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Mori MS-850 Center height?


Cast Iron
Jan 15, 2011
SF Bay
HI guys,

On that Mori MS-850, where I'm rehabbing the brakes. (final details on that when the new brake pistons show up next week...)
The original owner had really tricked it out. One of the things he made...turned out not to be for the Mori at all, but it was still a neat idea.

It was just a 2" cylinder of steel, with a steel rod sticking out the end, and a bit of flat ground stock sticking off the end, like a flag.
The point of it was so that the underside of that ground 'flag' was a certain distance above the flat saddle of the lathe it was made for.
So you could use it to set your tools for center.
I know a lot of guys who use old height gauges for that, and that's what I've done until now, but a purpose built tool has two advantages.
1) nobody's going to nick it to use for something else, and
2) it's not going to get knocked out of adjustment while it lives in a drawer somewhere.
(3) it's smaller and more compact than a height gauge. Better storage.)

This particular unit isn't the right height for this Mori. (He had other machines)
But it's still a neat idea, and having seen it, I want to make one.

So, anybody know off the top of their head what the 'official' height between center and the top of the saddle on an MS-850 should be?

I can measure it, and certainly will, but if anybody knows the 'official' number, that'd be a good reality check.



May 26, 2012
Windsor CA
Just checked my MS 850 manual. The distance from spindle center to the top of the saddle is not given as a spec. The distance from center to top of way is 215mm. That's really not accurate enough for setting tool height.

There are lotsa methods for setting tool height which do not involve special tools or fixtures. My favorite is the good ol' 6 in scale trick. But take care to use a light touch (especially with inserts) to prevent chipping the tool, and take extra care to not drop the scale into the chip pan. I like to hold it from underneath.

I've seen guys make a little height gage out of a block, or you can transfer the height from the center (for example, a center in the tailstock) using a surface gage, but I wouldn't want to get my surface gage all full of chips and coolant/oil.

There is a cute gadget you can get from Edge Technologies if you gotta have a tool. It has a bubble level that tells you when the height is correct, but you must calibrate it if your lathe is not level across the apron. Go ahead and spend $20 on it! But you can then drop it in the chip pan and get your cool little red anodized aluminum (Machined from billet!!!!)thingy all full of chips, oil and coolant.

It is wise to avoid using things like the above. It isn't really necessary. Be old school!