Leveling a lathe, can't get it perfect??? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Don't want to drill in to the new concrete? Well, good luck.

    Another thing that I have done to ensure that a machine does not move around was to secure it to the wall. A (welded?) metal frame bolted to the wall and extending out to the machine.

    Without securing it down to one and only one location, I would not bother doing anything else as it is sure to change sooner or later and all your effort will be totally wasted. But, suit yourself.

    The other alternative is to devise some kind of platform with three point support so the machine can find it's own position and then try to make adjustments somehow above that level. But there are no guarantees there. You will be trying to straighten out a cast iron bed with forces that are originating from that platform so it would need to be at least as stout as the bed. Again, good luck.



    Quote Originally Posted by Laverda View Post
    Flat part of bed-ways stoned and cleaned. 12" long granite parallels put on bed to get level over V ways. It is a Victor made in 1976 and taken care of by the original owner so has no crashes or abuse. It replaced a Monarch. The base is also cast iron so along with it and the bed it does not bend easy so I see my only option to get it perfect is to bolt it to the floor. Unfortunately I don't want to drill in to my new concrete with epoxy coating.

    Attachment 255037

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laverda View Post
    Flat part of bed-ways stoned and cleaned. 12" long granite parallels put on bed to get level over V ways. It is a Victor made in 1976 and taken care of by the original owner so has no crashes or abuse. It replaced a Monarch. The base is also cast iron so along with it and the bed it does not bend easy so I see my only option to get it perfect is to bolt it to the floor. Unfortunately I don't want to drill in to my new concrete with epoxy coating.

    Attachment 255037
    If the bed is not coming level and you are jacking the cabinet feet, it is easy for me to understand why. You are jacking in the wrong place. Your lathe is mounted on a cabinet. You need to level the cabinet (roughly) with the feet. Then level the bed to the cabinet (exactly). I suspect that if you remove the bed bolts to the cabinet at the TS end, you will find shims underneath. It is those shims that need to be adjusted to level the bed, not the cabinet feet. The easy way to do that is to drill and tap two holes in the bed casting at the TS end next to the mounting bolts. Then use jacking screws in those holes to tweek the bed straight. After you have the bed straight, measure any gap with feeler gauges and then make up the correct shim pack. Easy peasy!

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  4. #23
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    You don't want to bend a lathe based on a comparison between the tailstock and carriage flat ways. Sure, its easy. But that is not the answer you need. The tailstock ways may have far different wear than the carriage ways. Proper comparisons between pairs of ways can be made with a Kingway alignment jig.

    You will be far better off by putting the level on the carriage and moving the carriage from one end to the other and using that information to minimize the twist.

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  6. #24
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    If it was sitting twisted for years the machine will move for a while once you get it with-in .0015". It also depends on what your going to do with it, shorts near the chuck, drill on shorts or use the tail stock and turn shafts? Plus the bed on an old lather is worn up by the chuck and will never be any good if it is aligned using a level. A simple method is to follow the method below. I use the final leveling part even when rough leveling. As you set the level on the cross-slide or saddle wings as this way will follow the path of the tool. If you doing shorts 90% of the time twist the bed out of alignment so as Limy said take test cuts and twist the bed so you cut straight. http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/2104/3558.pdf

    also here is some info on alignment and leveling. scroll down to page 13 and see how we do test cuts. I know it's a Turret lathe, but the principal is the same. http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/2261/3760.pdf

    If it is useful to you donate some money to this site.

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  8. #25
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    For what it's worth, the Kitamura horizontal mill I worked on required steel pads to be epoxied to the floor, then sat on studs coming out of those pads. It didn't touch the floor at all, it sat on nuts on those studs that were used to pull it down or up as needed to get the frame level. The new Bridgeport mill got the same treatment as 2 of it's 6 feet wouldn't come down on their own. And all of the swiss and mutiaxis lathes in the shop were hard bolted to the floor, only the chinesium manual lathe in the corner was just left to sit there, and it was only really used to point bars for the bar feeders. And I totally agree, cast iron is not really rigid, it's just not very flexible. I have worked on plenty of heavy cast iron machines that flopped around like wet noodles once you put some real force into them. Don't forget, cast iron surface plates need to be placed on their 3 feet because they will straight up sag to their own weight to a noticeable degree. And if I recall, cast iron straight edges are a fine balance between adding enough strength that they don't droop and keeping the weight to a reasonable amount. I am a firm believer that all machines should be bolted to the floor whenever possible, I have seen 600-800 ton capacity die cast machines jump off the floor because they were being pushed so hard, that's not a good way to keep things stable...

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    Asothers said, do a turn or bore, find where you are. When time to level, loose the bolts holding lathe to the base. Check for level. If it moved, level,then shim between lathe and base pads as needed until the bolts holding lathe to base can be tightened without changing reading.
    Also,be patient. It could take a year for the bed to relax.
    Since you're on a slab, you may find level changes with the seasons-the slab moves. The Monarch 610 16x30 I ran at the old shop sat on a slab,required periodic releveling to keep it straight. In the old, old building (Jack&Heintz days) the DeVliegs were set on six foot thick pads isolated from the rest of the floor. Once level, they never moved.

  11. #27
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    I totally agree with putting the level on the carriage. There is absolutely no guarantee that the flats on the top of the ways are a good reference. The carriage rides on the Vees and/or a wide flat and those are the best place to level. Using the carriage itself is the most convenient way to do that.



    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    You don't want to bend a lathe based on a comparison between the tailstock and carriage flat ways. Sure, its easy. But that is not the answer you need. The tailstock ways may have far different wear than the carriage ways. Proper comparisons between pairs of ways can be made with a Kingway alignment jig.

    You will be far better off by putting the level on the carriage and moving the carriage from one end to the other and using that information to minimize the twist.

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  13. #28
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    True level:
    YouTube

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    Here is a relevant video published today: YouTube

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    The video doesn't deal with headstock alignment in the horizontal plane.

    Regards Tyrone.

  17. #32
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    An update on getting the lathe level. Three months ago when I posted the question and after many hours of trying to get it perfect, I took a test cut on a 3" diameter piece of 6061. It was cutting a .0004" taper per foot. Now after sitting three months I took another cut on the same piece and it's now cutting a .0001" taper per foot. The first eight inches out from the chuck it cuts no taper that I can measure. So the lathe has removed the twist by itself. I was told it would happen but did not believe it. That is the best this 43 year old lathe has ever worked since I have owned it!

    Thanks all!

  18. #33
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    For some reason people here laugh at me but I tell everyone they live in a seismic zone so bolt it down. If you want just finger tight the bolts just enough that it will not fall over in a quake or if hit by a forklift or unbalanced workpiece spinning out of control. A lathe is top heavy and tends to fall on it's face and break lots of levers and parts inside the apron. A few drop anchors will prevent that.
    Same as strapping down the water heater and using flex gas line for it .
    Bill D.

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    I have a Webb WL-435 (17x40), it had a twist in the base casting that gravity wouldn't pull out. I have it sitting on 3.5" tall steel blocks to get the controls up where I could reach them with out stooping. I ended up making a weldment from 3 x 1/4 wall sq tubing that bolted hold down holes in the tailstock end leveling jacks. The weldment sticks out behind the lathe moving the rear ground support 24" further away, its flush on the front. Before the jacks were 18" apart. Now it is level end - end. Eventually I'm going to weld an upright to the weldment that will support a revolving QC tool holder storage rack. And I didn't have to drill holes in my garage floor.

  20. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laverda View Post
    The base is also cast iron so along with it and the bed it does not bend easy so I see my only option to get it perfect is to bolt it to the floor.
    You can shim between the base and the bed. I have found shims in Monarch lathes at the bolt locations, so I know it is a solution that has been used. When I installed a new bed on my 59 10EE, I had about .001" of twist in the bed, measured by putting a level on a newly rebuilt saddle and running the saddle up and down the lathe. a .001" shim at the right rear bolt solved the twist problem.


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