Power feed for the compound

For cutting short tapers on the metal lathe, the compound slide (the one that sits on top of the cross slide) is often used. The problem is, if you (ie me!) can’t turn the knob in a nice slow smooth manner, the finish looks like crap. And my lathe doesn’t have power feed on the compound (and I don’t of any that do). So I rigged one up using a power drill.
power compound

I think a cordless screw driver would be ideal but I don’t have one. Anyway, there is a 6mm set screw that does something on the knob so I stuck a chunk of hex rod in there, hooked up the drill and voilà, we got power.

nice finishIn this case, I’m turning a 60° taper at the end of a tool-to-be (dovetail cutter) so I set the compound to 30°, used a boring bar to get the reach I needed, locked the carriage and ran the lathe in reverse. I like doing this op bassackwards because otherwise, the compound knob would be right next to the spinning chuck and I don’t like pressing my already too thin luck. Once I got the hang of it (the compound seems to have some sticky spots so I had to feed faster or slower depending on where in the travel I was), the finish was quite good (I’m using a cutting tool with a large radius).

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