Occasionally, I do some external threading on the lathe on smaller stuff with threading dies. Up until now I’ve put them in a die stock and attempted to thread that way. It’s kind of a pain to keep the die straight and sometimes the die stock’s arms will hit the lathe. A while back I ran across a die holder to use on a lathe online. I looked to see what others had done and decided to make my own. Like most, my die stock holder rides a rod held in the tail stock to help keep it aligned. It’s a pretty simple project and I’m not going to cover everything I did.
I made two different holders. The smaller one holds 1″ round dies and I made it out of some cheap steel bar I have sitting around. I cleaned the mill scale off and knurled the body to aid in gripping the holder.
To allow it to slide on the rod that I plan to chuck in the tail stock, I drilled an under sized hole and reamed it to the final size that was a couple thousands larger than the rod that it will ride on. In between the drilling and reaming, I bored the end of the holder to fit a 1″ die.
Next, I parted off the holder so I could flip it over and clean the back end up. I cut a piece of 1/2″ rod off which gave me my first reason to use the small three jaw chuck that fits in the tail stock that came with the lathe.
I also have some 1-5/16″ and 1″ hex dies that I want to be able to use on the lathe. To do that, I made a second die holder out of the 1.75″ hex stock I have around. As an added benefit, the hex shape will allow me to put a wrench on the holder if needed. As before, I bored and reamed the piece to slide on the 1/2″ shaft.
To hold the 1-5/16″ dies I bored one end to fit similar to what I did on the smaller holder. For the 1″ hex dies, I bored the other end to the size of an extra 1″ socket I had on hand.
I took the die holder over to the arbor press and used it to push the socket it. I couldn’t get it to fully seat like I wanted but it’ll still work. In retrospect, I should have bored most of it over size and only left the bottom section for the press fit. Lesson learned.
To aid in turning the larger die stock, I wanted a small handle I could install if needed. I cut a piece of aluminum to a length and then used the die holder to thread the end of it.
To hold the dies in place, I drilled and tapped some small holes. Currently, I have a single thumb screw holding each die in place. If I find that they’re insufficient I’ll have to swap over to multiple set screws. But for now, I like not having to use an allen wrench.