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Soft floor and lathe...

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Tonny Andre21/09/2021 09:40:05
12 forum posts
3 photos

Hello

I am about to get my South Bend clone back together after getting cleaned and repainted. But I have a problem. The workshop floor is a soft wooden one and I read several places that trying to level a lathe on such flooring will almost be pointless since it flex and moves about. Am I overthinking this? What can be done about it?

I appreciate every reply and help!

Michael Gilligan21/09/2021 09:55:51
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18925 forum posts
942 photos

Only a problem if the floor can twist the lathe significantly … which seems improbable.

What sort of stand/bench is the lathe to be on ?

However: Using the “levelling” process with a flexible floor is considered impractical because the bubble level is sensitive to deflections from horizontal … if you could do the checks remotely, it would be feasible.

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan21/09/2021 10:04:33
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18925 forum posts
942 photos

Note:

If you search through the numerous forum threads on “levelling” you will see that I have repeatedly mentioned that:

… in this context, 'levelling' is the process of using a level

[ rather like 'milling' is the process of using a mill ]

The term originates with surveying, where a level is used to quantify slopes, not to flatten them.

MichaelG.

Ady121/09/2021 10:04:57
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4728 forum posts
714 photos

Some sort of flat plate/flooring?

A Decent 1.5 inch plywood base for it to stand on, good plywood is really light and strong

Tonny Andre21/09/2021 10:21:05
12 forum posts
3 photos

The stand is two heavy cast iron legs and a heavy 8mm u beam on top where the lathe is bolted on.

I did have a Chinese lathe before that came with that flimsy steel plated stand and I saw then how much the floor gave in. And this lathe I now have is at least 50kg heavier.

Clive Foster21/09/2021 10:34:19
2835 forum posts
103 photos

The amount of hot air nonsense promulgated concerning lathe levelling over the years is probably a significant contributor to global warming!

The pragmatic person ignores the whole lot and concentrates on getting the lathe set up with the bed in its natural, unstrained state.

If the wood floor is on a solid base, whether direct or with intervening joists, its not going to move unless there are serious flatness issues creating significant gaps between base and floor.

If its a suspended floor first thing to do is to check if the floor actually moves when you wander around. Adequately sensiitive level in various places with an assistant to watch it whlie you walk around will sort that. If it shifts think about where the supporting joists are and what might be done to improve support. Folk have been known to cut the whole floor area out where the lathe is going and insert a concrete block. Overkill for an itty bitty SouthBend. One or two layers of the waterproof tongue and groove chipboard underfloor stuff running all the way across screwed down to the floor should make it amply stiff. Check with your level.

If the lathe is going on a bench install the bench and screw it down with suitably strong joint brackets. Shim the feet so its as close to level as your patience will stand. Good strong bench will seriously stiffen the floor too. Sit the lathe on top, slide the bolts through the feet and use pull out force on spacers / shims under the feet to judge if its sitting evenly. If I were it do the job again I'd use a nice flat metal bench top and bolt the lathe feet to tapped holes in larger spacer feet maybe 2 inches thick perhaps 4 inches long by 2 inches wide. SouthBends are too low to the bench for easy cleaning and the wider feet makes it easier to do the shim trick. Two 1/4" or 6 mm bolts for each of the foot / spacers rather than standard one large is easier.

Designate one the master foot, rear of headstock is hardest to get at so probably one to choose. Slip a shim under so its a bit high and lightly nip up the bolts. Shim under the other feet until it takes a smooth stiff pull to shift a 1 or 2 thou test shim. Refit the test shims or make up an equal pack and bolt down all round just enough to keep it in position. 10 - 15 ft lb will be fine.

That method was good enough for sub thou errors when initially setting up a 4 section 12 ft long optical test rail with 4 feet per section so it will work just as well on your lathe as it did on my two SouthBends.

If the lathe has its own legs same sort of trick works but you have to be more creative. Frankly I'd take lathes oth this size off their legs and just bench mount. Underdrive systems usually have asolid cabinet stand so process there is to loosen the lathe, bolt the stand down solid and then do the shim trick between lathe and cabinet.

Clive

Dave Halford21/09/2021 10:36:11
1726 forum posts
19 photos

I doubt the lathe and stand combined will be bendy enough to twist the bed.

Swarf, Mostly!21/09/2021 10:55:40
606 forum posts
62 photos

Hi there, all,

My ML7 sits on a home-made cabinet stand of braced sheet steel. Each end of the stand has a length of 1" x 1" angle iron attached at floor level. For about 20 years the stand stood on two lengths of hard felt positioned under the webs of the angle iron. I never had any difficulty truing the bed using an engineer's level.

When I moved to my present lcoation, I had to leave my previous sectional concrete workshop in 'favour' of a proprietary garden 'workshop'. We did mount that on a good level reinforced concrete slab. The workshop stands on a flimsy wooden floor on the concrete. I cut two rectangular apertures in the wooden floor and put down two strips of planed hardwood. No felt this time. Again, the lathe has been easily set true using an engineer's level. Needless to say, my activities are at hobby levels of precision but my results are usually good enough for me.

A hint: when filling in a planning application form, NEVER use the term 'workshop'. Doing so will generate in your Planning Officer's mind a mental image of paint overspray, toxic smoke, 24/7 noise and radioactive waste!!!
Far better to use terms like 'garden room for use for hobby and domestic storage purposes'. smiley smiley smiley

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Bazyle21/09/2021 12:17:50
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6038 forum posts
220 photos
Posted by Tonny Andre on 21/09/2021 10:21:05:

I did have a Chinese lathe .................................. and I saw then how much the floor gave in.

So you have a typical garden shed flimsy floor., probably joists across the space and stripwood flooring lengthways. Bearers perhaps just supported at the ends on paving slabs. Whatever you need to spread the load over more of the joists so 2x4 or 2x6 going the same direction as the floor boards front and back under the feet. Walk around your nearby streets and you may find a loft conversion or other building work chucking out some nice bits.

Tonny Andre21/09/2021 12:25:45
12 forum posts
3 photos

No I am not in a garden shed. It is actually in my workshop inside my apartment which is in a basement. The floor is most likely 2x2 timber and sheets of chipboard on top.

ega21/09/2021 13:23:00
2255 forum posts
186 photos
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 21/09/2021 10:55:40:

A hint: when filling in a planning application form, NEVER use the term 'workshop'. Doing so will generate in your Planning Officer's mind a mental image of paint overspray, toxic smoke, 24/7 noise and radioactive waste!!!
Far better to use terms like 'garden room for use for hobby and domestic storage purposes'. smiley smiley smiley

The late Gordon Stokes, woodturner, recommended the term "craft studio".

Swarf, Mostly!21/09/2021 13:26:52
606 forum posts
62 photos
Posted by ega on 21/09/2021 13:23:00:
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 21/09/2021 10:55:40:

A hint: when filling in a planning application form, NEVER use the term 'workshop'. Doing so will generate in your Planning Officer's mind a mental image of paint overspray, toxic smoke, 24/7 noise and radioactive waste!!!
Far better to use terms like 'garden room for use for hobby and domestic storage purposes'. smiley smiley smiley

The late Gordon Stokes, woodturner, recommended the term "craft studio".

I like it!! smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

old mart21/09/2021 14:30:51
3345 forum posts
208 photos

I'm with Ady1 here, the plywood will be strong and spread the load.

Bazyle21/09/2021 14:55:27
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6038 forum posts
220 photos

Chipboard suspended floor is even crapier machinewise than planks. However it might be laid over a concrete screed. You could drill a small hole, missing a joist, next to each foot and drop a threaded rod down to the ground, then arrange it to help firm up the 2x4 which I still recommend. If you can get under the chipboard then a few bricks can go right under the joists where needed

John MC21/09/2021 16:00:16
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357 forum posts
44 photos
Posted by ega on 21/09/2021 13:23:00:
Posted by Swarf, Mostly! on 21/09/2021 10:55:40:

A hint: when filling in a planning application form, NEVER use the term 'workshop'. Doing so will generate in your Planning Officer's mind a mental image of paint overspray, toxic smoke, 24/7 noise and radioactive waste!!!
Far better to use terms like 'garden room for use for hobby and domestic storage purposes'. smiley smiley smiley

The late Gordon Stokes, woodturner, recommended the term "craft studio".

When I drew the plans for my house extension I called the workshop the "playroom". Planners didn't query it. I also added an inspection pit in the garage, guaranteed to get the planners attention, again, not queried.

Did Tom Walshaw (Tubal Cain) write something about his workshop, an upstairs room with a wood floor? Might be worth finding the relevant copy of ME to see if that helps.

John

Rik Shaw21/09/2021 18:00:42
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1456 forum posts
396 photos

My workshop is what was once our garden studio. It is still a room and it is still in the garden but you get my drift OK? All timber construction with thick MDF flooring panels on sturdy timber bearers sitting on a concrete base. To further strengthen (and protect the decorative tiled original floor) the whole lot has been boarded out with T&G MDF floor panels.

Before my Warco BH600G moved in I bolted the sheet metal stand to a length of 1.5" thick kitchen worktop then the lathe was lowered on and bolted lightly.

When my friend and his men delivered the machine they found it easy enough to slide the whole heavy lot into its final position using the worktop as a skid. The skid remains bolted to the sheet metal base spreading the weight across the bearers.

I’ve used a couple of steel rods to brace the lathe to the workshop wall.

In the years I have used the machine accuracy has not been a problem but a “free floating” install such as this means I have to be mindful of the problems of out of balance set ups and speeds used before pressing “GO”. But it works for me!

Rik

Clive Hartland21/09/2021 18:55:08
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2724 forum posts
40 photos

I have set up Milling machines and lathes on a soft floor, I obtained lengths of 100 mm x 12 mm alu. plate and allowed about 150mm extra length outside the legs of the machines. No apparent problems occured.

bricky21/09/2021 19:20:07
520 forum posts
68 photos

As you are in a cellar.it sounds like the floor is layed on battens on the original cellar floor.If this is the case why not remove a section of the timber overlay and level back up with concrete.

Frank

Ebenezer Good22/09/2021 12:47:20
17 forum posts
2 photos

I'd have a good look at the floor and the beams that support it before I sat a heavy lump of metal on it! As Bricky says above see if you can get a base down, or drop some steel legs down and make some additional supports, 2x2 timbers are not going to be a good support for the floor, lathe, you and whatever else is standing on it, you really don't want to finish up going through it.

Tonny Andre22/09/2021 18:35:40
12 forum posts
3 photos

I just rent the apartment so could not open it up and make a concrete foundation. The floor was a bit better than I thought and is 2x6 beams and 3/4 chipboard. So I made a double layer of dry plank across the beams and across those again. Used plenty of screws and glue so this will have to do for now. Certainly must be better? img_20210922_185453.jpg

Edited By Tonny Andre on 22/09/2021 18:39:27

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