3D printing a 5C collet Chuck base

I’m pivoting over to CAD modeling and 3d printing storage bases to store the chucks for my Grizzly G4003 lathe when not in use. the concept was something with holes to accept the dowel pins face down and side grips to easily grab and lift the lathe chuck into and out of the tool chest. Simple right?

5C Collet Chuck Base Concept modeled with Autodesk Fusion 360
Slicing up the 3d model with Prusa Slicer software
3D printing the 5C collet chuck base with the Prusia 3d printer
3D printed Collet Chuck Base – the finished print
5C Collet Chuck prototype – proof of concept

The first concept came out better than I had hoped but I see a few areas for improvement. The next interaction I am going to increase the diameter of the dowel holes to make landing the chuck ridiculously easy and to make the side grips wider and longer to it’s less tippy in your hands.

3D Printing a Vernier Caliper Tool Wall Holder

Pittsburg Tools Vernier Caliper Tool Wall Holder

I recently upgraded my precision measuring instrument (PMI) toolbox with a lovely Mitutoyo vernier caliper and a Mitutoyo micrometer. They are sweet! Buttery smooth precision.

My new Mitutoyo Micrometer
My Mitutoyo Vernier Caliper

That being said, I still have an economy Pittsburg Tools vernier caliper acquired from Harbor Freight that has served me well in years past. Especially when you consider it retails for under $20.

I still like to keep the Pittsburg caliper on my tool wall for quick and dirty measurements that don’t require three decimal place precision. I decided to model up a bracket for 3d printing to mount it on the tool wall.

Pittsburg Vernier Caliper tool wall mounting bracket 3d model

It took me three iterations to get the model right. The first prototype my mouthing angle for the angled base was off by a few degrees and the upper mounting arms were to thin and aesthetically too flimsy in my opinion.

The second iteration I was able to both add and remove material in various locations to optimize the print time down to 40 minutes.

Pittsburg vernier caliper tool wall bracket
3d printed tool wall

Dedicated Morse Taper Center Drill Holder

The pandemic has allowed me the luxury of more time to pour over some of my machinist books. While reading Machine Shop Know How – The Tips and techniques of master machinists, I came across a very enticing project to make a dedicated center drill holder for my lathe tail stock.

Machine Shop Know – How by Frank Marlow

I started with a 3MT To 2JT Tanged End Drill Chuck Arbor purchased from Amazon for about $12.

Prepping the MT Jig

The center drill I selected to be used in the dedicated Morse taper fixture measured in at 0.248. I put the jig in the tail stock and used my relatively new collet chuck to center drill the jig with the collet holding the tool piece. Next the jig was drilled on the JT end just undersized and then finally finished out with a reamer. Again both operations were performed with the collet holding the tool pieces. I had to purchase a custom reamer for this and made the error of buying an exact fix reamer (0.248) which made the fit too tight for the first fit up. (Facepalm). I then ordered a reamer .001 larger (0.249) which after being reamed fit perfectly into the Jacobs taper end of the fixture.

3 Morse Taper to 2 Jacobs Taper Drill Chuck Arbor
Drilling the MT to JT fixture to accept the center drill
Final reaming of the MT to JT fixture to accept the center drill

Adding a set screw

The text states to grind a flat on the center drill bit that will be used to accept the flat of a future set screw. This is best done on the surface grinder since the bit is hardened.

After the center drill holder was properly reamed to accept the center drill tool bit I drilled and tapped the Jacobs taper to accept a #10-24 set screw.

Drilling the MT to JT fixture to tap and add a set screw
The MT to JT fixture successfully tapped to hold a #10-24 set scew to secure the center drill in place.
A dedicated MT center drill holder

The finished product came out well! I slapped the dedicated MT center drill into the tail stock and put a center indentation in a piece of scrap stock. The center bit did move a little more inwards before fully settling and bottoming into the reamed out hole and the set screw subsequently had to be lightly retightened. Otherwise all was well.

It works!

This is a simple tool but one that will add efficiency to the shop. This will be a pleasant addition to my lathe toolset.

5C Collet Chuck for the Lathe

Bostar 5C Collet Chuck
Bostar 5C Collet Chuck on my Grizzly G4003 with a D1-4 base

My 3 Jaw Chuck Dilemma

After installing the new Digital Read Out (DRO) on my Grizzly 4003 lathe and doing some comparison cuts with the DRO and two micrometers I was made very aware that the preexisting 3-Jaw chuck could do no better than .005″ Total Indicated Runout (TIR) on the lathe. I was craving the ability to get faster more repeatable precision.

This desire for greater precision combined with recently seeing a few random collet chuck videos on YouTube spurred me to desire an entry level 5C collet chuck.

Ebay to the Rescue: Bostar 5C Collet Chuck

I finally settled upon a Bostar 5C Collet Chuck with D1-4 cam lock spindle mount purchased on EBAY for $139. The collet chuck was promplty shipped and arrived in less than a week.

Prepping the BOSTAR 5C collet chuck for installation
Checking the total indicated runout (TIR) of the newly installed 5C collet chuck

I found the installation to be relatively straightforward and easy. The old 3 Jaw chuck did need a few taps with my trusty orange dead blow hammer to nudge it lose to get it off. The Bostar 5C Collet chuck went on and I was able to get it to under .001″ run-out in just a few minutes. Success!

Now it is time to do some machining with this thing!

Grizzly Lathe G4003 DRO installation

I purchased a Taishi 2 Axis Digital Read Out with precision linear scales for my Grizzly Lathe G4003. The DRO was $265 which seems like a good deal, especially when you compare the price to the Grizzly brand DROs that retail between $700 and $800!

The DRO unboxed

Taishi 2 Axis Precision Linear Scale DRO
Taishi 2 Axis precision linear scales for my Grizzly G4003
GC8900-2D DRO

DRO Scale Dimensions

After I ordered the DRO from amazon.com. I got a message from the vendor ( asking me for X axis and Y axis dimensions. For the Grizzly G4003 I sent them dimensions 6.76” x 30.75” (175 mm x 785mm). The DRO was shipped from Guangzhou, China and arrived on my doorstep remarkably in a little over a week. (If I did this over ever again I would add a quarter inch to the size of each scale to ensure the scale is never the limiting factor in axis travel.)

DRO X axis

The DRO came with a manual on how to operate the DRO screen, but there were no installation instructions. Buried in the Amazon reviews was a recommendation for watching a YouTube clip by DROPros which I did watch and found very instructive and useful.

The DRO pros video recommended using double sided tape to test drive the setup. I purchased the exact type (3M double sided outdoor tape) but I found the tape to not be strong enough to work in my case. Perhaps if I had wiped down the surfaces more or let the tape set longer it would have worked, regardless it didn’t work in my case and I abandoned the double sided tape fit up attempt.

The Scotch outdoor mounting tape didn’t work for me for the dry fitup of the DRO

3D Printed Shim

There was a 0.08 overhang where the fixed sensor head was going to be placed. I decided to quickly model shim to the exact dimensions required and printed it to take up the gap. Entire print time of this shim? 9 minutes! Sweet!

A 3d printed shim for my G4003 Grizzly Lathe DRO
A 3d printed shim to take up the gap on my Grizzly G4003 lathe cross slide

Time to drill and tap!

The DRO shipped with variou lengths of 4mm – 0.7 screws. I drilled the linear scale fastener hole closest to me with a 3.5mm drill bit first and then tapped this hole. This was also my first opportunity to use my drill and tap straight-alignment guide fixtures. (I bought these at Cabin Fever Expo 2020). I used a transfer punch to set the location in the middle of the slotted hole on the linear scale end.

The Big Gator Tools tap guide I purchased at the 2020 Cabin Fever Expo ensured my threading was straight and perpendicular. It exceeded my expectations.
Tapping the lathe cross slide for the X axis DRO
The DRO scale was installed the the cable routing solution was not ideal

I did each step very iteratively. After drilling and tapping the first hole I re fit up the scale and then punched the second hole. I drilled and tapped that and then after successfully mounting both of the holes for the scale I did each home for the sliding sensor one at a time as well. Take your time and iterate.

My DRO Dilemma- cable routing

After I mounted the X axis scale I discovered a new dilemma; the cable routing up and over the saddle was highly unsatisfactory to me. Searching for answers I stumbled across an internet post where someone was recommending you mill a small slot and route the cable straight through and under the slide itself. Initially I scoffed at this idea but later came to realize this was the only workable solution. This was going to require some serious disassembly on my Grizzly G4003 lathe!

Removing the Grizzly G4003 Saddle

WARNING: Getting the saddle off is a major pain on the rear! the rear ways weren’t too hard to get off but there were 2 fasteners on the front side that I simply could not reach with my wrench. Perhaps there is an alternate way to get these Seriously hard to access fasteners off is unknown to me, if I had to do this again I would write Grizzly for advice. Ultimately I had to loosen the upper saddle cap screws and then slip a hack saw into the slit between the upper and lower components to cut the 2 roll pins connecting it to the base so I could shift and slide the upper part of the saddle left or right to get to the final inner way fasteners. I was extremely displeased at the end of this because I accidentally nicked my cross slide wheel with the hacksaw when cutting the roll pins. My lathe is going to have some battle scars after the installation of the DRO

Milling my Grizzly lathe saddle in my Bridgeport milking machine

Milling a slot

Milling a slot in the saddle with a round nose endmill

The DRO cable can now route directly under the linear scale to the back of the lathe. Success!!!

DRO cable routed through a slot milled in the saddle

Y Axis

For the Y axis I mounted the scale directly to the bed. It should be noted the bed is a casting so it has a slight draft angle. I used a single washer as a spacer and a carpenter level for the initial layout. I milled a flat bracket 1/4” piece that could screw directly into the prexisting chip cover holes and put vertical slots in the bottom to fit up the sensor. I 3d printed a slotted block to take up the gap between the plate and the sensor. I put a matching angle in the slotted 3d block.

My understanding is the G4003 and G4003g are very similar in form, fit, and function. The G4003G is the gunsmith model and has a few more upscale features, but it is my assumption the concepts presented here should work on the G4003g model as well.

Cabin Fever Expo

Cabin Fever Expo
Model Engineering Show & Auction

One of my main reasons to acquire a Bridgeport milling machine and Grizzly lathe was to scratch this itch of mine to build model steam engines. It’s hard to explain, but I hear a calling to build these things. I got the idea to look for a model engine show for some inspiration and mentoring last February 2019, so I was very dismayed to learn that I had just missed one of the largest model engineering shows in my backyard by a few weeks: the Cabin Fever Expo held in Lebanon, PA. I marked Cabin Fever Expo 2020 on my calendar and waited with patience! After declaring my intent to attend this event, I was grateful to have my son state he was willing to tag along. After a somewhat grueling two hour drive on a blustery day into Pennsylvania in moderate sleet and snow we arrived!

The Cabin Fever Expo appears to be segregated into 4 areas, there are tool and part vendors, an ongoing auction with mostly model train parts for sale, a main hall with the model engines, a hall with consignment items for sale, and another hall with model boats, cars, tanks, etc.

We spent the majority of time in the main hall with the model engines. The craftsmanship is humbling. What used to be a practical trade has become a lost art of craftsmanship and manual precision engineering.

Obviously, we couldn’t leave empty handed! We purchased some lathe tool bit inserts, a coaxial indicator for the mill, a drill bit guide, and a beginner model engine castings kit.