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How to lathe on a mill?

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  • How to lathe on a mill?

    I've seen hundreds of ways to mill on a lathe, but little mention of lathing on a mill. I read a few bits here where people have done so...anyone have any pictures of a setup they might use to mount the tool holder? Also, which direction would the mill have to turn? Foward or Reverse?

    Thanks
    SAM

  • #2
    I've not done this personally, but there are quite a lot of videos on Youtube that show these kinds of operations. A few good ones are at the following links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0rBt8WLXho
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S34fe7JHkSo

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    • #3
      How to "lathe"?

      I suppose that gets a bit more on-topic responses than "How to turn on a mill?" !

      Table/knee is carriage / crosslide.....with an extra movement (which one is extra depends on V vs H mill) Go from there.
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

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      • #4
        The next time I have my mill in that "mode" I will take a full picture of it in all its matching ensemble's --- but for now you have to use imagination and the pic below, imagine the angle block/quick change is where the rotary table is --- then the head of the mill is off to the left and laid down (mimmick a lathe - motor off to the left and when you do this forward is still forward) -- My mill is a turret mill so the turret is already dialed in for this, it is pre-aligned perfectly with the table --- this is something to consider when mill/lathing as normally this really is of no concern when milling totally upright --- start to throw the head down and now your jacking with stuff, Now imagine a little R/8 5" three jaw and you have the makings of a makeshift lathe for small hub work or even smaller very accurate work on tiny items by just using the R/8 collets like a 5/C work holding ----- no you cant work on long stuff - no you can't thread (cnc'ers could prove me wrong)--- but you can do most stuff or at least I can for what I need a lathe for,
        I jam the quill nut up against the stop, I also lock the quill cinch down -- I am VERY surprised at the amount of metal I can remove and how stable it is -- I can also utilize my turret and X-axis for tapers and can use the quills fine feed for finish cuts, If the quill is used it automatically eliminates taper errors - but cannot be used if trying to create one.
        For about $250 bucks Iv created a system that can keep me going late at night when I can't get to my friends shop where the real lathes live


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        • #5
          That question comes up often and I always cringe. If you can afford to buy a mill and are now needing a lathe just buy a lathe. To do lathe work on a mill is rediculous to me.

          First it is not designed to do that and second it is not rigid enough to do it.

          You will spend more time, effort and money to make the mill do something it can't really do than it is worth.
          It's only ink and paper

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          • #6
            yep , I used to use my bridgeport far a lathe before I got a lathe....just put a piece of HSS in the vice and chucked up a piece of stock in the collet...the parts were pretty simple....made some pretty cool tapered pins for a die that way once...Shawn (neccessity is the mother of invention)

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            • #7
              Mill turning

              The only reason I can see for turning on a mill is if you need a swing well beyond that of your lathe. I've done this on guide shoes with a 24 inch radius. I was cuting 16 shoes at a time and ran the mill, a Cincinnatti horizontal at it's lowest rpm to get the needed SFM.

              The shoes were mounted on a fixture of generally face plate geometry with blocks added to mount the shoes with socket head capscrews.

              It worked like a charm and really kicked up the job productivity.

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              • #8
                I have done lathe work in the mill when the lathe cannot do the job.

                The mill rotates the tool, with the work in the vise.
                The lathe rotates the work, with the tool in the vise.

                To use the mill as a lathe, rotate the work in a collet and hold the tool in the vise.
                There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
                The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps

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                • #9
                  http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/j...tolathe002.jpg I made a chuck mount for the horizontal spindle and machined various items too large for my lathe.
                  Don't see pics here, hope they come through. Peter ( didn't cost me anything, only time)
                  Last edited by Oldbrock; 03-13-2009, 07:41 PM.
                  The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.

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                  • #10
                    If you have a mill then making it into a lathe is only a matter of a headstock and a tailstock. When I built the 4th axis headstock for my CNC mill I included a secondary motor that can run the spindle at a around 1000 rpm. The exact same setup can be used on a manual mill to do turning.

                    This is my setup:

                    The 4th axis headstock



                    This is turning an 8" metal mirror.



                    This is the tailstock

                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      Lathes and milling machines are both metal working machines. There is no reason they must be used in the "traditional" configurations. There are times that it is more convenient to mill on a lathe or turn on a mill. If you only have one machine, your imagination will be the limitation of what you can accomplish.

                      As CNC becomes more common, the machining centers of the future will more closely resemble milling machines than lathes.
                      Jim H.

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                      • #12
                        Instead of making a ball-turning attachment for my manual lathe, why not do it in my CNC mill? Seems like I can do a much wider range of radii

                        Yes, I'm unlikely to turn a 10" OD ball on the mill. But then I've got no intention of doing that on the lathe either.

                        For small stuff the mill (which I already have) seems cheaper than buying/making more lathe tooling.

                        cheers,
                        Michael

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carld
                          That question comes up often and I always cringe. If you can afford to buy a mill and are now needing a lathe just buy a lathe. To do lathe work on a mill is rediculous to me.

                          First it is not designed to do that and second it is not rigid enough to do it.

                          You will spend more time, effort and money to make the mill do something it can't really do than it is worth.
                          Boy you are wrong on every count. there are certain things from time to time that are far easier to do this way. If you are lucky enough to have a CNC this opens up tons of things.
                          I have been doing this for more than 25 years now and my father showed me and my grandfather showed him.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Evan
                            If you have a mill then making it into a lathe is only a matter of a headstock and a tailstock.

                            Amazing work.

                            How do you align the tail stock with the headstock on a mill table?
                            There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
                            The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carld
                              That question comes up often and I always cringe. If you can afford to buy a mill and are now needing a lathe just buy a lathe.
                              That statement does not make sense to me, Just because i could afford to buy a mill doesn't mean I can afford to buy a lathe --- in fact - your less apt to be able to buy the lathe due to just buying the mill because nobody pays you to buy the mill - you have to buy it and that takes money - and money is what you need to buy the lathe with
                              To do lathe work on a mill is rediculous to me.

                              First it is not designed to do that and second it is not rigid enough to do it.
                              It depends what your using it for - like I stated I was very surprised at the amount of metal (steel) I can remove and how stable it is with no chatter - my mill is by far rigid enough for all of the things I turn and its only a 2/3rds scale mill and does not have mehanite castings. My experience is actually quite the opposite that what I thought it was going to be --- I thought Id have to "baby" things along -- and although I know im limited with a small size chuck iv had it maxed out with steel and the cuts i was taking were fair, the shock was there wasnt any chatter and I would swear to the point that in some ways it seamed better at certain things than my friends heavy engine lathe, maybe its the stability of my mills massive table in comparison to the lathes very small carriage.
                              You will spend more time, effort and money to make the mill do something it can't really do than it is worth.
                              Its not the way it worked out for me --- I spent about $250 bucks and it does everything and more of what I thought it would, it makes my little shop extremely versatile and saved me much money in not having to buy a lathe,
                              The biggest drawback is its a pain in the butt to change over for every little item so I make a list and organize my projects procedures to shift back and forth as little as possible, If I didnt have access to "real" lathes I would probably want one - but - I cant afford one anyhow (due to buying the mill) so I think Id be doing the same thing I am right now.


                              Something else to consider -- if i ever do get a lathe it will most likely be semi-entry level -- meaning it wont have a quick change tool post -- so, $100 bucks of the 250 can still be used in the future, also - the angle block (although modified now) I would have bought for the mill anyways ($50 bucks) and the 3 jaw R8 is just plain handy for the mill as it adds great versatility ($100) as its chuck also couples to my Rotary table so now that I own one I wouldnt want to give that up regardless of whether I had a lathe or not.

                              Very practical and cost effective compromise - for me anyway.
                              Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 03-14-2009, 12:31 AM.

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