A couple weeks ago I ordered a spider for my 7x14 minilathe, something I should have bought years ago. Little Machine Shop had it as their weekly special so I finally pulled the trigger on it.
Link to minilathe spider: https://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1136
The spider threads onto the end of the spindle and provides additional support to long workpieces, to prevent them from whipping around.
I used it today while drilling and tapping the flared end of the factory ramrod that came with my Investarm Gemmer Hawken. Even though I bought an unbreakable Delrin rod for it from Track of the Wolf, which is threaded on both ends, I want to keep the OEM wood rod as a spare.
This shows the ramrod mounted through the spindle bore.
And here I was using the lathe as a tapping guide to keep the 10-32 tap straight. I did not do this under power. Instead, I used the chuck key as a handle and rotated the chuck manually. Power to the lathe was off when I did this.
Aside from drilling and tapping the end of the OEM ramrod to accept 10-32 accessories like cleaning jags, worms, and bullet pullers, both ends of both rods got drilled and cross-pinned. To drill the holes I used my minimill.
Always cross-pin your ramrod tips! Failing to do so can result in the ends pulling off the rod if you get a jag stuck or need to pull a ball. It's simple to do so:
- Drill a hole through the rod crossways. I used a #40 drill because for my pin I used some brass rod 0.098" in diameter.
- Chamfer both ends of the hole.
- Drive the rod through the hole and cut it off. I used side cutters.
- Using a hammer, peen over both ends on a metal surface. I used the anvil on my bench vise.
- File the ends of the pin smooth.