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  • Home Made Lathe Stand

    I am going to build my lathe stand over the next few weekends. I probably should have started this thread prior to purchasing steel for it, but to late now.

    My intention was to build something like it is currently sitting on, but taller.



    After reading the recent skate thread the more I think about it, 10" deep by 20" tall seems kind of narrow considering how top heavy this machine probably is. My thought now is to widen the bottom of the stand to maybe 20" (or more?) and create a trapezoid to increase stability. Probably bolt it to the floor as well.

    My other issue it that it will be sitting in my garage perpendicular to the door, so the fall of the floor is going make one end lower than the other, about ¼” or more. Is this worth shimming up, or building the top level by making the legs longer on one end. I realize that would preclude me from using the stand on a level surface, but I doubt it will be moving it much one it is in place. Speaking of moving, I think I will have a fork lift place it on the stand in the driveway then I have to figure out a way to make the stand mobile. I would like to do that part on the cheap, for some reason I doubt the skates I keep seeing are cheap unless you can get your hands on a bunch of used/free parts.

    The steel I bought is 2”x 2” x 3/16” angle and that is not going to change. But any different ideas about design of the stand would be appreciated.

    Also, there is currently not a chip tray on the lathe. Any ideas for integrating one into the stand would be welcome.

    From memory, the footprint of the lathe is 10” x 72” and I am guessing the weight at 2500-3000 lbs. Its a 24"x30" Standard Modern.

  • #2
    A few points:

    1) making the bottom of the stand your metal off-cut bin will add stability. Same goes for some of your heavier tooling.

    2) wider is nice but the top will be covered in swarf and whatever you use for cutting/coolant fluid. Make the top wider, maybe your drip tray, so the stuff doesn't wind up all over what's stored below. Yeah, I made that mistake.

    3) you will need a way to shim/adjust each corner of the lathe such that you can tune it to run true. If you have to deal with that 1/4" slope, why not use adjustable mounts on each corner than can take that up as well. I seem to recall several designs in the books... sorry, can't check them now as I'm rather far from my library. I'm sure there are many others willing to give their specific design, or Google. Oh, don't make my mistake and design the stand such that you can't easily get at the lathe mounting bolts when the machine is in it's running location with most everything loaded in the stand. I'm still trying to figure out a decent fix for that.
    http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks of the ideas, keep 'em coming. After reading Pherdie's thread my plan seems downright barbaric.

      Are the bigger lathes just as susceptible to bed twist as the small ones?

      Comment


      • #4
        Considering that the bottom six inches of the stand might be too low for useful storage how about pouring concrete into the base, or if future moving is contemplated pack in bricks, sand, steel punchings, etc. That should make it nice and stable.

        Comment


        • #5
          What Standard Modern uses on their "Utilathe" series is a cast iron stand. More important, I think, is the rather clever floor anchors. They are hollow jacking bolts with fairly large feet. Once level, drill through for some Hilti epoxy anchors and the job is done. The bolts have a fine thread by the way. They would be a bit of trouble to make, but welded into the frame, they would be invisible. A trapezoid is an excellent idea, and the base twice as wide as the top would be about right, I think.
          Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

          Comment


          • #6
            I've given my ideas for a lathe stand previously, so I won't repeat that here. I did have another idea though, so here it is-

            Either the lathe bed will twist the stand as the mounting bolts are tightened, or the stand will twist the lathe bed. It's likely that both things are happening. I've seen lots of stands that are basically vertical members and horizontal members, with little in the way of bracing. Proper bracing would most likely get in the way of the usable space within the stand.

            So- make the stand with adjustable feet all around. Initially adjust the feet so that any one of them could be turned in by about a half inch, shortened in other words. Place the stand where it will be, then level it both ways by adjusting the feet. If any one foot bottoms out, raise the others so that all feet still have some adjustment room.

            With the stand level and not rocking at all, place the lathe on it. Most likely there will be room between at least one foot and the stand. Place shims to suit, then install the mounting bolts. At this point, the lathe bed and the stand are kind of an integral unit. Neither will have been twisted as the bolts were secured.

            Now you need a fifth foot, centered front to back, on the tailstock end. This foot would be a ball bearing, adjustable for height, and oriented to roll back and forth, not side to side. Adjust this till both feet at that end are off the floor. Lower it till one just touches, then lower the other one till it touches the same. Then adjust the rolling foot up off the floor.

            At this point, nothing is twisted or warped, and the only rock and roll should be from your music system.

            Now is the time to check the operation of the lathe to see if it turns something other than an error-free 'test bar'. If there is any adjustment to be made, it's done with the feet on the stand, utilizing the rolling foot as well.

            To me, this is the way to do it, because the stand will twist fairly easily to accommodate the minor adjustments that might be required to 'level' the lathe. You'll get better adjustability by using the feet on the stand than you would by shimming the mounting lugs on the lathe bed.

            The alternate situation is if you have built a stand which has direct bracing to counter any twist. That changes everything- you now have to level the stand to the floor, then leave that alone. You are forced to make your bed alignment adjustments at the mounting feet.

            I hope it's clear what I'm trying to say- there are two basic types of stand, regardless of the material it's built from. One basically supports the lathe up off the floor, and the other actually adds to the structural rigidity of the bed. The first type gives you lots of usable room within the stand, and the second is full of triangulated bracing, so much of the room is used up already. One type might be better suited to a solid concrete floor, while the other, the well braced one, suits a floor that could be flexible.

            Well there you go- todays thoughts on stands.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

            Comment


            • #7
              My poor lathe spent the first half dozen years of its life sitting on a pallet in the showroom and the next couple of years on wooden blocks in my garage. I dont know if a lathe can take a 'set' but in my case I suspect it is past the time to worry about it.

              Now back to the subject, I have considered pouring a concrete bench, filled block supports and a decent slab on top to support my lathe and a few other machines including my little shaper, the only thing that causes me to hesitate (well, excepting a shortage of tuits) is that I am not yet confident on a few of the details.

              Otherwise, a steel fabricated bench is a possibility and I have considered fixing three corners to the floor and having just one adjustable. My theory being that end to end levelling is not critical and one would be able to twist (untwist?) the lathe bed by adjusting the fourth foot alone.

              Comment


              • #8
                Should I be worried that I am considering building a 200lb stand for a 2000lb+ lathe? Obviously I can't have a ginourmous cast stand since that is it not what is currently on.

                Sounds like many think it should be more substantial. If I redhead it to the floor every foot or so the slab should add considerable strength/stability. Unless it just cracks my slab to hell....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi. I have a much smaller lathe but went through much of the same issues you are foreseeing. The issue is finally resolved for me so I'll pass on the info.

                  My frame was made of steel tubing with angle iron shelves welded to the 4 legs; one is about 6" off the ground and another about 13" above the bottom one. There is 3/4" plywood for shelf material. The back side and end sides of the table needed to have criss-crossed angle iron welded corner-to-corner to make it rigid. Without them, the table would vibrate/undulate if the chuck had a slighly unbalanced piece. The front of the table is open and accessible. The top tube-steel frame has 3 angle iron struts welded front to back and the bolts of the lathe base go through the angle iron. The top surface is 1" dense plywood. I do not have a drip pan but wish I did. The legs do not have leveling bolts but they would be helpful. Finally, the width of the top is twice the width of the lathe base.

                  The entire setup is sitting on concrete. I started by leveling the legs with metal shims, placed lathe on the table and bolted it down. As I would imagine, the table and lathe took-on a new form/shape.

                  The secrets to getting it to work perfectly was A) put hard vinyl strips under the legs and shims to absorb vibration. Steel transmits vibration and the hard vinyl kills it. B) Add as much weight to the table as possible. I have all my chucks and other heavy equipment that can reasobably be stored in that environment on the shelves of that table. The bare lathe weighs about 400 lbs and I have at least that much additional stored on the shelves.

                  To level the lathe, I use shims at the rocker-points between the lathe base and top of table. It took a couple weeks to finally get it right but, it is very level, very stable and totally vibration free.

                  Of course, this is probably not an ideal way to level a lathe but, given my home-shop situation and the materials on-hand, this has lead to a working solution.

                  Hope this helps...

                  In your shoes, if I had such a big lathe as yours, I'd be inclined to see what type of table the manufacturer typically recommends. Maybe you can adapt some ideas to your situation.

                  Best of luck...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by toyjeep73
                    I am going to build my lathe stand over the next few weekends. I probably should have started this thread prior to purchasing steel for it, but to late now.

                    My intention was to build something like it is currently sitting on, but taller.



                    After reading the recent skate thread the more I think about it, 10" deep by 20" tall seems kind of narrow considering how top heavy this machine probably is. My thought now is to widen the bottom of the stand to maybe 20" (or more?) and create a trapezoid to increase stability. Probably bolt it to the floor as well.

                    My other issue it that it will be sitting in my garage perpendicular to the door, so the fall of the floor is going make one end lower than the other, about ¼” or more. Is this worth shimming up, or building the top level by making the legs longer on one end. I realize that would preclude me from using the stand on a level surface, but I doubt it will be moving it much one it is in place. Speaking of moving, I think I will have a fork lift place it on the stand in the driveway then I have to figure out a way to make the stand mobile. I would like to do that part on the cheap, for some reason I doubt the skates I keep seeing are cheap unless you can get your hands on a bunch of used/free parts.

                    The steel I bought is 2”x 2” x 3/16” angle and that is not going to change. But any different ideas about design of the stand would be appreciated.

                    Also, there is currently not a chip tray on the lathe. Any ideas for integrating one into the stand would be welcome.

                    From memory, the footprint of the lathe is 10” x 72” and I am guessing the weight at 2500-3000 lbs. Its a 24"x30" Standard Modern.

                    a 1/4 inch is a bit of a drop expecially if your lube system is oil fillled gear box so youll want to keep the lathe as level as possible so i would sudjest in that case to make sure its as level as you can get it..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, my feelilng is that you should go bigger then the footprint, to at least the ammount covering the distance of any overhangs with any doors and other stuff open and closed... that will give you stability, and making the top smaller and bottom to that dimention just ends up wasting space and giving you something to knock your toes, knees and shins on.

                      In my case my stand ended up something like 1/2" longer than the chip tray, and quite a bit wider, and I like it... I wanted taller also and I think I may have ended up a little too tall (it's at a good height for me, same as my workbench, I'm 6'4", but nothing else in my shop is up that high so it feels weird to walk up to it, it makes my little 10x22" lathe feel bigger than my bridgeport).

                      Most of the design and construction stuff is up on my blog at:
                      http://mpikas.blogspot.com/
                      (there's 3 parts posted) but I haven't had time to add finished pics with the top that I made...). Eventually, if I ever get around to it i plan on making a cabinet for it that will fit in the open space framed out by it, but who knows when I'll have time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Try this on for an idea- build the stand in sections. One section is a tower specifically made to the size and shape of the headstock. It is triangular braced to be inflexible, and has four adjustable feet under the legs. The sides of the tower are parallel, but the front and back slope inwards from the bottom to where the lathe bed would mount. The tailstock end is a second tower, similar but probably narrower, and fitted with only two feet, but with a provision for a center roller foot for use as I've described in my earlier post.

                        Neither of these towers is compromised for the use of any internal space within it, although as I'll suggest later some of the space could still be used.

                        A rectangular, box-like structure, cross-braced, is made to connect the towers at the bottom, and a planar structure, cross-braced as well, connects the towers at a point about 10 to 12 inches below the lathe bed. Below this planar structure you build in full width drawers to suit, making them full extension and protecting the slides from swarf as best as possible. Above the planar structure is a swarf drawer. The front of this drawer would hinge open and hang down at a suitable angle so swarf can just be scraped out and fall into a collection box. The bottom of this drawer would be angled towards the rear, and maybe towards a central point for coolant to collect. When the drawer is closed, a built-in funnel-scoop kind of thing would collect the drippings from there and direct them to the filter/recycling unit.

                        Straddling the top of the two towers would be something like the typical low sided chip tray, which would have a central opening smaller than the swarf drawer under it, and you'd brush swarf from there to where it would fall into the open top of the swarf drawer. This would be as close as possible to what you might call the top of the stand. It would serve no purpose other than to overhang the swarf drawer and make it easy to clean up.

                        To carry the concept further, the headstock tower could have a space designed within it for the motor, for anyone with the use or need for that. Similarly, either tower could be designed to hold a coolant tank, pump, etc, or any other mechanism which could be built-in and useful at the lathe.

                        So this is my modular concept- two towers, a rigid bottom connecting structure, an upper connecting structure, a full size top catch tray, a swarf collection drawer, and storage drawers. The upper and lower connecting structures would be bolt-ins while the towers would be welded structures. No shelving is required, and no individual part is unmanageable on its own. The worst part in this regard is the lathe itself.
                        Last edited by darryl; 06-11-2011, 06:22 PM.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are these what people are using for leveling feet?

                          http://www.mcmaster.com/#leveling-legs/=cpqix2

                          I am looking at teh 500 lb model of Quick-Install Vibration-Damping Swivel Leveling Mounts.

                          If I need 8 of these, this is going to get expensive fast, $300 in feet alone. Anywhere else sell a similar product that is more affordable?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Try these guys, they are priced from only $3 and up for 700lb ones. I have never used them myself, but got the link a few months back and it looks like they are still on special.
                            http://www.reidsupply.com/GrpResults...94299+10021787
                            And the full range
                            http://www.reidsupply.com/Results.as...94299+10021787

                            For my lathe and mill I made my own out or some 16mm thread rod and 50mm round bar.
                            http://www.woodworkforums.com/f65/la...ctures-114836/

                            Dave

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Davo J
                              Try these guys, they are priced from only $3 and up for 700lb ones. I have never used them myself, but got the link a few months back and it looks like they are still on special.
                              http://www.reidsupply.com/GrpResults...94299+10021787
                              And the full range
                              http://www.reidsupply.com/Results.as...94299+10021787

                              For my lathe and mill I made my own out or some 16mm thread rod and 50mm round bar.
                              http://www.woodworkforums.com/f65/la...ctures-114836/

                              Dave
                              Thanks for the link. I am not sure that I want ones that are only 3/4" diameter foot, but there is a plethora of alternatives on that site for a much more reasonable cost.

                              Comment

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