3 jaw chuck for polishing steel tubing help
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    Default 3 jaw chuck for polishing steel tubing help

    I'm not sure if I'm asking in the right place but I need some help. I have various cylindrical things I'd like to sand,polish, or file a little and I want a 3 jaw metal lathe style chuck to put on one of my existing machines. Items are steel or aluminum and and are 1 1/2 at the largest and are steel or aluminum. Motorcycle parts,gun partz,hobby stuff, pins and spacers things like that. The choices are a Ryobi bench grinder with a 5/8ths spindle,a unbranded bench grinder with a 1/2 spindle, or a 10" 12 speed HF drill press which I believe is bt-16 spindle. I also have various corded drills and that kind of stuff. I can't afford much so I'm hoping to adapt something I have for this simple job.

    Thanks in advance for your help

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    Take care if planning to have much stick-out with steel tube..very dangerous if it whipps and smacks you.
    A lathe type chuck on a small bench grinder running 3400 or so would not be a good idea. Even a slow bench grinder would be too fast.

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    Out of all of those choices, I would go with the cordless hand drills. Get a selection of expanding rubber drum sander sleeves to fit the ID of your tubing (assuming short pieces), and spin-sand it against a small flexible belt sander. McMaster-Carr ; McMaster-Carr

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    Just being a spoil-sport here:

    Given how common the practice is and the lack of skill required to do it, it seems to me that polishing spinning items (by lathe or otherwise) is one of the biggest causes of accidents in machine shops.

    Remember to keep your polishing medium small, avoid excessive hand-out on long pieces, NO GLOVES, and avoid gripping the work with the polishing medium.

    If you do this on a machine with any accuracy or value, keep it clean during and after the job. I've actually considered setting up an old wood lathe or worn out 2nd op lathe in our shop just for polishing.

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    One thing you may wish to consider if you really want something with a lathe chuck and are on a tight budget is to scour Craigslist for an older lightweight benchtop wood lathe. I have seen light duty C******** models go as cheap as $25. Most small chucks are either 3/4-16 or 1-8 thread and may require an adapter to fit an older lathe. I have seen 2" 3-jaw chucks in woodworking catalogs as cheap as $50.

    With a lathe you also get a tail stock to support long work and can even do minimal turning with a handheld graver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    One thing you may wish to consider if you really want something with a lathe chuck and are on a tight budget is to scour Craigslist for an older lightweight benchtop wood lathe. I have seen light duty C******** models go as cheap as $25. Most small chucks are either 3/4-16 or 1-8 thread and may require an adapter to fit an older lathe. I have seen 2" 3-jaw chucks in woodworking catalogs as cheap as $50.

    With a lathe you also get a tail stock to support long work and can even do minimal turning with a handheld graver.
    I have been trying to do that for a long time. The area I live in (if you do a cl search) most common shop equipment is either non existent or extremely expensive. I have an old shopsmith in storage but it is broken and I also have no way to transport it on my own. Also, I don't know what spin sanding is. What I really want is a 3 jaw lathe chuck I can attach to a drill or anything. I don't know enough about tapers and spindles and all that other stuff to make a determination on what to buy. Ideally it would be for the drill press

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralGator View Post
    I have been trying to do that for a long time. The area I live in (if you do a cl search) most common shop equipment is either non existent or extremely expensive. I have an old shopsmith in storage but it is broken and I also have no way to transport it on my own. Also, I don't know what spin sanding is. What I really want is a 3 jaw lathe chuck I can attach to a drill or anything. I don't know enough about tapers and spindles and all that other stuff to make a determination on what to buy. Ideally it would be for the drill press
    OK, I get that you are in a machinery desert so budget constraints mean make do and improvise. However ...

    You only THINK you want to mount a lathe chuck on light duty stuff. Take it from the guys who know that the last thing you'll really want is a heavy chuck spinning on a light weight spindle. In addition to the weight, the extended length will put too much side force and once it gets out of balance disaster will happen quicker than you can switch off the machine, especially on a high speed bench grinder. I assume your drill press has a 1/2" chuck so for small stuff that will do if you don't try to put too much side force and make sure the quill is fully retracted. For many years before I got a lathe I had to improvise with portable drills and eventually a small drill press. It was slow and frustrating but I did get things done.

    If you want to mount a chuck on anything you will have to learn about spindle tapers and threads. Lathe chucks are mostly threaded and as I said the smallest is 3/4-16 unless you can find something off an ancient antique. Drill presses use a taper mount and yours is most Likely a JT33, which is a short male taper that fits in a matching recess in the drill chuck. There are no commercial adapters so you'd be out of luck there.

    The only other economical choice I see is to mount a chuck on a buffing mandrel run by a slow speed motor such as an old washing machine motor. The mandrels almost always have a 1/2-20 thread so you'd have to search online for an adapter to fit the chuck you buy. The right hand side is a right handed thread so the chuck would go there. The other side is only fit for a buffing or wire wheel due to using a left hand thread.

    Bench Mandrel

    This lathe chuck claims to have a 1/2-20 mounting plate although the one shown in the photo is definitely larger. they may just use a stock photo.

    3" 3 Jaw Self Centering Lathe Chuck TIR Certificate 1/2-20 TPI Thread Back Plate | eBay

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    Caliphornia is a big state, not sure where you are within it. CL search of LV or Reno frequently contains lots of ads out of CA, I see some fairly inexpensive machines, just too far for me to drive. Finding what you want a mile down the street most likely is not going to happen, at least not this weekend.

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    I have used a 1 x 42 belt sander and let the rod spin in my gloved hands. Use the friction of your grip to control the spin.

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    A mini 3jaw mounted in a half hp drill motor might be a good idea. mount it in a wood V block on a long bench.
    Good RPM about 350 and not enough power to kill you ...yes have a steady down the bench.

    https://www.amazon.com/Three-Jaw-Cla...0661181&sr=8-2

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    Poor kid in lathe accident in a crap shop with junk on the floor likely making 50 cents an hour..just enough for a bit of food and sharing a shack ... We should be very thankful for living in the the USA.

    I know poor shops and accidents here also..like my grand son almost electrocuted by an air compressor that someone fixed the plug .. they were getting a small shock when they touched the machine, and were still using it. Touching the steel door and that machine at the same could have killed him. He was stuck there till his dad noticed him standing there shaking...

    Reminder: black on gold /white on silver / green on green.
    If you don't know for sure... Then don't touch/repair it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    A mini 3jaw mounted in a half hp drill motor might be a good idea. mount it in a wood V block on a long bench.
    Good RPM about 350 and not enough power to kill you ...yes have a steady down the bench.

    https://www.amazon.com/Three-Jaw-Cla...0661181&sr=8-2
    That's pretty much what I am doing. HF has a mini 2" which is more that enough, largest thing I would turn would be 1 1/6. The spindle is .36 at the small end which will easily fit the 5/8th chuck in my press or corded drills I have that I can get bench blocks for. Thanks everyone for your help.

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    One of my first jobs as a kid was rebuilding engines at a shop (if you want to call it that) that had pretty much no machine tools, but he had a pedestal grinder. That's what I did when cleaning and polishing tie rods, push rod tubes, valves, etc.. Just put some gloves on and loosely hold to where the wheel spins the rod and move side to side. Same thing whith nuts, washers, spacers, etc. just put them on a old long screw driver or rod and let the grinder spin them while moving side to side. Your not looking for precision by no means from the sounds of it and you can grind and polish fairly long parts quite easily this way. Stop wasting your time and just do it.

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