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mounting lathe

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    You guys think mounting a 9" South bend to a 3/4 thick of plywood with leveler feet will be sufficient to maintin the rigidityof the lathe? Or should I double it? I am a short 5"8" old fart. It will be sitting on an old solid kitchen counter top with cupboards beneath. Thanks in advance for any advice. Best regards to all Fred

  • #2
    Originally posted by laddy

    You guys think mounting a 9" South bend to a 3/4 thick of plywood with leveler feet will be sufficient to maintin the rigidityof the lathe? Or should I double it? I am a short 5"8" old fart. It will be sitting on an old solid kitchen counter top with cupboards beneath. Thanks in advance for any advice. Best regards to all Fred

    I would double it and glue the two sheets together. I did this for my 3in1 and it worked out ok. I also put formica on it to make clean up easier

    Mansfield, Ohio


    • #3
      Short answer: No

      You might as well leave it sitting loose. Go find a piece of channel iron and mount it on that. The difference in rigidity is tremendous.

      The original stands that were either included or supplied as accessories were intended to complement the structure of the lathe to provide best performance and rigidity. That is why they were made of cast iron or reinforced heavy gauge sheet metal.

      Here is an example of a later stand for the South Bend 9A

      This is how mine is mounted

      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


      • #4
        South Bend and Atlas both recommend a minimum of 2" lumber if a wood bench is used. It is not a bad idea to provide a plate under the feet to prevent their digging into the wood of the bench. A couple of 3/16"-1/4" plates should suffice.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          Thanks Guys!! As always I appreciate your input! I have a piece of angle iron sitting 5 feet away. Never thought of it. Oh well Thanks to all any more ideas keep them coming. Moving this thing I have to have help. There was a day...... Not now. Thanks to all Fred


          • #6
            wood will expand and contract due to temp and humidity changes.

            do yourself a favour and build a substanial base from steel.

            i just recently built a base for a small lathe , i used 3 inch square tube for legs and 4 and 6 inch channel for the crosspieces,under the lathe feet, there are sections of 8 inch channel
            i then enclosed everything with 1/8 steel sheet.
            the drip pan will be a piece of 1/4 plate

            this base is not going anywhere


            • #7
              I used square tubing 3x3" to support my 10" Logan. It makes a stiff support and raises it to comfy level for me.


              • #8
                Ended up using a piece of 3/8th's steel plate! will post a pic when My kid gets home and can do it for me. Thanks to all Fred


                • #9
                  If you don't need (or intend) to twist the lathe bed in order to "level" it then you can sit it on anything that is strong enough to support the weight. If you need to "level" the bed then the bench you bolt it to will need to have enough rigidity to be able to twist the lathe bed by a few thou, which isn't that difficult.



                  • #10
                    i used plates .

                    yet to see what happens

                    all the best.markj


                    • #11
                      A topic near and dear to my current plans.

                      My lathe (Jet GHB-1340A) came with a sheet metal stand which is comprised of two steel "cabinets", one at each end of the lathe, and a filler piece of sheet metal. It looks pretty and the extra storage is great, but that's where it stops. It doesn't take much to rock the lathe around and the flex is sooooooo bad that leveling is an exercise in futility, which leads me to constructing a new base.

                      Ideally, an entirely new, heavy duty box steel base would seem ideal but then what do I do with the existing 'base', as I am 'spatially' challenged??? If I later want to sell the lathe and upgrade (win the lottery) I know the 'pretty' based unit would help make a sale to the uninitiated.

                      I am also considering incorporating the existing cabinets in a new support structure composed of angle iron. The cabinets would provide no structural support in this scenario, just storage capability. If painted right, the exposed support elements which would wrap the edges of the cabinets might accent the cabinets, if painted the right color. Since I would be 'wrapping' the existing support structure with additional structure, my work height would significantly increase.

                      Anyone been down this path???



                      • #12
                        I mounted my 9x20 on a 5x2 Sears bench with a 1 1/2" MDF top. I made some feet mounts for the underside for levelers. They are screwed to the sheet metal leg/sides at the bottom. It's pretty stiff. The only thing I'd change is to lift the lathe and cover the top with sheet metal. May do that in the future. I did paint the MDF with a good coat of garage floor paint. Got the bench on sale for about $140 - has three drawers, dang handy.

                        If working from scratch, I'd probably do two layers of 1" MDF glued together at least. Steel top better.
                        Last edited by Falcon67; 08-06-2009, 06:06 PM.
                        Merkel, Tx


                        • #13
                          Don't discount the contribution of the floor to the stable alignment of a lathe. Even the most rigid of stands should still be adjusted so it carries its own weight and that of the lathe through its feet with more or less equal pressure. In other words, with the weight of the lathe on it, the stand should first be made to be as stable as possible, with no rocking motions at all. The lathe can then be shimmed to suit to achieve lathe alignment.

                          Ultimately the floor is responsible for keeping things stable. Because of this, the surface of the stand is less important for structural rigidity than the framework itself. The surface could be 1/4 inch plywood and still not compromise the alignment if the stand is properly made.

                          Nothing wrong with making up a double thickness of mdf for the top- just don't expect it to be able to control alignment forces without a suitably rigid structure under it. Even a 3/8 steel plate won't be much help with alignment if it isn't kept from twisting by a support structure.

                          If you want to nearly eliminate the floor as a contributer to alignment issues, you could first mount the lathe to a triangulated weldement, then create the structure to stand that on the floor. The weldement could be made from three plates that are of the required length, and just a little wider than the width of the lathe base. It gets welded into a three sided tube, with one side having the lathe bolted to it. This will transform twisting forces into tension and compression forces in the steel, which it can resist with much less flexing than a piece of channel or even a box beam. Make up a paper model of each first just to test the concept.

                          Whatever you choose to use as a top is merely sandwiched between the lathe and this tube, and so can be made optimally to handle chips and swarf, cutting fluid, etc.
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-