Lathe jaw covers to make "soft jaws"
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  1. #1
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    Default Lathe jaw covers to make "soft jaws"

    I want to make some copper or brass covers for my lathe jaws to protect some parts that I turn. You know the kind that wrap around the jaw to stay put when you take the part out. Do I have to make these from scratch or is there some supply house that has a kinda "universal" kit? Thanks.

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    Could you just use duct tape?

    Otherwise, maybe just get some brass or copper shim stock and bend up your own.

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    I saw off short pieces of straight copper water pipe and then saw through one side lengthwise. It will be more or less hard and springy, so it may be made to grip the hard jaws. It is easy to anneal copper if you want it softer. Just heat to red and let it cool. Cooling fast in water or slow in air does not matter. Soft copper will have no springiness.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickseeman View Post
    I want to make some copper or brass covers for my lathe jaws to protect some parts that I turn. You know the kind that wrap around the jaw to stay put when you take the part out. Do I have to make these from scratch or is there some supply house that has a kinda "universal" kit? Thanks.
    AFAIK - nope - it's homebrew time, ………..and I all but guarantee anything you make in that line, will sooner or later have to be modified for a given job

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    I do a lot of piston rod (chrome bar) work. These are just pieces cut on the shear to size and folded into and around the top jaws. It's .030 aluminum from MM Carr. Easily installed and removed. Works great and it's cheap and easy.
    "Soft Jaws" For Chrome Bar Photo by rbehner | Photobucket

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    If you have American Standard or serrated style 2 piece jaws you can get aluminum soft jaws. I have several sets for American Standard chucks from Monster jaws:

    MonsterJaws Mfg - High Quality Chuck and Vise Jaws

    They run about $30.00 to $75.00 a set depending on the size of the chuck. That may sound a bit on the high side, but you'll probably never need a second set.

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    Acting on a tip from an old post in this forum (I think) I picked up a square foot or two of 1/8" thick lead from McMaster-Carr. It's been amazingly useful for padding chuck or vise jaws, and won't scratch or scar anything. Cut with scissors, fold it around, double it up, or whatever. . .

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    YouTube

    Check out this guy. I ordered some copper from McMaster Carr to give this a try. Looks simple enough and pretty quick.

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    I have some soft aluminum sheet. I cut a piece to wrap around the work. It is quicker than installing 3 or 4 jaw caps.

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    I have a set that I made form sheet aluminum. They wrap around to the back of the jaw so they don't fall off. It is a simple sheet metal cutting and bending job and almost not worth the effort of finding and buying them.

    I have also wrapped tape around some parts. Use a double layer if you need to really tighten the jaws up.

    I have not seen them for sale, but anything's possible.

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    I have had way more guys than I care to count, that dope-slapped themselves, when, after spending a bunch of time dicking around with postage stamp sized little pads for chuck jaws, I came along and wrapped a strip of whatever was handy all the way around the part!

    Pop and beer cans are cheap shim stock sources! Cut a strip as wide as the exposed chuck jaw section, and long enough to wrap right around. Like as not it will be springy enough to stay in place while changing parts too.

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    I use 16ga aluminum sheet, sheared to be ~1.5” wide. I roll a piece in a U around the stock and cut it off with snips. I like to make them such that the jaws squish the u around the part so when you loosen the chuck the shim doesn’t fall out.

    For work with one end in a 4jaw and the other in a steady or spider I use some heavy copper wire wrapped around the work and locate it in the groove on the jaw.

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    I have about 50 sets of soft jaws, steel and aluminum. I machine proper diameter and depth to hold whatever I am making at the time.

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    I have sheet lead scraps that I removed from drywall with a lead backing. This is used on walls and ceilings in X-ray rooms. I cut the sheets with shears into strips 1" wide. Placed one strip across jaws of a 4 jaw chuck using 2 jaws only. After snugging up the jaws I bent the led up into a U shape. Then bent one side over to complete a rectangle. Removed the lead, placed it over another jaw that was out of the chuck. A drop of plumbers solder and a small butane pencil torch completes the soft jaw. I made about 15 or 20 . These soft jaws have held up well, still using a set that I originally made in the early 80's.

    mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    came along and wrapped a strip of whatever was handy all the way around the part!
    THIS! Why do FOUR jaws when one can do ONE hunk of stock?

    Copper flashing scrap from roof and gutter work is thick enuf. Tends to be tenacious and grippy as well. Brown "Kraft" paper ain't all that bad, either.

    "loominum grows itself an Oxide on the surface. Last time I looked it was the same highly effective s**t used to make grinding wheels and abrasive papers.

    Is Aluminium Oxide more likely to scratch than Copper's Oxides? When is the last time you saw a packet of Copper Oxide "sandpaper"?


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    THIS! Why do FOUR jaws when one can do ONE hunk of stock?

    Copper flashing scrap from roof and gutter work is thick enuf. Tends to be tenacious and grippy as well. Brown "Kraft" paper ain't all that bad, either.

    "loominum grows itself an Oxide on the surface. Last time I looked it was the same highly effective s**t used to make grinding wheels and abrasive papers.

    Is Aluminium Oxide more likely to scratch than Copper's Oxides? When is the last time you saw a packet of Copper Oxide "sandpaper"?

    When's the last time you saw anyone sharpening their cutlery on Al sheet stock from the stock rack? Like, never?

    That in itself leads me to believe that the worries about the abrasiveness of oxides of Al., are perhaps being given more merit than they deserve! At least in respect to when using Al. as a pad in between the chuck jaws and work.

    My preference for using a strip of material is more related to that a set of installed covers or pads on the jaw, being soft, are pretty likely to pick up crap and transfer that, or the marks thereof, at a fair bit higher risk, than the perceived risk of Al Oxide issues. The temptation being to leave them in place, rather than change them out regularly. A disposable strip of whats handy, does pretty much prevent that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    When's the last time you saw anyone sharpening their cutlery on Al sheet stock from the stock rack? Like, never?
    Wudda been 1974, Day Job with sore scant other resources, print job we ran every Friday close to midnight to get EPRI's newsletter about doin's on Capitol Hill to the Merrifield, VA bulk Post Office in time that our prepaid postal frank did not expire.

    Outta fresh blades, last dispenser, needed a dull frisket knife touched-up to cut some rubylith, burn a plate.

    And it was 1/4" shiney-wood plate, not sheet. Got the job done. Try it yerself with a razor.
    Shave yer ass for proof of sharpness. Cheatin' you don't have a hair on it to begin with?

    It's PM.

    "Pictures! .. or it didn't happen..." etc.


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    Beerth cans work nicely if the jaws aren't too aggressive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Beerth cans work nicely if the jaws aren't too aggressive.
    Problem lies in emptying them. Git overly greedy at that part, time comes yer eyeballs shrink from the drying effect of the sand leakin' outta yer brain, yer teeth itch, yer tongue falls asleep, and a body cain't even SPELL "Beer cans" without a lithp, let alone git their aggressive jaws around another one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Problem lies in emptying them. Git overly greedy at that part, time comes yer eyeballs shrink from the drying effect of the sand leakin' outta yer brain, yer teeth itch, yer tongue falls asleep, and a body cain't even SPELL "Beer cans" without a lithp, let alone git their aggressive jaws around another one.
    So your in the crowd of "We need multiple layers/cans" for each jaw protector then eh ?....

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