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Thread: Why are lathe ways shaped the way they are?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Prince Edward Island Canada
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    167

    Default Why are lathe ways shaped the way they are?

    This is the shape of my lathe ways:



    Seems to be a pretty common shape.
    Seems pretty complicated.
    Why?
    Why so many surfaces? Why is one side higher than the other? Why is one side larger than the other. Why is there 2 seperate sides at all, Why not just have one flat top and 2 perpendicular sides?

  2. #2
    tony ennis Guest

    Default

    Wow, what a can of worms you've opened.





    *makes some popcorn and gets comfortable*

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    8,611

    Default

    Its like bring up comparisons in boat hulls

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Southwestern Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    There are many way configurations. Flat, inverted vee or a combination of both and don't forget the round bed ways or the bar beds like the Barker, Unimat and the triangular bed lathes.

    People have been arguing the merits of bed configuration for at least 150 years, each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Inverted vee type tolerate wear better, holding there accuracy but some people think flat beds are more sturdy and less prone to having the saddles lift under heavy loading. Bar beds like the Drummond Round bed were used to make lathes cheaper so amateurs like us could afford a lathe but they had trade offs in use.

    It's apples and oranges.

    Check out books like "Lathe Design and Construction and Operation", Lindsay Press sells it but you mite be able to download it off of the Internet archive or google books for free. It's old but still relevant on this subject.

  5. #5
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    A lot of it has to do with hereditary design, the country of origin and the price of kippers.....


    .
    .

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Prince Edward Island Canada
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    On the shape that I have shown, how many of the surfaces are actually in contact with the carrage? They can't all be... can they?

  7. #7
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    Oct 2004
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    Prestatyn, North-Wales
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    One inverted v is for the carriage the other is for the tailstock.

    They are great until they wear ...then you have to be a master craftsman to get them right again ..

    The all flat ways Machines are much simpler and could be put right with the minimum of specialised tooling when they wear out.

    all the best.markj

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboard_epsilon
    The all flat ways Machines are much simpler and could be put right with the minimum of specialised tooling when they wear out.
    Oh, I thought it was because British engineers hadn't discovered prismatic ways yet?
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Suffolk, England
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    They're lips to stop your files, screwdrivers, and hammers falling off the edge, which happens on flat slideways.

    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Oroville, WA
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    You left out the bottom ways for the carriage. Your diagram shows distinct ways for the carriage and another for the tail stock. The shape solves the requirements for good four point surface contact, good surface area without being excessively wide (pyramid shape), side force resistance, and are self-aligning for the carriage. The structure between the rails provides rigidity for torsional forces. It is also easily reproducible by casting, and is maintainable through resurfacing.

    It's but one of many designs, of course, but they all have similar objectives.

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