exact center point of the lathe center. Machine a light
cut on the center point and test the point with a center
gauge. All lathe centers, regardless of their size, are
finished to an included angle of 60°.
If you must regrind a dead center for the tailstock,
it is best to do it using a cylindrical grinder. The
cylindrical grinder will be covered in chapter 10.
SETTING THE TOOLHOLDER AND
Figure 6-41.--Aligning lathe centers.
The first requirement for setting the tool is to have
it rigidly mounted on the toolpost holder. Be sure the
tool sits squarely in the toolpost and that the setscrew
especially if it is long, use the following procedure to
is tight. Reduce overhang as much as possible to
determine and correct errors in alignment not
prevent the tool from springing during cutting. If the
tool has too much spring, the point of the tool will
Mount the work to be turned, or a piece of stock
catch in the work, causing chatter and damaging both
of similar length, on the centers. With a turning tool
the tool and the work. The relative distances of A and
in the toolpost, take a small cut to a depth of a few
thousandths of an inch at the headstock end of the
tool bit and the holder. When a quick-change
work. Then, remove the work from the centers to
toolholder is used, tool overhang should not exceed
allow the carriage to be run back to the tailstock
twice the width of the cutting tool, or of the shank,
without withdrawing the tool. Do not touch the tool
when you use a carbide insert cutting tool.
setting. Replace the work in the centers, and with the
The point of the tool must be correctly positioned
tool set at the previous depth take another cut coming
on the work. When you are using a high-speed
in from the tailstock end. Compare the diameters of
cutting tool to straight turn steel, cast iron, and other
relatively hard metals, set the point about 5° above
exactly the same, the centers are in perfect alignment.
center. A rule measurement of approximately 3/64
If they are different, adjust the tailstock in the
direction required by using the setover adjusting
screws. Repeat the test and adjustment until a cut at
each end produces equal diameters.
Another method you can use to check for positive
alignment of lathe centers is to take a light cut over
the work held between the centers. Then, measure the
work at each end with a micrometer. If the readings
differ, adjust the tailstock to remove the difference.
Repeat the procedure until the centers are aligned.
To machine or true a lathe center, remove the
faceplate from the spindle. Then, insert the live
center into the spindle and set the compound rest at an
angle of 30° with the axis of the spindle, as shown in
chuck, secure the material that you are using to
manufacture your center from in the chuck and
proceed from this point. Place a round-nose tool in
Figure 6-42.--Machining a lathe center.
the toolpost and set the cutting edge of the tool at the