Making Copper Soft Jaws from Scrap Copper Pipe for the CJ0618 Lathe – TipBlitz19

Making Copper Soft Jaws from Scrap Copper Pipe for the CJ0618 Lathe – TipBlitz19

Welcome to Adventures with a Very Small Lathe For tips blitz 2019 I’m going to try and
make a set of soft jaws out of this scrap copper pipe. It’s ordinary water pipe that I found
under the kitchen floor when I was doing some household repairs, but it looks
about the right size. The first step is to mark out the right length
of pipe needed to make one jaw. As an extra challenge, the floor repairs mean
that I don’t have a proper bench to fix my vice to right now, so I’m going to have
to hold it still by hand. I’m cutting just over the edge of the line,
to make sure the length of pipe is a little shorter than the jaw. Bonus tip: Always make sure your vice is securely
bolted to the bench. For the next cut I need to grip the tube along
its length, and cut across the diameter, so it makes sense to turn the vice sideways. The cut will line up with the first step on
the outside of the jaw, so I mark at this point, dividing the tube into two sections
of different lengths. I then cut into the pipe at this point, but
only cut to about half way through the diameter. The next cut will be along the tube. It’s
currently very low in the vice, so I need to raise it up to keep the saw blade clear
of the vice jaws. The cut splits the side of the tube along
its length, making sure to completely part the longer section, leaving the short section
partly intact for the moment. I then use a pair of pliers to bend the sides
of the longer section until they are roughly straight and parallel. I can now finish the saw cut, fully parting
the sides of the shorter section. The first soft jaw is now about the right
shape to fit into place on the check. I just need two more the same. It turns out not to be important to cut along
the longer section of the tube first. It’s straightforward to bend the sides straight
without bending the short section. The soft jaws are about the right size to fit over the steel jaws, but not nearly the final
shape yet. To do the first rough shaping I tighten the
chuck as hard as it can go, bending the copper tube into place around the gripping surfaces
of the jaws. I can now bend the tabs on the short section
of the tube around the back of the jaw, so the soft jaw stays in place on its own when
the chuck is open. Finally I use pliers to tighten up the shape
of the soft jaws, so they sit snugly in place. I can now use the soft jaws to hold parts
when I want to reduce the risk of the jaws marking a part. Once I’m done with them, they’re easy
to remove and kept to hand for another time. Oh, and one free extra tip. Never leave your
chuck key in the chuck. Check out the #tipsblitz19 hashtag to find
lots more tips videos, all published today by makers and machinists all over YouTube.


  1. That is a nice set of jaws which I intend to copy. When I have to cut copper tube across the diameter I use a plumber's cutoff wheel-based tool, which makes a very clean cut, is very cheap (mine was $2) and is useful for household plumbing. The long cuts still have to be made with a hacksaw. In keeping with my miniaturist world, I use a small plumber's saw with a very fine blade — maybe 40 tpi . The fine blade reduces "straddling" and does not jerk the vise around so much.

  2. Nice! And – copper pipe comes in all sizes, and all you need is a tiny offcut. I like this tip Alistair. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Youโ€™re braver than me holding your thumb under a hack saw blade. I actually gasped when I watched you.๐Ÿ˜…
    Cool tip by the way.

  4. I hate it when I get a bonus tip (Make sure your vise is securely bolted to the bench) and watch that it's not being observed. C'mon man.

  5. Simple and cheap…. I shall keep my eyes peeled for a bit of copper pipe…. and bearing in mind how your vice was dancing around, congratulations on keeping uour fingers.

  6. Weird. Another YouTube Channel "Blondie Hacks" just did a video on making soft jaws using the same techniques. She says you shouldn't use them on a 3 jaw chuck if you care about precision.

  7. You got a lathe chuck that you could have used to part off the lengths needed….safer then hacksawing using a free floating vice…just saying ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

  8. dont be stupid like the guy in the video. buy a soft set jaws. people that project those jaws arent stupid. soft jaws arent a thing that it can be by ourself ๐Ÿ™‚ and i say it after 15 years of programmingusing CNC lathes.
    soft jaws are for clamp a finished part of the piece into the lathe for work the other 12 part. this is basic notions.

  9. I'll need a scrap of a larger diameter but will definitely be making a set of these for my chucks. Been fiddling around with small pieces of aluminum until now. Thanks for sharing! Subbed!

  10. Nice tip I might make myself some.
    And yes we all saw the chuck key sitting up there ๐Ÿค 
    I still grab my chuck key out hoping no one else noticed.
    I watched Abom79 take the spring off a new chuck key the other day. He didnโ€™t say much about it.
    He kind of just hinted we are all adults and know not to leave it sitting there.
    Looking forward to more adventures.

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