Saturday, January 12, 2013


This week I did nothing but make winding stems.  This is extremely good lathe practice.  I have perfected all of my techniques to complete the task other than the hardening of the smallest stem which keeps warping on me.  I've had to get a much better edge on my cutters to get the small diameters required, if the cutter isn't sharp enough the piece is just deflected by the tool and it breaks off.  The steps required to make a stem are as follows, I do them in this order:

1. Use a hand graver to put a 90dg point on the end of the steel rod
2. Machine the smallest diameter on the end of the rod, our smallest so far is .35mm (still fairly large)
3. Machine the section where the square will be filed
4. File the squares
5. Cut rod to proper length then use a hand graver to add a 90dg point to the other side
6. Turn the diameter to be threaded
7. Apply threads
8. Harden steel rod (use hardening tube)
9. Remove scale with sandpaper
10. Temper steel rod
11. Machine the slot in the middle of the stem
12. Add the smaller stepped diameter behind the squares
13. Turn the final diameter on the middle of the stem
14. Finish with fine grain sandpaper

It's quite a process, and something can, and periodically does go wrong on every single step which requires restarting.

Some threads after running the steel through the die
A freshly tempered winding stem
Hardening the steel stem, using the protective tube
The steel hardening tube

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