I just finished a cast iron adapter plate that
mounts a plain-back 5C collet chuck to the 2"-8
tpi spindle of my lathe. I can easily dial in
the mounted chuck to .0005" runout, the limit
of my measuring capability.
When I remove and reinstall the chuck/adapter
plate assembly and check the runout, it varies
from .0005" to .004". It only takes a couple
of minutes to mount the indicator, loosen the
bolts and recenter the chuck, but I was hoping
for a little more repeatability.
Am I asking for too much here?
Jim Stewart fired this volley in
I think you need a different lathe for each chuck.
Yeah... you're probably asking a bit much, but you can check a few
"Just-any-ol'" faceplate may not have a matching centering taper on
its back to fit your spindle-nose. Some spindles don't have them at
On my Reed, part of the job of fitting a new faceplate was to cut a
short, steep taper in the back of the hole, so it would JUST fit flush
on the spindle shoulder as it engaged the matching male taper at the
headstock end of the threaded area of the spindle nose. It was a
twitchy operation (at the time) because I didn't figure out the math
to determine how much to cut at taper to move the plate back xx ten-
thousanths. Like another discussion going on here, I had to use
plasti-gauge to measure the plate-to-shoulder gap, because no other
tool I had would reach and measure there at the same time.
As clunky as that old lathe is, the faceplate mounts true to about a
thousanth every time. That's still not half-a-thou, but close enough
for almost everything I do with it. My 3-jaw chuck isn't that
You may have made the same error I did by expecting a snug thread fit to
align a chuck. I found out that the thread was supposed to be fairly loose
and the position should be established by the spigot and its recess.
I'm not so sure Don ... If he machined the recess on the back of the plate
so it seats on the register face , it should be pretty close . I can remove
and reseat my 4 jaw with a piece of stock dialed in and have it close enough
that my dial indicator can't mearure the difference.
I've machine more 1"-10 and 1 1/2"-8 backing plates over the years
than I care to remember...
Here's how I did it, and the results were acceptable at that time.
Forgot whether it was .0005" or .0007" repeatability, but it always
was less than .001", even on the little Atlas 6" lathe I had for 25
1) Chuck the new 7 unmachined plate and turn the front face (outboard
2) Bolt to face or sturdy driving plate. I prefer this because the
work may shift in a light chuck when cleaning/boring a cored hole.
3) Face boss and bore hole to tap drill size.
4) Bore locating bore to depth, and with dia. equal to the locating
dia. on the spindle, + .0003" to + .0006" or so. Personally I keep
this a close as possible to less than .0005", but it depends on your
skill as machinist and ability to measure accurately. Turn a 1/32"
chamfer on the outside edge of the locating bore.
5) Now machine the thread to match the spindle. I made an acceptance
thread gauge to verify the fit-up to the spindle without trying it,
but you can unscrew the assembly and try it. If necessary it is
easily returned for re-machining to open up the thread. I found the
thread gauge a great time saver. As mentioned earlier the thread
should be an easy fit on the spindle.
6) Because the threading operation will leave a marking of some depth
in the locating bore, deburr this using emery cloth.
7) Clean the bore with a tooth brush and oil lightly, and you are
good to go.
8) After removal and prior to re-installation always inspect the
threads on spindle and bore, and clean thoroughly, oiling lightly.
The reason for this order of machining is that if the locating bore is
finish machined after the threading operation the interrupted cut
would, in all likelihood, result in a bore not concentric to the
Another thing, I found commercially finished threaded backing plates
have these locating dia. machined waaay oversized.
The method as described above has given predictable results.
I was taught that the chuck will center on the thread , and square on the
register face . The actual mechanics aren't that important to me , as long
as it works . I recently cast and machined an adapter plate with a
"spindle" to mount my chucks on a rotary table . As long as I can center my
work on the table , I'll be happy . Haven't had a chance yet to mount the
table and check runout , the wife's had me runnin' like a rabbit this
holiday season .