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  • Show me your lathe bench, mount your bench lathe

    Awhile back I had a thread on wooden lathe benches. A lot of good ideas, but I cannot warm up to the idea.
    A lot of members have built heavy, sturdy mounts for their lathe. I want to beef up the little Logan, and completely re-do my garage.
    I have noticed that when I look at 1340, gunsmith lathes, it is the large chip pan that draws me as much as the larger spindle,
    I went to youtube and saw a stand I really like, and I want it to have the DIY tool chest under it:

    ​​​​​​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztA-0KSi1FM

    ​​​​​​
    https://www.woodstore.net/Tool-Chest-p/gr-01059.htm
    this is a 2-part tool chest, upper and lower
    I'm thinking of 2 uppers to fit under the lathe stand

    Show me your ideas, your chip pan, and what you think of this?

    if this turns into a duplicate thread, please post a link

  • #2
    My chip pan is a cut down oil drip pan for $6 from Autozone. The bench is a reasonably heavy built office or light factory table, with 2 pieces of 19mm plywood under the top.

    I will likely eventually do a 3" or so thick concrete top for it. That is the plan, anyway.

    CNC machines only go through the motions

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    • #3
      I personally don't like it for two reasons. 1. To me the bench is way too high. It looks like the spindle on the lathe is almost shoulder height and 2. The lathe is set too far back. I would get tired real fast reaching for the controls. Mine is a South Bend 9A and I have it mounted with the carriage handwheel spinner knob at the front edge of the bench. The handwheel is at belly button height. I can stand there all day and work the controls comfortably.
      Oh. Just a couple discarded holiday cookie sheets for chip pans.
      Last edited by flathead4; 04-16-2020, 12:16 PM.
      Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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      • #4
        Yes, in that video I didn't think about it originally, but seeing the arm at the beginning as he points out things, it DOES look really high up.

        Ideally, let your arm hang down, then bend up your elbow, and where your hand ends up is where the handwheels ought to be.
        CNC machines only go through the motions

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        • #5
          That beam is the thing. The only weak point on xynudu's stands that I can see which shows more clearly in the Schaublin stand is that he's got four points of mounting for the beam. What it should be to truly float the beam with zero risk of twisting load would be to use a shorter tail stock end angle mount to the stand to provide the oil spillage dam but to have only one bolt with a riser washer holding the beam to the top bar of the stand. On the head stock side it should be just like shown but perhaps with riser washers or make that one top bar just a washer thickness higher. The point being that four points of suspension let's the base possibly induce some twisting load into the beam. And as we know steel is like an elastic band and so massive as it is it will respond just a whisker worth. Isolating the beam through three points of suspension totally eliminates that risk.

          With a nice beam like he shows the support base doesn't even need to be made from heavy steel any longer either. At that point it could easily be good sturdy wood joined well and work fine. That box beam section is the key to getting the gain both rigidity and mass that helps so much.

          For the Logan I think you'd be looking at something like a 10" wide box section? You'd want the feet to be in a touch from the rounded corners which is why I'm guessing at 10". For depth you won't want to go any less than 4". And wall thickness should not be less than 1/4". Thicker would be more better.

          If you can't find any large structural tube that does not scare you price wise what about making a beam from reinforced concrete? At 150 lbs/cu-ft I think you could make a suitable beam which would be around 350 lbs. Or there's an idea where you use a Styrofoam core to make it a hollow box beam which could reduce the beam weight but keep a good outer size and it would be closer to 300lbs. So not totally unmanageable. And along with the added stiffness to the lathe the concrete would be a nice sort of dead mass to damp out vibration.

          If I knew then what I know now I might well have opted for the box beam for my own lathe stand. But I went with the idea of the heavy cast iron bases on floor mount lathes and made cheap to make construction block bases filled with dry gravel and the top "L" studs cast in concrete. It's proven to be highly effective. But it's a long term "no move" option. If I were to do it again I think I'd go with this torsion beam idea and a much easier to make supporting base to hold it up.

          My lathe would need a piece of 12x6 inch section at a minimum. And to add as much rigidity as I could I'd prefer something like 14x8. For wall thickness over the 5 ft length needed it would need to be 3/8" thick or I think it would "drum" too much. An online calculator for rectangular tubing says that it would be right about 300 lbs. That's not unmanageable at all. Now COST for something like that....



          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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          • #6
            Here's what I did for my little benchtop SB-9 (1921)

            The height issue is addressed by the bench itself, which has electric/manual height adjustment over a significant range. The benchtop is 4' X 8' 1/2" hot rolled plate. Sorry about the big photo files, first time inserting images with the 'new' forum version.
            You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
            Last edited by chipmaker4130; 04-16-2020, 01:38 PM.
            Southwest Utah

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            • #7
              My impression is that the YouTuber is solving a problem that probably doesn't exist. I.e., the problem of the lathe twisting. Even if the lathe were not fastened down at all, how much would it twist and how much would that twist affect the work? Does it come into play turning to 10ths on a 20" part or to thousandths on a 6" part? Is it only a factor for really large DOC's & that's only roughing passes anyhow. How much better is the beam than just sturdy square tube?

              Comment


              • #8
                On the height issue....

                Yeah, I agree that we don't want to be reaching up for the major controls. When I did my block bases at first I was afraid that the lathe would be too high despite online research and seeing lots of folks saying that they really liked their lathes up higher. I thought I might have to make a 1.5 or 2" tall riser base to stand on. But after the first few times I came to love the new tall setup.

                I just checked and if I make a fist and rest it on the top of the cross slide handwheel my forearm is dead on level. So it's a half a wheel and half a fist reach down to work that wheel. And the compound is just a very slight reach up. The tail stock wheel is of course a slight bit up but it's simply never been anything I felt. It's a good chance to stretch up straight and work out any kinks in fact.

                I've had this setup for about 6 years now. It is by far the most comfortable setup on a lathe that I've ever used. It's not cumbersome to work the hand wheels and it puts the spindle axis up where I don't need to bend over to see what I want to see. My back and legs love it.

                If we use the forearm level or just slightly down when on the cross slide handwheel as a guide for maximum lift it will obviously put our spindle heights at varying values based on model of lathe and how tall each of us is. But thinking back on all the lathes I've used they were all too low... other than my father's lathe... But then I wasn't yet my full height either.

                I do suggest that if you're in doubt at all and your setup allows for it jack up the machine and stick temporary riser blocks under it and do some small non critical jobs to get a feel. I sure would not go back now. It felt odd at first but now I love the height. Far less strain on the old body.

                Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                • #9
                  RE the tool chest. My experience is that tool drawers should be very shallow. As soon as they're deep enough for 2 layers of tools, disorganization sets in. I have 2, 2" deep drawers under my lathe and they're perfect for most of the tools I use constantly (mics, wrenches, bits,etc).
                  Last edited by Bob Engelhardt; 04-16-2020, 01:35 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bob Engelhardt View Post
                    RE the tool chest. My experience is that tool drawers should be very shallow. As soon as they're deep enough for more that 2 layers of tools, disorganization sets in. I have 2, 2" deep drawers under my lathe and they're perfect for most of the tools I use constantly (mics, wrenches, bits,etc).
                    yes, I was thinking of shallow drawers also, the same plans set could be used to easily make 6 shallow drawers vs 3 deep

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bob Engelhardt View Post
                      My impression is that the YouTuber is solving a problem that probably doesn't exist. I.e., the problem of the lathe twisting. Even if the lathe were not fastened down at all, how much would it twist and how much would that twist affect the work? Does it come into play turning to 10ths on a 20" part or to thousandths on a 6" part? Is it only a factor for really large DOC's & that's only roughing passes anyhow. How much better is the beam than just sturdy square tube?
                      If you look again you'll see that both of the beams are actually rectangular tubing. He's using the term "beam" only to describe the function of the box section tubing.

                      In my old shop my lathe sat for years on the original SPAM can tin box pedestals. It always cut with a very annoying and very real taper. And we're talking something like .004 over a 3 to 4" part. Chasing down 10's just wasn't in the cards at that point. Every time it was an issue I swore that someday I'd fix it. Any lathe should be better than that.

                      When I first made my new filled block pedestals and started truing the lathe up I was shocked at how easy it was to twist the bed with literally light finger pressure on the wrenches being used to adjust the seating and hold down nuts on the mounting studs. And now any runout over a 3 or 4 inch cut is down in the range of a half thou or so. And even that has proven to be seasonal due to minor shifts in the floor from temperature change. Most of the time I've found that it has retained the original couple of 10's over the original 8" long spacing of the test bar. A value that thanks to the stiffness of the pedestals turned out to be easy to achieve.

                      I'd gone into the exercise hoping for about a half thou over the 8". And I would have been happy with a thou over 8". But it was so controlled and easy to adjust that I just kept going and got to where I could not see any variation other than needle bounce on the surface finish of the skin cut collars.

                      Some of the floor style lathes with big heavy beds would be stiffer of course. This is a rather lightly built for the size Asian 12x36 which only weighs around 900 to 1100 lbs. But it's still a lot heavier than a lot of the smaller bench lathes. And even the big heavy floor lathes when bolted down to heavy floors need to be shimmed so they don't twist the bed. Metal is elastic after all.

                      The other factor which would suggest that the beam be filled with sand or fine gravel is that mass makes for smoother cuts. When perched on the cheap useless tin boxes my lathe sang anything from baritone to soprano during forming cuts and parting. Since being bolted down to super heavy filled block pedestals I can part silently on the lower direct drive speed. And forming cuts might squeak a bit here and there but settle down to brush away the last few shavings and leave nice formed features. Something unthinkable when it was on the tin boxes.

                      If I'd known about such box beam solutions and about lathe height changes and how they help I might even have been able to upgrade the old Myford I started out with for my first lathe. And I might even still have it if adding a box beam like xynudu used on his Schaublin did the same improvements for that Myford as the block pedestals did for my Asian lathe. These things may see rigid and heavy but there's a whole other level of performance to be had by bolting the lathe to something like a concrete beam or heavy rectangular section and then filling said section with sand.
                      Last edited by BCRider; 04-16-2020, 01:46 PM.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        I have my lathe,9x20, sitting on a 44" roller cabinet with 13 drawers from HF. The casters were removed and piece of l 3/4 solid core door was added to the top then the lathe. Plenty of storage. Bottom drawer hold chucks and collects. Drawers glide in and out with ease. Every thing seemed tal but after a nice floor mat it is great no more sore back. John b. Sw Chicago burbs.
                        John b. SW Chicago burbs.

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                        • #13
                          In that video it was the hanging beam that caught my eye. and the chip tray is underneath.
                          Today I made a reconnaissance run to the local fabrication shops looking for some drop cuts.
                          I found a piece of 8" channel too long for $60
                          I found 3" x 10" rectangle box too long for $90, and sitting outside and nasty
                          I dont have a good way to cut something this heavy. do not have a mag base drill either

                          Went to another shop and this got just 'thrown into' back of my truck, still too long,

                          Click image for larger version

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                          I really like the look of the 3x10 tube, but 'thrown into' price makes this appealing

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Is 8" wide enough to accept the screws for mounting your Logan? If not can you weld on some slight ears? 8x8x1/4 would be a fantastic bed beam for a Logan ! ! ! !

                            It would be a nasty bit of messy and noisy work but a cutoff disc on an angle grinder WOULD... eventually.... give you the length you need.

                            Keep in mind too that to obtain the most rigidity you need to "close the box" by fully capping the ends. And I strongly suggest an upper and lower hatch to allow filling and draining out sand or fine gravel as a vibration damper.

                            For drilling out to allow tapping for screws a trick you can use to avoid breaking your wrists is to grind the tip using the "brass and plastic" negative rake modification. Drill a 3/16 or 1/4 pilot as suitable then use the modified drill. The negative rake avoids it digging in and trying to take you for a ride.
                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by flathead4 View Post
                              I personally don't like it for two reasons. 1. To me the bench is way too high. It looks like the spindle on the lathe is almost shoulder height.............
                              He addresses the height issue in the video starting at the 10:35 mark.
                              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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