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Lathe Leveling with 8 Pads?

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  • Lathe Leveling with 8 Pads?

    My Bradford Model 16 lathe has 8 leveling pads, and I don't know the sequence for setting 8 leveling points.

    I've only done machines with 4.

    What's the best way to do this?

  • #2
    Our Hendey at work has eight and the other lathe sixteen.I use the four closest the center to level the machine and the four outer to tweak the bed if needed.

    Leveling the first time on an older machine goes easier if you block it up,remove the leveling screws and clean the threads in the base with a tap.Built up crud in the threads just makes a PITA job more work.
    I just need one more tool,just one!


    • #3
      The way I leveled my Monarchs with 8 screws, 4 on the HS pedastal and 4 on the TS, was to level the lathe using the 4 outer screws, then bring the inner 4 to bear. Be careful the inner 4 will affect the level. It gets interesting if there is a middle leg and 10 screws, like I have on my newest addition. It's basically leveling two connected lathe beds, starting with the outer 4 screws, then using the middle leg to bring the bed up because it sags, and readjusting everything. It took me 5 hours to level that lathe. The other lathes usually took an hour or less.


      • #4
        Thanks for the tips everyone. I had the same question, but just didn't get around to asking it.


        • #5
          My manual want me to set all eight bolts in concrete, then make the adjustments. That way I can supposedly pull down and push up..

          Sounds like a PITA to me... I'll probably just put 8 steel pads beneath and try the leveling inserts with gravity sucking on the 3000lbs first..


          • #6
            I don't think the wind will blow it away.

            I'll use leveling machine mounts on my Nardini. The center of the 8 leveling screws are bored for a 14mm bolt to anchor the machine to the floor. I'll bolt the leveling mounts thru the adjustment screws, then use the original adjustment screws to get my level. I doubt that it will move at all.


            • #7
              Kind of a crap shoot when to say just where you start leveling a plain vanilla small lathe with cast or fabricated pedestals. If you start with the inner jacks someone will come along and tell you how some ol' boy he knew said to start with the outer. If you start with the outer jacks some one etc.

              Naturally you start with the installation manual if you have one. A two pedestal lathe with 8 jacks is pretty basic. So long as the machine comes out level you can't go wrong.

              I prefer to use two levels and some 1-2-3 blocks so I can bridge the V ways. I usually start with the inner jacks and level cross ways on the head stock using the inner headstock pedistal jacks. Then put a level on the flat way and level cross ways on the tailstock end while watching the flat way level. Chances are I disturbed the headstock end a little so I go back. Then I level using the tailstock's outer jacks then the headstock.

              You have to go around several times tweaking until the whole bedway system lies in a level plane. If you haven't already, you might have to bolt it down if you need to pull it into a plane. Finally you need to run a two collar test to see if the motion of the carriage is parallel to the spindle axis. You have to maintain level with the inner jacks and tweak the outer headstock jacks to bring the spindle axis in. Same with the tailstock quill.

              Needless to say it's a gravy job on a new lathe on a thick solid floor but a nightmare in a lathe having significant wear when you install it on a thin unsupported froor and so on degrading as complicating factors (like floor cracks, direct sun, etc) are cranked in. Most home shop machinists can do a fine job leveling a lathe once their feet are set on the path. It aint rocket science and my way isn't the only way. However you will have to go around the machine several times so figure a full evening of stoop labor.

              Needless to say there is a point in the wear progression when no amount of leveling and tweaking will solve all the lathe's problems.

              Another point is leveling needs to be checked and or refeshed once a year.

              Anyone owning a one man shop gets to wear a lot of hats, millwright is only one of them.

              Finally, it's not that a machine has to be "leveled" to run properly. There's no mystical advantage to leveling. Leveling is simply the most convenient to re-establish the bedways in a plane free of twist, humps, and hollows. If it wasn't for the lube and coolant pouring out of the sumps (and the weighty carriage and tailstock crashing against the headstock) you could bolt a lathe to the wall and it would function. So leveling is an aid to installing the machine in the same alignments as when the machine was first erected and aligned at the manufacturer.
              Last edited by Forrest Addy; 08-08-2009, 04:17 AM.


              • #8
                FWIW this is the maker's technique for my DSG, which has six points (four on a very heavy headstock):-
                Level both ways using the four outer screws, level on the carriage at either end and along the ways.
                Then with level across the carriage at the headstock end, wind up on one of the inner headstock screws until the level just changes (one or two graduations), then bring back to level with the other inner screw.
                Then run test cuts and tweak if need be with the outer headstock screws.