lock the spindle?

    Jim

  14. #14
    garyphansen is offline Titanium
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    Jim: I have been using the backgears to lock the spindle when I unscrewed a chuck for years on multiple lathes and have not broke a back gear yet. I do not think it would be a problem unless the chuck was really stuck, you used a long steel lever and sharp blows, or you had an Atlas lathe with zmack gears. Gary P. Hansen

  15. #15
    Grey Rider is offline Hot Rolled
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    Very nice, Clemson.

    Regarding a stuck chuck, is this a condition that happens normally to a lathe, or is it something that only occurs when a chuck is installed, overtightened, and then left to sit for a long period?

    I mean, can a chuck get stuck on the spindle during ordinary lathe operation? Or if the operator is always careful to mount and oil the chuck properly, will it never become stuck?

    Ryan

  16. #16
    Mainer is offline Aluminum
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    IMO, as long as you're careful you won't get a stuck chuck. "Careful" means making sure there are no chips on the threads, if the chuck seems to be tight when screwing it on you stop and find out why, and you tighten the chuck by hand just enough so it's seated. But I expect there's always a first time.....

  17. #17
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    There are two common ways that threaded chucks get stuck in place on the
    spindle threads.

    1) interrupted cuts. The pounding that an interrrupted cut causes does a great job
    of locking threaded chucks on.

    2) running the chuck up to the spindle shoulder, under power. Sometimes accidental,
    sometimes deliberate.

    Never deliberately run a chuck up to seat it under power.

    The accidental version of this, is when running the lathe the operator instant
    reverses the spindle, and begins to unscrew the chuck. After uttering that
    time-honored phrase, the next thing the operator does is flip the drum switch
    back to fowards. That's when the chuck socks home on the spindle, if it
    has not already started bouncing along the ways.



    Jim

  18. #18
    garyphansen is offline Titanium
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    I agree with Jim except I can add two more ways for a chuck a to get stuck. 1. chips in the thread, so always make sure there are no chips in the threads. 2. Rust! Always make sure the threads are well oiled. Gary P. Hansen

  19. #19
    ChipChaff is offline Cast Iron
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    Clemson,
    You are the man. I always feel guilty pulling against my back gear. I'd do as you describe from now on.
    Cheers,
    Chip

  20. #20
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    Rust, yes, very bad.

    I'm still waiting for that guy who says he stripped some teeth off his back gear
    assembly removing a chuck that way. Maybe it's a non-issue?

    Jim

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