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Knurling Tool

I have had a pair of diamond knurling wheels in my lathe tool drawer for about 20 years, they were given to me by a late uncle.


The knurling wheels along with a piece of 1/2" square mild steel - around 5" long.

Sorry everything is in imperial, but the wheels have imperial dimensions and so I stuck with it.

The first task was to machine a 1/4" wide slot.

Here you see me using my Amadeal XJ12-300 milling machine held in a Soba vice that I reviewed some time ago.

The slots have now been milled both ends and marked 1/2" back from the end of the slot for the hole that will accomodate the axle.

The hole through the wheel is 1/4" diameter.

I hand reamed the holes 1/8"

to take 1/8" silver steel.

A bar through the hole and then align this with the vice and flycut the surface, rotate the part in the vice using the pivot as the reference and again flycut.

This process is repeated until you get a rounded end to the part.

I usually finish this off with a file and carefully remove any burs.

All of the parts ready to assemble.

I put 1/4" phosphor bronze bearings in the centre of the knurling wheels, making sure they were a very tight press fit.

The centre of the bushes were reamed 1/8" to take the silver steel axle.

The silver steel axles were centre-drilled at each end.

Once the knurl and axle were assembled into the beam I then flaired the axle ends using a centre-punch.

I found the easiest way was to fit one centre-punch in the vice pionting upwards, rested one end of the axle on this and then used a second centre-punch and a hammer the other end.

It is best to rotate the part after the first strike and repeat - be careful not to over do this as you will lock the whole thing solid if you are not careful.


This shows the first cut using one end of the tool.

After rotating the tool and making a second sweep the result is a diamond pattern.

The only problem with this type of knurling tool is that it does load up the lathe spindle more than any other operation - if this is occassional use then it will be fine.

See also: Tools.