View Full Version : Crutch tip cue "lathe"
I got my crutch-tip "cue lathe" up and running and thought I'd pass along what I did.
I went to the drug store and bought a crutch tip for $2. I drilled a hole in the approximate center of the bottom, put a washer on the inside and then inserted a bolt through the washer and rubber tip, put a washer on the outside and threaded on a nut. Don't know the bolt/nut size, it took a 5/16 socket...just something out of the bolt drawer about 2" long. I put it into the drill chuck and it worked great...even after adding a shaft and even though the hole in the bottom of the crutch tip was not in the center...just close. As was posted before, even though the hole is not in the center the shaft spins just fine due to the flexability of the rubber crutch tip.
I looked through my lumber pieces in the garage and came up with a piece of 1/2" plywood 55" long by 6" wide. I have an old 3/8" vsr electric drill that has a trigger that can be locked on at whatever speed is wanted. I laid the drill on it's side on the board and wrapped a bungee cord around the drill and the board several times getting it very tight so the drill would stay put.
I had a set of those Pocket Lathe do-hickeys that they sold on playpool.com a while back and I took one of those pocket lathes and attached it to a block of wood to raise it up so it was about the right height to support the shaft...to use as a steady rest. I used a couple of rubber bands to "attach" that pocket lathe and wood block to my plywood and I put it about halfway between the crutch tip and the cue tip. That way I can slide it forward or backward on the board and contact the cue shaft at whatever point I deem desireable, be it close to the tip or way up towards the joint end of the shaft.
I took several more rubber bands and stretched them around the board toward the cue tip end. I inserted a cue shaft into the crutch tip, laid it on the pocket lathe/steady rest, stretched one of those rubber bands over the end of the shaft so it would hold the shaft down on the steady rest (so the shaft wouldn't fly around) and turned the drill on.(the extra rubber bands are spares in case I break one of those high-tech shaft tie-downs)
While watching it spin gloriously, and patting myself on the back profusely, I realized that the rubber band that was stretched over the shaft and used as a "tie-down" might leave a mark on a good shaft. I got a piece of leather and put it on the top of the shaft, in between the rubber band and the shaft. That's the only potential problem I've seen...so far.
It works great!! It's crude as hell but it spins shafts as fast or slowly as I want. I used it tonight to shape a tip and then cleaned the shaft from an old cue I had around. I'm tickled.
If you don't have a pocket lathe to use as a steady rest it seems to me you could cut a piece of 2x4 to the height you want and then cut a v or a half-circle in it and use a piece of leather in that v or half-circle to rest the shaft on.
12-30-2003, 10:20 PM
It sounds like the one I made. The ready rest I made was a rubber lined ball bearing fitted into a 2X4. It worked great for cleaning shafts, shaping tips, and burnishing. The ex-wife thought she had need for it. I don't miss her, but I missed the lathe. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
12-31-2003, 01:51 PM
Jim...Two observations. One is, is that washer in the inside of the crutch tool padded? I'd be concerned that possibly the wobble factor of the self centering action of the spin, might "walk" the collar into the metal and scuff a ridge. Your crutch tip is new now, but it will wallow over time, and I'd suggest that you maybe stuff something down on top of the washer inside the tool, just a thought.
Two, if you had two of the pocket lathes, could you envision improvising a second one above the shaft and secured with the rubber band system you originally had, or maybe something more elaborate, say a guided assy? Your leather thingy should suffice I guess, I'd rather have independent rollers all around if I could.
Anyway, congrats on your crutch tip built. It was painless and quick, huh ;-) sid...used his Spidermam-made spin tool a lot
12-31-2003, 08:13 PM
I just built myself a "lathe". Something you might want to try. 'ATLAS BILLIARDS' has all the threaded pins for sale and only about $2.50 a piece. I just put them right into the chuck of the drill. This works fantastic. I use a home made motor mounted chuck but a regular drill would do fine too.
I was just Atlas the other day checking their prices on Moori...about $19@ www.cuestik.com (http://www.cuestik.com) .
01-01-2004, 02:35 PM
That's an awesome idea.
Think I'll give it a try...
As you probably know I have made 2 of them. I used a 5/16" stud with no threads on one end of the shank. Cut the hole very near perfect center and used a nut and large flat washer on the back with a nylock nut on the inside. I made another the same with a 3/8" stud through the center. I have no lathe so I spun the crutch tip mounted on a 3/4"tool in a 3/8" drill that kept it perfectly center and used a die grinder to cut the center to size. I don't have a place to post a photo but it almost looks like it was made by a factory. I also cut off all the extra ribs on the outside using a drum sander on a dremmel for a good finished look. Those things really simplify cutting down a 14mm tip. Otherwise it just takes too long and I'd rather pay someone than doing it the old way by hand. I never bothered with a steady rest, I use a dremmel and drumsander to cut down a tip. I also install a fibre pad so it gives me a little margine for error. So far all tips have been cut as good or better than any pro shop.
01-01-2004, 06:32 PM
I love reading this. I remember getting a call from a guy who played on the pro tour, (A champion player) He wanted me to put on four tips for him that night. He drove 40 miles each way, to have me do his cue. I have to think if you are a serious player, doing your own tips should be the least thing a player can do for themselves. I would encourage every player to make some sort of set up to work on their cues. If nothing more then to clean up their shafts and shape their tips.
Jim sounds great. I would love to see detail images of your design, you too Sid.
It sounds like yours are a lot more "professional" than mine...which are admittedly crude as hell. I used it tonight to clean up an old shaft and put a tip on a cue I'm going to use as my break cue. What fun..having a "lathe" /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
I like the idea of the Dremel and drum sander and remember reading it before but forgot it tonight. I will make a note of that idea as I did have problems getting the tip cut down. I hate the blade on the Willard (probably need a new blade) and ended up using a file on the tip while spinning it. Truth is I just wanted to spin that puppy now that I gots a spinner do-hickey /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif I had fun today with my new toy.
Also got in some good practice but that's every day.
This crutch tip idea from Spiderman via Sid is the dead nuts. I'd wondered for a long time how I might spin a shaft using a vsr elec drill but hadn't come up with any good ideas...given that no bolts are available for SW cue threads...or at least none that I'm aware of. So, I've just been learning how to do everything by hand...until now!
Whoever came up with the crutch tip idea certainly had a stroke of genius and I thank him/her.. but it was probably a guy. /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Actually, doing their own tips is the least thing most top caliber players I've met are willing
to do for themselves.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr>I have to think if you are a serious player, doing your own tips should be the least thing a player can do for themselves.<hr /></blockquote>
01-05-2004, 03:41 PM
Here's a picture of the one I made for Sid:
The first ones we made used a cut-off bolt for a shaft, and a wooden backing plate. I think I gave several of those to members of this board. The "better-looking" one here uses a drill-mount sanding plate as a backer for the rubber tip.
It's a heck of a lot better looking than the one I made but what the heck is a "drill mount sanding plate"? It looks like a engine valve but I've not seen anything like this before. Where available?
Thanks, Jim....and thanks especially for sharing this thingee with me/us. Great invention/idea!
01-05-2004, 04:27 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JimS:</font><hr> It's a heck of a lot better looking than the one I made but what the heck is a "drill mount sanding plate"? It looks like a engine valve but I've not seen anything like this before. Where available? <hr /></blockquote> I believe Spiderman bought his at Job Lots. I got a set through McMaster-Carr.
01-05-2004, 06:53 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JimS:</font><hr> It's a heck of a lot better looking than the one I made but what the heck is a "drill mount sanding plate"? It looks like a engine valve but I've not seen anything like this before. Where available? . . . .<hr /></blockquote>Jim, it's just one of those rubber supports for self-adhesive sanding disks--with a 1/4" arbor stuck in it, for mounting in a drill chuck.
I looked around the sites for Sears, Harbor Freight, and Northern Tool, but I couldn't hit the right combo of keywords. I found this for a visual reference:
You can find them at almost any hardware store, or at an auto parts store in the body tools section.
01-06-2004, 10:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JimS:</font><hr> I got my crutch-tip "cue lathe" up and running and thought I'd pass along what I did.
I had a set of those Pocket Lathe do-hickeys that they sold on playpool.com a while back and I took one of those pocket lathes and attached it to a block of wood to raise it up so it was about the right height to support the shaft...to use as a steady rest. <hr /></blockquote>
I also bought one of the "pocket lathe" tools a while back, just to have a look at it and study the design:
I never actually used it because it's redundant capability for me, ie I have a regular lathe. The one I bought is the "touring pro" model, Product ID PL00-015.
Anyway, if there's someone who isn't into building their own and wants this thing really cheap, send a PM to me.
I've since discovered taht if I press down on the shaft while turning it that pressure will make groove marks in the shaft because the wheels on the pocket lathe are not wide enough to spread the load. I had to put a piece of leather over the wheels while cleaning the shaft to spread the weight and not get grooves in the wood. That or just hold the shaft in my hand....which worked the best..imo.
01-06-2004, 05:45 PM
I also do the hand-hold thing when I'm using the crutch tool. Try this - with a shaft spinning in the crutch tool (mounted in a hand-held electric drill), you can completely remove any support from the shaft and wave the drill around in the air without the shaft wobbling out of the tool. The gyroscopic stabilization is pretty amazing.
01-06-2004, 06:04 PM
"you can completely remove any support from the shaft and wave the drill around in the air without the shaft wobbling out of the tool"
This is certainly true, yet I'd inject a word of caution. There comes a stage in the snugness factor of the rubber crutch foot after a period of use where I've had the shaft creep up and pop out on me. This has only happened while I was triggering the drill with my big toe on the floor, so it "maybe" wouldn't creep in the air, still I'd simply suggest that if you demonstrate using the waving in mid air expression, make sure you are securely seated and snug to begin with. It does indeed run as true un-handed like Spiderman stated though...sid
I've got my drill tied down tight with a bungee strap so I won't be playing cowboy with it! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif That bunjee cord is so tight I'd have to cut it to get off of there! Good think it's an old drill with a lockable trigger.
Going to try Rods Dremel tool sanding drum trick tomorrow...if time allows. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
Just go slow Jim, it cuts fast. I run the dremmel at 5000 and the drill about 600 as a guess. I also give the tip a very slight taper inward and use a pad under the tip. I'll do the final finish cut using the side of a razor blade. Spit and burnish.
I don't know exactly how to describe this but the shaft may have some run out. If so it takes some finess feeding the dremmel against the tip to cut it very near flush. Like I said go slow, especially at the end.
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