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Dr Al's Latest Folly

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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Andyp » 09 Feb 2024, 19:48

So this lathe is going to be easily dismantled for storage ;) :eusa-think:
So putting it in the car and taking it on holiday would not be impossible :)
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 09 Feb 2024, 19:54

Andyp wrote:So this lathe is going to be easily dismantled for storage ;) :eusa-think:
So putting it in the car and taking it on holiday would not be impossible :)


Oi, stop that right now! :o :lol:
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 10 Feb 2024, 19:04

Turning the spindle took a lot longer than I expected. We left the "action" yesterday with the spindle mounted between centres on the lathe. I started by roughing out the shape of the spindle. Here's a blurry action shot:

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When the shape was roughed out, I swapped to a high-speed steel tool with a rounded profile. This tool can take extremely fine cuts. I used this to bring the two bearing surfaces to size (finishing one before starting the next):

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As I approached the final dimension, I was checking after each cut. I had the top slide set at about 5.75° to the axis of the lathe, which results in a 10:1 ratio of top slide feed to in-feed. That means that moving the top slide forward 0.02 mm moves the cutter forward about 0.002 mm. Being able to do that is very handy when you're creeping up on a critical dimension (as long as the tool can take fine cuts, which this one can).

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The reference book I was using suggested the shaft size for a 30 mm bearing should be between 30.002 and 30.011 mm. This was the final measurement on one of the registers:

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At that point I just had to hope that I'd done it (and measured it) right and that all would be well when the bearings were fitted.

Next up was the thread for the chuck. I've never cut a thread as coarse as 3.5 mm pitch and I've got nothing to check it with, so I'll just have to hope it turns out okay.

After rearranging the change gears on the lathe (I can only go up to 2 mm pitch with the "standard" arrangement), I did a very light cut to check the pitch came out okay:

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I then kept taking light passes (feeding in with the top slide, which was set at 60°) until the over-wires measurement was slightly under nominal for M33×3.5:

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The spindle could then be removed from the centres. There's still lots to do, but nothing that could be done with that set-up. With the spindle roughed out, I could measure the distance that would be between the inside faces of the two bearings. A spacer between them will make it much easier to assemble, so I rummaged around for a while and found a bit of aluminium that was (just) big enough. After facing it in the lathe, I drilled a hole, going up through the sizes until I reached my biggest (25 mm) drill bit and reminding myself of why I hate turning aluminium:

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Once I'd run out of drill bits, I used a boring bar to enlarge the hole to a bit over 30 mm. The dimension isn't critical as long as it goes over the bearing surfaces.

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That piece was parted off to length and then it was back to the spindle. I fitted my soft jaws to the chuck and bored a pocket in them of the right size to hold the widest diameter of the spindle. I then mounted the spindle with the nose facing into the chuck and turned a couple of threaded bits on the outer end.

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The left hand one of those will be for a pair of nuts to hold the spindle into the headstock. The right-hand one will hold the pulley in place. Given that I'll be making the nuts, I decided to make both of them 1.5 mm pitch as I have some insert tooling for cutting 1.5 mm pitch threads.

With the threads cut, I fitted the fixed steady, running on the surface that the pulley will sit on (I didn't want to run it on the bearing surfaces in case it damaged them). I could then remove the tailstock centre support and drill a bit over half way through the spindle. I drilled 10 mm then 13 mm and then bored to 14.6 mm (or thereabouts), which is a little over the small-end diameter of a Morse Taper 2.

Image

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The next job was to align the top slide to the correct taper for MT2. While I had the soft jaws in the chuck, I mounted a bit of scrap and turned a short centre on the end. I could then mount a bit of MT2 tooling between headstock and tailstock and use it to align the top slide. Before doing that, I swapped the top-slide hand-wheel for my home-made top-slide motor (which uses a DivisionMaster controller configured such that 1° is 1 mm). The top-slide motor allows very fine control of position and very smooth motion, which is nice when cutting tapers as it leaves a good finish.

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There was an intermission during this period where I dropped the Woodruff key that connects the top slide leadscrew to the handle and spent about an hour rummaging through swarf to try to find it again.

With the top slide aligned, the spindle could be mounted in the soft jaws (which were machined in place to have a 30 mm bore: machining in place guarantees that they'll hold the spindle concentric with the bearing surface).

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After drilling and boring to 14.6 mm as before, I used the top slide motor to bore the Morse Taper, gradually increasing diameter until the outside diameter was about right according to the reference dimensions.

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I happen to have a Morse Taper 2 reamer, so I pushed that into the spindle and turned it a couple of times as I figured it would probably improve the accuracy compared to my top slide alignment attempt.

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I then grabbed a bit of Morse Taper 2 tooling I had and shoved it into the spindle. It didn't want to come out again, which I saw as a good sign!

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Once the MT2 tool was removed (with a bit of 12 mm bar inserted from the rear of the spindle and hit with a hammer), it was ready for assembly and finally finding out how I did with the bearing surfaces:

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I don't have a press of any kind, so the only way I could think of pushing the bearings on (remember that the bearing surfaces were turned to interference fits) was with a bit of M12 threaded rod and a few hastily turned washers / spacers:

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I was extremely relieved when the bearings slid home!

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That's it for today. I need to have a hard think about how on earth I'm going to make headstock and a tailstock and how I'm going to get the requisite holes in them aligned. That feels like it's going to be quite a challenge, especially given the amount things are likely to distort when I weld them together.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Malc2098 » 10 Feb 2024, 21:16

Cor!
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby AndyT » 10 Feb 2024, 22:10

Cor indeed!
I've nothing to add but I'm enjoying the ride.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 11 Feb 2024, 19:30

Today I've been working on two different jobs in parallel. I started work on the tailstock body as the first jobs on the headstock body were going to be noisy and I was out in the workshop a bit too early to feel comfortable waking the neighbours up. Once it had got to 11am, I started on the headstock body and focused on that, although there were a few times when the headstock body needed to cool down and I switched back to the tailstock body.

I'll try to write this up as if I did them one at a time though as I think it'll be easier to follow.

The first job on the tailstock body was to mark a centre point on each end and then mount it in the four jaw chuck on the lathe. A dial test indicator was used to get that centre point bang on centre.

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I then faced the end (taking very light cuts and with the lathe running slowly as that bar is sticking out a very long way from the chuck!)

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Once it was faced, I spot drilled a centre mark and then worked my way through my drill bits. I started at 10 mm, drilling as deep as I could:

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I then went up through my big drill bits, which I've got in steps of 3 mm, drilling as deep as possible with each of 13 mm, 16 mm, 19 mm, 22 mm and finally 25 mm:

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I'd recently sharpened all of those drill bits except the 22 mm one and it was quite noticeable how much harder it was to drill with the 22 mm one, so I stopped and sharpened it before continuing! The first section of drilling was quite easy going (up to the depth of the last drill bit), but each drill bit was a bit longer than the last, so the last bit was very slow going as the drill bit was removing the full diameter.

Unfortunately, even my massive 25 mm drill bit wasn't long enough to go all the way through, so I'll have to drill in from the other side. I don't think it'll be the end of the world if the two holes aren't spot-on concentric as only the first half-ish of the hole is critical.

Once I'd run out of drill bits, I used a big boring bar to bore as deep as I could (a bit over half way). I enlarged the hole gradually until it was a bit under 30 mm with a CCMT tip:

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Then switched to a polished CCGT tip and took a single light pass. The diameter isn't that critical as I'll be sizing the component that goes in that hole to fit the hole, but it's about 30 mm.

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That's all I've done so far on the tailstock body. Next job will be to turn it round and drill / bore some features from the other end.

The headstock is going to be made from 6 mm steel plate (mainly because I've got quite a lot of it). I'd been pondering on how to cut the plate up as it was too big for my bandsaw. I've got a cheap ebay plasma cutter, which would cut through it like a knife through butter, but it would leave a rather shabby edge (although that's probably partly down to my lack of skill rather than an inherent flaw of the tool!). I've also got a Makita cordless metal-cutting circular saw, which I've never used on anything thicker than about 3 mm. The manual says it can cut thicker, so I thought I'd give it go.

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Wow. It went through that 6 mm plate at the sort of speed I'd expect a "normal" circular saw to cut through hardwood. It also left a fairly clean edge at the end and most of the swarf got caught in the hopper thing. I'm very, very impressed.

With the plates cut roughly to size, I could have a look at the general arrangement:

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Obviously the spindle will eventually go through the middle of the headstock, but I thought it was instructive to lie it on top to show roughly where it will end up. Incidentally, I've settled on a centre height of about 125 mm (so the maximum diameter workpiece that could be "swung" would be 250 mm). I can't see me ever needing to turn anything that big, but at least it'll give plenty of room for me to make the tool support as big as I like.

With all the bits cut to final size, I had a lot of mill scale to remove:

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I used one of these "non-woven preparation wheels" to remove the scale:

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They work really well, removing the scale easily without taking away much steel so they leave a good finish and a flat surface:

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The only disadvantage of them is that they only really work with a relatively slow running speed, so they need a variable speed grinder. That meant using the cordless one, which is quite heavy and unwieldy and chews through batteries (although it is definitely very convenient).

With the faces all cleaned up, I gave the ends a touch up with a flap disk, this time using the mains grinder:

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With that done, the bits are nearly ready to be welded together:

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A quick test fit to confirm everything looks okay:

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Before starting welding, I thought I'd drill a few strategically located holes. Two 10 mm ones on what will be the rear face, two 16 mm ones on what will be the front face and a couple of M10 tapped holes in the inner shelf. The tapped holes will probably never get used, but if I decide I need a bit more weight, I can fill the bottom pocket with sand through the tapped holes (after plugging the holes in the front and rear faces) and then put some screws in the holes to stop the sand coming back out. As the location of the holes wasn't especially critical, I drilled them with the pillar drill (as it's a lot quicker than setting up the milling machine):

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I used a simple jig that I made a few years ago (basically just some aluminium with lots of drilled holes and lots of tapped holes) to help hold things square:

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With that done, there was nothing left but to get on with the "hot-melt gluing", first the inner frame:

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Then, after a quick touch-up with a flap disk, the front and rear faces were welded on:

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Once it had mostly cooled down, the angry grinder came out one more time to clean up the welded surfaces:

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Sorry for the out-of-focus photo.

That's it for now. The next job on the headstock will be the slightly daunting task of boring the holes for the bearings and figuring out how to retain said bearings in the headstock.

My current plan is to make some aluminium retaining pieces that go over the bearings on the inside of the headstock and screw to the front and rear faces. With one holding each bearing, there should be no way for the bearings to shift. The spindle shouldn't come off the bearings (as they were an interference fit), but I'll add a nut to the back of the spindle just to be sure.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Andyp » 11 Feb 2024, 20:03

Most of what you are doing is way over my head Al. Do you have a plan/sketch of what this will look like when finished?
I do not think therefore I do not am.

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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 11 Feb 2024, 20:46

Andyp wrote:Most of what you are doing is way over my head Al. Do you have a plan/sketch of what this will look like when finished?


No: that probably would have been a good idea :lol:

I'm very much making this up as I go along. I'm sure that's going to cause problems later, but I'll just have to try to deal with them as they come up.

I might have a go at a CAD model at some point (i.e. measure what I've done and see if it helps with later things).
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Malc2098 » 11 Feb 2024, 21:34

Organic design, I think it's called. ;)
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Cabinetman » 11 Feb 2024, 23:43

Crikey I make things up as I go along, but I do nearly always have a bit of a sketch!
As was said way beyond my ability with metal, but fascinating all the same.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby 9fingers » 12 Feb 2024, 11:05

The last time I caught up with this thread, you mentioned aligning the bearing holes after welding.
I meant to mention the line boring them on the lathe after welding is probably going to be easier.

Bob

On the subject of line boring, Snowball Engineering on youtube does quite a bit of this when repairing agricultural machinery. He is a very talented and resourceful guy taking on abused machinery and fixing it up with great results. An interesting watch during downtime!
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 12 Feb 2024, 11:21

9fingers wrote:The last time I caught up with this thread, you mentioned aligning the bearing holes after welding.
I meant to mention the line boring them on the lathe after welding is probably going to be easier.

Bob

On the subject of line boring, Snowball Engineering on youtube does quite a bit of this when repairing agricultural machinery. He is a very talented and resourceful guy taking on abused machinery and fixing it up with great results. An interesting watch during downtime!


Thanks Bob. I've never tried line boring (which I think is the same thing as what I've always known as boring between centres: clamping the workpiece to the cross slide and using a rotating boring bar). It probably would have been the best way to make the tailstock thingy (although as I said I don't think that concentricity of the two ends is **that** critical in that case). I'll have to do a bit more research about it (I don't really know what a between-centres boring bar looks like or how you adjust the cut depth.

For the headstock, I think there are easier ways given that it's only about 75 mm thick (from memory) and that I've (deliberately) chosen a 125 mm centre height. We'll find out at the weekend whether my plan works!
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Alasdair » 12 Feb 2024, 11:27

Cabinetman wrote:Crikey I make things up as I go along, but I do nearly always have a bit of a sketch!
As was said way beyond my ability with metal, but fascinating all the same.
Ian


:text-+1:

Totally agreed the precision machining is facinating to watch and way beyond anything I could hope to achieve.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby AJB Temple » 12 Feb 2024, 11:50

Excellent. My dad could have done this, but me....no chance.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby NickM » 12 Feb 2024, 16:41

AJB Temple wrote:Excellent. My dad could have done this, but me....no chance.


Same here!

Well done Dr Al.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby AndyT » 12 Feb 2024, 17:08

I'm now wondering how you are going to cut an internal morse taper on the spindle and whether line boring* is going to be the answer?

* New term to me too. Still learning!

EDIT - I've now looked back and spotted a bit I'd missed. Sorry! :oops:
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 13 Feb 2024, 19:32

After getting a few comments asking about what I was expecting the lathe to look like once finished (answer: I'm not really sure as I'm making it up as I go along), I thought it probably would be a good idea to do a CAD model of the bits I've made so far and use that model to design some of the other bits I need to make.

I'd avoided a CAD model thus far as I'm constraining myself to use stuff that I've got lying around. Designing stuff entirely in CAD runs the risk of using stock sizes or bearings that I don't have. However, I've got far enough through the build that a lot of the major components are built, so if I work around those components, I can knock up a CAD model and hopefully won't end up designing anything that I can't then make.

With that in mind, a bit of CAD time came up with this model of the headstock and tailstock:

Image

The triangular-ish frame underneath the square-section tailstock body is very much in question: I doubt it'll look like that in the end. However, I wanted something for the model not to look like the tailstock was floating in space.

This is a top view of the headstock:

Image

The silvery "nut" on the left holds the bearings onto the spindle (not that I think there's much chance of them coming off). The sandy coloured nut on the far left holds the pulley onto the spindle. The hole through the middle of the spindle is a new addition (i.e. I still need to drill it!) - that's there so I can shove a tommy bar through the hole when I'm tightening the nuts or a chuck onto the spindle.

The two green plates (which will be aluminium) hold the bearings (and hence the spindle) into the headstock. The right-hand plate will be permanently fixed to the headstock: the through hole will be big enough to allow the smaller bearing all the way through, but small enough to stop the bigger bearing from passing. It'll stop the spindle from moving to the left.

The left-hand green plate will be made in two pieces (hence the counterbored holes in the top to hold the pieces together). The bottom half will be dropped into the headstock before fitting the spindle and then lifted up and screwed to the top half. It's deliberately designed not to be flush with the headstock face (i.e. there's a gap on the left) so that tightening up the screws that will hold it into the headstock will apply a bit of pre-load to the bearings (which might or might not be a good thing: I don't really know anything about bearings). The left-hand green plate will stop the spindle from moving to the right, so the two plates should hold the spindle in the headstock.

This is a cross-section of the whole model:

Image

This is a cross-section of the headstock, which perhaps shows the retention of the bearings a little better:

Image

The eagle-eyed among you will note that I've alternated between modelled threads (e.g. on the spindle) and "cosmetic threads" (on the nuts). Normal practice in CAD modelling is to use cosmetic threads, but I wanted to have the chuck thread modelled so I thought I might as well model all the threads on that part.

This is a cross-section of the tailstock:

Image

The tailstock spindle (or whatever you'd call it) rides in a brass bush. The reason for that brass bush is that I figured it would be a lot easier to machine an accurate bore in a relatively short length of (nice to machine) brass bar (which will fit into the headstock) than in a very long overhanging bit of EN3B. In the top of the tailstock spindle, there's a slot (which I haven't machined yet) for an anti-rotation screw - this screw will be inserted into the top of the tailstock through the hole you can see in the middle of the image.

The threaded tailstock screw will have an M10 left-hand thread machined along most of its length. I don't have an M10 left-hand die, so I'll have to cut that long thread on the lathe. Turning the hand-wheel clockwise will make the tailstock spindle thing extend. Turning it anticlockwise will make the tailstock spindle retract and when it is fully retracted, the end of the tailstock screw should push on the end of the Morse Taper tool and make it pop out of the tailstock.

It undoubtedly would have been better to use a trapezoidal thread on the tailstock, but I don't have any suitable taps so the M10 thread will have to do.

There's a bearing in the right-hand end of the tailstock. That's probably gratuitous for a tailstock screw, but I've got one of an appropriate size, so why not? I'll be machining the pocket for the bearing with a different set-up to the other bore, but I don't think the concentricity of the screw thread is that critical, so I think it'll be okay (famous last words!)
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Andyp » 13 Feb 2024, 19:58

Thanks Al, makes a lot more sense now.

As far as alignment of head and tail stock are concerned. A flippant suggestion perhaps, if you can’t make it accurate* then make it adjustable.


*I am sure you can and I’ve no idea how to make one or both pieces adjustable.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 13 Feb 2024, 20:12

Andyp wrote:Thanks Al, makes a lot more sense now.

As far as alignment of head and tail stock are concerned. A flippant suggestion perhaps, if you can’t make it accurate* then make it adjustable.


*I am sure you can and I’ve no idea how to make one or both pieces adjustable.


I've been thinking about that a lot and I certainly agree that adjustable is a good way of getting round inaccuracies. To be honest, I'm not completely sure how I'll sort it out yet: there are a few degrees of freedom (Y, Z, pitch & yaw). X is intended to be adjusted (sliding the tailstock along) and roll is either a combination of Y & Z or just the rotation of the spindle, depending on how you look at it.

I think I can get the Z height (height above the bed) of the two parts the same & if I do that right, the pitch will be okay too. Worst case, I can make the bed mounting fairly loose (i.e. able to be moved back & forth & twisted). It would be nice to have head & tail stock "automatically" line up though, so I'll see what I can figure out.

I also need to keep reminding myself that this is a wood lathe & for most purposes it doesn't need to be anywhere near as accurate as a metal lathe would have to be :)
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby AndyT » 13 Feb 2024, 21:08

In case it's any help, my cheap Taiwanese Axminster lathe has the tailstock height fixed (but possibly alignable by filing or shimming).

To adjust laterally, the round bar which forms the bed has a long straight strip bolted along it, underneath. The tailstock clamp tightens onto this strip. Where it makes contact, there's a grub screw. You can turn this in or out to slightly rotate the clamp, and so shift a centre in the tailstock until it lines up with another one in the headstock.

I'm sure you will work out some sort of adjustment that will work on your bed.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby SamQ aka Ah! Q! » 13 Feb 2024, 21:09

Al, I think you are (unwittingly?) following in the footsteps of the excellent L.C. Mason:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/186213180310 ... c2EALw_wcB

Great read, superb engineering. And Mason's book isn't far behind. 8-)
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby John Brown » 13 Feb 2024, 21:14

This is probably as really stupid question, but my over-the-road neighbour only had a metal working lathe, but seems to happily turn wooden things on it. Not standard lamps or anything, but definitely he'd do chisel handles. Is it just the challenge of making the thing from scratch?
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Dr.Al » 14 Feb 2024, 08:19

AndyT wrote:In case it's any help, my cheap Taiwanese Axminster lathe has the tailstock height fixed (but possibly alignable by filing or shimming).

To adjust laterally, the round bar which forms the bed has a long straight strip bolted along it, underneath. The tailstock clamp tightens onto this strip. Where it makes contact, there's a grub screw. You can turn this in or out to slightly rotate the clamp, and so shift a centre in the tailstock until it lines up with another one in the headstock.

I'm sure you will work out some sort of adjustment that will work on your bed.


Thanks Andy, that's useful. I think I'll put off thinking about it until I'm much, much further into the build, but that description will be very handy when I do get to thinking about it.

SamQ aka Ah! Q! wrote:Al, I think you are (unwittingly?) following in the footsteps of the excellent L.C. Mason:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/186213180310 ... c2EALw_wcB

Great read, superb engineering. And Mason's book isn't far behind. 8-)


That sounds like a very interesting read. Must. Not. Buy. More. Books. :?

John Brown wrote:This is probably as really stupid question, but my over-the-road neighbour only had a metal working lathe, but seems to happily turn wooden things on it. Not standard lamps or anything, but definitely he'd do chisel handles. Is it just the challenge of making the thing from scratch?


There's a few reasons really. Firstly, my metal lathe struggles a bit if you try to run it above about 500 rpm (although it might be alright on the higher speeds turning wood I suppose as the torque requirements are lower). Secondly, wood shavings are very good at getting everywhere and absorbing oil, so turning wood on a metal lathe is a really good way of wrecking a metal lathe: the wood gets into tiny gaps, soaks up the oil that's protecting the steel / cast iron and before you know it you have a rusty lathe. Thirdly, my metal lathe is down at the metalworking end of the workshop and I don't really want everything covered in wood down that end (or the same problem of rustiness will apply to the milling machine etc as well).

However, the most important reason is that most workshop projects for me are about the means, not the end. If I only cared about the end, the toolchest project I spent most of last year on could have been simplified to a few bits of sturdy timber cut up with a tracksaw, along with some sturdy bags and a load of bubble wrap. Instead I spent 11 months making it out of nice sweet chestnut and walnut using hand tools.

In this case I could have bought a wood lathe (and I seriously considered it as I think this project may be a bit beyond my skills), but I thought it would be worth a try to see how I get on. If it works, then great. If it doesn't work, then I might well buy a small lathe, but as long as I have enjoyed the process of my attempt at a lathe then that's fine.

I find workshop time extremely therapeutic and very effective at taking my mind off work. I also like to challenge myself with projects that stretch my skills a bit. This certainly feels like a challenge...
My projects website: https://www.cgtk.co.uk
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Dr.Al
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby John Brown » 14 Feb 2024, 10:02

Understood. I am, as usual, in awe of your skill and ingenuity.
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Re: Dr Al's Latest Folly

Postby Lons » 14 Feb 2024, 10:04

Fascinating project Al, love it. i'm in awe at your skills and back of a fag packet approach.
like others have said I also couldn't do it, only my dad couldn't have either.
I have a degree in faffing about (It must be true, my wife says so)
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