Small Lathe
Volume 7, No 7 - July, 2002





President -

Tom Moore

Vice President -

Chuck West

Treasurer -

John Hoff

Secretary -

Joe Scott

Webmaster -
Founder -

Dick Kostelnicek
John Korman

Editors -

David Whittaker
Jan Rowland



SIG Coordinator -

Dennis Cranston

Membership Information

Membership is open to all those interested in machining metal and tinkering with machines. The purpose of the club is to provide a forum for the exchanging of ideas and information. This includes, to a large degree, education in the art of machine tools and practices. There is a severe shortage of written information that a beginning hobbyist can understand and use. This makes an organization such as this even more important.

Business Meeting

Minutes are sent via email or regular mail to club members.

Regular Meeting 

1:00 p.m., May 11, 2002 at Collier Library, 6200 Pinemont, Houston, Texas, President Dennis Cranston presiding. There were 32 attendees, including visitor Tom Wright. Nominations/elections were held for 2002/2003 officers. Results follow:

It was decided that each special interest group would provide a presentation for the coming year.


Charles Hilton is moving to Connecticut. We hope he continues sending in his dues.


Ball and ACME Screws as used in Home-Brew Machinery

Ball Screw X-Y Table

Ball Screw

Acme Screw

CNC Lathe

Jan Rowland, HMSC member, gave a slide show of some ingenious and impressive custom-built machinery that he fabricated in his home shop. Some of his machines are at work in Great Britain. Nice to hear of exporting machinery for a change!

Jan Rowland 

 Show and Tell

Gladkowski's Indexer 
Ed Gladkowski demonstrated an indexing attachment that he designed and built for his lathe's spindle. It is based on the sine bar principle.

Hoff's Forming Tool

John Hoff showed a nice 5-C collet chuck that he made for his lathe. He also showed a slide press for a work-in-progress custom fabrications machine he is building for forming aluminum rod into fiber optic luminary holders.

Kostelnicek's O-ring cone
Dick Kostelnicek
brought a Parker cone gauge used to measure the diameter and cross section of O-rings.

May's DRO
Alan May
showed an inexpensive DRO. that used a plastic digital caliper mounted with super magnets salvaged from a hard drive. He also brought iron-on transfer film used  in circuit board etching.

Chartier's SS Holder
Doug Chartier
showed an all stainless flexible gooseneck mount he ebayed, and tailgate hinges with lock rods he is restoring for a 50's Woodie Buick Roadmaster.

 Erthridge's Fly Wheel
Ray Ethridge
showed a fine flywheel that he sand-cast and machined from his own home brew ZA-12 alloy, as well as pictures of the alloy ingredients and his homemade furnace in action.

Williams' Collet
Joe Williams
showed a 5C collet adaptor for machining plastic rings for a honey do project, and a set of gear pitch gauges.

Pilchher on Gears
Richard Pilcher
spoke on further adventures in replacing a gear on his lathe.

Volz's C-Head
Art Volz
showed a nomograph book for machine-fabrication from weldments, an antique Bridgeport C head cover, and another of his no weld creations - this one a chuck spinner made from a water faucet handle.

Metal Casting Group

We discussed Ray Etheridge's homemade ZA-12 alloying from junkyard zinc dicast, aluminum and copper. It looks like an economical way to get ZA-12. The group pour on July 6th at Zube Park (HALS- the train place) was confirmed. We'll be casting some switch components for HALS starting around 9:00 a.m. Everyone is invited to observe and comment.

From out of the Past


It has three non-swivel casters. What is it ?

What is it ?



Fastener Puzzler

Bolt PuzzleTwo plates are fastened together by a bolt, spring, washer, and nut. In both figures the nut is torqued till the bolt tension is 2000 lbs. The spring is not fully compressed. A force F = 1800 lbs is applied to both plates in a direction that tends to separate them.

What is the new bolt tension in each figure? The yield strength of the bolt is 3000 lbs. Will failure occur? If a bolt yields, where will it likely occur?

If the spring represents a compliant gasket between an engine cylinder and its head, would a metal-to-metal seal be preferable?

Send your answers to We'll publish the best and the worst answers in the next newsletter

by Dick Kostelnicek - HMSC Member

Featured Articles

Foot Actuated Welder Control
by J. R. (Joe) Williams - HMSC Member

Williams' foot control (side view)A foot actuated control housing was fabricated from two sections of aluminum channel, 1-1/2 x 3 x 10 in. long. It uses the potentiometer from a hand actuated control. Originally the unit was designed to be operated by thumb pressure with the control unit clamped to the torch handle. It didn't take long to decide that a foot operated switch was preferable. After pricing a commercial switch from Lincoln Electric, I decided to make my own.

The electrical connectors are type AN. The large vertical spring is for pedal return. A 1/4 inch roller chain goes under and around a horizontal roller, and is attached to a section of gear rack that can be seen at the lower left. When the pedal is depressed, the chain moves the rack which rotates the control potentiometer by a small pinion gear. At the same time, a micro switch, located at the end of the rack, initiates the welder's control system.Williams' foot control (open view)  A small spring returns the rack to the OFF position, since you can't push on a chain.

The foot switch can be used with stick welding where it simply turns the power ON and OFF. For Tungsten Inert Gas or TIG welding; it turns on the power, the high frequency starting voltage, and the shielding gas.  It could also control the cooling water if my welding machine was so equipped. I need to add non slip material to the housing's top and bottom surfaces, but this has worked as is for the past 14 years.

Horizontal Turning in a Vertical Mill
by J. R. (Joe) Williams - HMSC Member

Motor Powered Rotary TableI motorized my rotary table and bolted it to the vertical mill's table in order to machine a 14-3/8 inch diameter x 1 inch thick PVC flange. The flange is a special spacer for an electronic test unit. The part was too large for my lathe and still too big for the X-Y movement on the CNC mill. The drive is made from a small gear head motor connected to the table's input shaft with two small universal joints and powered via a variable transformer that feeds a diode bridge rectifier.

Cutting Flange on Rotary TableWith this setup I can mill and drill the flange provided I do things in the right sequence. I milled the plywood's top surface before bolting the PVC stock to the table. The plywood and PVC section were both piloted to the center of the table and bolted in place. The work's center was located and the mill's control system set to zero at this location. The next operation was to mill the outer edge and the step on the flange. Then, bolt holes in the flange were drilled and bolts installed to secure the outer section of the flange to the plywood sub base while the inner cut out was made. This produced a flat flange with a concentric center hole. The last step was to turn the flange over, bolt it to the plywood and machine a  radius on the OD. Unfortunately, the drive had to be disconnected to use the rotary table's hand wheel for spacing the bolt holes.

The table and cutter both rotate clockwise to produce infeed cutter action. With the table rotating into the cutter, there is no problem with backlash or the cutter climbing onto the work. I used an air powered spray unit with a water soluble oil solution to prevent welding of the PVC chips to the work and cutter.

The unit would be able to handle aluminum with no problem but might be a little light for steel.

Ed Note:   I use this method to turn my truck's disk brake rotors with a fly cutter since I have only a 10 in. lathe.


Junk Yard Air Compressor

Scrap Yard Air Compressor
Joe Guidry - Jennings, LA

Here's my home-made air compressor that I built from things picked up at a scrap yard. The compressor is from a large truck, air tank from an airplane, motor had bad bushings, and the base is made from angle iron pieces of unknown origin. I had to buy the pressure switch and quick connect air chuck. Everything else was scrap yard reborn. It will get up to 165 psi. It uses only 16 x 16 in. of  floor space so it fits well inside my shop. Also, it doesn't make much noise nor condensate. I have two other commercial compressors. One of them, a Gardner Denver, makes a lot of noise.


Compressor Close Up


The next meeting will be held on Saturday July 13, 2002 at the Collier Library 6200 Pinemont, Houston, TX at 1:00 p.m. Bring along a work in progress to show.

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