Thread: Machine Feet for my lathe
I have a Warco BH600g lathe which sits on a couple of cabinets.
I would like to put it on some adjustable machine feet so I can level it (My garage floor is not particularly level). Like these:-
My question is how many feet should I use? My first thought was just 4 But I am now thinking it may be better with more (4 on the larger cabinet and 2 on the smaller one?)
I like the idea that it would be more stable using more feet but I guess the flip side would be more of a faff to level?
Just read that leveling should be done by shimming where the lathe attaches to the cabinets to take any twist out of the bed..? In this case I guess the more feet the better?
Last edited by cncJim; 28-10-2014 at 10:06 AM.
What about a steel dolly underneath with a foot at each corner;
like this only DIY version and not castors ; http://www.axminster.co.uk/heavy-duty-machine-base
I generally find machines are too low for back comfort so raising them is a good thing for me, it woud also give some height allowing use of a recycled pallet duck board
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 28-10-2014 at 10:11 AM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
The Following User Says Thank You to EddyCurrent For This Useful Post:
I've used those feet on my bandsaw and milling machine and they work well for levelling. Lathes can be a bit fussier, though. How stiff is the cabinet - would it be happier supported at 6 points rather than 4? Will the cabinet itself distort? How many mounting points did the manufacturer provide? I would be inclined to go for 4 as that makes the levelling and calibration easier. Not that I can talk - my lathe sits on thin MDF and ply packing...
Thanks for the replies! :)
Worth saying the lathe is currently not on the cabinets (still sat on the floor after picking it up!!) so drilling and tapping the holes is less of of a problem.
I also just read that I should be levelling the lathe by shimming where the lathe attaches to the cabinets and not try and level it by adjusting the cabinets alone??
So I guess I would level the cabinets first, stick the lathe on and then shim it to take out any twist in the bed?
Last edited by cncJim; 28-10-2014 at 10:43 AM.
On my machines I used feet with stems that fitted through the clearance holes (mind you, that was 12mm on the milling machine anyway) and used nuts and washers each side to adjust and lock. That way, you don't need to turn the "bolt" in its foot - from memory, the feet I had didn't have a hex or square section to put a spanner on.
As for shimming - depends on the design. My Myford sits on a welded steel cabinet base, rather lighter than yours. With that, because the cabinet is relatively flexible, you make sure you have taken any wobble out of the base, then the lathe has adjustments where it bolts to the cabinet. My "new" lathe is a heavy ex-toolroom machine that weighs around 2800lb on its cast iron base. In this case, the base is part of the stiffness of the lathe itself and the bed is bolted tight to the base. It's difficult to believe that there is any scope for twist in that lot, but the recommendation for setting up both lathes is the same. Stick a longish bit of steel in the chuck, and turn both ends (near to and furthest from the chuck). Ideally, you use a test bar which has a reduced diameter in the middle so you only turn short sections at both ends. Both ends are turned without moving the cross-slide. If both end up the same diameter, you're spot on. Otherwise, put a tiny amount of twist in by tweaking the feet/adjustment bolts and keep trying. Sounds like your machine is another variation - as you say, level the stand, then shim the lathe mounting. Sounds like the most fiddly option, though, but at least you only ever do it once! I guess you have a way to lift the lathe on to its stand that you could use while shimming?
Last edited by Neale; 28-10-2014 at 11:10 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to Neale For This Useful Post:
I have the Amadeal 290V-FF, which is a similar weight to yours. The cabinets are substantial but the tray is only .8mm steel. I am currently modifying the tray to put a drain slope in it for the coolant. When I installed the machine I put down a ply frame round each cabinet and set the frame tops level as I could. Then removed the cabinets and filled the frames with self levelling compound (add a bit more PVA to the mix). The cabinets are rag-bolted to the floor. The tray is being modded by putting a 25mm platform under the bed at each end. I need to raise the bed from the chip tray to give me space to clean out swarf. When I put it all back together I will check the shimming.
I would like the whole machine to be lower as I have to sit to work. I can't stand for long due to arthritis, but I suppose the answer is a higher chair.
The Following User Says Thank You to cropwell For This Useful Post:
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 28-10-2014 at 05:51 PM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
I looked at precision levels and, as an amateur, I thought they are pricey for something I won't use much.
Then I got to thinking..... Why should a lathe be exactly level ? Everything is relative to the axis of the lathe. Basically you want the headstock to point to the tailstock and the carriage to tram to the axis.
So you need to ensure the bed is not distorted. No twist sag or bow. You also need to ensure that cutting forces don't cause distortion.
A lot of this checking could be done with a laser system that fits on the spindle pointing at a tailstock centre. If you can adjust out any wobble and get the laser to align on the axis when you turn the spindle 360deg then the first part is done. next you need to check the tool path is parallel to the axis by mounting a plate with a pinhole at tailstock centre and run the carriage up to the headstock. If the laser beam goes through the pinhole and shines on the tailstock the length of the travel, then all should be ok.
Let me know (politely) if I have got it wrong, I am not an engineer.
By IanS1 in forum Gantry/Router Machines & BuildingReplies: 2Last Post: 15-08-2014, 08:41 PM
By deisel in forum Marketplace DiscussionReplies: 2Last Post: 09-11-2013, 11:53 PM
By newtoid1986 in forum Metalwork DiscussionReplies: 1Last Post: 18-09-2013, 06:20 PM
By Bodge in forum Lathes, Lathe Rebuilding & ConversionsReplies: 9Last Post: 18-04-2012, 09:45 AM
By Jonathan in forum Milling Machines, Builds & ConversionsReplies: 6Last Post: 21-08-2011, 09:34 AM