View Full Version : T-handle for bed mounted turret?

11-12-2006, 01:58 AM
I have a bed mounted turret that came with my Rockwell 11" lathe. This is very similar to many other turrets I've seen, but mine did not come with a t-handle. Inside the turret, down inside the big hole, is a large nut on the spindle. Based on info I've received, it appears that the t-handle serves 2 purposes.

First, it's a handle to tighten the nut when in position to improve rigidity if needed. But I don't think it is typically required for the operations usually done with a turret. These operations most often being drilling, reaming, threading, etc. Am I wrong?

Second, the large washer like shoulder seals the turret hole against swarf build up. Not requiring a tight fit, but functioning as a sort of loose bearing for t-handle location along with forming a sort of lid. When I got my lathe, you couldn’t even see the nut in the bottom till I dug out about a cup of solidified swarf and coolant.

If I'm missing something, please enlighten me. But assuming I'm at least close to understanding it's function, can someone please post a pic of the t-handle out of the turret so I can see what it should look like? My current mental picture is basically just a socket with welded/pined t-handle and fitted washer/bell (originally bell like for aesthetics) for the lid. But before I construct such a thing, I would like to know if I'm on the right track.

Thanks for any help you can offer...

11-12-2006, 08:07 AM
From my experience with turret lathes, things go better with the turret clamped. You can use the turret unclamped, but I think you are asking for trouble. The turret depends upon its accuracy with the lock bolt being properly seated in the lock bolt bushing. The lock bolt, it has a tapered end that mates with the bushing in the turret, is located in the ram and is operated by a powerful spring and lever arrangement, and can lift the turret off the ram.
My W&S and J&L turret lathes , automatically clamp the turret to the ram with binder rings when the ram is moved past the indexing mechanism in the saddle. The T bolt serves the same purpose.

11-14-2006, 03:26 PM
Thanks Harry. Sounds like I definitely need to make one then.

So, nobody has a pic (or even description?) of one of those t-handles? I figured I would top it one more time just in case someone with a handy pic missed it first go around...

11-14-2006, 05:49 PM
That's probably an Enco turret if it came with the machine. Yep, at one time Enco did make quality products in Chicago (?).

Do you have a welder? Get a socket of the correct size, weld an extension to it, then a cross bar for handle.

BTW, at one time years ago I had a Logan lathe that came from the factory with an Enco turret. I believe it had the same bolt you're referring to. As I recall we kept it just tight enough so the turret would self index. Once in a while when doing a heavy operation with only one turret station we'd lock it down for rigidity.

I seem to remember there was a round plate on the top of the turret that covers the big hole to keep things clean. Most times those cover plates get lost.

11-14-2006, 06:45 PM
Yep, that's exactly what I had in mind. I've got some 3/8" aluminum plate I had in mind turning with a nice lip to fit in the hole to keep out the accumulation of mess that I cleaned out when I initially went through it. And then using a vertical rod welded/fixed to a socket, with a t-bar on top. That plate with lip would not only provide a cover to keep out swarf, but also keep the rod vertical and aligned while left in place to adjust the nut as needed. Easy enough to do, I just wanted to know what the original looked like. :D

11-15-2006, 05:34 PM
Well, it does not work like I thought. Luckily, the machine shop where I bought my lathe still had it setting on a bench near where the lathe was. Turns out it does NOT tighten the nut, but instead it threads down on the stud itself. The washer on top pulls the turret down solidly on the base without affecting the pre-load of the nut.

My only concern is that for some reason, it only grabs about 2 threads when tight. I wonder if maybe I didn't get it back just right when reassembling it? I'll have to check into that as it seems to be far too little engagement...

Here is a pic just in case some other newbie like myself ever has the same question and searches out this thread.