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El-cheapo rapid indexer project.

John Conroy

member
Premium Member
I have a Vertex CS-8 super spacer that is the cat's meow for milling but it weighs 175 lbs and is a pain in the butt to move onto the milling machine for small jobs where I don't need super accurate spacing.

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I decided to try and make a rapid indexer with commonly available parts. I work in the automotive industry so auto parts are my first choice for useable scrap metal. I started with a 12" brake rotor and a hub bearing from a front wheel drive Impala. The rotor will be the base and a 4" lathe chuck bought a garage sale will mount to the hub.

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Need to get rid of the flange on the hub so the chuck can mount to the flat surface.

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I found a degree wheel image on the web and sized it to fit the hub, printed it and the laminated it.

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Need a means to hold the chuck from turning so I made up 3 brackets with set screws and brass rub blocks.

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I wanted the base to be square, it took a lot of work on the mill to make that happen.

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Now it is 9" X 9" square.
 

John Conroy

member
Premium Member
Getting the chuck mounted to the hub was one of the hardest parts. The bolt holes are slightly oversize and the chuck is centered on the hub with a dial indicator.

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The hub bearing is normally held onto the hub parts by an axle nut so I had to replicate that clamping action with a few parts I machined. The center bolt has a 9/16" hole bored through it's center so I can still pass rod material though the indexer.

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It turned out well and is accurate enough for projects like the steering head bearing socket for my motorcycle.

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After a year of use I am fine tuning the design to include positive stops every 10 degrees of rotation to make set-ups faster. I mounted the hub/chuck assembly in my Vertex super spacer and milled 5/32 holes 1/4" deep at 10 degree intervals around the circumference. I'm still working on a design for the spring loaded pin that will drop into the holes to locate the chuck.

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To be continued.

John
 
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John Conroy

member
Premium Member
I made up a pedestal from a short piece of 1.5" CRS and bored a 1/4" though hole for a stop pin. I made up the stop pin from 3/8" CRS rod and turned a 1/2" of it to .153" to fit the 5/32" holes in the edge of the hub. The a section of it was turned to .249" to fit the 1/4" hole drilled in the pedestal, then I knurled a 1" section for a handle.

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Then I milled a recess in the edge of the rotor so the pedestal can sit the right distance from the edge of the hub. I used a 2" 3 insert face mill with only 1 insert installed. It cut the cast iron rotor like butter.

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I drilled a 1/4" hole through the rotor at the centre of the area milled out for the pedestal then flipped the whole unit over and counter bore the hole from the bottom with a 7/16" end mill so a 1/4" socket head cap screw head will be recessed in the hole. It probably would have been easier to take the rotor off the hub but it was fun building this castle on the mill table.

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Then came the tricky part, turning the pedestal to exactly the right length so the pin will slide into the holes in the hub dead center. I actually turned .003" too much off so I had to make a shim from .003" brass shim stock to go under the pedestal to get a perfect fit. In the next 2 pics you can see the pin retracted and inserted. The good news is it lines up perfectly with all 36 holes. I must have done something right.

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I want to be able to use it horizontally as well as vertically so I drilled some holes in my 8" X 10" angle plate and the rotor so the whole until can bolt on at a right angle to the table.

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It looks pretty good but I wanted to get rid of the cheesy coat hanger wire degree pointer so I made a new pointer from small piece of stainless sheet metal. I drilled and tapped 2 4mm holes to mount it to the rotor.

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John Conroy

member
Premium Member
I had a small project for the tool after I finished it. Can anybody guess what it is?

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I'm pretty happy with the indexer, I only have about $75 in materials into it, and I had a lot of fun making it.

John
 
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