Turning Archive 2005

Indexing Plate

Dan in the NW
>In the past 3 months our club has had two Saturday get togethers at one of our members shops. All of us that have attended have had a great time and learned some new techniques. The technique that has caught my eye the most are the carvings in the surface and rims of turnings. Rope like twists on the rim and compound 'S' patterns on the surfaces. (I'm hesitant to post pictures of someone elses work so you can see what I'm talking about.) Both techniques were layed out with the aid of an indexing wheel. Unfortunately neither of my lathes have indexing wheels.

I saw a homemade indexing wheel for a Jet mini-lathe. It's designed to be trapped between the chuck and the headstock spindle. Three of us were talking about getting together and making some for our lathes. My initial thought was to do the CADD work and then use the drawing as a template. As the day wore on and my mind kept churning I starting thinking of ways to make a better mouse trap.

The end result is a design at incorporates 16 indexing patterns from 2 to 63 evenly divided between odd and even patterns. From a previous part of my career I have some contacts in the metal trades. So I ran the design past a shop to see what it might run to have some precision cut. I was prepared to be shocked and ready to drop the idea. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the pricing was less than half what I expected.

What started as a project for three of us to make indexing plates is starting to grow legs and a personality. Am I going down a dark alley or does it sound like an opportunity worth pursuing? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.


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