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Keyway On Long Shaft With Disc Slotting Cutter For Lathe

Creating a keyway on a long shaft using a disc slotting cutter on a lathe involves a specialized process to ensure accuracy and proper alignment. Keyways are used to transmit torque between a shaft and a hub or pulley, preventing slippage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut a keyway on a long shaft using a disc slotting cutter on a lathe:


Mount the long shaft securely between centers in the lathe. Ensure that the shaft is aligned and centered accurately to prevent any runout during cutting.

Position the disc slotting cutter on the lathe carriage or cross-slide, aligning it with the axis of the shaft.

Adjust the height of the disc slotting cutter so that it aligns with the centerline of the shaft.

Selecting the Disc Slotting Cutter

Choose a disc slotting cutter that matches the desired width and depth of the keyway. The cutter’s dimensions should be appropriate for the shaft size and the required keyway dimensions.

Cutting Parameters

Determine the appropriate cutting speed, feed rate, and depth of cut for the material of the shaft. Refer to machining data or consult with the tool manufacturer for recommended cutting parameters.

Aligning the Cutter

Align the disc slotting cutter with the starting position of the keyway on the shaft.

Use the lathe’s feed mechanism to advance the cutter slowly into the shaft material.

Making the Keyway

Gradually advance the cutter into the shaft material, cutting along the length of the keyway.

Use a consistent feed rate to ensure even cutting and a smooth surface finish.

Retract and Index

Once the keyway cut is complete, retract the cutter from the shaft and index it to the next cutting position if the keyway extends along the entire length of the shaft.

Finishing Pass

Perform a finishing pass at a reduced depth of cut to achieve a smoother surface finish on the keyway.


Remove any burrs or sharp edges left from the cutting process using a deburring tool.

Quality Inspection

Inspect the keyway’s dimensions and surface finish using precision measuring instruments to ensure they meet the required specifications.


Clean the shaft and surrounding area to remove any chips or debris generated during the cutting process.

Always follow best machining practices and safety guidelines while operating the lathe and cutting tools. Cutting a keyway on a long shaft using a disc slotting cutter requires precision and careful attention to achieve the desired keyway dimensions and alignment.

The Clamping Of Lathe Workpieces

When milling a long keyway on a long shaft with a diameter of 20 ~ 60mm, the workpiece can be positioned on the T-shaped groove in the center of the worktable, pressed with a pressure plate, and processed with a disc-shaped groove milling cutter.

The Method Of Centering The Lathe

During milling, in order to make the center of the thickness of the disc slot milling cutter pass through the axis of the workpiece and ensure that the center of the workpiece is symmetrical on both sides of the keyway to be milled, the following two tool setting methods are commonly used in lathes.

  • After the cutting marks are aligned with the central workpiece, make the center of the thickness of the milling cutter roughly in the center of the workpiece, turn on the tool, and cut out an oval facet slightly smaller than the width of the groove at the busbar on the workpiece. Observe If the center of both ends of the milling cutter is at the center of the facet, the center of the width of the milling cutter passes through the center of the workpiece. After the center of the lathe is aligned, the transverse feed is tightened, and then the workpiece is adjusted.
  • After measuring and aligning the workpiece, make the center of the thickness of the milling cutter roughly align with the center of the workpiece, put the square ruler on the worktable, and make the ruler seedlings against the busbars on both sides of the workpiece respectively. Measure with a vernier caliper so that the dimension A=A’, that is, the center is aligned. After the center of the lathe is aligned, the workpiece can be processed.

Milling Method

Mill through and semi-through grooves on the long shaft, and the depth can be milled at one time. When milling, press the pressure plate at a distance of 60~100mm from the end of the workpiece, and mill a slot length from the end of the workpiece inward; then stop, move the pressure plate to the end of the workpiece, and place the copper sheet on the workpiece to clamp the workpiece; observe the impact of the milling cutter on the workpiece.

Keyway On Long Shaft With Disc Slotting Cutter For Lathe

Without pressing the plate, turn on the machine and mill out the full length by self-feeding. The long keyway can be milled by moving the platen and workpiece several times.

When the lathe is moving, stop the rotation of the milling cutter first, use a brush to remove the chips in the groove, and retract the cutter to the original position, but the milling cutter should not be separated from the workpiece, release the pressure plate, and move the workpiece axially.

When the lathe is milling, the position of the pressure plate should be paid attention to, and the milling cutter should not touch the pressure plate.

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