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levelling

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Peewee23/11/2010 13:58:16
11 forum posts
Hi All,

I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction for information on levelling a lathe.  I am sure someone on here has a thread somewhere with this in containging good tipbits of info good practise.

best regards
KWIL23/11/2010 14:24:51
3549 forum posts
70 photos
What's the problem?  Do you have a reasonable quality "engineer's level"at least a 6" one or a 10" preferably. Loosen the hold down bolts, With the level  along the front shear adjust  the levelling screw left and right front 'til level and the do the same with the level across the shear, front to back, carefully setting one end to level and then the other.  When you are satisfied that it is LEVEL, when you have tightened the hold down bolts, you can then move on to checking using a test mandrel if you have one or by turning a test piece using the carriage traverse only and checking for taper.   What make of lathe would be a good question to start with.

Edited By KWIL on 23/11/2010 14:26:36

David Clark 123/11/2010 14:54:15
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
I levelled up a Myford about 3 years ago.
You can see how here.
 
Yes it is only a cheap Stanley level but that was only to get the lathe stand reasonably level.
 
I had no problems with out of parallel.
The feet came from J&L Industrial and are excellent . Some makes of feet are not very good and no use at all in a wooden shed.
 
regards David
  

Edited By David Clark 1 on 23/11/2010 14:54:43

Peter Gain23/11/2010 19:59:33
103 forum posts
Hi David,
You refer to machine mounts supplied by J&L. Which ones? The J&L link shows several mounts. Unfortunately the site is very poorly set out & gives no info as to the different units. The prices range from £8 to £80 but give no useful data. The site appears to have been set up by someone with no technical knowledge.
Please state the ref No. or better still, another supplier who sets out his stall properly. Or am I missing something?
Regards,
Peter Gain.
David Clark 123/11/2010 20:15:49
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3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
Probably ordering code MEX-10002J.
12mm diameter stud suited my industrial stand.
I have also fitted them to my large bore Myford in a wooden shed and it is very solid, does not rock in use.
The Tom Senior mill has them too.
regards David
Bogstandard24/11/2010 06:34:15
263 forum posts
The problem isn't just the levelling, that is the easy bit. You must ensure all TWIST is removed from the machine.
 
Even large industrial jobs with massive castings twist somewhat, and most of the stuff we use in our shops are like jelly. Just see how far they cut off when you rest your hand on the headstock whilst taking a cut. A machine is for machining with, and not to be used as a lounging support. Only touch the parts that need to be whist machining.
 
I am sure that these rubber levelling mounts were made for gullible model engineers, they defeat the object of levelling. I only used them on my compressor to keep the noise down. You cannot level and remain level in use whilst sitting on rubber anti vibration mounts.
All the mini lathe owners, throw away the rubber bungs that the lathe sits on and get it mounted to something level and solid. You might find that surface finishes and keeping size improves dramatically.
 
When I was installing machines up to 65ft long and multi part, everything was levelled and twist removed by using metal to metal levelling feet. A plate with a dimple in onto the floor, a pointed adjusting screw into the dimple in the plate The plates were cast steel and great for making flywheels out of.
 
I haven't gone that far, but my levelling feet on the lathe are nothing more than eight 16mm bolts, with the heads resting onto the concrete floor, and the mill has stainless shims.  I give them a quick levelling check fairly regularly, just to make sure nothing untowards has happened. Nothing out of the ordinary in nearly three years.
 
I personally don't believe in bolting a machine to the floor in small workshops, purely because in an industrial environment, temperatures shouldn't fluctate as much as it does in our little sheds. If they are bolted down, they can easily twist out of shape as the temp rises and falls.

 
Now let's get this discussion going rather than playing about with it.
 
 
Bogs

Edited By Bogstandard on 24/11/2010 06:37:05

JasonB24/11/2010 07:29:47
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22574 forum posts
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Peter and anyone else using J&L's site. It is far easier to click on the "Virtual catalogue" than try to actually search for an item. Better still to get a paper version and spend a happy few hours thumbing through it.
 
 
Peewee, I think you are getting a WM280VF, same as mine. I work in a wooden shed so not the most solid of floors although its stood on a concrete slab. I laid two sheets of 22mm ply over the area where the lateh was to stand and shimmed these as level as possible (0.5mm/m Stabila level) and then bolted the stand down to this. I then borrowed an engineers level and shimmed the lathe to the stand as I bolted it down. I also replaced the curved central panel of the stand with a more substantial box structure which had draws made for storage as the steel plate allowed the two sides of the cabinet too much flexing.
 
Jason
Niloch24/11/2010 08:15:23
371 forum posts
Posted by Bogstandard on 24/11/2010 06:34:15:t machining.
 
I am sure that these rubber levelling mounts were made for gullible model engineers, they defeat the object of levelling.

 
 A plate with a dimple in onto the floor, a pointed adjusting screw into the dimple in the plate .

 I remember those plates but the ones I encountered had ribbed rubber bonded to the underside!!  Mind you, they were used under Boxfords and Bantams, scarcely 65feet long and they could only have been used for fairly small flywheels!!   Noise was an issue in that particular environment.

ady24/11/2010 08:45:02
612 forum posts
50 photos
If you get yourself a PROPER lathe like a Drummond M series you can bolt it to a fairy cake and it'll be fine.
 

Spareys "The Amateurs Lathe" has a complete section on lathe fitting, costs about a tenner on ebay and is a bit of a bible for the amateur.
Covers a host of issues and is a pleasure to read as well as being rather inspirational, no serious amateur should be without this book IMO.
 
I got an original from the 1950s but I used it so much I was was going to wear it out, so I got a more recent copy which can be damaged and not make me feel guilty.

Spareys book and a dial indicator will set you on the right path, most hobby lathes are prone to twist if they aint set up right.

Edited By ady on 24/11/2010 08:55:04

David Clark 124/11/2010 08:46:30
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3357 forum posts
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10 articles
Hi There
I used the feet to mount the Myfords to make sure the cabinet is level and does not rock.
The actual bolting down of the machine is to the stand.
 
The Tom senior is on a dedicated cabinet as well.
The levelling feet are not used to set the lathe or mill true.
 
We always had these feet under Colchester lathes in the factories where I worked.
regards David
Terryd24/11/2010 09:59:55
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1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by ady on 24/11/2010 08:45:02:

........Spareys "The Amateurs Lathe" has a complete section on lathe fitting, costs about a tenner on ebay and is a bit of a bible for the amateur......................

 
I got an original from the 1950s but I used it so much I was was going to wear it out, so I got a more recent copy which can be damaged and not make me feel guilty.

 

 
 
 Hi Peewee,
 
The Sparey Book is available new from Amazon for £5.82, second hand from about £3.50
 
Hi Ady,
 
   Would that 'original' be the book or the lathe?
 
Terry
 

 
Gordon W24/11/2010 10:09:33
2011 forum posts
Just a quick tip - If you have a general purpose builders level, every check should be done "both ways" ie. turn the level 180 deg. at each check, take the middle reading if any difference.
Terryd24/11/2010 11:30:15
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1936 forum posts
179 photos
Hi,
 
Another tip, if you have an IPhone or IPod Touch there is a cheap clinometer app. available (about 99p). it acts as a clinometer on it's side and a bubble level when laid flat.  It is accurate to 0.1 degree (about 1.75 mm in 1000 mm) and can be calibrated easily.  When laid flat it shows the level in both axis (i.e. at 90 deg).
 
It uses the motion sensors in the device and is very accurate and is about the same size as a small engineers level but can be combined with a parallel to extend the length.
 
You can see it here.
 
By the way it also works on the IPad (my wife has one) which is obviously much larger than the IPhone and IPad Touch.

Perhaps this should be on the 'Impecunious Engineer' thread as well
 
Terry.
 

Edited By Terryd on 24/11/2010 11:33:29

Edited By Terryd on 24/11/2010 11:39:10

KWIL24/11/2010 12:18:41
3549 forum posts
70 photos
I think the "Inpecunious Engineer" is more likely to have a spirit level than an I Phone  device or similar. For one reason, spirit levels are cheaper!! Interesting App though.
NJH24/11/2010 12:36:03
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2314 forum posts
139 photos
Yes the digital angle measures are pretty cheap & easy to use - good tip to use a parallel with them.
 
Off topic but it is a cold miserable day and this may raise a smile on the iXxx theme. It was sent to me by a friend:-
 
" Got my son an iPhone for his birthday the other week and recently my daughter got an iPod for hers. I was dead chuffed when the family clubbed together and got me an iPad for Fathers day. Got my wife an iRon for her birthday. It was around then that the fight started.......... 
 
I will now beat a hasty retreat to the workshop and check my levels 

Edited By NJH on 24/11/2010 12:36:41

Terryd24/11/2010 12:38:29
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1936 forum posts
179 photos
Posted by KWIL on 24/11/2010 12:18:41:
I think the "Inpecunious Engineer" is more likely to have a spirit level than an I Phone  device or similar. For one reason, spirit levels are cheaper!! Interesting App though.
 
 
 Hi Kwil,
 
spirit levels this accurate would be difficult to find for the 99 cents cost of the app if one already has an IPhone etc., as I said originally
 
Terry
 

Edited By Terryd on 24/11/2010 12:38:59

blowlamp24/11/2010 15:46:33
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1595 forum posts
102 photos
That IPhone app sounds pretty good Terry, but I think you'll probably agree that Peewee is going to need a proper engineers level to ensure than no twist remains once his lathe is installed.
 
Martin.
Peewee24/11/2010 19:02:19
11 forum posts

Hi All,

Thank you all for all the responses,  firstly Jason you are correct i am getting the WM280VF  finally bit the bullet.  on a second note i have the Sparey book so i will be re-reading that.  as a note i am not initially getting the machine stands but hoping to utilize the following new workbench.  See it here. I have chosen this option to gain the additional storage.  if i do need the official stands then so be it.

regards Ian

Edited By David Clark 1 on 24/11/2010 19:15:15

Clive Foster24/11/2010 21:50:11
3104 forum posts
107 photos
There is considerable over-emphasis in Model Engineer and Home Shop Machinist circles over the concept of levelling = setting dead nuts level.  As Bogstandard says the object is firstly to mount the thing sufficiently rigidly to ensure that there are no cutting force generated  inaccuracies and then to ensure that bolting down doesn't twist the bed inducing geometrical errors.  Level is just an easy way of seeing if you are pulling things out of shape when bolting down.
 
First thing to note is that a precision level is one of the most monumentally frustrating things to use ever invented.  Far better to get an adjustable clinometer with a sensitive bubble.  Mine is Ministry Issue dated 1944 Ref no 18/4235, base is about 7" x 1", vial 30 seconds per 1/8" division and adjustment range 10° with degree an minute scales.  In some ways a 20 second vial would be better but this does me just fine.  Use done for years in wage slave days to set-up seriously precise optical experiments.  If anyone knows a reliable one off  source of appropriately sensitive vials it would be a nice MEW project.
 
Secondly you need a good flat bench-top to set your lathe on.  Preferably a "dead" material which doesn't ring or vibrate.  Given the purpose its made for decent quality kitchen worktop is indecently flat unless badly stored.  Pretty oil and damp proof too, lasts for 20 years in ye olde gaden shed shop to my certain knowledge.  Use a chunk of that for your bench top, take pains to get it nicely supported and sit the lathe on it with adequately large pads under the feet.  It will sit mostly, or only, on three feet.  With thinking cap on tight, its not that hard to get it sitting near as dammit equally on all feet by careful playing with shims and feeler gauges.  Careful tightening down, with exploratory probing with feelers should hold the alignment.  Unless the lathe is in a very sad way you should be in the region of a couple of thou taper over the bed length.  Nice to trim it better but perfectly acceptable most of the time.  Long work will be tail stock supported anyway.
 
If you have a white target and a decent throw a cheap laser pointer makes a good error indicator.  Clamp it to the tail stock with enough offset to clear the head or on centre and fire straight thu the hole.  You will see any serious  move as you tighten down.
 
Clive 
Howard Jones25/11/2010 10:31:16
70 forum posts
112 photos
my hercus sits on the floor because I havent had the opportunity to bolt it to the floor.
I havent noticed much of a problem.
 
my hafco HM50 mill is leveled to perfection and I have to tell you that I wish it wasnt.
I cant get the coolant to flow out of the Tee slots in the table.
if I'd thought about it before I would have put the drain hole in the table 5mm lower than the other sides each way. that way it wouldnt take an overnight spell to get the table drained of coolant so that I could scoop out the swarf.
 
BUT ...perfection is said to be its own reward   I wish I knew what the reward was.

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