Introduction: How to Make an Adjustable Ring Arbor (Using a Metal Lathe)

About: I'm Graz, and I make all sorts of stuff. I really like what you've done with your hair.

In this instructable, I will show you how to make a simple aluminum adjustable ring arbor for your metal lathe!

Materials needs for this build:

Metal Lathe

Round aluminum stock (the size doesnt matter. as long as it fits in the chuck of your lathe, we will be cutting it to size later in the project)

One screw

A screwdriver

Any metal cutting tool for the lathe. (in my case, i used a carbide cutting tool which is nice but not necessary)

One countersink bit

A Set of Drill Bits

One metal cutting bandsaw or any other saw that can cut aluminum.

Small workshop vice

Tap and Die set


Step 1: An Adjustable Ring Arbor (made on a Metal Lathe)

Your first step is to find/but some aluminum round stock.

In my case, I had some extra cut off from a previous project.

The size doesn't really matter as long as it fits in your chuck. you'll be turning it to size in a few steps anyway.

Step 2: Cutting the Aluminum on a Band Saw.

The next step is to measure how big you want the piece you want that'll be be your arbor. in my case it was 2.5 inches.

Once measured, its time to take it to the bandsaw.

Turn the bandsaw on add slow and steady pressure all while turning the piece into the blade.

Always remember where your fingers are and where they are going!

Step 3: Put the Newly Cut Piece on Your Lathe

Now that the piece is cut, its time to mount it into the lathe.

Step 4: Attach Your Cutting Tool

For me, I have upgraded my lathe with a quick change tool post.

For this project I will be using a homemade carbide cutting tool.

Though handy, its not a necessity to use a quick change tool post, you can use the tool post that came with your lathe.

Step 5: Facing the Aluminum

Next its time to "face" the piece of aluminum.

According to wikipidia "Facing on the lathe uses a facing tool to cut a flat surface perpendicular to the work piece's rotational axis."

So to put it in an easier way to understand, I basically just use the cutting tool to smooth out the flat slide of the metal so it's perpendicular to the lathe axis.

Step 6: Center Drilling a Hole

Now its time to drill a "pre-hole" with a center drill.

These usually come in a kit of 3 or 4. I'm using the biggest one that would fit in my lathe.

Once the center drill is in the chuck, use a slow and steady pressure to achieve a desired depth.

Step 7: Drilling the First Hole

For the first hole, I'm using a 13/64th drill bit. make sure the bit you use is long enough to drill through the entire piece of aluminum. This will take a little bit of time, but we're not in a rush now, are we?

Step 8: Prepping to Drill the Countersink Hole.

For the second hole which is acting as a countersink hole, I used a 25/64th drill bit. once you have the drill bit set securely in the chuck, its time to move to the next step.

Step 9: Measuring and Marking Your Depth Hole With Painters Tape.

Now grab a pair of calipers and measure a depth for the countersink. In my case, I measured 1.5 inches and then used painters tape to mark where I should stop drilling on the bit.

Step 10: Drilling the Second Hole

Once we are ready to drill, use more cutting lubricant before starting. again go slow and keep an eye on your depth. Having the tape on there should really help you know when to stop drilling.

Step 11: Measuring and Marking Where the Ring Sizes Will Go.

Now that the countersink hole is drilled, use the calipers again and mark an end point on where you want the last ring size to be. I grabbed a sharpie marker and carefully turn on the lathe and made a visual mark for myself to know where to stop turning.

Step 12: Grab You Ring Sizer.

Time to grab your ring sizer!

This is the point where you want to measure the fingers your want to size. for my case, I measured my index, middle, ring and pinky finger.

Step 13: Time to Turn the Aluminum!

Now its time to turn the first ring size on the aluminum round stock.

Also continue to use check how much more thickness you need to take off of the aluminum with the ring sizer. remember, when it comes to a lathe, you can take off material, but you can't put it back on.

Step 14: Now Its Time to Repeat the Previous Steps.

Now its time to repeat what just did for the remainder ring sizes.

Step 15: Everything AND the Countersink

It's now time to use the countersink bit and very carefully shave off just a little of the edge that that the head of the screw will nicely fit in.

Take it slow with the countersink. it does its job a little better than you may realize. just take a little off at a time and stop when you think you're good.

Step 16: Time to Tap the Hole.

Now its time to take the piece out of the chuck jaws on the lathe and inspect our work.

From there, we will tap the hole from the back...whats so funny?

Time to grab your tap and die set...

Step 17: Tapping the Hole.

Depending on the screw you use (I used a 1/4 inch screw) use the corresponding tap to slowly tread the hole. Remember for every half turn you make, go one quarter turn in the other direction to clear the metal shavings. This will save you from possibly breaking the tap.

Step 18: Checking Your Work So Far.

Now that the hole is tapped, it's time to double check all of your work up to this point. Grab the screw you want to use and screw it into the hole to see how it fits. If you're happy with everything up to this point, its on to the next step!

Step 19: Using the Band Saw to Create Relief Cuts

Now that everything fits, take the screw out of the arbor and bring over to the band saw. I recommend using a clamp or any other hold device to put the arbor in to protect your digits.

When making the cuts here go slow and use steady pressure. Though not super important, try to make the cuts as straight as possible.

Once the first set of cuts are made, turn the piece 45 degrees and repeat the step until your piece looks like the one in the picture.

Step 20: One Final Check

Now that the cuts are made, its time for a finally check before we test it on the lathe!

Use a screwdriver to tighten the screw all the way in and you'll see that the relief cuts start to spread out and do they're job. This is a good sign!

Time to see how it works!

Step 21: Testing It Out With a Ring!

So for me, I gave it a test run with a ring I previously made.

I put the ring up the corresponding notch and it had a little play to it, so I tighten up the screw and it really locked the ring in place!

thanks for checking out this instructable!!

I hope you dug the project!

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