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customcutter
05-17-2012, 05:27 PM
Today I got the replacement relay for my lathe. I've been reading a few threads on lathe "leveling". I don't have a machinist level so my plan was to get it close with a carpenter's level, then have a machinist friend bring over his Starret for final leveling. Also saved the thread about using a length of rod that was close to the same diameter. I don't think it even had to be straight. I guess you measure, shim, repeat until you get the results you want.

Didn't want to spend $100+ on something I might only use once/twice.

Point of the story is I was looking through my Harbor Freight flyer. I just signed up for the Inside Track Club. Low and behold there's a 24" level that says it accurate to .0005/in. And it was on sale for $14.99. I had a $25 gift card so I picked up a few other small items as well.

Here's the link.
http://www.harborfreight.com/24-inch-solid-aluminum-level-66618.html

I guess I'll check it against the Starrett, just to see how it measures up.

thanks,
Ken

Forestgnome
05-17-2012, 05:47 PM
The Grizzly master level for $68 is advertised as accurate to .0005" in 10". That's ten times the stated accuracy of the HF level.

customcutter
05-17-2012, 06:01 PM
I guess I had my math bass ackwards again. Now that I've "figured" it out I guess that's only .020" over 40" bed. My plastic level from lowes is probably that accurate.

At least it was only $14.99. I got 90 days to play with it. If I don't like it I'll return it.

thanks,
Ken

Paul Alciatore
05-17-2012, 07:01 PM
They do not state WHAT is accurate to that figure. I would not be surprised if it refers to the straightness of the faces or to the parallelism between the two faces. It is obviously a carpenter's style level and I doubt that it is any more accurate than any other that you could purchase at your local hardware, in fact the local purchased ones are probably better.

Since you have a friend with a machinist level, do as you plan. Rough it in with what you have and then borrow his level for the final job. Do lock the bench/table down to the floor first. I had quite an adventure with a radial arm saw on a concrete floor. I could never get it to set up properly and I am talking about wood working standards here, not metal working. I finally discovered that the floor was so far from flat the even moving the saw stand by a single inch would completely destroy any adjustments I had already made. The situation for a lathe is much more sensitive to small changes. Lock it down to the floor before you start.

Paul Alciatore
05-17-2012, 07:17 PM
I will give you a further tip. Leveling is not the best guarantee of accurate lathe work. Additional tweaking is needed. I doubt that any lathe manufacturer bothers to level a lathe before scraping or grinding the ways. If they are ground and the grinding machine was leveled, then there is a good chance that the ground ways will be level at that point. But their clamping methods may still have added some stress to the casting while grinding and when those stresses were released the ways would warp/twist somewhat. If they were scraped, then all bets on the lathe being level for the process are off. Personally, I doubt it.

Search for things like "Rollie's Dad's Method" or "Lathe Leveling" or "Bed Alignment" on this board. There have been many discussions on this before and there is a wealth of information in them.

beckley23
05-17-2012, 07:32 PM
I will give you a further tip. Leveling is not the best guarantee of accurate lathe work. Additional tweaking is needed. I doubt that any lathe manufacturer bothers to level a lathe before scraping or grinding the ways. If they are ground and the grinding machine was leveled, then there is a good chance that the ground ways will be level at that point. But their clamping methods may still have added some stress to the casting while grinding and when those stresses were released the ways would warp/twist somewhat. If they were scraped, then all bets on the lathe being level for the process are off. Personally, I doubt it.

And what are you basing this "tip" on.
Harry

oldtiffie
05-17-2012, 09:34 PM
Today I got the replacement relay for my lathe. I've been reading a few threads on lathe "leveling". I don't have a machinist level so my plan was to get it close with a carpenter's level, then have a machinist friend bring over his Starret for final leveling. Also saved the thread about using a length of rod that was close to the same diameter. I don't think it even had to be straight. I guess you measure, shim, repeat until you get the results you want.

Didn't want to spend $100+ on something I might only use once/twice.

Point of the story is I was looking through my Harbor Freight flyer. I just signed up for the Inside Track Club. Low and behold there's a 24" level that says it accurate to .0005/in. And it was on sale for $14.99. I had a $25 gift card so I picked up a few other small items as well.

Here's the link.
http://www.harborfreight.com/24-inch-solid-aluminum-level-66618.html

I guess I'll check it against the Starrett, just to see how it measures up.

thanks,
Ken

My guess is that the OP's level is a 0.5mm/1,000mm (1: 2,000) and if is anything like my German-made machined box-frame level it will be at least that level.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Precision_grinding/Wheelbalance9.jpg

When I set my surface plate up I used that level and it and the plate were spot on.

I checked it with my (Chinese) 0.02mm/1,000mm levels and the amount of adjustment was negligible (and the levels were correctly set up):
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Precision_grinding/Wheelbalance2.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Machinist_Square2.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Machinist_Square1.jpg

For really rough and progressive levelling work I work my way up through these as and if required. It is very quick and no PITA waiting for better/finer level bubbles to "settle":
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Precision_grinding/Wheelbalance12.jpg

For the OP:

set up and/or check your lathe with a good "Builders" (0.5mm/1,000mm) level and see how your lathe performs.

If the lathe is OK and does what you want it to do, save yourself some time and frustration/"drama" (using the "better/Starrett" level/s) and use it "as is" (checked with the 1:2,000 level).

If needs be later, re-check the lathe level and level it up to a stage where it works for you.

No matter what is said, its your lathe and the standard you level to is for you to decide. Levelling to "Starrett standard" (0.2mm/1,000mm) is always optional and not mandatory but soley at your discretion.

customcutter
05-17-2012, 10:50 PM
Yes, my intention was to set up as level as I can get it with my new HF level. Then see if I had a suitable rod for "Rollies Dad's Method". If not then, I'll go to the Starrett and see how frustrating that can get.

thanks,
Ken

caveBob
05-18-2012, 12:27 AM
If not then, I'll go to the Starrett and see how frustrating that can get.


Another option perhaps... Level - Master Precision Machine .0002" / 10" from tools4cheap (http://www.tools4cheap.net/proddetail.php?prod=level). Curious if anyone here has tried one.

philbur
05-18-2012, 03:35 PM
I have a 6", but not from T4C.

It is very sensitive in use. I don't know about accuracy (of the divisions) as I have nothing suitable to test it against. But then for most things all you really need is sensitivity. My lathe sits on a concrete garage floor and the reading will differ depending on which end of the lathe I stand.:eek:

The zeroing mechanism is a bit clunky and on the course side, I had to open it up to see how it actually work. The slightest touch on the adjusting mechanism will influence the zero point. the base is very nicely scraped, well it looks very pretty anyway.:rolleyes:

I'm completely happy with it now. But then what do I know.

Phil:)


Another option perhaps... Level - Master Precision Machine .0002" / 10" from tools4cheap (http://www.tools4cheap.net/proddetail.php?prod=level). Curious if anyone here has tried one.

TGTool
05-18-2012, 06:26 PM
Say what you want about the quality of HF tools, but in this case they really are doing their level best. :rolleyes:

Well, somebody had to say it.

Paul Alciatore
05-18-2012, 06:54 PM
I will give you a further tip. Leveling is not the best guarantee of accurate lathe work. Additional tweaking is needed. I doubt that any lathe manufacturer bothers to level a lathe before scraping or grinding the ways. If they are ground and the grinding machine was leveled, then there is a good chance that the ground ways will be level at that point. But their clamping methods may still have added some stress to the casting while grinding and when those stresses were released the ways would warp/twist somewhat. If they were scraped, then all bets on the lathe being level for the process are off. Personally, I doubt it.

And what are you basing this "tip" on.
Harry

Harry,

First, that was my post, not beckley23.

I base it on two things. One, personal experience and two, many other discussions on this subject both here and on other web boards. It is quite possible to do a "perfect" job of leveling your lathe and still find that it turns tapers instead of cylinders.

Oh, and I have done some reading on lathe manufacture and have observed a number of new machines in showrooms.

Your mileage may vary so do what works for you.

philbur
05-18-2012, 07:00 PM
Most of their metrology equipment pretty much measures up as well.

Phil:)


Say what you want about the quality of HF tools, but in this case they really are doing their level best. :rolleyes:

Well, somebody had to say it.

beckley23
05-18-2012, 11:32 PM
Paul,
Sorry, I forgot to put the quotation marks around your comments. Believe me, I would never make those comments, and was surprised that you made them. I was just curious of what you were basing the comments on.

You're right, our mileage does vary. I have never bought a lathe that exhibits the manufacturing characteristics you point/allude to.
Harry

flylo
05-19-2012, 12:03 AM
I mentioned that I bought a Starett 6" level & a stack of old Machinery handbooks a couple weeks ago. my wife was ill so I stayed in the house all day. I just am amazed at that level. It has no model number & is nickel plated with the rotating cover so it must be a real early one. Only 2 lines on each vial & the bubbles are smaller than the space inside the lines. Very sensitive! this must be 100+ years old & in perfect working order & looks almost new. It will be a prized possession. And all for $10 didn't hurt either!:D