The wear will though be most rapid when the arms have been used previously on a different
diameter. Then, when the arms have bedded into the diameter being supported wear
will occur much less slowly. Because of this, resetting the arms should be carried
out quite soon after the work commences.
To minimise the wear, and the heat generated, the workpiece should be lubricated.
However, if the temperature of the arms appears excessive do stop and check that
the workpiece is running freely and not being gripped. If gripped, then the heat
generated will expand the arms with the problem then being progressive, do check
their temperature frequently.
Above, I commented that when using the travelling steady the feed should be continuous,
the reason being the steady relies on the cut to keep the workpiece in contact with
its arms. If the feed is stopped then the workpiece may leave the arms and a shallow
grove produced, Photograph 12. Photograph 10 showed a similar situation occurs when
starting the final cut on a part where the initial few millimetres have been pre
made to allow the steady to be set.
Do take particular care when large diameters are being held in the chuck's reverse
jaws as, due to the limited depth of grip, the material will work out of the jaws
with only the slightest error in concentricity of the material with the lathe's spindle's
Whilst I have used steadies frequently in the past and mostly without any problem
I was finding using the travelling steady not as I would have expected. However,
the problem caused me to investigate the situation and I found that the arms were
only wearing over a short portion of the end, not surprising as I had left them when
made as they came off my band saw rather than finishing them on the milling machine.
The ends were not therefore accurately square though this caused no problem in the
case of the fixed steady. To overcome this I placed a rather old and large reamer
in the chuck and closed the arms very lightly onto this and then turned the chuck
by hand. Then repeating the task with the arms closed a little more. This resulted
in them being machined across the whole width. With that done and a few other minor
adjustments the problems were eliminated. Photograph 13 showing the process.