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Setting up a swivel mill bed & vice

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Chris Mate06/01/2022 16:27:38
137 forum posts
32 photos

Ok< so I know the ZAY7045M with swivel bed is going to be different, so for last 2 days I played with setting up the vice with a .01 Dial Test Indicator.

My 1st attemp went good.
-I lined the bed up with its zero mark.
-I placed the vortex 4 vice in the centre of the bed, slightly tighten one bolt.
-I then tram the vice with not too much difficulty so needle run virtually steady.

My 2nd attemp was a disaster.
-I loosen the bed it can swing 45-0-45.
-I try to trim the bed from spindle to its front side which seems nicely grinded. This was a battle, I do it as good I as could, ignoring the zero mark.
-I got this to a non satisfactory standard.
-I then try to true the vice..No real luck.
--I made a centre point which you screw into the table, like a T-Nut with a round face sticking out and sits into the vice centre which is also a centre through the two bolts tightning it, so that was good.
--With this I saw the vice centre in the centre under the spindle centre as zero, the dial test indicator swings out both sides. There was no way I could get the vice trammed near good enough.

My 3rd attemp. Quick and easy.
-I loosen the bed again, clamp a precission square I had(New) and true the bed up to that, which went well, and no swing of needle. Good eough at .01.
-I then tram the vice. With the bed square, it went easy, no deflecttion of needle at .01, so good enough.

I know that my trueing is probably limited to the vice jaw with and the square lenght.

So what I learned from this is, if the bed is not squared well, you battle to get the vice trammed. This effort gave the results I wanted, better than 1st attemp.

So in future I must get a longer preceission piece to clamp in vice, as well as a larger square to get more precission. I also made two 20x30xbed size steel plates to bolt both sides of vice in made up t-slots, so my plan here is to mill the vice sides as well as these steel plates to keep the vice in position, if I need to remove it. I will see if this work as planned. I can bolt other stuff like stops to these plates, I can also add adjusting screws to adjust the vice instead of tapping it.

It was interesting to see theres a quick way out if I do it in steps, so if I battle with the vice, the bed must be out.


Nex t time to tram the head and flatness from spindle perspective.
Will have to think about this.

Edited By Chris Mate on 06/01/2022 16:29:26

Edited By Chris Mate on 06/01/2022 16:31:02

Howard Lewis06/01/2022 17:54:27
6024 forum posts
14 photos

Soime of the following may be able to be reverse engineed as a technique to align the bed, but it all depend s on clocking the bed into perfect alignment for a start.

I too use a Vertex K4 vice.

Turn up two pillars, and turn down the lower ends to a snug fit in the T slots in the table.(The "dowel" diameter should not protrude below the top ,of the T slot ) Face both ends and drill right through at clearance for the fasteners that you intend to use. I use long M8 bolts, but M8 studding and nuts should suffice.

Fit a "cross bar" between the pillars, at such a height that will place it at a suitable height in the jaws of the vice. I cut Vees into the cross bar to locate it to the pillars, and drilled through the crossbar and tapped the pillars, to ensure that the crossbar would be parallel to the table when all three were clamped together.

Once this is done, machine a narrow flat along each side of the cross bar, between the pillars.

This gives a surface which is the plane in which the table moves, relative to the spindle.

To fit and align the vice, place the vice on the table, over the studs which will clamp it (Using Tee nuts and bolts makes life easier ) and then clamp the pillars and cross bar,"Goal " assemble loosely in the vice and secure it to the table, using the bolts through the pillars.

Clamp the vice to the crrossbar and tighten the fasteners to secure the vice to the table.

Slacken the vice, and remove the fasteners in the pillars and remove the "Goalpost".

Based on my experience, the vice should be aligned on the table, within a "thou".

See the second of my albums for a picture of the set up.

Having once done this, in future, it may be possible to "reverse engineer".the arrangement to bring the table into alignment..

The alignment will only be as good as the original alignment of the table, since this is the datum used to make the Vice Alignment Fixture.


Chris Mate06/01/2022 18:15:52
137 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks, my mill bed has 4x T-Slot rows. I looked at it and the near 2 rows is slightly different gap than the last two, and their insides the sides does not seems ground 100%, not sure I can trust the accuracy here. The gap is around 16mm, so a 16mm both can go through, slip fit last two rows and somwhat loose 1st two rows.

I have the Vertex VA-4 vice. It was twice the price of a similar anglock vice from China, this one from Taiwan, I think its a nice one.

From your experience if these T-Slot groves are not 100% accurate, how will it effect your idea-?

Edited By Chris Mate on 06/01/2022 18:20:07

Howard Lewis06/01/2022 18:34:36
6024 forum posts
14 photos

I only use one row of slots, as shown.

Never found the need to use any others..

If you are that worried about the need to use all the slots, align the table and skim the other slots out to the width of the widest slot and then make the pillars to suit.

The essential thing is that the bottom of the pillars are snug fit in the T slot. Effectively you are turning the bottom end to act as a dowel to locate the pillar.

You then skim the crossbar to have surfaces which are in the plane of travel of the table.

In your case, you need to align the table accurately to begin with.

So if you decide to skim the slots out to that of the widest slot, you clock off the newly machined surface of the slot, as your datum for the future.

Have you tried clocking off the outer surface of the table to align it, and then clocked the T slots for parallelism to the datum?

Hopefully you will ,find that at least one of the T slots is parallel to the outer surfaces of the table.

Once you have a datum which aligns the table, you reference everything else in that plane from that datum.

Hopefully, the outer surface of the table was machined at the same time as the T slots.

You decide which is your datum surface.

(I made up what I call an "infinite vice". This has cheeks which locate the fixed, and moving, jaws against the outer surfaces of my mill table. As far as I can tell, there has never been a problem with misalignment. )

But you never know what abuse / modifications a used machine has been subjected to. So worth spending time checking alignments, parallelism etc before committing to real work.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 06/01/2022 18:37:18

Chris Mate06/01/2022 19:06:42
137 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks, I think I will 1st get it accurately set to where I am happy with it. Then I will cut a test square and measure it. I must also see if the swivel table(2x bolts) stay tuned when mill is used.
After that I will consider cutting the table and go further. This is a new Drill/Mill type and I am still busy doing some mods to catch chips and drain coolant etc, and buying tools that go with it. Its eating some money every month, most fuel money I don't drive.

Emgee06/01/2022 19:07:23
2406 forum posts
285 photos


I found as Howard says the back of table X axis face was parallel to the Tee slots on my Victoria Universal mill so after using with the table angled I would release the rotation clamps and set the table to 0 degrees on the indices, touch the rotational securing screws down but allow the table to rotate, hold a parallel bar between the back of the table and the face of the Z axis flat faced column and move in the Y axis until the parallel bar is held firmly.
Tighten the rotational locking screws and check with a DTI for accuracy of movement.

All bets off for this method if your mill has a round column.


Chris Gunn06/01/2022 19:36:50
429 forum posts
27 photos

Chris, when you have got the machine table running as true as you are happy with, consider drilling a hole in a suitable spot if there is one, through the joint between table and its support. and drill a hole into both halves and ream it for a taper pin, and put a taper pin in. Drill a hole in the big end of the pin and insert a split ring or a roll pin so you can pull the pin out when you want to swivel the table.

In the future after you have moved the table and you want the table square again, just tap in the taper pin in the hole. Many industrial machines have taper pins fitted to hold vertical heads square as well.

Chris Gunn

Howard Lewis06/01/2022 19:41:47
6024 forum posts
14 photos

If the machine is new, the gibs should be correctly adjusted from the factory.

If they are slack, you will never get repeatable, results If the machine is used, wear will be present which will make life more difficult. Ideally, the extreme ends will show least wear and can be used for setting.up.

Te objective is is to align the table so that the ends of the table surface are the same distance from the spindle,

ie the table surface is parallel to the plane in which it moves. In this way, the clock should read Zero at both ends of the travel...

Once you have established that the surface being used as a Datum is the same distance from the spindle at both ends of the travel, it should be locked in that position in the Y plane. Since the table is not being moved in the Y plane, (ideally locked there) it should not matter whether the column is dovetail or round. the distance is is constant; the only variable is the angle of the datum surface might be relative to the plane of movement in the X plane.

Having aligned the table, the T slots can be checked for parallelism to that datum surface.

If they are not, each surface should be skimmed, so that it just cleans up. The newly machined surface is the parallel to the datum.

You can then skim the other side of the T slot to clean it up in the same way.

When all the T slots have been skimmed to be parallel, then you can measure width, prior to opening up the narrow ones to the the width of the widest.

You should then have four T slots that are parallel to the datum surface, and parallel in width. It does not matter particularly if the slots are now 16.2 mm or so wide where they are a nominal 16 mm.

Within reason, the nuts do not need to be an air tight fit in the T slot. In fact, with the pillars being used as dowels, you do not use T nuts. My device is clamped by two discs, with two flats to make them a sliding fit in the bottom of the slot, and tapped to take the securing bolts..

You then turn the bottom end of the pillars to be a snug fit in the T slot, it is essential that they are, since they are the dowels locating the pillars, to which the crossbar is located by the V slots on it...

If they are not you will not get repeatable results.when you align the vice.

The accuracy of these operations determines the accuracy of any future operations.


Emgee06/01/2022 20:23:29
2406 forum posts
285 photos


If you decide to mill material from the Tee slot bear in mind you won't be able to machine the full length of the slot using the vertical milling feature of the machine.


Chris Mate06/01/2022 21:22:44
137 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks, a lot to consider. At the moment I have a plan and made it partially, thats "flexable" in the sense that I need to mill the vice sides just to get good contact, and the 2 bars I bolt with 4x 12mm bolts to T-slots on both sides of the vice, they need to be machined too.

My theory is if the vice is trammed, I just shift them stiff against both sides of the vice which is located on a bolted centre pin to T-slot in centre of table. So I if take out the vice it goes in a specific position back on the table & if I remove the vice maybe I dont need to remove the 2x bars to clamp something with the clamping kit over it, I surely need to lift it off the table in any case, so if I mill the tops flats of the bars with the table/spindle they can serve a sendary purpose and be ready foir the vice again.

I like the tapered pin idea, and if my location idea turn out a failure, I look at the other ideas given, thanks.

I will have to see if this is repeatable for vice and works out mostly, maybe I need to remove one only sometimes. Will post a photo of it.

Chris Mate10/01/2022 16:31:12
137 forum posts
32 photos

Mill with Swivel Bed-ZAY7045M
-No hammers or mallets to tap on vice.

So today I modified my "centre dowl" for the vice to swing around a centre point for easy calibation square to the swivel bed of the mill. It has pros and cons.

0-The swivel bed must be adjusted square 1st, otherwise you don't get the vice 100% square.

Put vice on a centre point:
1-The "centre dowl" had a play so i have to tap the vice on the back also. To eliminate this problem, I turned the 15mm sticking out above the table down somewhat to 20mm. I then made a 3.5 mm sleeve from a bronze rod I had, bore it out to a press fit. I then turn the bronze outside diameter down for a slip fit into the vice no play.
-So now the vice swivel around this point which is in line with the vice 2x clamping bolts/positions to the table with no play.

Adjust vice like a 4x jaw chuck:
2-The 2 x flat bars I made to sit on each side of the vice 20mm x 30mm x table bed with and screw to table with 4x bolts/T-Nuts for each groove, I drilled a hole on the handle side towards the vice horizontally, sink & thread 2x 8mm hex bolts with a spring for each to keep them stiff. Now with these two bolts I can adjust the vice around the pivit point very accurately with relative ease like a 4x jaw chuck.
-I takes 3 moves and I cn adjust that the needle run dead still no movement from the one end of the fix jaw of the vice to the other end...No tapping with mallet.
-I tighten the vice csrews slightly both in this case.
-I then run the bed and indicator and adjust one of the two screws on one bar, then the other one till needle is still whole way.
-I then tighten th vice nuts zig zag pattern till tight and recheck.
-I like this.


1-No tapping, get 100% accurate reading at dial indicator at.01mm.
2-For this method, neither the vice sides, not the 2x flat bars needs to be milled/grinded precisely square, other than the bottom of the flat bars resting on the mill bed/table.

Cons=The con I can see so far is say I want to mill a 45 degree corner at the end of a piece of metal, I will have to remove the vice, remove the centre point, and swivel the vice, this is not the same as swivilling the bed as far as I understand, so I cannot achive this by swivelling the bed at 45 degrees seeing it then still travel around the spindle with vice squared to the bed.
-I am not sure how many times in future I will need to do this. If it becomes a nuisance I am back to square-1.

Next:The bed fine adjustment.
-I must get a larger precission square for initial lineup.
-I think i now understand the trade off/inter dependance of the vice jaw and the swivel bed alignment.
Next similar thing to do: I think next I am going to find a way to make 2x adjuster for the bed on the front side to calibrate tit 100% square without tapping the bed. I have an idea to make it so it can just flip out of the way should I want to swivel the bed to X- Degrees.

Note:I think if I say one can compare the swivel bed effect, like that of the lathe topslide degree adjustment and using it to cut at angle. If the cross slide is used, it does not cut at an angle, something like this for the mill.So if you swivel the bed, its not the same as swivelling the vice as you run the bed and cut.

Note:Just for interest sake seeing this is a swivel bed, say I have bought a fixed bed mill and the horizontal plane left to right-right to left is out by factory, I assume I will battle to get the vice trammed 100% square-??

Correct me where I am wrong in understanding this, will appreciate it.

Howard Lewis10/01/2022 17:26:42
6024 forum posts
14 photos

The swivel facility, wither in the bed, or the vice allows you to mill parts at an angle.

So if you wanted to make a centre square, for the 45 degree faces, the vice or table (Not both ) would be set to 45 degrees and the faces milled. having set the work at 45 degrees to the path of the cutter,, a 90 degree angle could be produced, by milling first on one axis, and then in the other..

End result will be faces at 45 degrees to the outer faces of the workpiece, but at 90 degrees to each other..

left to my own devices, I would be inclined to tramm the table ,so mthat it is minline mwith the X axis, and leave it unless it HAS to be moved.

Wherever possible, any angled face would be produced by rotating the vice on its base. (Afterwards it can be reset either by clocking or a "goalpost" device as |I use.

the other way to produce man angles face, is to set the work at anf angle to the horizontal and mill across the top.

Since you have not got a mallet, either buy a copper/hide , or make a brass headed one. You will find such a tool very useful, and knot only kinder to your hands, but a means of making small adjustments. You will soon learn how hard to hit to make a small adjustment which is more precise than a bare hand.

You will need a mallet to break tapers, quite regularly.


Chris Mate10/01/2022 19:51:16
137 forum posts
32 photos

Hi Howard,

Later on I want to mill manually a catchplate for oil regarding my Lathe gearbox of which I have a prototype like made of expereimental pieces bolted together with certain shapes & holes & 3 sections to catch oil splashed upwards from 3 gear positions representing splashing in lowest, faster, fastest gears forwards. The splash pattern is different for each type of speed. The thing is constructed in such a way it deliver the oil to both spindle bearings constantly without any moving parts. It works like a charm for a few months now. My current top is wood frame with a 6mm glass inserted.

Its a long story but I discovered spindle bearings do not get oiled as I though would happen after I seen it through the glass. I just do this because it interested me.

One reason I bought the swivel bed mill, is I cannot see how I can mill certain angles inside the square top of the gearbox (thick aliminium plate)applicable after the outside diameters, and 6mm lowered indent is milled to accommedate a glass window so I can again see whats going on. I need the vice to travel with the bed(Swivel left to right-right to left) plane at an angle (Apart from 3 degree angles up/downwardst o make oil flow) to accomplish that. My understanding is that if I horizontally swing the vice, and not the bed, it will just cut as a lathe do when you select the cross slide(Always with lathe bead to headstock) instead of the topslide(Angled).

I may be wrong in my understanding of this, but will proof it as soon as I actually can mill, still buying stuff, I have patience and dont want to plow a lot of money in one go at it.


Edited By Chris Mate on 10/01/2022 19:54:39

Howard Lewis11/01/2022 13:15:26
6024 forum posts
14 photos

If you swing the vice, the face that you machine will be cut at whatever angle to which the vice has been set.

As an example, if work is held in the vice when it has been swivelled 45 degrees from parallel to the X or Y axis,

the milling cutter will cut along that axis, but the depth of cut will vary from one end of the cut to the other.

So as subsequent cuts are taken, the angled face will become longer.

It does not matter whether the vice is parallel to the angled table, or if the table is parallel and the vice is at an angle.

The end result is the same.

To my simple mind, setting the vice at an angle is the easier way of doing things, if only because setting the vice parallel afterwards is so much easier to do.

If you want mill at a compound angle to cause the oil to drain into the bearings, you can either use an end mill with an angled face (the easy way, or pack the base of the vice up at an angle, and the swivel it for the other angle.

As Radio Amateurs say "Keep it Simple" the more complications that you introduce, the greater the risk of errors.


Chris Mate11/01/2022 16:00:14
137 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks, the angled mill will serve a purpose, however in this case I must clamp it to the table(Too big for vice) at various angles, separate operations to reproduce what I made up already, in this case the end result will be simple, one lid with a glass(New visible refective part for oil kicking back from). I have to mill it from the bottomside as well. Theres no way I can do this quickly. Thers going to be flat surfces at an angles pointing o each other with a drainage path leading to a cross over drainage U channel delivering the oil to the spindle bearings. One vtrick is the holes chamferred from the bottom but flash from the top.-The oil shoots in the hole morec easily it can flow back as holes are tilted as well, the size of the hole matters to thickness of oil.

So the end result will be simple=One lid with a glass and the oil catch concept in it/part of it. LId take off, this is removed too. At monent it works like this but is two parts, I don't want any screwes/3mm bolts anyehere in the design, that may be a risk .
Note: I had to fit a tank(small inside the gearbox with 4mm holes in the bottom for drainage. Itwork like this.
-I fill the gearbox with more oil.
-I fitted a vertical oil indicator to see how tank works and oil level stationary.
-I lower gears oil (68) is kicked up high due to higher level and catched, but the tank dont get filled and it has no effect on motor power due to lower gears chosen.
-At higher gears the tank is quicklt filled(4 seconds) and it stays full, lowering the oil level so mtor is not dragged by oil. The oil level indicator quickly drains to lowest mark which is original level for gearbox.
as the tank is filled it keeps on draining, till motor i stopped. Then it drains empty and level is back high again.
Not all gearboxes will be able to have an internal tank, but external will be just as good.

--Catching oil is not a 100% effort, every catch point does block oil upwards as well, but 50% is enough, oil is somewhat stored over the whole path catched as well. If motor is stopped oil run for few minutes down from here through spindle bearings.

-Grease=Why not grease in spindle as manual indicates=Well the spindle bearins are open to the inside and sideway splashes from the inside washes over thime the grease out, some of the grease block the drain holes making the bearings leak put as well, now i does not leak out anymore. If the bearings was not open to the inside, the grease of spindle would have made sennse in this lathe.

I think I may learn a lot trying to make it. I will have to reposition the part multiple times.

Note:The vice will not be part of this.
Thought if I want to swivel the vice, I just remove the two clampling bolts to T-Nuts(No T-NUT-Stud used here) and leave the vice on centre dowl but clamp it with the clamping set or a less space taking made up clamp effort, I forget I can do this.

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