Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fixing Our Broken Christmas Tree

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

So today was the day we were going to set up the Christmas tree for this year. Unfortunately, after so many times hauling it up and down the stairs each year, the top part of the Christmas tree got bent one too many times and broke off 1.500" into the top most piece.

After analyzing the situation, I realized that I couldn't just weld the pipe together because there was too much greenery, string and hot glue from when they originally made the tree so I had to look for an alternative.

After some thought I figured it would be a perfect project for my lathe. I had been sick all week and hadn't been out in the shop at all and I still wasn't 100% but my wife and kids were eagerly waiting inside so I cut off the broken piece of steel pipe out of the center of the tree and cleaned it up, then hauled out a piece of 5/8" cold rolled steel, turned a 1.500" length of the one side down to 0.450" and a 1.500" length of the other side down to just a little under 5/8". Lastly, I drilled a 1.500" deep hole at 0.450" on the thicker end, hammered this newly finished piece of metal into the Christmas tree pipe and voila, the tree was fixed.

After I put the tree back together I realized that two of the rubber feet had fallen off the tree stand which we were going to fix for the last few years but never got around to, so I figured I might as well take another 20 minutes and make 4 new tree stand feet out of teflon. That part was pretty easy: Clean up the pipe, turn 0.500" of one side down to 0.450" and 0.250" of the other side to about 0.750". All I then had to do is hammer the 4 little feet into the tree stand and now I can slide the tree around on my hard wood floor without scratching it up.

The top end of the bottom piece of the tree

Measuring the width

The broken off piece of pipe that was part of the top of the tree

Where the bending had taken its toll

Rounding/stretching the cleaned up piece

Close-up of the cleaned up piece of pipe at the center of the tree

5/8" cold rolled steel

Turning one side down to make a press-fit into the inside of the pipe for the top piece

Turning the other side down just a bit to clean up the metal

Drilling the larger end of the piece to fit over top of the protruding piece of metal that belongs to the bottom of the tree

Close-up of the drilled out piece (1.500" deep)

The finished adapter to fix the broken off piece of pipe

The tree stand with the last two rubber feet removed

After the feet were cleaned up a bit

Turning down some 1" teflon

The small end (0.450") will get pressed into each foot of the tree stand

One of the finished feet

Another view

The tree stand with 4 new anti-scratch feet

The finished tree with the creative help of the kiddos


Metal Band Saw
Metal Lathe and accessories
Cordless drill
Tapered chisel

3" of 5/8" cold rolled steel
4" of 1" teflon




Tree looks great and should last another 10 years!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Making a Bag Pipe Drone Stock

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

A gentleman from Moncton contacted me if I could make him some bag pipe drone stocks on my lathe and after looking at a sample he brought I took some measurements and started replicating. The steps were as follows:

1. Cut 6" pieces out of 2" solid Acetal
2. Chuck and indicate, then center drill the stock
3. Turn the outside down about 0.015" for a nice surface finish
4. Drill 4.500" deep, 1" wide
5. Bore 4.500" deep, 1.580" wide
6. Part off at 4.500"
7. Face the remaining 1.500" long piece
8. Turn it down about 0.015" for a nice surface finish
9. Flip it around and face the other side
10. Turn down 0.900" to a diameter of 1.560"
11. Thread at 32 TPI for the hemp to have something to grab on to
12. Flip it around and use a profile cutter to cut the curvature
13. Drill three 5/8" diameter holes spaced equally into the face


Turning the outside to 1.850"
The outside is finished
About half-way through with turning the outside
Done turning the outside
Drilling to 5/8"
Then drilling to 1.000"
Cooling the drill bits in flood coolant between usage
Almost done drilling

Another view
Boring 4.500" deep to 1.590" inside diameter
The parted off parts
Tools of the trade
Threading the 1.500" wide piece so the hemp will adhere better
Another step completed
Ready for the profiling
Using a custom-made profiling tool to cut the contour
The contoured piece
Getting ready to drill the 3 holes
In the midst of drilling the holes
Close-up of the drilling process
The finished part
Another view
View from the front
View from the top
Another view


Metal lathe & accessories
Metal band saw
Cordless drill

6" of 2" diameter acetal

16 hrs

This was a fun job. I love my lathe!