Custom Lathe Drive Center

We are in the process of finishing up a run of bookbinding equipment for a store in Michigan and the order called for finished product (we normally sell our vises unfinished).  One of the vises uses a screw similar to our Moxon vises only smaller.

In order to finish them, we dip them in oil finish and then wipe off the excess.  The only problem is we had 50 of this type to do and hand turning the screws to wipe off each thread would take waaayyy to long.  The solution I came up with was a custom drive center for our lathe.

I modeled the shape of the drive center in our CAD software of choice, Fusion 360.  Then using the built in CAM (computer aided manufacturing, programs CNC mill to cut out parts), I programmed and cut out the custom drive center from a scrap piece of hard maple.  You can watch the YouTube video below to see how it went from a block of wood to a useful tool, as well as how it’s used.  We used our Tormach 770 as it has vises already mounted to it, although we could have just as easily used our ShopSabre IS510 CNC router.

This was a great little shop project which made the job go much quicker and a bonus feature of the drive center is that it is also compatible with our standard Moxon vises if we end up finishing some of them.

Announcing Our January 2018 Workbench Idea

Here’s a great way to start out the new year with a workbench idea featuring a retrofit Shoulder Vise added to a 24 year old workbench by Jesse H. from Kingsport, Tennessee.  Jesse also built an amazing chest using the shoulder vise.  As he says below, the proof is in the pudding. Enjoy!

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Shoulder Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

This past summer I had purchased a shoulder vise screw from you guys and using your detailed instructions (I did dovetail the nut to the arm instead of using lag bolts, but I am sure the lag bolts would have worked just as well), I retrofitted a shoulder vise on my existing bench, which has been through several metamorphoses through its 24 year life!

I had always just dealt with my front vise racking and slipping.  I had kept blocks on my bench to keep the vise from racking and there was always a bunch of fiddling. Lots of times I was trying to saw and hold the work with the other hand so the stock wouldn’t slide around in the vise.

Not so with my shoulder vise! The screw is smooth as silk, and the slightest turn will release or grab the stock. My bench is not much to look at….I believe in building furniture, not a shop.  But the “proof is in the pudding”…in this case in the using.  I built the chest of drawers in the pictures using the shoulder vise for all the joinery. Cutting dovetails and tenons was a joy!  Great work guys! ….and for me, money well spent!

Here are some pictures of my old bench, retrofitted with the Lake Erie shoulder vise…and as you see in the pictures, no leg under the shoulder vise.  So far, no problems from the absence of the leg.  Now, it may seem like a little thing, but even though I didn’t replace my rigged-up wagon vise when I installed the shoulder vise, I did order an extra handle….love the  handles!

Jesse H. – Kingsport, TN