Flap Wheel Adapters

Chris, from One Tool at a Time, and I attended an Estate sale yesterday.  We found a couple things to buy.  One of the items he found was a flap wheel.  The flap wheel has a hole for a 1″ arbor and he wanted to mount it on a buffer with a 1/2″ arbor.  Clearly, some adapters are needed to make it work on the buffer.  While I’m sure you can buy some for $2, I decided to make a couple so I could get some more experience using my lathe.  I figure a simple adapter could be created that had a 1/8″ width section the inside diameter of the wheel and 1/8″ width section that was larger.  Here’s a pic of the flap wheel.


I bought a piece of 1-1/4″ x 10′ A36 hot rolled steel today to play with on the lathe which was good for this project.  I cut off a 4″ piece of the bar and started by facing it off in the lathe.


I removed a little of the mill scale from the surface and proceeded to drill it out with a 1/2″ drill bit.  In retrospect, I probably should have cleaned the mill scale off of as much of the piece as I could, flipped it over in the chuck, and cleaned up the rest of it as the bar isn’t perfectly round from the factory.


Next, I proceeded to mill a step into the end of the bar which would create a flange to sit on the surface of the flap wheel.  The diameter of the step is critical to fit inside of the flap wheel.


I made a finishing pass on the outside of bar and proceeded to cut the adapter off.  I haven’t had much luck parting off pieces on that lathe and had to settle for using a hacksaw.


With the first adapter cut off, I made another step on the bar to create the second adapter.  After this I cut the adapter off again.



Next, I removed the bar from the chuck and mounted the adapter back in my chuck.  This time the adapter’s outside surface was facing out so I could face the surface.  My chuck didn’t grip the piece very well and once the first adapter popped out of the chuck while I was taking a cut.  After that, I took lighter cuts.  Eventually, I was able to get the thickness down to my desired value of 1/8″.  I then put the second adapter into the chuck and proceeded to face the outside surface of it.


Below is a test fitting of the adapters on the wheel and a 1/2″ bolt.  The adapters fit snugly in the wheel with the slightest bit of movement.  Overall, I’d say it should work.


Here are some pictures of the adapters.  I filed the surface of the adapters because I wasn’t happy with the surface I got from the lathe.  I think the limited grip I had on the adapters allowed it to move slightly resulting in a poor surface.


Here’s the back of the adapters.  I also hit the back of these with a file to take down the high spots.  I also beveled all the edges with a file to take away the sharp edges.  You can see where the chuck deformed the surface some on the right adapter.  The left adapter shows the scratch on the surface from where it popped out of the chuck.


After I was done I inspected the pieces and noticed that the hole was slightly off center by about 0.005″.  I’m not 100% sure what caused this but I plan to look into it.  All in all, the adapters made a good learning project.


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6 Responses to Flap Wheel Adapters

  1. That looks like some of the turning I do on my old Atlas. It’s been interesting to see the work you have done on the Hendey, but modern lathes seem to get a better finish – machine tool design has advanced over the years.
    I improved the grip and accuracy of my ancient scroll chuck by grinding the gripping face of the jaws, might be worth a try for yours? Also, some steel grades are more ‘turnable’ than others.

    • davidjbod says:

      I think you’re correct about my scroll chuck. It shows a little more wear at the mouth and it is probably bell mouthed. I need to find a way to grind it. I think once I figure out the peculiarities of my machine I’ll be able to turn out better work.


  2. Alan Frost says:

    It was an excellent choice of project for getting familiar with the lathe. That chuckn looks ok-did u go round the chuck and tighten it at every chuck key position . It seems like overkill but is very necessary. You have made an excellent job of restoring the lathe and done it quite quickly a good finish will come with experience, a bit of fine tuning to the lathe, and more knowledge and experience of sharpening lathe tools. Plenty about all of this on the web. The experience just comes with time obviously. Rgds,

    • davidjbod says:

      I did tighten at each of the key positions but I think the jaws of my chuck aren’t perfectly straight. Thanks for the kind comments. I look forward to learning my machine better and think it will result in a better finish.


  3. Gill McLane says:

    Great job on the adapter David.

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