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By caveman
Having recently bought my Proxxon Micromot DB 250 MICRO Woodturning Lathe along with a head and tailstock chuck, there were only a couple of things I needed, a nice set of woodturning tools and possibly a steady.

Well Santa was very helpful and I got the tools but no steady! However, I couldn't see me using the steady very much and certainly couldn't justify the £65 so I decided I'd make one!

What a fascinating little project it turned out to be! I figured a wooden frame would be perfectly strong enough. I didn't like the fixed ends on the commercial steady so decided to go up market with a ball race on each arm as well.

I contacted Proxxon, told them what I was doing and a very helpful gentleman there sent me a piece of moulded aluminium plate to suit the lathe bedplate, at no cost!

Have to say, very pleased with the outcome with a total cost of just under £11.00 and quite a lot of frustration as I have no metal working tools apart from a drill press!

Materials: 3 X 624 2RS sealed Bearings, 200mm of 1/2" X 1/4" aluminium flat bar, 3 X 4mm c/s bolts with lock nuts and washers and 3 X 6mm carriage bolts with washers and wing nuts.
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By Waka
Looks really good, any pic's of it fixed to the lathe bed?
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By bugbear
Interesting - many turners go through years with using a steady rest, yet you made one as a first step.

Beyond it feeling like a fun project (a good and sufficient reason) why did you make it?

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By Robbo3
Nicely done. :)
I apologise for trying to teach someone (in previous threads) who is better skilled & obviously knows more than me.
By caveman
Waka wrote:Looks really good, any pic's of it fixed to the lathe bed?

Yep, just finished mounting it onto the plate and attached it to the lathe. Must say, kinda chuffed, gives me a whole new scope and runs very sweetly :D
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By bugbear
When working a long piece, how do you arrange the steady to be "on axis"? It would seem all to easy have the steady out of line.

I assume there's a technique...

By phil.p
Fix the steady while the workpiece is between centres, then move the tail centre.
By caveman
phil.p wrote:Fix the steady while the workpiece is between centres, then move the tail centre.

That's what I do :lol:

If I was going to turn a rod longer than the lathe base then I'd set up the steady with a shorter length between centres and then only lift the top steady arm to remove the piece. I can then put the longer piece in, resting on the two lower rollers and then bring the top roller down into contact. Works a treat!
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By Waka
Looks really professional set up on the lathe, might have to try something like that myself.
By caveman
I'd like to make a frame from aluminium plate one day but as I will rarely use it, at the moment, that can wait. I also have no way of cutting out the centre circle other than my scroll saw and it's not too happy with thickish metal!!
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By bugbear
caveman wrote:I'd like to make a frame from aluminium plate one day...

GIS'ing shows a large number of long lived steadies made from wood, in a wide range of capacities (*). I suspect your wooden one will serve you fine.

Unless you just fancy making a metal one, in which case go ahead!


(* many of the larger ones use inline skate wheels as rollers)
By MusicMan
phil.p wrote:Fix the steady while the workpiece is between centres, then move the tail centre.

That works if the workpiece is turned round while between the centres, or aligned so that the tail centre is in the middle of the workpiece.

In metalworking, it is more usual to centre the headstock end in the chuck (usually a four jaw, or just taking the chuck self-centring) and adjust the steady around the workpiece at the chuck end. Then release one only of the fingers, move the steady to the desired position and re-tighten the (same!) finger.

Either technique can be used, depending on the construction and alignment of the steady, and the nature of the workpiece.