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Chrome rod v. Steady rest

King_Derrick

Plastic
Joined
Apr 4, 2024
Location
Utah
Hey, thank you! I work at a hydraulic repair shop and have not been machining very long. About 1 year. Recently I’ve been given some chrome rods to machine to large to feed through my lathe. I have a small 5” through hole steady rest I tried using to make these rods. After about 10 minutes of turning, the bronze steady rest pads had grooved the chrome rod ruining the part. Since then I made new bronze shoes for the steady to ensure they were not brass, or some brass alloy, that could be mysteriously harder than chrome. I ordered more material and began working on these chrome rods again, which mind you are 60 Rockwell. After facing the part, so not even 5 minutes of turning, same thing the chrome had been dug into. After talking to some other machinists I know I mad a chip shield out of cardboard and continued with the start in another spot to see if that would help. No, the steady pads continue to eat the chrome. I am keeping them well lubricated with oil, and checked them frequently for chips. I do not see any. How could this possibly be happening? Thanks for any tips or help!
 

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More than likely, your tightening the jaws too tight against the work piece. They should just be touching ever so lightly. Lock them down. I always left the top jaw where I could adjust it when needed. And yeah, apply some oil to the work and jaw for lubrication.
 
You need rollers on that steady. I’m not sure the pads are too tight rather, shaft is heavy and rubbing. The chip shield suggestion points to the fact your coworkers don’t know what the issue is. Chips between the pads don’t make those grooves.

Is there not SOP for this shop for these jobs? You should have a collar that was made whenever this shop was opened.
 
Too tight, pads should be conical shaped, check steady rest alignment. Rollers might help, but if they're too tight or misaligned, you'll get the same results, probably worse since the rollers are hardened. You might be surprised to find that some do not know how to align a steady rest.
 
The turners I worked with would find some old flat leather transmission belting ( say 3/16” or 1/4” thick ) to use between the steady pads and the shafts they were turning. They used to wrap the belt around the shaft and trap the ends between the two open halves ogf the steady. Obviously it still needs lubrication. Try that.

Regards Tyrone
 
The turners I worked with would find some old flat leather transmission belting ( say 3/16” or 1/4” thick ) to use between the steady pads and the shafts they were turning. They used to wrap the belt around the shaft and trap the ends between the two open halves ogf the steady. Obviously it still needs lubrication. Try that.

Regards Tyrone
Thanks Tyrone - I'd forgotten that one
 
Alignment sucks, definitely visible at the end of the one pad, as noted by Mystery Man. On top of that, did you make the mistake of using emery to polish the ends of those pads when you made them? If you did, you just created laps. Face them off to a clean surface, get the rest aligned properly and use lots of oil, (thicker the better, too) especially when they haven't been formed to the diameter. Watch as they wear in, also, you'll need to re-adjust until they stabilize.
 
Unless you really cleaned up before the pics, everything is dry as a bone. Are you using oil? Those pads should look nasty oily.

What diameter is the shaft and how fast are you running? How did you align the steady rest?
 
The turners I worked with would find some old flat leather transmission belting ( say 3/16” or 1/4” thick ) to use between the steady pads and the shafts they were turning. They used to wrap the belt around the shaft and trap the ends between the two open halves ogf the steady. Obviously it still needs lubrication. Try that.

Regards Tyrone
Tyrone,
Are you saying the belt is held still and the shaft rotates inside the belt ?
Bob
 
Alignment sucks, definitely visible at the end of the one pad, as noted by Mystery Man. On top of that, did you make the mistake of using emery to polish the ends of those pads when you made them? If you did, you just created laps. Face them off to a clean surface, get the rest aligned properly and use lots of oil, (thicker the better, too) especially when they haven't been formed to the diameter. Watch as they wear in, also, you'll need to re-adjust until they stabilize.
This makes a lot of sense, especially considering the wear on the steady shoes. I set the steady by spinning the work slowly and bringing one leg in at a time until they just barely touched and then made smaller adjustments until the work was running true. Is it possible the steady is out of misalignment on its own? It’s quite small and doesn’t allow me to make a lot of parts I’m having to outsource. I’ve been working on the idea of a larger rest. How difficult would it be to make one that aligns perfectly when set up?
 
Unless you really cleaned up before the pics, everything is dry as a bone. Are you using oil? Those pads should look nasty oily.

What diameter is the shaft and how fast are you running? How did you align the steady rest?
Yes I cleaned up the shoes so you can see the uneven wear. I was running a piece of 4” chrome at around 350 rpm
 








 
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