Making lathe bench - opinions wanted
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    Default Making lathe bench - opinions wanted

    Hey guys, Iím making a bench for my lathe. Trying to use up materials I have lying around. I have a couple different options and wanted to see how you folks would use the available materials.

    Hereís what I have:




    Originally I planned on just putting the top on the legs in second picture and being done. But thatís pretty thin metal and flexes. Thought about reinforcing it with steel too.

    The pedestal is nice and heavy. And I think that would help give the small lathe some rigidity.

    Maybe pedestal on headstock end and legs on other?

    Just wanted to hear some opinions. Thanks.

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    Use pedestal under headsock, and 1 or 2 of the legs under rest of machine. Weld in some bracing between the legs for shelving or drawers. Maybe an X on backside. Do not see anything in pics suitable for a table top. At minimum for top laminate some 2x4's on edge, butcher block style, you will need a friend with a planer.

    I mounted my little Logan on a wood top, sheet metal base a few years ago, I'm really not happy with it, it wiggles and squirms. I've got a little set of cast iron legs robbed off a dead lathe, thinking of using them with a 4" reinforced concrete slab for a top.

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    Those sewing machine legs in the 2nd picture are way too flimsy for any machine tool IMO.

    Honesty, anything that can rigidly take the weight is a contender. Consider that if you plan to level the lathe from where the bed meets the stand, or where the stand meets the floor, you need one of them to be rock solid for the others to follow. Really good lathe beds still flex, that's just what they do, and you'd be surprised how much your concrete floor will move between seasons. We're talking in terms of .001" so if your stand can wiggle .250", you have that much MORE to fuss with.

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    Default Making lathe bench - opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Use pedestal under headsock, and 1 or 2 of the legs under rest of machine. Weld in some bracing between the legs for shelving or drawers. Maybe an X on backside. Do not see anything in pics suitable for a table top. At minimum for top laminate some 2x4's on edge, butcher block style, you will need a friend with a planer.

    I mounted my little Logan on a wood top, sheet metal base a few years ago, I'm really not happy with it, it wiggles and squirms. I've got a little set of cast iron legs robbed off a dead lathe, thinking of using them with a 4" reinforced concrete slab for a top.
    You donít think the top I made will work? It is 3x3x3 end grain red pine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    Those sewing machine legs in the 2nd picture are way too flimsy for any machine tool IMO.

    Honesty, anything that can rigidly take the weight is a contender. Consider that if you plan to level the lathe from where the bed meets the stand, or where the stand meets the floor, you need one of them to be rock solid for the others to follow. Really good lathe beds still flex, that's just what they do, and you'd be surprised how much your concrete floor will move between seasons. We're talking in terms of .001" so if your stand can wiggle .250", you have that much MORE to fuss with.
    Thatís what I was thinking when I started looking closer at it. Maybe it will make a workbench or something one day.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoriMillMan View Post
    You don’t think the top I made will work? It is 3x3x3 end grain red pine.
    Sorry, pics don't always tell the whole story, I thought that was plastic laminate over compressed sawdust. If that is solid wood, it will probably do, just hope you used really good glue! That is a nice piece, but hesitant to say it would be good in this application.

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    I like wooden benches. While my other three lathes have built in cabinets, for my smallest machine (converted to CNC) I've built this wooden bench. It is shared with a small horizontal mill - both the lathe and the mill are my first machines dating back to almost 50 years.
    Wooden bench is quiet and nice on dropped on it tools. There is small stainless tray under the lathe to collect coolant (removed in the photo). the bench is made out of Douglas Fir and is very rigid and bolted to the floor.

    maximat.jpg
    Last edited by Wlodek; 04-20-2019 at 12:29 AM.

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    I suffered with a South Bend light 10 on a wood bench enough to cure me of such setups. The only way to make such a lathe really usable is to mount it on a piece of steel plate, 1/2" or more thick. Forget about wood. It changes size with the seasons and humidity. Adding the base to form a rigid torque box is like making it a different machine. Once you do that, you can put it on whatever legs you want. Pay the price for a plate wider than the mountings and shim it to remove the twist as checked with a precision level. There are a number of posts on the subject here. A few years ago Carla posted instructions for stabilizing light lathes issued by the government in WWII. With the need for wartime production, many light lathes were being pressed into service they were unsuited for. The war dept. recommended a concrete base, but that is a bit of overkill.

    Bill

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    Bridge mount the beastie. Pedestal under the headstock and another pedestal, maybe 4" pipe under the tailstock. Of course both pedestals affixed to the floor. Expansion bolts, epoxy, what ever makes sense to you. Pans underneath are to catch coolant, swarf, etc.

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    What size is your lathe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hodge View Post
    What size is your lathe?
    It is 4.5Ē to the center and 4í bed

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    This would be much better over at one of the homeshop forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    This would be much better over at one of the homeshop forums.
    Whyís that

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Sorry, pics don't always tell the whole story, I thought that was plastic laminate over compressed sawdust. If that is solid wood, it will probably do, just hope you used really good glue! That is a nice piece, but hesitant to say it would be good in this application.
    Yep used tightbond type 2 I believe it was

    I read somewhere that end grain like that would make the wood more stable and less prone to growing and shrinking. Thatís why I made it that way, not for looks.

    Iíll just have to try it out and if I think it would improve the functionality of the lathe Iíll replace it with an alternative material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wlodek View Post
    I like wooden benches. While my other three lathes have built in cabinets, for my smallest machine (converted to CNC) I've built this wooden bench. It is shared with a small horizontal mill - both the lathe and the mill are my first machines dating back to almost 50 years.
    Wooden bench is quiet and nice on dropped on it tools. There is small stainless tray under the lathe to collect coolant (removed in the photo). the bench is made out of Douglas Fir and is very rigid and bolted to the floor.

    maximat.jpg
    I like that. Nice and simple. Have you had issues caused by using wood?

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    Consider that if you plan to level the lathe from where the bed meets the stand, or where the stand meets the floor, you need one of them to be rock solid for the others to follow.
    I was thinking Iíd level it between the feet and the bench top. Does it make a difference where I do the leveling at?

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    What if I put a 3/8 - 1/2 inch piece of steel (the one pictured) between wood and lathe? Would that help at all? Or would I have to do away with the wood completely to see the benefits?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoriMillMan View Post
    I like that. Nice and simple. Have you had issues caused by using wood?
    While I agree with Bill9100 that a metal bench is the correct way to go, I do feel it applies more to a larger lathe. Small machine like the Maximat I have (and it is precision lathe that I use only for small work with Schaublin collets) feels nice on a wooden bench. In the past small lathes, like the clock-makers type, were usually mounted on a wooden bench. The nice thing about wood is that it will not twist the bed like a metal top bench can if one does not check and shim the base to eliminate the twist. I did not have any issues in the last 30 years with my wooden bench. It was made out of kiln dried and seasoned wood and now it is even harder. I do check my lathes periodical and this one is as precise as it was.
    I should mention that a somehow neglected material for benches is concrete. In a shop I worked (as teenager during summer vacation...a long time ago) the owner made most of the benches out of concrete. He would make plywood boxes for the legs and insert inside rebars in holes drilled in the concrete floor. Once the concrete in the legs cured, he would build on top a box the size of the bench top, maybe 8" thick and with a few rebras near the box bottom. The machine holding bolts, if any, were inserted in the wet concrete at the correct location. My job was the hammer the box for about half an hour to vibrate the concrete. Once trowelled and polished the top looked almost like marble (he used white Portland cement). Inexpensive and efficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoriMillMan View Post
    Why’s that
    While there are exceptions the vast majority of lathes working in "professional" shops are way too heavy to sit on a
    wooden bench. Much more likely to be a home shop situation...

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    If you go to the South Bend forum,there is a discussion on concrete benches.


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