Grooving on the Lathe - 3: Preparation
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WARNING: Machine tools present a safety hazard. Improper operation can result in severe injury. These topics are for non-laboratory study only and are not to be used in conjunction with the operation of any tool or machine described herein. Never use a machine tool without the supervision of a qualified instructor.
First, set the tool directly on center with zero rake. Then rotate the tool post until the tool is square to the work.

Next it will be necessary to determine the distance from some reference point to where the groove is to be located. A machinist's scale will serve well, if the work tolerance will permit it. Leaving extra material for finishing operations includes location or length from a feature or datum. Some machines have digital readouts which makes it simple to locate grooves.

Calculate the appropriate feed and speed for the diameter of the cut, and set the machine accordingly. A general rule of thumb regarding grooving is to make sure that everything is secure and steady, as vibration is a major concern. On long shaft work, dead center, can prove more successful than live center. Sometimes a steady rest can be added when the work requires support. As vibration causes chatter, a combination of errors can delay successful production and groove cutting. Experimentation with spindle speeds may help to eliminate chatter. Chatter is evidenced by the part finish and is caused by vibration when the groove was being cut. Vibration is usually a result of the part not being totally supported and secure when the groove was cut.

A dead center, having no ball or roller bearings, is superior for many machining applications... and grooving is surely one of them. Students have a tendency to go the easy route and use a live center for everything. After all, there is no messy center lube to deal with. But live centers can wear and vibrate quite a bit when heavy radial loads are applied and this causes chatter. R.S.
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label: lathe gorove, grooving, cutting tool, setup, feeds and speeds, cuttting, widening, measuring, parrting cuttting off