Shop Cheats: Quick Threaded Arbors





Introduction: Shop Cheats: Quick Threaded Arbors

About: I am a shop body. Give me a job, the tools to do it, and I will be happy as can be. I get along best with metal and machines. Back in the day my Dad was a welder by trade. I managed to learn a lot of that tr...

This is the second Instructable in my maybe series of "Shop cheats." And a link to the first if you missed it: here.

I will not take credit for this one, as I saw it in a newsletter for "The Home Shop Machinist." Every now and again one seems to need to turn a bolt or other threaded work piece. But usually one does not want to damage or mar the threads when one chucks it up in the lathe. And usually making a custom arbor is a pain. Or one might try to lock the threads with two nuts (double nutted.) Only to have them be unevenly held by one's chuck, or slip loose while one attempts to turn the piece. I have been guilty of this on several occasions. So for a quick and dirty threaded arbor just take a nut, one that fits on your threaded work piece, and cut a slit in one side. Just use a hacksaw or band-saw. You may even be able to get away with using a cut-off wheel while it is on a bolt. You may want to clean the threads of the nut a bit as there probably will be some burs in them. Nothing a tap or slotted bolt cannot fix though. This way when using a three jaw chuck there is relief in the nut and it snugs up tight on the work piece. It works well. Almost too well. And they are completely reusable. I have begun to collect a number of slitted nuts just because I know I will be using them again.



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    21 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Oh shudder! That's so useful! I almost saw a fight once that would have been avoided by this.

    So clever - I just wish I'd read this a few weeks back when I could have used this instead of a double nut which ended up me turning a wonky bar and having to pay someone to make it for me...

    This job is nuts!!! Well done I like what you have done here and thanks for sharing. AAA plus in shop!!

    This is a great tip! I actually have a need for this when holding on to a short piece of threaded bar and compressing it in a plugged tapped hole.

    If you cut the nut with a saw, then heat with blow torch or gas hob until red, then dunk in cold water( to harden it) then you can use to clean damaged threads the same as a die nut.

    I dont want to sound lame but since am not having enough experience i exactly dont understand the use of cut on nut.
    Is it that the nut was tight fit on the bolt so a cut helped it to expand and fit snugly?

    1 reply

    In addition to the answer up there ^ , cutting a slot in the nut means it can be compressed, so once a bolt is threaded into the nut, clamping the chuck compresses the nut and grips the bolt tightly, stopping it from moving, so it can be machined.

    brass might be better for the material chucked

    I dont want to sound lame but since am not having enough experience i exactly dont understand the use of cut on nut.
    Is it that the nut was tight fit on the bolt so a cut helped it to expand and fit snugly?

    1 reply

    Slitting the nut gives some relief, thanks to the material removed by the saw, for the inner diameter to be changed. In this case making it smaller. That is why I mentioned having the slit between the chuck jaws. One of the other commenters mentioned using a slitted nut with a pair of locking pliers. As long as you are squeezing the cut edges together you will be in effect using the nut as a formed clamp. In theory by deforming the nut by crushing it you could achieve the same results. However removal of the nut would be extremely difficult in that scenario. There was another commenter who mentioned cutting a groove on the opposite side of the slit on larger nuts. That groove would essentially create a hinge point in the nut. Basically creating a split/lock collar out of a nut. Here is a picture of a split/lock collar or that might help. I hope that clears up the confusion.

    Popular tip alright, on larger nuts I make a shallow relief cut on the side opposite the full one, makes it easier on the chuck, improves hold yet is still very secure. Keep 'em coming.

    This is excellent. You're 2/2 on these shop cheats. Please keep them coming!

    my grandpa taught me this when I was 6/7, works great.

    That's a great idea that I've never thought of!