Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mounting Digital Calipers on Lathe Tail Stock

Tail stock caliper mount to easily return to zero after cutting tapers

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):

Every once in a while I have to cut a taper on my lather but because I don't have a taper attachment I end up having to move my tail stock over but bringing it back to 0 has always been a royal PITA so I decided to mount one of my recently acquired $10 Harbor Freight digital calipers right on the tail stock in a way that I can zero the calipers before moving them so that I can just move the tail stock back to 0 when I'm done with the taper.

The job in itself wasn't too difficult, drilling holes in the calipers and corresponding holes in the base and the top end of the tail stock, then tapping them and using some screws to solidly hold down the calipers.

The only thing I did not know was that the steel they used for the calipers was RIDICULOUSLY hard. I tried every possible drill bit I had and ruined every one of them. The only way I ended up being able to do it was with a 3/16" bull-nose carbide end mill. Although it did cut the hole, it ended up chipping the carbide end mill. I can still use it but I was disappointed to have wrecked a $25 end mill.

After mounting the calipers and cutting my tapers, it was a breeze just bringing the tails stock back to the 0 on the calipers; that saved me lots of time and will save a lot of time in the future.

When I'm not specifically cutting tapers on the tail stock, I simply remove the calipers and store them away until the next use.

Tapping the holes into the tail stock
The drilled calipers
The calipers mounted on the tail stock
Another view
Close-up of the calipers back at zero
Drill press
Tap & die set
Cordless drill

3 screws
Digital calipers


2 hrs

lots of time in the future

It works great


Unknown said...

Lateral thinking with a vengeance ! :-)

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