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  • Lathe height from floor...

    Hi all,

    I think i've got my lathes set too high from the floor as it does not feel good after using them for long periods.

    Is there a "standard" height to say the centre or toolpost of a lathe?

    I am 6'-1" tall.

    One is a Colchester student roundhead and the other is a Boxford VSL.

    Any advice appreciated as always.

    Dave
    If it does'nt fit, hit it.
    https://ddmetalproducts.co.uk
    http://www.davekearley.co.uk

  • #2
    Dave,

    I don't know of any standard centre height however if your lathes are on standard manufacturers cabinets, are they both the same height?

    I'm an inch shorter than you and find most machine tools to be too low and I get a bad back from stooping.

    You could try standing on some ply or duckboarding, gradually building it up to a comfortable height might help you establish how much to adjust the lathes before you move them about.

    Al

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    • #3
      I never have had a problem with the height of the lathe from the floor maybe because I do not use them for long enough periods of time. The one problem I did have was with the lathe base height to the top of the stand in that I couldnt clean under the lathe easily so I mad some raising blocks 2.5" so now I can sweep under the lathe bed to keep it clean(most times)

      Peter
      I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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      • #4
        Ill try and find the ergonimics text book, but from memory if you stand in front of it with your arms by your sides and the elbows bent to 90 degrees (so your forearms stick out horizontal) hands out flat palms down, the lathe controls (topslide / crossslide handwheel) should be about a hand width below your palms. This is a general rule using body kinematics IIRC (its about 10 years since I studied this), and the correct height depends on the precision of the work and the weight of it, basically more precise and lighter closer to the 90 degrees.

        Dave

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        • #5
          Originally posted by small.planes
          Ill try and find the ergonimics text book, but from memory if you stand in front of it with your arms by your sides and the elbows bent to 90 degrees (so your forearms stick out horizontal) hands out flat palms down, the lathe controls (topslide / crossslide handwheel) should be about a hand width below your palms. This is a general rule using body kinematics IIRC (its about 10 years since I studied this), and the correct height depends on the precision of the work and the weight of it, basically more precise and lighter closer to the 90 degrees.

          Dave
          Excellent, so the elbow/hand is about level with the toolpost?

          Mine are much too high then, i'll check it out and lower them a bit, will make getting the 4-jaw on a bit easier.

          Thanks all for the replies
          Dave
          If it does'nt fit, hit it.
          https://ddmetalproducts.co.uk
          http://www.davekearley.co.uk

          Comment


          • #6
            sounds about right, but you are not setting the toolpost height, you are setting the controls height, which is after all the bit you use

            I cant find the actual book online, but page 34 from here shows the kind of thing, this is related to workbenches, but the same principals apply

            Dave

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            • #7
              i have my lathe and my mill at 32 inchs from the floor i find is nice for the lathe but i have to sit in fornt of my mill which is ok i have adjusted rather well to it.

              my theroy/thinking is if you cant see the peice properly you are working on and can not eaisly get behind the lathe in this case to clean out behind it then its set up to high.... iam 5'9 not that it matters much i dont think

              Comment


              • #8
                This may or may not be of use in this thread but for typist it is recommended that your forearm be parallel with the floor to aide in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.

                Kodak recommended that all editing benches have the equipment spread out on shelves and such to keep your neck and shoulders moving so as to avoid neck stress. Condensing everything right in front of your face for long periods of time results in sore necks.

                When seated at a workbench and you have to continually stoop over for small work, back pain can be eliminated or reduced significantly by keeping your thighs parallel with the floor by elevating your with a footrest not under the seat but in front of the seat. The legs are allowed to offer considerable relief to back muscles.

                I am 6' and my lathe is stock SouthBend. My back gets tired if working long periods as it seems low but I don't want the chips any closer to my face.

                I bought the factory cabinet for my Rung Foo mill and ended up setting it on 4 cement blocks as it was killing my back. Now I use it seated on a roll-around stool and it's not too bad.
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                • #9
                  I don't have a measurement handy, but I know my Logan, on it's factory cabinet, is a couple of inches too low for me. When I got my Sheldon, I had to patch up the legs of the shop-fabricated stand it came on, and I intentionally made the repairs to put the lathe controls about 2" to 3" higher than the Logan.

                  And that made a significant difference.

                  I'm almost your height- almost - and I could get you some exact measurement if you need 'em. But really, the controls are more or less just below elbow height- so your forearms are angled slightly downhill as you're holding the carriage wheel. A little lower for the feed knob, a touch higher for the cross feed, etc.

                  That "rule of thumb" should get you pretty close to a comfortable working height.

                  On a similar note, my Nichols horizontal mill is too low for me even up on 4x4 blocks. I'll probably be making a 6" to 8" spacer/stand/mini-cabinet to put under it. I'll be primarily using it on smaller parts (no engine blocks and the like ) so I'll want it positioned so I don't have to bend over to squint at the cutter.

                  Doc.
                  Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ptjw7uk
                    I never have had a problem with the height of the lathe from the floor maybe because I do not use them for long enough periods of time. The one problem I did have was with the lathe base height to the top of the stand in that I couldnt clean under the lathe easily so I mad some raising blocks 2.5" so now I can sweep under the lathe bed to keep it clean(most times)

                    Peter

                    Yes, I had to do the same with my 13 X 40 Enco. I used 2" X 3" square tubing welded into rectangles on each end and secured with longer bolts. Now I have room to sweep out the chips when I clean up. It also helped with the height of the lathe since I did find it a bit low for comfort.



                    Last edited by gnm109; 10-08-2008, 02:37 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Lathes are backbreakers no matter what their heights. You're always in a half stoop. That said, the height that worlks best for me is when the cross feed screw axis passes through my watch pocket.

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                      • #12
                        Lathe Height

                        I had my lathe set on sections of 6" H beam from day one when it was delivered as it was too low for me. It is a Clausing-Cholchester 13" x 40" and was purchased new back in 1983. I have never regretted the additional height.

                        JRW

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                        • #13
                          Had this discussion in the pm not long back

                          It worked out ...that people that operated hardinges did not suffer the back ache

                          centre of spindle height on the hardinges was ..47-48 inches ..

                          so going by that made my workbench so the spindle centre height of my south bend was 48 inches

                          many boxfords etc ...were built for schools ...that's why they are low .

                          Also ...they have not grown with the times........people at turn of the century were smaller..........and I think they based all their ergonomics on that era.

                          all the best.markj

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                          • #14
                            Helper Blocks on Tools

                            I had to add "helper blocks" to both my lathe and mill as they were way too low for me. I have my mill sitting on two 6" x 6" wooden planks and my lathe mounted on two 3" x 6" planks with 4" wheels under the planks. Both mods were needed to make them useable for me. I also built my work bench with the top 42" above the floor. These work for me but then again, I'm 2.02 meters tall!

                            Bill
                            Bill

                            Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

                            Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

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                            • #15
                              The new 17x60 seemed very low to me, much lower than my old Rockwell 11x37. I wound up putting it up on ~5"x6" solid steel rounds. There are 6 of them, like very thick hockey pucks. And I have only really used it for about an hour combined over the last 2 nights (just got the big phase converter done), but I think I am going to like it VERY well...
                              Russ
                              Master Floor Sweeper

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