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Len Morris 205/03/2021 18:25:27
54 forum posts
29 photos

Most steadies seem to have bronze support pads. Others have steel roller bearings. Which are best?

Emgee05/03/2021 18:46:28
2156 forum posts
265 photos

A fixed steady I use has hardened steel fingers, often think about making a set with bearings but for the few times I use the steady I haven't thought it worthwhile so far, but I could be persuaded.
Whichever type you have it is important to prevent swarf entering between steady and the work.


Edited By Emgee on 05/03/2021 18:47:07

Tony Ray05/03/2021 18:55:56
178 forum posts
43 photos

I think it depends on what you are doing. Good point re preventing swarf getting in, I have seen a people make up a polythene shield basically with a hole in the middle to suit the dia being turned, care obviously needs to be taken to avoid it becoming entangled in the work.

not done it yet05/03/2021 19:11:43
6321 forum posts
20 photos

Mine seems to be brass, not bronze. I would be looking at the quality/size of the item rather than the pads. Pad material can be changed at any time.

Are you looking at all steadies or just one of the two (fixed and travelling)?

Fixed steadies with bearings generally need to be much bigger/bulkier than those with pads. I’ve only seen one travelling steady design with bearings.

Nigel McBurney 105/03/2021 19:22:53
919 forum posts
3 photos

My Colchester Triumph came with both bronze and roller fingers, though I never used the rollers. Industrially all i ever saw was lubrication by lots of oil from the oil can or flood lurication of soluble oil. In order to concentrate on the turning rather than continuously using the oil can, I used a drip feed stationary engine oiler mounted on a bracket and attached to the fixed steady,this kept a regular flow of oil. When working on stationary engine crankshafts which usually have a keyway at each end to drive flywheels or pulleys,I would make up a bush which was a good fit on the shaft and secured by a grubscrew which located in the keyway,this gave a continuous bearing surface for the steady fingers and spanned the keyway.Though I have never had any problems with steadies marking the work,we were told it was more important to make sure the steady was dead in line with the centreline of the lathe,as an out of centre steady will cause the workpiece to "walk" out of the chuck jaws.when using a steady keep an eye on the temperature of the work,if it gets too warm it will expand and put pressure on the steady bearing pads and this expansion can mark the work,

Len Morris 206/03/2021 10:02:35
54 forum posts
29 photos

Thanks for those comments. Much to think about. My steady is a travelling one made by Harrison (for my M300). The handbook shows solid pads although mine has roller bearings (19mm diameter and 6mm wide). Both needed replacing as they were jammed solid with swarf. The new ones are sealed on each face.

I can see that rollers will limit the smallest diameter that can be supported so like the idea of making some solid pointed inserts for fine work.

pgk pgk06/03/2021 10:21:14
2317 forum posts
293 photos

Joe Pieczynski's latest vid shows a very simple temporary follow steady for fine work he used for threading.


old mart06/03/2021 15:52:31
3345 forum posts
208 photos

The price of a genuine fixed steady for the Smart & Brown model A is so high that I bought a hardly used chinese one with a 4" through hole and cut the base off and bolted it to an Aluminium base for the lathe. This had nice bronze tipped cylindrical fingers, so when I fancied roller ends, I made a second set for the steady. Little sealed ball races are easy to get hold of and having the choice is handy.

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