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  • lathe stand

    I recently bought a new 13-40 lathe, without a stand, so I built one out of two sheet metal stands for some unknown type of lathe (probably a smaller one) plus some 2 by 2 by 1/4 angle and 2" square tubing. It works ok but if the job is out of balance even a little bit there is a noticeable if slight vibrabration. I am now building a pair of new stands out of 1/4" stainless plate (free) 16" by 16" by 24" high with 4 anchor bolts on each one.

    since steel isn't the best material to dampen out vibration will this be sturdy enough to do the job, are the boughten stands steel or cast iron, and would it make any difference if the stands were filled with something, like cement or water. Maybe that would be overkill.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

    Southwestern Ontario. Canada

  • #2

    Loose nut, most of the new bought stands for the HSM lathes are made using a substantial sheet metal. I do not think it would hurt if you reinforce the top of the cabinet with a 1 1/2" ply or MDF -( under the sheet metal) But the most important thing is that you carefully level your lathe in both directions. When you are done, the stand must feel solid. It is important that this done well, otherwise the accuracy of your lathe WILL suffer. Do not expect that the basement floor is flat, they just about never are. Adjustable, heavy duty rubber/plastic feet are MUST (and quite expensive). I have shelves/drawers in my stand and I store there my chucks and other lathe accessories. That helps to dumpen any vibrations. Take care. Vic


    • #3
      I did a review of HF version of the lathe stand a while back. I wasn't impressed and returned them. I ended up making a steel stand with concrete filled sections. Next to solid cast iron, I think concrete is the best vibration dampener.


      • #4
        Feet for stands....A cheap Canadians solution.

        A search or recollection of postings on here will reveal that some of the cleverer members here have made not-so-expensive machinery leveling feet out of Hockey Pucks, washers & bolts (or ready rod...All-thread to you American friends.)
        I've now made 2 sets, 1 for my 13 in. South Bend (heavy enough) and no wheels, (don't want to move it too often) and 1 set for my bending brake. (On wheels, but the leveling pads are used on jack screws to level it once in place. It is seldom moved, but has to be movable due to some other shop equipment...)
        I will make some more for machines at the shop & at home.
        A Canuck solution ?


        • #5
          If you decide to concrete you can use a dampening additive. In the past I've specified a product called concredamp ( We used it for increasing the damping coefficient for long span concrete slabs in building construction where vibration and shock were going to be a problem. It might work for a small piece like a tabletop. There are a number of concrete / cement additives that may make help.

          Good luck,



          • #6
            Concrete actually tranmits vibration pretty well. We had a backhoe working across the street from my work building which is 4 stories of poured concrete floors and walls. The floors are 8" thick and actually float, suspended on concrete columns. The building is a fallout shelter built in the early 60's and was intentionally build so it could have heavy machinery running on all floors. Still, the work, maybe 100' from the building was really obvious yesterday.

            Don't get me wrong...concrete may help through the addition of mass if it floats (creating a damping effect), but not in actually preventing transmission of vibration. It is pretty dense stuff and therefore tansmits vibration pretty well. The best solutions involve minimizing the vibration and thus the encouragement to get solid footing before worrying about increasing mass.

            You also got some really good advice about making the mounting solid first and then increasing weight second. Lathes in this class do tend to be a pendulum with the weight at the top and as such a heavier base will help if it can be made to not move. The advice on leveling is also critically important as lathes in this class can twist easily, making for less than straight bedways and tapered cutting. I have a 13x40 with an integral sheet metal stand. It is heavy for sheet metal, but is sure not cast iron either. The lathe weighs 1300# and is most certainly top heavy. This concerned me. However, it came with 4 cast iron feet with rubber bottoms for the headstock end and two for the tailstock end. With 6 contact points, levelling is a real treat (I am being facetious), but once sitting level and in full contact, it is very solid.

            I don't know how fast you are spinning an out-of-balance workpiece, but bolting balancing weight to a faceplate is a way to head off the vibration at the source.

            Paul Carpenter
            Mapleton, IL


            • #7
              Absolutely correct. Damping provided by additional mass or gel-like additives reduces the peak vibration level and the amount of time vibration lasts. It does not isolate vibration generated by the machine (lathe) from reaching its base. For that you need a resilient element between the machine and base which has to be sized appropriately based on the weight of the machine, rotational speed, and imbalance force. This is probably impractical for a lathe, since rotational speeds are typically very "low" and the imbalance force rather "high". Trying to counterbalance the force by the addition of weights is a very good idea and practical.

              One other thing you might try is to separate the motor from the tool, and mount it on the base of the lathe stand and isolate it with springs (sized appropriately) and transmit power to the lathe via a pulley. This appears how some older lathes in one of my machine books were set up. I have done something similar to this for isolating large centrifugal belt powered fans. I realize that this is not practical if you have a gearhead lathe.


              • #8
                The stands I'm making are going to be bolted directly onto the shop floor' with 4 anchors on each one. Each one wieghs over 140 lbs. and if filled with water that increases to 360 lbs. I think 720 lbs. under the lathe with a 16sq." footprint on each end will stablize it but the concrete idea has been droped, if it ever had to be moved the stands wouldn't be going anywhere, were as water can be drained out.

                ok next question.

                what is the best way to level the lathe. There are 6 hold down bolts on the top of the stands ( 4 on the headstock stand, 2 on the tailstock stand), is it better to use shim stock between the lathe and the stands or is it better to use leveling nuts and washers between the lathe and the stands.

                When I bought the lathe, I drove 100 miles to an industrial supply house to buy it, so it figures that the 12-36 lathe I was going after was sold out. They had a 13-40 on sale for the same price, and another more substantial 13-40 model for several hundred dollars more. Well my pockets weren't deep enough for the more expensive model so I told the counter clerk that I would take the sale model but I wanted to see it first, no problem, we went into the store house and they pulled the top off of the crate and in there was the more expensive model. Being a mostly honest guy I told the clerk that they had made a mistake, he looked in the crate and said "no it's the right lathe". Hey, I tried, and then burned rubber out of the parking lot before they changed ther minds. After all is said and done it cost me $2200.00 plus tax etc. which explains the lack of stand.
                The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

                Southwestern Ontario. Canada