Duncans Metal Pages
HK1260 Universal Pillar Tool
Last updated: 30 Nov 2016


UPTGeorge Thomas' excellent "Workshop Techniques" is not really a text on workshop techniques, more a description of the building of a UPT (Universal Pillar Tool), and VDH (Versatile Dividing Head).  Many techniques and tips are for dividing and graduating are covered, although the focus is mainly on these two items.

Looking at the UPT, I realised how numbers are stamped into the outside of dials and decided that a UPT would be a sensible item to own.

As with some of the other items on these pages, I decided to order a kit from Hemingway to save the trouble of making castings.

Table 1 30-Nov-2004: I decided to machine the table casting first, as it did not seem to matter too much which order the parts were made in.  It's a bit of a chore machining the slots...
Table 2 This is the finished table casting, it doesn't look too bad.  It still has to be graduated and numbered on the outside rim, although I will leave that for now while deciding the best way to go about it.
Base The base was machined next, note the brass pad used to clamp the pillar to the base - this still needs a ball handle which will have to wait until the spherical turning tool is complete.
Backplate The arms are next, although a slight problem has appeared.  The original instructions in Thomas' book clamp the arms to the backplate on a jig to get the correct alignment.  It doesn't look like I have enough room here, and in any case my backplate is not large enough.
Jig No problem, I can perform the machining operations on the mini-mill although a jig is required to line things up.  It's a steel plate with a pair of reamed 3/8" holes set 3.500" apart.
Parts 11-Dec-2004: These are the parts that have been made so far.  The top arm has been reamed to size and is complete with the brass pads and bolts (for now).
Assembled Assembled for another picture, the kit is starting to take shape.  The unattached arm was bored oversize by mistake, and a failed attempt to sleeve it cracked the casting shortly after this picture was taken.  I need to buy a replacement casting and take a little more care next time...
Paint1 27-Feb-2005: The replacement arm is now complete, so it's all going to get painted up.  First job is to take the pimples off with a file.  The lower arm will have the cast in ends left on - they may be useful later, the top arm will have them taken off.
Paint2 The top arm has been frightened with the file, and sprayed a couple of times with high build primer.  80 grit silicon carbide paper is used wet to level the surface between costs, and a smooth finish can be quickly built up.  A rotary tool with a carbide burr is removing some high spots that were missed first time round.
Paint3a 10-Mar-2005: The finished article, after three coats of metallic paint and a couple of coats of clear lacquer.  The top arm is shown with a punch holder and there are plenty of materials left in the kit to make the tapping attachment and a few other bits and pieces.  The base will also be graduated when I finish the Versatile Dividing Head.  When casting season comes round again, I'll make a base casting to clamp the UPT to the lathe bed.

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Warning: These pages consist of images and descriptions of equipment which can reach high temperatures creating hazardous and potentially dangerous situations.  These pages should not be taken as a step by step guide on how to construct any items or carry out any particular procedure, nor should any references to safety contained herein be taken to guarantee safety in all situations.