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Thread: Cylinder square

  1. #1
    olderdan's Avatar
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    Cylinder square

    I have never owned a cylinder square and at the price of commercial ones I decided to have a go at making one, at work we used to make our own for the shop table although they were case hardened and ground and strangely rarely used, when the factory closed I could have had one for the asking.
    I have a number of old squares which I have been having doubts with and so need need checking apart from its use for machined items.
    It is not that difficult to make your own cylinder square for home use say 2" x 5", accurate turning and facing between dead centres with a lapped & polished finish would suffice. With careful use and a descent steel (mine is some pre hardened mystery steel) this is not a high wear item, just a reference point. The only wear would be on the faces which could be refaced if need be.
    I had to step back from the chrome like finish I had produced as the reflective effect made it difficult to use. With a 2-3 mike it is within 2 tenths on dia end for end, good enough for me.
    Well after checking all my squares they are NBG so they will go to my carpentry box and I will buy a couple of good quality ones, at least I now know for sure.
    Cylinder square-imgp0004.jpgCylinder square-imgp0005.jpgCylinder square-imgp0009.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cylinder square-imgp0002.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by olderdan View Post
    I have never owned a cylinder square and at the price of commercial ones I decided to have a go at making one, at work we used to make our own for the shop table although they were case hardened and ground and strangely rarely used, when the factory closed I could have had one for the asking.
    Sometimes it is hard to turn down these opportunities to get free stuff and other times you don't want to feel like a pack rat. Learn from your mistakes and take everything allowed and will fit in the car/truck.
    I have a number of old squares which I have been having doubts with and so need need checking apart from its use for machined items.
    It is not that difficult to make your own cylinder square for home use say 2" x 5", accurate turning and facing between dead centres with a lapped & polished finish would suffice. With careful use and a descent steel (mine is some pre hardened mystery steel) this is not a high wear item, just a reference point. The only wear would be on the faces which could be refaced if need be.
    I had to step back from the chrome like finish I had produced as the reflective effect made it difficult to use. With a 2-3 mike it is within 2 tenths on dia end for end, good enough for me.
    Well after checking all my squares they are NBG so they will go to my carpentry box and I will buy a couple of good quality ones, at least I now know for sure.
    This is something I learned the hard way when just a young guy working in my fathers garage. I had a little wood working project that just wouldn't go together right I finally discovered that the cheap department store square I had was grossly out. Wasted a bit of material due to that tool not being up to spec. After getting some cash together I went out and bought a good Starret square. To this day I will not trust a square I don't own. Fortunately they are easy to check.

    By the way, a square like this, assuming it is hardened, would be worth having it professionally ground. Make it out of A2 to reduce corrosion and you will have a primary reference tool. Some tools are worth investing a little extra money in. Actually a lined casket for the square would be a fitting place to put it when not in use.
    Last edited by wizard69; 10-17-2018 at 06:11 PM. Reason: More info

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    Olderdan, what is the process to lapp a cylinder held between centers? I see a rectangular bar in the photo on the protective newspaper.

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    Am I an apostate if my cylinder square is a Caterpillar connecting rod pin?

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    Thanks olderdan! We've added your Cylinder Square to our Measuring and Marking category,
    as well as to your builder page: olderdan's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
    Sometimes it is hard to turn down these opportunities to get free stuff and other times you don't want to feel like a pack rat. Learn from your mistakes and take everything allowed and will fit in the car/truck.


    This is something I learned the hard way when just a young guy working in my fathers garage. I had a little wood working project that just wouldn't go together right I finally discovered that the cheap department store square I had was grossly out. Wasted a bit of material due to that tool not being up to spec. After getting some cash together I went out and bought a good Starret square. To this day I will not trust a square I don't own. Fortunately they are easy to check.

    By the way, a square like this, assuming it is hardened, would be worth having it professionally ground. Make it out of A2 to reduce corrosion and you will have a primary reference tool. Some tools are worth investing a little extra money in. Actually a lined casket for the square would be a fitting place to put it when not in use.
    Your first comment is so true.
    The square will live where I can see it, I have put oiled things like that in dedicated boxes only to find they have rusted (very damp environment here).
    I think the next lined casket will probably be for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metric_taper View Post
    Olderdan, what is the process to lapp a cylinder held between centers? I see a rectangular bar in the photo on the protective newspaper.
    You are talking about my new secret weapon for lapping and polishing, I will show it in a new post. BTW what looks like a rectangular bar is just a strip of impregnated leather for final polishing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilbourjaily View Post
    Am I an apostate if my cylinder square is a Caterpillar connecting rod pin?
    Not at all, it sounds like a very good idea if one can find one.

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    Cylinder squares are a convenience, occasional necessity. I'll shamefully admit mine are commercial. But here are a couple unfamiliar to some HMT readers. And best of all, one's not difficult DIY project.
    Cylinder square-cyl_squares.jpg

    Other materials can be used, for a basic cylinder square. Heavy wall tubing, one end recessed with a plug welded shut can be re-faced on a lathe. Handled with care, it's not hardened state is not too much handicap.
    Engine piston wrist pins; typical in diesel engines, are dimensionally stable material. Even used can be in good condition. If you are so equipped, regrinding is possible.
    Just consider squareness and as true a cylinder possible are the requirements.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    I'm curious how you got that mirror finish.
    As you indicated the leather strap is charged, you're probably using it like a strip of emery cloth sand paper.
    So I'm interested in your describing this process, and what lapping grit is needed to get that mirror finish.
    Thanks Olderdan.

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