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I Forge Iron

Changing tolerances


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There is a discussion on how to stay warm in cold weather going on in the blacksmithing section.

How do you keep a lathe in tolerance from summer to winter in a building that is not temperature controlled? Say the lathe is in adjustment, will a part made in the heat of August be the same size as a part made in the cold of January?

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It has to reach equilibrium at any given time to give consistent results. We have production lathes in an uncontrolled shop environment and often leave them running at low idle overnight so the operator has a warm lathe in the morning. Warm is also a relative term so our machinists may follow this practice even if it's 100 in the shade. You want the bearings and the oil at a good ambient temp before you start cutting to close tolerances. For us, that means holding at least .0002 to .0005 from part to part in most applications - sometimes less.

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