Friday, January 12, 2024

Got a Spider for my Minilathe

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:

The spider threads onto the end of the spindle and provides additional support to long workpieces, to prevent them from whipping around.

To install the spider you remove the gear cover on the end of the headstock and simply thread it onto the end of the spindle.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Chamfer both ends of the hole.
  3. Drive the rod through the hole and cut it off. I used side cutters.
  4. Using a hammer, peen over both ends on a metal surface. I used the anvil on my bench vise.
  5. File the ends of the pin smooth.
One end of the Delrin rod from Track is tapped 10-32 and the other is 8-32. I will use 10-32 jags, etc. and have an aluminum T-handle with an 8-32 stud on the end. I have qualms about using it for cleaning or ball pulling.

Just another example of how my small, tabletop machines help me out with gunsmithing tasks.

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