View Full Version : Lathe leveling

11-06-2004, 01:07 PM
Hello again! About a year ago you fine gentlemen (and ladies!) talked me into buying a lathe rather than a drill press in light of my future modeling goals and I can safely say thank you very much! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

I have finally found a nice 10" Logan model 200 in the three leg style and placed it in my garage. Unfortunately, the only place to put it is on a sturdy wood floor. I would have liked concrete but this will have to do until I can make the garage bigger and get the whole floor done in concrete.

My floor is very sturdy in any case and I don't think the lathe is distorting it too much. I have a few ideas on how to secure it too the floor but, I would like some feedback on which may be better.

1. Sand off the high spots under the feet such that the lathe sits level and use lag bolts to secure the legs to the floor.

2. Prep the floor as above and place a piece of 2"x2"x1/4" steel under each foot to spread the load a bit, then use the lag bolts.

3. Prep the floor and use the steel plate but add elevator bolts under the feet. These might make leveling the lathe easier. I would then need to fashion some sort of 'seismic restraint' for the legs similar to what is seen in factories to keep the machins from shifting too far in the event of an earthquake.

Yet more questions! Is it best to level the lathe bed by placing shims between the legs and the floor or between the bed's legs and the chip pan? Is a machinist's level an indispensible tool that no shop should be without, or will I be all right if I just bum one to use until I get my lathe level? I ask because new ones are spendy and used ones seem to be as rare as hen's teeth.

Thanks in advance! I'll try to post some pics in a few days.

Dave Opincarne
11-06-2004, 01:50 PM
Throw down a couple of layers of flooring like 3/4" ply or OSB cut to the lathe's footprint plus a couple inches on all sides first. It would be preferable to glue the sheets together and screw them down to the floor while there still wet to make a single 1 1/2" sheet. Then move the lathe into position and bolt it down. If your floor can handle the load (be certain here) I'd be tempted to build a 4" deep box and fill it with concrete. Using 1" ply for a bottom would help distribute the load.

My lathe is leveled both at the floor and bed. I'd have prefered to use only the floor leveling but the lathe was atached to the cabinet by a single bolt at each end so when the cabinet was racked up and down on Hilti Studs in the floor a gap could appear under one corner of the lathe bed so it needed additional packing.

The level makes things easier and can be a useful tool for other things but is not a necesity. If you can borrow one great, otherwise there are several other methods that work well to.


[This message has been edited by Dave Opincarne (edited 11-06-2004).]

11-06-2004, 09:58 PM
You can level the lathe by hard shimming it at the floor if that's possible. This will have to be checked freequently and adjusted to get the best performance. Drill holes under the feet and bolt the lathe down. Use the best level you can find and shim the feet to level the lathe horizantally. You can use parrellels laid on the flats of your Logan lathe to place the level on. I may be yelled at but it dosen't matter if the d---mnd lathe is hung from the celing BUT IT MUST NOT HAVE TWIST IN THE BED if it is to do it's best work. It would however be quite uncomfortable to work on that way.

11-07-2004, 03:47 AM
This subject comes up every once and awhile, a lathe doesn't have to be level, leveling it is a means to eliminate twist in the bed as Happy02 said. Lathes function on ships at sea and in the back of military trucks, neither of which is usually level at any given point in time.

11-07-2004, 04:57 AM
I learned here some time ago that levelling a lathe doesn't mean adjusting it so the left end is at the same height as the right end. That's a traditional level, and any common carpenter's level will be good enough for that. In lathe terms, it means getting the ways to be absolutely in the same plane, or in other words, no twist in the bed. Then there's the matter of helping it stay 'levelled'. The stand, the floor, and the mounting of the lathe to the stand and the stand to the floor all become important players in the levelling game. A much more sensitive level is required as well to get the job done, if you do use a level.
You said in the three leg style, if that's a three legged stand, it won't rock on the floor, but it will still be able to impart twist to the lathe bed. The third leg alone can be used to correct the bed's twist to what might be an acceptable level. If you were to fix two of the legs to the floor, then drag the third leg forward or backward, you'll be twisting the bed. Without using a precision level, you can take a finish cut along a workpiece, measure the diameter at a few points, and then move the third leg, take another finish cut, remeasure, and you'll start getting an idea of what's happening to the diameters on your test piece. Mark the various positions you drag the third leg to so that you have some reference and you'll end up being able to minimize the deviations on the workpiece. That's a quick and dirty approach to it, and if more precision is needed, you'll have to go through more of a procedure. Search the archives for a ton of info on various methods.

11-07-2004, 06:23 AM
.........I don't believe that it is important so much that your lathe is bolted to the floor. When I got my 11x36 Logan I searched archives all over the net and asked questions. The consensous was that it wasn't necessary. I mounted my cabinet model lathe on 6 machinery footings in the positions provided.

I forget the manufacturer at the moment but these have a hard round rubber foot with a metal cap. They have an insert with a threaded bolt whereby you can raise or lower whatever is set on them about 9/16". Each of the ones I bought are rated at 1100 lbs.

Mine is set on the concrete floor of the garage. Since your's is on a wood floor, I would do as the other's have suggested and put as rigid a base as possible under it to spread the load, but again I don't think it needs to be bolted down. Put some adjustable machinery bases on each point and level the chip tray. From there level the lathe bed.


Dave Opincarne
11-07-2004, 03:26 PM
The weight of the lathe has a lot to do with the need to bolt it to the floor. If the lathe is heavy enough it will settle down under it's own weight but if it's a small lathe it won't. My Emco V10 is light weight but has a ridgid and well trussed bed. In order to impart corective twist to the bed I have to have it bolted to the floor. When I tried to use adjustable feet the high foot would just lift off the floor. Also, the original question was regaurding a three point stand. In order to level the bed by adjusting the feet the three point stand must be secured to the flor in order to impart a twist.


11-08-2004, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I seem to have generated a bit of confusion here. The third leg of my stand is only to support the motor assembly. So I will go forth and make my bed twist free!