Three-jaw lathe chucks are virtually
indispensable for a turner, yet the cost
of buying one can be prohibitive. Three-jaw
chucks are useful when turning small pieces
at low speed, and permit multi-axis turning.
This shop-made chuck can be made from
scraps of maple and a few machine
screws. By changing the arrangement
of the screw holes, this can also be
made into a 4-jaw chuck.
The jaws are positioned in a
set of pivot holes depending
on the size of the workpiece.
For better gripping, add strips
of 150-grit sandpaper to the
jaw faces, and taper the face of
the jaws, as shown. To assist in
centering the turning, thin
concentric rings are turned into
the face of the chuck. With the
workpiece in position, tighten
the clamping screws equally. Our
turning expert, Steve Blenk, recommends
operating the chuck with
the lathe running at less than 700
rpm and only for small workpieces.
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