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Mount 12x36 lathe without bolts?

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  • Mount 12x36 lathe without bolts?

    Hi all!

    Has been a while since I have been around the HSM BBS and here it is looking all flash with new BBS software!!

    Now on to the problem...

    I have recently moved from a house I own to a rented property that happens to have a great big shed out the back. Unfortunately the owner doesn't share my passion for great big heavy machines and refuses to allow any holes to be drilled into the concrete slab.

    Can anyone tell me a safe and accurate way that I can use my 12x36 bench lathe (I have the factory made stands) without bolting the lathe down? Has anyone esle experienced this and has pictures of their setup?



  • #2
    Hey Ben, some people just don't want a guy to have any fun at all. Never had to do this, but I would build a stand out of 4 by 4's because alot of the leveling depends on the weight and structure of the lathe itself. Bolt it to the wood and have a good time! Wouldn't waste much time worrying about level. Get the twist out of the bed, zero in your tailstock, get a tool on center and make a lot of chips. Good luck


    • #3
      Mount 12x36 lathe without bolts?


      Millman took the words right out of my mouth. Just bolt the base down to some 4x4's and you are good to go. We did this at work with an American Pacmaker (16x36) only with 6x6's. Worked just fine for the year until we moved it back to the main shop.

      Jim (KB4IVH)

      There is always more than one way to "skin a landlord"
      Jim (KB4IVH)

      Only fools abuse their tools.


      • #4
        Glue down some mounting pads. Let him worry about getting them off later.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          Unless this is earthquake country bolting it down is unnecessary. All you need are levelers: 3/8 or 1/2" threaded mounts with large rubber/plastic pads on the bottom. A nut underneath with a large washer and nut on top allow rapid leveling. If earthquakes are a consideration then 4x4 outriggers will stabilize it against mild to moderate tremors, but more elaborate structures would be needed for major quakes.


          • #6
            ...what Steve said. I've used my lathe for close to 30 years without having it bolted to the floor, and had no problems. I do have it on a pretty wide bench so it's very stable; if the base of your lathe is on a narrow base, Steve's suggestion of a couple of crossmembers might be advisable if you're paranoid, but even that probably isn't necessary.
            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


            • #7
              Ditto what the others have said with one addition. Some of my tools like the cheap tire changer and bender don't get a lot of use so they get stored. When I need them, I have a half sheet of 3/4" plywood that I use to mount them. I have T-Nuts on the bottom set at the appropriate layouts. All I do is bolt them down at one corner. My weight on the board is enough to keep them from moving around.

              You might lay a sheet of heavy plywood down and use that for bolting it down. For a "permanent" setup, I think I'd put a sheet of plastic under the plywood to keep the moisture away from it though. The new "floor" may even save some cold feet and damaged tools too. Not to mention saving the guys concrete from oil stains and such.


              • #8

                Dont need no stinkin' bolts. My 9" South bend is not bolted down. 'course the base is made of cast iron.
                Seriously though I have seen lathes and bridgeports work fine without being bolted to the floor.Unless you feel the lathe is to top heavy you shoud be OK. If not add some balast to the base.
                Ken brought up a good point If I was te land lord I would likely be more worried about oill stains than a couple of holes. You may want to address that issue as well.
                Ad maiorem dei gloriam - Ad vitam paramus


                • #9
                  Add me to the list, my Logan is not bolted to the floor. it sits on 4 2x2x3/4 inch chunks of aluminum that have thin (0.040) rubber on the bottom to prevent sliding around.

                  The only reasons to bolt down are:

                  a) you need it to stay put, as on a ship.

                  b) you want a slight added rigidity

                  c) the bed is so warped that you need to crank it back to straight

                  Item a is marginal for garage use, b can be addressed other ways if needed. Hopefully c is not an issue.

                  Mine is on a slight slope in basement, but has not walked around enough to throw off "level" (alinement).
                  1601 2137 5683 1002 1437

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  If you look closely at a digital signal, you find out it is really analog......


                  • #10
                    On a couple of my machines, I just put a healthy bead of silicone around the base to keep them from walking around. I haven't had one move yet.
                    Location: North Central Texas


                    • #11
                      Excellent all, thank you so much for the help. I'll put it all together on a sheet of ply and see how it goes. Yes I agree that oil will be an issue with this guy... Might have to chase up some large pieces of rubber to spread around.


                      • #12
                        Agreed. I finally got mine mounted about 3 days ago. If you look around here someplace, there's a thread "90% on project" by me, which shows off the bench/table I built for my 9x30. All I did was make some 3" square plates with 1" all thread welded to it. A nut and washer, some bushing material in side the 2" square tube that makes up the leg of the bench and poof, insta-level bench. About all I've managed to get done since then was turn a "yea, it works" bar down some. As far as I'm concerned, it's as solid as I could ever want it to be. The bench isn't bolted to my floor either. I would say that the entire works does weigh about 500lbs though.