Friday, November 13, 2015

Craftsman 109 Lathe - Chatter

My 109 lathe has serious chatter problem. It is so bad that I could not even turn a small aluminum piece. I have made a few small modifications previously (such as replacing all the jibs with copper ones following Dean's webpage). But it helped little.

The chatter remains, even when the piece was relatively short and hold close to chuck. I have tried may tricks I read on the Internet, slow feeding, deeper cuts, etc. The vibration will still come. The only way I have found that I can turn anything on this lathe is to hold the end of a piece with a center from tailstock.

After playing with it for some time, I finally got a lathe dog so I can turn between centers. Finally I was able to turn a piece and it cuts smoothly. What a wonderful feeling when the cutter just glide through steel like butter.

I have tried to measure the vibration frequency, and it is somewhere around 100 Hz. My lathe at the setting I used most is turning at around 700 RPM. Interesting at one of the pieces I can see the chatter marks that goes about 8 cycles per turn. For 700 RPM and 8 dimples per turn, it turns out at right about 100 Hz. That's what I am seeing.

I have tried to tighten down my tool post, and it did not help. And the disappearance of chatter when turning between centers confirmed that the vibration is probably in the headstock and chuck.
On this lathe I have a standard plain back 3" 3-jaw chuck. It extends quite a bit from the headstock. And it is a big piece of steel. I took the chuck off, cleaned it, and faced the backplate. And it did not help.

Then I realized that the problem is probably with this size of the chuck and the lathe. The chuck is quite heavy, and it sticks out quite a bit. At the same time, the spindle that supports it is relatively small 0.5" steel rod. That is an ideal case for some good oscillation. This chuck does not fit this lathe. I will need a lighter chuck that sits closer to the headstock. It turns out there are many choices.


Randy Sonnicksen said...

Did you replace the chuck on your 109 lathe, and did it resolve the chatter problem? I'm having the same problem with a 109. It's got a fairly heavy 4 jaw chuck. I was wondering if I could somehow rig a thrust bearing behind the chuck to keep it square.

Dror Sofer said...

Hi Randy,

We have a new group on facebook for the 109. Please join

Dror Sofer said...
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