Steady rests are a great way to improve the efficiency of a CNC or lathe machine in processes like grinding, milling, boring et cetera.
Anytime when the length of material is larger and longer, it’s better to have secondary work holding devices such as steady rests. Ideally, a steady rest is used to hold a workpiece and lowers the vibrations in the piece for smooth workflow. It is needed when the dimensions of the piece make it difficult to perform work on it and you need something to clamp the piece at its place while working on it. Another reason why steady rests are required is that the machining process performed on the workpiece is so intense and needs precision that even a minor deflection of the piece can result in damage.
In addition to this, the use of self centering steady rest has resulted in enhancement in productivity of machines, reduction in deflection of pieces, increased tolerance of the job and improving overall quality of final product.
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In order to support the workpiece, steady rests use roller bearings at three different points making the piece stable without interfering with the working of the machine. In some cases, when machine parts like doors interfere with the steady rest’s cylinder or other parts, the side mounted steady rests are used.
The length of the workpiece also determines the number of steady rests needed on a particular machine. The longer the workpiece, the more steady rests are required to hold the piece.
In this blog, based on New Karwal Engg. Works will elaborate the number of considerations that come while selecting self centering steady rests for your machine.
Is steady rest fixed on bed?
Now the question comes to what is the ideal location to place steady rest. Well, it depends on the construction of the machine and differs from machine to machine.
Ideally, a steady rest is stationary and is mounted on a lathe bed. A steady rest has a clamp which is used to fix it to the bed of the lathe or CMC machine along with the draw bolt to downtight the grip of clamp. Steady rests have roller bearings that can be adjustable to hold the piece, to center the workpiece and maintain its stability.
However, in case of hydraulic self centering steady rests, most manufacturers prefer customized steady rests as the parts of self centering steady rest like the hydraulic cylinder does not interfere with the parts of the machine.
Read Also – Why do you need self centering steady rests?
Why are follow rest and steady rest used?
There are two types of steady rests –
- Fixed Steady Rest
This type of steady rests are clamped at one place on the lathe or cnc machine using clamping screws and are stationary. The top half of the steady rest is hinged that allows the workpiece to be inserted and removed into the machine and also has hinge bolts to lock the two parts together. The frame contains three adjustable pads that can be moved in and out using adjusting screws and holds the workpiece. This process can be done manually or automatically using hydraulic cylinders.
- Dynamic or Follower Steady Rest
It is usually fixed on the saddle of the lathe machine and has two adjustable pads.
How do you centre a steady rest?
First mount the steady rest on the machine bed. Make sure there is no dust, dirt on the machine. Insert the workpiece in the chuck and slide the steady rest such that the workpiece comes in between it. Tight the clamp nut at the bottom side.
In order to centre the steady rests make sure the piece is centred in the chuck. Now start tightening the nut of an adjustable roller bearings such that the whole wheel comes in contact with the workpiece. Do the same for the back adjustable screw. After this, lock the jam nuts. Following this, bring the top half and cinch it up. Finally, bring the top roller down in the same manner and verify the alignment using an indicator.
Furthermore, in order to identify the centering of the workpiece, you have to run the indicator from chuck to the steady rest and rotate the workpiece so that it gives low error. Also, make sure that the roller bearings are clean and free from any kind of dust or debris as it will cause damage to the job.
Moreover, there are two different styles of steady rests – one is soft pad or brass pad steady rests and another has roller bearing which creates less friction and lowers the damage and galling to the work piece.
The Importance of Centering a Steady Rest
The importance of aligning the steady rest of the chuck is that if the steady rest is out of alignment then the workpiece is not getting even contact across the face of the machine’s jaw and even the part can move out of the chuck causing an accident. So, proper alignment is key for precision and safety.
How does steady rest work?
Steady rests are used in a wide variety of applications as a holding mechanism providing rigidity to the job.
When you are working with a long workpiece and the diameter of the stock is too big such that it does not fit into the spindle bore. It needs a fixed support in the middle so and for providing it, we use steady rest. A steady rest allows you to create a zone of rigidity far away from the chuck.
If you are using steady rests then the use of tail stock is optional and depends on the type of application. The main thing you one should keep in mind while installing steady rest is that it should be centred properly otherwise the final output will suffer.
The Bottom Line
The quality and material of steady rest should be taken into account while purchasing them. At New Karwal Steady Rests, we emphasise on manufacturing high quality steady rests that are durable, corrosion free, reliable, cost effective and customised according to needs.