Useful Projects for a Lathe: Machinist Jack Useful Projects for a Lathe: Machinist Jack

What You'll Need
Steel Rod
Drill chuck
Drill tap

Sometimes, using a lathe can be an intimidating process, as it is very powerful, but if you want to try your hand at making a lathe machinist jack,  this is one project which can be completed simply, and will give you the confidence to proceed even further into the lathing world. The machinists jack is a useful tool in itself, and if you can make one of these, you will be able to handle making other pieces of equipment such as drill bits and screws before you know it. In order to make a machinists jack, you will need a number of tools from a home supply department, and some basic lathe turning skills.

Step 1 - Prepare the Jack

You will need to set your lathe's cross slide to the angle of 30 degrees. This will help you to cut easily along the jack. Take the body of the jack, which will be the steel rod, and turn it around at the slowest speed possible. Turn until you have a very narrow jack body, and until the body of the jack is completely smoothed down. Then, make smaller  and smaller cuts until you have the best smoothness you could want. Repeat for the other end which had been held in the chuck.

Step 2 - Drill the Jack

With the rod still in the chuck,  move the drill chuck to the tailstock of your lathe. Turn the chuck at the end and push the body of the jack towards it, so that you have a hole in the center of the jack. Once this has been done, you should be able to turn the jack around to the other side, and drill down until you have a thin, hollow body for your jack.

Step 3 - Tap the Center

You will need to do this part by hand, only using the lathe to hold tightly onto the edge of the jack. Take the tape, and place it into the tail stock, and then  advance it to the jack body. Rather than turning on the lathe, you will have to use the jawed chuck to move the whole piece around.

Step 4 - Finishing the Jack

Once you have made the center tap, you are ready to finish the jack by hand. Take the screw, and fit it into the center hole of your jack, and then screw a nut onto the end. You should then screw the body of the jack onto the screw into it is tightly settled. Once this is done, you can use your machinists jack like another  tool


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