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Quick, handy video tutorial from Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin of tiny workshop, demonstrating a fast method of centering a piece of round stock in a 4-jaw chuck using a magnetic-mount dial indicator and a pair of chuck keys. If you’ve never seen this operation before, Jeremy’s video makes it clear and simple to understand. [Thanks, Jeremy!]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


4 Responses to How-To: Center Stock in a 4-Jaw Lathe Chuck

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  1. Centreing the work is going to be the least of your problems with the whole lathe moving about like that!!!!!…..next video;  mounting a lathe properly (?)

  2. I don’t understand MAKE’s recent interest with four jaw chucks. They’re quite frustrating for beginners, and don’t have much benefit. I rarely do eccentric turning, and most 3 jaw chucks center stuff reasonably well. Also, the previous article I think missed a certain detail. Certain 3 jaw chucks have a secondary key that allows you to nudge the stock to center if necessary with a separate series of screws around the circumference… so they are almost as good if not as good (in certain circumstances) as 4 jaw chucks when not doing eccentric turning (which is done SO rarely). Most machinists keep a 3 jaw chuck on their lathe anyway. Actually no, most precision machinists buy a lathe with a collet closer and leave the chuck off. Much more needed are videos about how to grind a lathe bit properly, how to harden drill rod, etc.

  3. I liked it. My 3 jaw centers +/- 0.003 which is not as good as I want for press fit parts. Normally, and I’ve had it for about 7 years, the 3 jaw is good enough. However for parts for the single seat helicopter that I’m building, I feel better at +/- 0.001. But then I’m not a machinist but just a retired electronics engineer.

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