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Milling on a Lathe with a Vertical Slide

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William Harvey 102/05/2021 18:45:31
25 forum posts
Posted by IanT on 02/05/2021 12:33:05:

Hi Bill,

That vertical slide looks about the same size as the one I have for my 2.5" EW. The one I was referring to is probably twice as big.

As with most things here, there are different experiences and opinions. I don't know what work you are planning to do - or how often you intend to do it. My parts are generally small and I do have a choice of machines available. But I'll try to give a bit more detail on my experience in this area.

Do you need to make vertical height adjustments whilst machining? Some operations (drilling, slot milling, edge milling/fly-cutting) often don't - and if the work can be correctly positioned and the right tool fitted - then a vertical slide might not be required, indeed a heavy angle plate might be better. If you know the 'bed to centre' and 'bed to top of cross-slide' measurements, then you can set work either on (or off) the lathe fairly easily. Packing blocks can give simple work height adjustments too by removing or inserting blocks of known thickness. Slip gauges are not required!

Apart from rigidity, there is another reason I don't feel 'swivels' work for many vertical slide operations. My large slide came with a rotary base but I soon discovered that most times I needed the actual table to overhang the cross-slide. This is because otherwise the slide's table will be mostly above the lathe centre height - and things like vices make lack of travel even more of a problem. Hanging the sliding face over the edge of the cross-slide really helps but also limits any use of a swivel. So I replaced my rotary base with a plain adaptor plate to match the vertical slide with the cross-slide, whilst giving a more secure mounting. Same for my EW slide.

So in summary, you can certainly mill in the lathe without a vertical slide and 'swivels' may not be as useful as they first seem (think of a vertical mill and it's table - generally the table doesn't swivel!)

If you have a simple milling job to do, why not try doing it with what kit you already have? Clamp the part in a tool-holder or on an angle plate if you have one. You could hold the milling tool directly in your 3-jaw but better to make a simple round tool holder (in mild steel - just drill or bore it and fit a grub screw). The chuck will grip the mild steel much better than the hardened tool and the grub screw will hold the tool if a small flat is ground in it.

Then have a go. Small cuts and slow feeds, saddle locked and with the gibs on the tight side. It may not be perfect but it will give you some idea of what is possible with patience and practice. You may decide it's not going to work for you - or that it's perfectly good enough. Either way it will help you decide what is best for your needs.

It might even be fun trying too!

Regards,

IanT

Ian - thanks for a very comprehensive, thought provoking reply.

TBH I have no idea what Milling Operations I'll be doing as I am only just starting out learning how to use the Lathe e.g. I don't know what half of the parts are called or which cutters are for which job. Although in my first go I did manage to make this tool, even knurled the handle

So based on the info so far and the fact that I have no idea what I am doing, I think the cheapest option would be the best so that I can cut my teeth and have a go.

So forget the Swivel Slide and opt for:

- Heavy Angle Plate

- Clamps - not sure what I'd need

- Some HSS Cutters

- Home made Cutter Holder

Angle plates - I need to work out which would be best and offer the largest working area. There are so many different types to choose from ????? Also found this in a search from Chronos (who I have bought some tools before - decent quality I thought)

Clamps - Again need to work out what I need and I guess this could depend on the Angle Plate?

Cutters - Depends on what type of milling - but again I need to research what I need for various tasks?

Iv'e only been on here a day and I've already learnt so much, so thanks to everyone's support.

One job I would like to try, is cutting a recess in the area of a valve seat on a cylinder head. This needs to be done with a Fly Cutter, but I don't believe I'd be able to get the cylinder head bolted to an angle plate on the lathe and even if I did I doubt I'd be able to get at all the valves, maybe if I moved the backing on the Warco back (as I have seen Ade do to stop aluminium swarf wrapping around the head stock )

Andy Carlson02/05/2021 21:25:52
365 forum posts
129 photos

Milling clamps... how long is a piece of string? Really depends on the job and your ability to problem solve. Certainly sthe type with studs, 'T' nuts, step blocks and so on are useful on some occasions but they are not the answer to everything. Sometimes you need studs and a piece of thick enough bar drilled to clear the studs to form a strap across the job. Sometimes a vice is best. Harold Hall's site has several designs of low profile clamps fo you to make. As others have said, sometimes you can co-opt the toolpost stud to help with clamping. The general rule is probably that you never quite have what you want.

One of the challenges of milling in the lathe is that you have a lot less free 'T' slotted (or whatever) space in which to put your clamps. Quite often I find that this precludes the use of step blocks. Gravity as another challenge - on a mill you can set up on the table at your leisure. With a vertical slide or angle block everything will fall off so you need to set up off the machine.

TBH I think that the many piece clamping sets are overkill - yes you get lots of bits but they are all of a similar type.

Start simple, take things slowly, learn what a healthy milling cut sounds like and how much 'demand' your setup can cope with. Be careful - I generally assume that a milling machine (or lathe doing milling) is always trying to damage itself, the job and/or me. Try to figure out how many ways it will find to trip you up - for example apart from flinging the job across the workshop the cutter can work like a corkscrew and either pull itself out of the holder and into the job or else pull the job in towards itself.

Nigel McBurney 103/05/2021 11:47:37
avatar
875 forum posts
3 photos

a long time ago Myford offered two vertical slides,one fixed one swivelling, at the time I chose the swivellig type as it had a larger table,I found the main problem was the single bolt clamp, later on the two bolt clamping was introduced.

Peter Baverstock03/05/2021 11:57:10
3 forum posts

Have a look at Steve Jordans videos on you tube,he has a particularly good set up for his chinese lathe.

Andy Carlson03/05/2021 12:28:08
365 forum posts
129 photos

I thought it might be useful to write up my most recent job because it involved a lot of thinking and several different clamping arrangements. It is a 130mm long piece of dovetail bar to improve the attachment of my little 80mm telescope to my camera tripod. The dovetails are a 15 degree angle. Most of it was done on my 1930s Faircut lathe using my Tom Senior vertical slide. It would have been MUCH easier just to buy a short length of dovetail bar but in a fit of misguided enthusiasm last year I bought some 5/8 by 1 3/4 aluminium to make my own and then spent months agonizing over how to actually do the job.

p1070964.jpg

Sorry no 'in progress' pictures because I didn't take any.

The first problem was the 15 degree angle. I have no tilting table and have never found one that I thought would be capable of useful work without also using up all of the available working space. Instead I decided to make two angle block fixtures that could attach using M6 Allen screws to the slots on the vertical slide.

p1070967.jpg

They are made from the same bar stock. First I sawed a length off and then made a diagonal cut to achieve roughtly the right shape. A hacksaw is often much quicker than chewing metal off with a milling cutter.

Next the sawn ends needed to be tidied up. I did this on the vertical slide with the job overhanging the nearest edge and using the side of the cutter. I can't 100% remember but I think I used a steel strap over the job with a stud either side to engage with the 'T' nuts.

Next step was to drill the two 1/8 holes using XY coordinates to achieve an accurate 15 degrees. I could have done this on the vertical side but it has no dial so I used my little MF70 milling machine. The work was held down using step blocks and clamps... actually just one IIRC because there wasn't much room but I was only drilling so that was OK.

Then I milled the 15 degree faces. I attached a small vice (RDG Tools, no doubt from somewhere east of Suez) to the vertical slide, put 1/8 bar through the drilled holes so that the rods sat on the top of the vice jaws and clamped and milled both blocks together using the end of the 10mm cutter. Then remove them, mark and centre pop the middle of the 15 degree faces and return to the vice (still with the 1/8 bars), drill and tap M6. The final job was to mark out, drill and counterbore for the Allen screws (without the 15 degree tilt and overhanging the side of the vice to provide room for the drill to break through)

For the actual dovetails the first job was to mark and drill some M6 clearance holes - 1 3/4 will JUST fit in my vice on the slide. Then the angle blocks were attached to the slide, M6 studding screwed into the blocks and the embryo dovetail attached with nuts and washers. This was less than ideal because the dovetail bar prevented access to the Allen screws so it required some mucking about, clamping the blocks without fully tightening and then tapping them up or down to get the job level, checking level with a lever type DTI, then remove the job and tighten the screws... check again with the DTI to see if anything moved.

So now I could mill the angles using the side of the cutter on the top face. The big problem here is that even by winding the cross slide back (forward??) far anough to expose a short length of the cross slide dovetail at the rear I can get at most 4 1/2 inches of cross slide travel. I have a couple of 1 inch spacers that attach between the cross slide and the handwheel apron - those (and longer bolts) allow me to do the same trick in the other direction and get 5 1/2 inches of travel - theooretically enough for the job... if the job could be positioned to start and finish at exactly the limits... which it could not. I might have been able to arrange it if I had planned better but this is real life and that's not what happened.

My solution was to do each side in two operations, shifting the slide to another 'T' slot on the cross slide in between. This got the job done but there is a tiny step where the two cuts join - not an issue for what I needed but if I were making a dovetail whose main purpose was sliding then it would not be very good.

Job done. Telescope mounted. Naturally it has been cloudy and rainy ever since.

p1070963.jpg

Edited By Andy Carlson on 03/05/2021 12:29:30

Dr. MC Black03/05/2021 16:39:51
228 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by William Harvey 1 on 02/05/2021 18:45:31:
Posted by IanT on 02/05/2021 12:33:05:
Also found this in a search from Chronos (who I have bought some tools before - decent quality I thought)

Are you aware that using the Discount Code SME1000 will give you 5% off of Chronos' list prices?

MCB

William Harvey 103/05/2021 17:21:27
25 forum posts
Posted by Peter Baverstock on 03/05/2021 11:57:10:

Have a look at Steve Jordans videos on you tube,he has a particularly good set up for his chinese lathe.

Do you mean this drill attachment setup, does he do a video on the build?

https://youtu.be/GOxwuYacRv4
Frances IoM03/05/2021 17:21:32
1118 forum posts
27 photos
I'm awaiting just how the OP manages to hold a slide on the WM180 which has no Tslots not much meat to drill and tap a few mounting hole - the only way I can see is to mount it in the 4 way tool post and the reach of this along the slide is rather restricted and rigidity will be interesting.

I have a WM180 but I bought it after I bought a SX1 mill but even so having a couple of T-slots on the WM180 would have been useful for a couple of tasks.
William Harvey 103/05/2021 17:21:55
25 forum posts
Posted by MC Black on 03/05/2021 16:39:51:
Posted by William Harvey 1 on 02/05/2021 18:45:31:
Posted by IanT on 02/05/2021 12:33:05:
Also found this in a search from Chronos (who I have bought some tools before - decent quality I thought)

Are you aware that using the Discount Code SME1000 will give you 5% off of Chronos' list prices?

MCB

No I wasn't thanks

William Harvey 103/05/2021 17:22:27
25 forum posts
Posted by Andy Carlson on 03/05/2021 12:28:08:

I thought it might be useful to write up my most recent job because it involved a lot of thinking and several different clamping arrangements. It is a 130mm long piece of dovetail bar to improve the attachment of my little 80mm telescope to my camera tripod. The dovetails are a 15 degree angle. Most of it was done on my 1930s Faircut lathe using my Tom Senior vertical slide. It would have been MUCH easier just to buy a short length of dovetail bar but in a fit of misguided enthusiasm last year I bought some 5/8 by 1 3/4 aluminium to make my own and then spent months agonizing over how to actually do the job.

p1070964.jpg

Sorry no 'in progress' pictures because I didn't take any.

The first problem was the 15 degree angle. I have no tilting table and have never found one that I thought would be capable of useful work without also using up all of the available working space. Instead I decided to make two angle block fixtures that could attach using M6 Allen screws to the slots on the vertical slide.

p1070967.jpg

They are made from the same bar stock. First I sawed a length off and then made a diagonal cut to achieve roughtly the right shape. A hacksaw is often much quicker than chewing metal off with a milling cutter.

Next the sawn ends needed to be tidied up. I did this on the vertical slide with the job overhanging the nearest edge and using the side of the cutter. I can't 100% remember but I think I used a steel strap over the job with a stud either side to engage with the 'T' nuts.

Next step was to drill the two 1/8 holes using XY coordinates to achieve an accurate 15 degrees. I could have done this on the vertical side but it has no dial so I used my little MF70 milling machine. The work was held down using step blocks and clamps... actually just one IIRC because there wasn't much room but I was only drilling so that was OK.

Then I milled the 15 degree faces. I attached a small vice (RDG Tools, no doubt from somewhere east of Suez) to the vertical slide, put 1/8 bar through the drilled holes so that the rods sat on the top of the vice jaws and clamped and milled both blocks together using the end of the 10mm cutter. Then remove them, mark and centre pop the middle of the 15 degree faces and return to the vice (still with the 1/8 bars), drill and tap M6. The final job was to mark out, drill and counterbore for the Allen screws (without the 15 degree tilt and overhanging the side of the vice to provide room for the drill to break through)

For the actual dovetails the first job was to mark and drill some M6 clearance holes - 1 3/4 will JUST fit in my vice on the slide. Then the angle blocks were attached to the slide, M6 studding screwed into the blocks and the embryo dovetail attached with nuts and washers. This was less than ideal because the dovetail bar prevented access to the Allen screws so it required some mucking about, clamping the blocks without fully tightening and then tapping them up or down to get the job level, checking level with a lever type DTI, then remove the job and tighten the screws... check again with the DTI to see if anything moved.

So now I could mill the angles using the side of the cutter on the top face. The big problem here is that even by winding the cross slide back (forward??) far anough to expose a short length of the cross slide dovetail at the rear I can get at most 4 1/2 inches of cross slide travel. I have a couple of 1 inch spacers that attach between the cross slide and the handwheel apron - those (and longer bolts) allow me to do the same trick in the other direction and get 5 1/2 inches of travel - theooretically enough for the job... if the job could be positioned to start and finish at exactly the limits... which it could not. I might have been able to arrange it if I had planned better but this is real life and that's not what happened.

My solution was to do each side in two operations, shifting the slide to another 'T' slot on the cross slide in between. This got the job done but there is a tiny step where the two cuts join - not an issue for what I needed but if I were making a dovetail whose main purpose was sliding then it would not be very good.

Job done. Telescope mounted. Naturally it has been cloudy and rainy ever since.

p1070963.jpg

Edited By Andy Carlson on 03/05/2021 12:29:30

Nice work and some great solutions.

Mick B103/05/2021 17:56:29
1904 forum posts
96 photos

Andy Carlson - another 'Nice work' from here. Your exercise also shows the thinking processes that the vertical slide encourages.

Howard Lewis03/05/2021 18:03:30
4866 forum posts
12 photos

If you want to cut valve seats, Sykes Pickavant used to sell them. Works OK in cast iron, but hardened seats tend to be harder than the cutters!

Grinding a toolbit to the required angle and using to produce the seat in one hit, without traverrsing (Nightmare process ) will ,take a lot of torque, and may produce chatter, since the single location in the valve guide will not be as rigid as needed.

Would suggest making the arbor as long as possible, and possibly split so that it can expand to suit the particular guide being used.s

Ideally, the seat and valve angle should differ by about half a degree, so as to produce a line contact near to the top of the seat. Valve and seat will probably hammer to match each other after a little running.

Howard

Peter Baverstock03/05/2021 20:46:08
3 forum posts

Check your messages

Regards,

Peter.

William Harvey 103/05/2021 22:14:56
25 forum posts
Posted by Peter Baverstock on 03/05/2021 20:46:08:

Check your messages

Regards,

Peter.

Thanks Peter, read and replied.

William Harvey 103/05/2021 22:17:04
25 forum posts
Posted by Howard Lewis on 03/05/2021 18:03:30:

If you want to cut valve seats, Sykes Pickavant used to sell them. Works OK in cast iron, but hardened seats tend to be harder than the cutters!

Grinding a toolbit to the required angle and using to produce the seat in one hit, without traverrsing (Nightmare process ) will ,take a lot of torque, and may produce chatter, since the single location in the valve guide will not be as rigid as needed.

Would suggest making the arbor as long as possible, and possibly split so that it can expand to suit the particular guide being used.s

Ideally, the seat and valve angle should differ by about half a degree, so as to produce a line contact near to the top of the seat. Valve and seat will probably hammer to match each other after a little running.

Howard

Howard, don’t need to cut valve seats and I have a Neway Valve Seat cutter anyway. I need to cut a small recess around the top edge of the valve seat at 90 degrees to act as a reference point to grind the rest of the chamber roof to.

William Harvey 108/05/2021 10:50:16
25 forum posts
Posted by Andy Carlson on 02/05/2021 21:25:52:

Milling clamps... how long is a piece of string? Really depends on the job and your ability to problem solve. Certainly sthe type with studs, 'T' nuts, step blocks and so on are useful on some occasions but they are not the answer to everything. Sometimes you need studs and a piece of thick enough bar drilled to clear the studs to form a strap across the job. Sometimes a vice is best. Harold Hall's site has several designs of low profile clamps fo you to make. As others have said, sometimes you can co-opt the toolpost stud to help with clamping. The general rule is probably that you never quite have what you want.

One of the challenges of milling in the lathe is that you have a lot less free 'T' slotted (or whatever) space in which to put your clamps. Quite often I find that this precludes the use of step blocks. Gravity as another challenge - on a mill you can set up on the table at your leisure. With a vertical slide or angle block everything will fall off so you need to set up off the machine.

TBH I think that the many piece clamping sets are overkill - yes you get lots of bits but they are all of a similar type.

Start simple, take things slowly, learn what a healthy milling cut sounds like and how much 'demand' your setup can cope with. Be careful - I generally assume that a milling machine (or lathe doing milling) is always trying to damage itself, the job and/or me. Try to figure out how many ways it will find to trip you up - for example apart from flinging the job across the workshop the cutter can work like a corkscrew and either pull itself out of the holder and into the job or else pull the job in towards itself.

So without knowing what projects I am going to embark on I was hoping to by the parts to make a start to test the milling process.

I have opted on keeping things simple as you suggest and will be buying:

7" Angle Plate

A piece of 150mm x 125mm x 10mm Mild Steel to make the adaptor plate as shown in This Video at 4:57. Just need to find a supplier on eBay that will cut it for me as I don't have a band saw.

HSS Milling End Cutters - Any advice on what size cutters to start off with? I know this is dependent upon the task but this is just for testing? Or maybe I'll buy a cheap set 

I'll hold them in the 3 Jaw Chuck but will also make up a tool holder as mentioned, earlier

 

 

Edited By JasonB on 08/05/2021 16:01:34 See C of C

Edited By JasonB on 08/05/2021 16:02:19

Dr. MC Black08/05/2021 11:52:59
228 forum posts
1 photos

When I did some milling on my Taig Lathe, I held the Milling Cutters in a collet. Have you investigated fitting a collet chuck to your lathe? ARCEurotrade (no connection - usual disclaimer) have some in their catalogue; one may be a direct fit on your lathe.

I appreciate it will take a long time, but have you considered cutting the plate with a hacksaw (or an electric jigsaw)

Andy Carlson08/05/2021 13:51:55
365 forum posts
129 photos
Posted by William Harvey 1 on 08/05/2021 10:50:16:

So without knowing what projects I am going to embark on I was hoping to by the parts to make a start to test the milling process.

I have opted on keeping things simple as you suggest and will be buying:

7" Angle Plate

A piece of 150mm x 125mm x 10mm Mild Steel to make the adaptor plate as shown in at 4:57. Just need to find a supplier on eBay that will cut it for me as I don't have a band saw.

HSS Milling End Cutters - Any advice on what size cutters to start off with? I know this is dependent upon the task but this is just for testing? Or maybe I'll buy a cheap set of

I'll hold them in the 3 Jaw Chuck but will also make up a tool holder as mentioned, earlier

 

I havent looked at the link but I bought some cheap chinese HSS cutters and found them pretty poor - didn't last long and were not exactly to size so did not fit the correct sized holder properly. In fact it was one of these that taught me how cutters can work like a corkscrew. Now they are reserved to be reground as whatever oddball turning tools I might find a need for and held in a simple home made holder.

You don't need a lot of different sizes. For most work I had been using 6mm but have recently gone up to 10mm. My currently in use cutters are from Drill Service Horley. Obviously if you need to cut narrow slots then you will need smaller ones... or round nosed ones for fluting home made taps for but these should be reserved for jobs that really need them... and probably not bought until you know what you need.

 

Edited By JasonB on 08/05/2021 16:04:01

William Harvey 108/05/2021 15:23:47
25 forum posts
Posted by Dr. MC Black on 08/05/2021 11:52:59:

When I did some milling on my Taig Lathe, I held the Milling Cutters in a collet. Have you investigated fitting a collet chuck to your lathe? ARCEurotrade (no connection - usual disclaimer) have some in their catalogue; one may be a direct fit on your lathe.

I appreciate it will take a long time, but have you considered cutting the plate with a hacksaw (or an electric jigsaw)

I have been looking at EN25 Collets and a Collet Chuck but thought about getting it later. P.S. Sorry about the link, it sure why it came out like that, I thought I had embedded it.

William Harvey 108/05/2021 15:24:44
25 forum posts
Posted by Andy Carlson on 08/05/2021 13:51:55:
Posted by William Harvey 1 on 08/05/2021 10:50:16:

So without knowing what projects I am going to embark on I was hoping to by the parts to make a start to test the milling process.

I have opted on keeping things simple as you suggest and will be buying:

7" Angle Plate

A piece of 150mm x 125mm x 10mm Mild Steel to make the adaptor plate as shown in at 4:57. Just need to find a supplier on eBay that will cut it for me as I don't have a band saw.

HSS Milling End Cutters - Any advice on what size cutters to start off with? I know this is dependent upon the task but this is just for testing? Or maybe I'll buy a cheap set of

I'll hold them in the 3 Jaw Chuck but will also make up a tool holder as mentioned, earlier

 

I havent looked at the link but I bought some cheap chinese HSS cutters and found them pretty poor - didn't last long and were not exactly to size so did not fit the correct sized holder properly. In fact it was one of these that taught me how cutters can work like a corkscrew. Now they are reserved to be reground as whatever oddball turning tools I might find a need for and held in a simple home made holder.

You don't need a lot of different sizes. For most work I had been using 6mm but have recently gone up to 10mm. My currently in use cutters are from Drill Service Horley. Obviously if you need to cut narrow slots then you will need smaller ones... or round nosed ones for fluting home made taps for but these should be reserved for jobs that really need them... and probably not bought until you know what you need.

 

So I might just get a couple of decent ones and have a go.

Edited By JasonB on 08/05/2021 16:04:44

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