View Full Version : Lathe milling attachment

09-19-2007, 07:41 PM
How useful are the Palmgren milling attachments? I need some milling capaility, soon.

09-19-2007, 08:13 PM
I had one on a small Logan and it is only good for small light work with emphasis on small and light. If you intend to do any real work get a mill, even a bench top mill is better.

Edit: The one I had replaced the compound and was more rigid than the ones that clamp to the compound but it still flexed to much.

09-19-2007, 08:54 PM
They demonstrate extremely well just how flexible and rubbery cast iron is. Lathe milling attachments are not rigid at all. Some are better than others, and of course it depends on size, but as Carld says, the operative words are "small and light."

That said...I've got one that I use maybe once a year for some little oddball milling job, and it's great. But I wouldn't count it as a general thing.

J Tiers
09-19-2007, 10:35 PM
Palmgren= not so good, but better than nothing.

An attachment that goes directly on teh crosslide and NOT on teh compound is usually MUCH more stable, like S-B one.

09-20-2007, 10:08 AM
Yes! to what J Tiers says.....

Get one that replaces the compound or otherwise bolts directly to the cross slide.

Steve Steven
09-20-2007, 08:50 PM
I have never had much luck trying to mill on the lathe, it can be done but is not easy. I think one of the best things to do is to get one of the crosslide kits from MLA http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/A-11.html and add the milling attachment to it http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/MLA-5.html if it will fit on your lathe.

09-20-2007, 09:53 PM
I have never had much luck trying to mill on the lathe, it can be done but is not easy. I think one of the best things to do is to get one of the crosslide kits from MLA http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/A-11.html and add the milling attachment to it http://www.statecollegecentral.com/metallathe/MLA-5.html if it will fit on your lathe.

I have always liked those t-slotted tables for lathes, but never had one. My lathe is a 14" Hendey, so one of those may not fit. Besides, you need a milling machine to make it.

In the past, I have used the milling attachments on both the Atlas 6 inche and 12 inch lathes and found them useful to some extent. What I am getting is the 4" Palmgren for this lathe, that weighs 36 lbs, so has a lot more mass than the Atlas attachments. I have milling equipment, but it is over a thousand miles away and I won't be near it until next summer. I just hope this attachment will hold me until I can get more shop space built or get back to my other shop. I must say that I am really enjoying the Hendey lathe, so smooth and so solid. I milled the tee nut for the quick change tool post on it by clamping it under the lantern toolpost and shimming. Not perfect, but I now have a usable Dorian toolpost on my lathe now.

Thank you all for your responses.

J Tiers
09-20-2007, 10:36 PM
I have the 3" Palmgren, it is lighter, but the main issue isn't so much weight, as it is mounting.

Mounted to the compound, on a ligher machine, it isn't so good.

Mounted to a 14" Hendey, well, I don't think I would worry so much. I think it will work to any reasonable limit on that.

I was more imagining that you might have an Atlas, a small light SB, or a Logan. The Hendey will be OK. You might even like it.

Mind, it won't be like a mill, but it is OK.

One piece of advice..... Set it up, get it accurately to vertical, and PIN IT with a removable pin. You can do that also at any other common angle you use, like 30 or 60, or horizontal.

The Palmgrens are held by a nut, and it can loosen. That can really make your day stink. Pinning is a great plan. DAMHIKT.

Edit..... I mean pin the horizontal axis, so it won't swing down on you.

Al Messer
09-20-2007, 11:06 PM
Very useful for small projects. Better than an angle plate mounted on the cross slide.

Al Messer
09-20-2007, 11:09 PM
Second thought---get a copy of the booklet "Milling in the Lathe" from Tee Publications, or Wise Owl Books.

Tyro 001
09-20-2007, 11:18 PM
I have the 4" Palmgren. It's better than nothing, but not by much. I would HIGHLY recommend that you come up with a 3/4" plywood plate to cover the the bed ways from the area under the milling attachment to the area under the lathe chuck. I've had the milling attachment yanked off the compound and thrown down on my plate more times than I care to think. I would advise you to drill holes in the ends of the yoke of the milling attachment where they hang over the compound on the tailstock side of the compound. Drill and tap matching holes in a flat steel bar that is around 1" x 1 1/4" so you can bolt it to the yoke. Drill and tap two more holes 90 degrees to the 1st two, such that the bolts will bear against the side of the compound. It's best to put a piece of sacrificial steel between the bolts and the compound, so you don't mar the compound. Use a 1" thick x 2" piece of steel under the tool post nut to help clamp the post to the compound. If you do the aforementioned, the wretched thing probably won't get yanked off the toolpost, and if it does, the plywood plate will protect the bed ways. Wear a face shield. I have shattered several end mills and have had to pick the pieces out of the wall. The face shield prevented the neccessity of picking pieces out of my face. BTW, the miserable thing will still move on you and ruin the parts. Like I said it's better than nothing; especially since it's likely to be a few years before I get a mill. If you have any q's, I'll be glad to answer them; but it's going to be several days before I get back on here. Good Luck. You can make it work, but it's going to require patience.

09-21-2007, 07:06 AM
What you really need is a Milling Head attachment, myford did one called the Rodney,


takes drive via a UJ from the spindle and runs a vertical mill head over the cross slide,

09-21-2007, 12:31 PM
I got a homemade milling attacment for my lathe, this is as stated elsewhere only for light cuts.
The one I have is faily big (compared to the lathe) and I believe the weight makes it more useful - it's a compound from a scraped 1500mm industrial lathe
All of my millingwork is done with this attacment as I do not have a milling maschine


Paul Alciatore
09-22-2007, 02:49 AM
I have a similar situation. Lathe, no mill, need to mill. You might want to check out what I did:


09-22-2007, 02:57 AM
I can't vouch for MLA"s milling attachments but other products I have gotten from them are all first class, good instructions and prints.

George Seal
09-22-2007, 11:08 AM
Here's how I delt with a set of Stewart - Tuner 7A cylinders
The boring head is frm my mill
C-clamp is to take up wear in that area


09-22-2007, 11:20 AM
George, why did you use your lathe instead of your mill to bore the cylinders? Was it to use the power feed?

George Seal
09-22-2007, 05:43 PM
IMHO I did not have a way to secure it. Nothing was machined. I used two centers one in each end of cylinder then adjusted mill attch to fit. All subsuent machining will be done in the mill.
I will loctite a rod in the bore then machine between two V blocks to make sure that every thing is square with bore.

Just went back and read your post again Yes the power feed helped

09-30-2007, 04:10 PM
I got the 4 inch milling attachment and put it on the lathe this morning. It very well on the 14" Hendey and should be rigid enough if I take care. It is a world better than the attachment I have on my 12" Atlas lathe. The main problem is the range of travel across the lathe, could use a couple more inches but that is a function of the lathe, not the attachment. A crank would also be better for the Z axix feed than the knob they are using now. All in all, I'm quite satisfied.

10-08-2007, 02:17 AM
..........This is what I did to provide a bit more rigid setup then using the compound T slot:


I bought a dual toolpost cross slide for my 11" Logan. Turns out it wasn't made BY Logan, but the dovetail measurements mentioned in the description fit. IIRC it was about $70. I used a friend's mill to make the T nuts to fit. I used a piece of 1/2x4" HR for the plate. In the photo I'm setting up the plate to be perpendiculer to the spindle axis.


The above photo is of the Palmgren milling attachment mounted. As several others have mentioned, you MUST use lite cuts and feeds. Locking down the gib to the cross slide helps. However, setting the rigidity issue aside, like any other operation setup is of primary importance. If setup accurately there is no problem in being able to produce as accurate work as any other machine.


10-08-2007, 03:17 AM
My friend PiPPi in Sweden demonstrates extreme milling on a lathe with a Haas programmable indexer:


Look for the throttle body link in the menu. He's building a fuel injected Harley dragster engine and in this series he's building the fuel injector from a carburetor.