A few months back, I tried to drill some holes using the vertical drill. Placed the work on the movable table - and didn't have enough room for the drill bit! Moved the work onto the base - and found I couldn't reach the work with the drill bit! Talk about a rock and a hard place!
Now, back in the dark mists of time, Alex Weiss had the same problem with a very similar vertical drill, in fact probably the same drill but a slightly different designation, and he cured his problem by extending the drill column. And so a project was born. Thanks Alex for the idea.
So, obtain a suitable lump of ms, and then turn it down to match the column. Now I don't know about you, but I'm not too happy having a 150mm x 50mm lump of steel whirling around when only held in a 160mm 4-jaw chuck. So out with the fixed steady. Er, hang on a minute, I haven't got a fixed steady. So make one, and so I did.
I based the design on Harold Halls design in MEW June/July 1991 but with the modified arms in his later article in MEW 173/174, but then modified to suit my lathe, a Warco 220 (Mashstroy C210T). Thanks Harold.
Photos 1 & 2 show both sides of the steady.
The base part, painted green, is mild steel, welded together and then faced to get a smooth surface to sit on the lathe bed. The silver parts are 13mm thick aluminium whilst the brass parts are, well, brass. You will notice that the aluminium parts are made up of three separate pieces. These are glued together using a very well known brand of two-part epoxy glue plus some screws, two of which can be seen in one of the photos. The black knob came of a roof rack cycle carrier and is used to clamp the loose dovetail part at the front onto the bed. The matching part at the other end is bolted into place.
On one of the photos will be seen some circular disks. In fact, they are not disks, but steel inserts into the rather soft aluminium, the idea being that when bolting up, the steel will withstand the screwing forces rather better than the aluminium, thus there is less chance of stripping the threads.
It will be noticed that the aluminium support is offset. This is because the saddle projects out towards the headstock beyond the normal position of the compound slide. Therefore by offsetting the supports as shown, the supports can be brought nearer the cutting tool to give better support. Interestingly, the official Mashstroy steady does the same, but I hadn't realised why until I made this device. The last photo shows the saddle and cross-slide along side the fixed steady when all will become clear (I hope).
Is it pretty? No it darned well isn't!
Does it work? Don't know - it's too darned cold at the moment.
It's been an interesting project. For a start I've had to resurrect the lathe vertical slide in order to mill the aluminium (the milling machine is in bits at the moment having had it's table reground), and frankly I was dead scared about the overhang from the vice jaws. In the event, I only had one accident, and even then it wasn't that bad. A bit of silver-white epoxy putty to fill the gouges and all was well. Although I started by doing a drawing, that soon got abandoned as modifications took place. Nevertheless, the drawing was used to create the basic sizes of the structure. One problem that I did have was that of determining the positioning of the upright onto the base structure as the lathe centre line is NOT over the bed centre line. In the end I cheated by mounting a 5mm diameter rod into a 5mm collet inserted into the headstock. I then drilled through the base of the upright, then clamped the upright onto the rod and spotted through the holes. Job done.
Peter G. Shaw