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Milling Attachment for Lathe

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  • Milling Attachment for Lathe

    I am looking for a milling vise for my 14 inch lathe or possibly planes to make one. Any information would be appreciated.
    Bob Scott

  • #2
    I use my lathe's topslide mounted on a sturdy angle plate (6 x 9 x 4, 3/4 thick) bolted to the cross-slide tee slots, and bolt a small milling vice to that with a tee nut in the topslide's slot, works well enough for the small amount I do and with the cross-slide travel gives me about a 11" x 5.5" range of movement. It helps to bring the tailstock barrel up to bear on the back of the angle plate, adds a little more rigidity, and locking the topslide gib ditto.

    Dave H. (the other one)
    Rules are for the obedience of fools, and the guidance of wise men.

    Holbrook Model C Number 13 lathe, Testa 2U universal mill, bikes and tools


    • #3
      Metal Lathe Accessories has a nice kit for one - castings and drawings. IIRC it was designed around a slightly smaller lathe but could probably be worked out for yours.
      "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


      • #4
        + 1 on the MLA vertical slide - and the included parts for a vise are good. I found the castings were a dream to machine and the instructions that came with the drawings were really clear.

        Although designed around a SouthBend 9", it is very substantial and would work on a larger lathe with an addition to the base plate.



        • #5
          Best thing is just to forget it.
          Yes you can do some milling on the lathe but it is a lot of work with moderate result at best.
          Even a cheap Chinees mill will do better.


          • #6
            for what they want for a milling attachment save a little more money and buy a mill. I have a milling set up for my first lathe. the next thing I bought was a clausing mill vertical mill.


            • #7
              I've seen some small milling attachments at Little Machine Shop for under $100.

              Or for $200:

              Here is an idea I had, although I used a rather flimsy aluminum bent piece to show how it might be done with a heavier steel angle. With the compound set this way, it is similar to a horizontal milling machine, but it could be turned 90 degrees to be like a vertical mill.

              Yes, that would be a disaster with the saw and work positioned as it was. I cut the partial slot using a different set-up.

              P S Technology, Inc.
              and Muttley


              • #8
                I also have a 14" lathe and I used my milling attachment extensively for both hobby use and making/repairing farm machinery, I even built two complete rifles using it. What I did was to take a small milling table, this one,


                (Wow! Those darn things have really gone up in price , mine was on sale for $89 in 2009 when I bought it!)

                and remove the center section then slide the top table with the clamping slots onto the base section. I then attached this assembly to a heavy angle plate that was in turn attached to the cross-slide, this gave travel in all axis and allowed normal hold down clamping just as with a real mill instead of just having a movable vise as it appears most milling attachments are. Admittedly parts set-up on that vertically mounted table was a PITA until I learned a few tricks but I soon got the hang of it and it really wasn't much of a problem after that. I don't have any pics of this rig because I have since acquired a mill but other than travel being limited to about that of a mini-mill this thing worked extremely well and if I were limited to only a lathe again I would not hesitate to build another one of these things, cheap (relatively), simple and worked great!

                BTW, those same tables can be found elsewhere much cheaper, Ebay for instance.


                • #9
                  eBay lists several milling attachments.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Illinoyance View Post
                    eBay lists several milling attachments.

                    The problem with (most) factory made attachments is that they are basically just a movable vise and are therefore very limited as to the shapes they can be used for. I found the slotted milling table with a conventional hold down set to be MUCH more versatile, the vise was useful for certain things but not at all useful for a lot of others. The conventional milling table, even in it's vertical position, was never at a loss except for travel limitations but then it was no worse in that respect than the vise type. During the several years that I used mine I did a lot of work that a vise would have simply been useless for, the slotted table could always be counted on however.


                    • #11
                      You might want to have a look:


                      • #12
                        Generations of model engineers in the UK only had a lathe (and maybe a drill press) as their machinery, and used vertical slides bolted to the cross slide for their milling work:

                        This was before small, cheap vertical mills were available, and many turned out remarkably good work. Rigidity of the setup was always the problem, so expect to take light cuts.

                        Should you buy a vertical mill? Depends. Do you have the space / funds? How often will it get used?

                        All of the gear, no idea...


                        • #13
                          I have two different approaches to milling in the lathe. The first is a milling table mounted on the cross slide in place of the compound.

                          You can see that I am using a stack of shims to establish the vertical dimension here.

                          An abbreviated form of the drawing for the table and it's mounting button:

                          My other approach is to mount my Unimat column with the Unimat head stock in place of the tool holder and I can mill on work that is in the lathe chuck, a collet, or between centers.

                          This has the added advantage that, with my shop made back plate for the three jaw chuck, I can index the work so I can mill at any of a number of angles around the work. I haven't tried it, but I guess even gears could be done with this set up.

                          This last photo is interesting. I was milling a flat on a boring bar so I could set the diameter of the hole precisely with a caliper or depth mike. The boring bar was going to be used to mill a 25mm hole in the aluminum block that is holding the Unimat vertical column on the compound. That 25mm hole, which is roughly drilled to around 3/4" in this photo, is a fit for the Unimat column in another configuration. It is the horizontal hole at the rear of the block in the photo. That aluminum block performs several functions including extending the reach of the quill on the Unimat in a drilling or milling configuration as well as allowing that vertical column to be mounted on my SB lathe as seen here.

                          Both of these methods are far from ideal and you can not take deep cuts. But milling in the lathe does work and you can get very good results with some care and light cuts.
                          Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 01-21-2016, 02:51 PM.
                          Paul A.

                          Make it fit.
                          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


                          • #14
                            To finish the story of the last photo in my previous post, here I am using the milling table and the boring bar in my SB lathe to bore the 25mm hole in the dual purpose aluminum block.

                            I choose to finish this hole by line boring because I wanted it to be exactly parallel to the three faces that the Unimat head stock can mount on for milling and drilling in the Unimat. It came out almost perfect.

                            I love it when a plan comes together.
                            Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 01-21-2016, 02:54 PM.
                            Paul A.

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


                            • #15
                              A variation of that Uni-mat attachment would be this rather crude but functional rig I built for the purpose of milling flats on an octagon rifle barrel, not at all fancy but simple and cheap and worked quite well!


                              I needed a quick&dirty method to mill that barrel so I rigged up that contraption from from my "parts" stock, it was very crude because it was only supposed to be a temporary setup for a one time use but it turned out to be so useful I decided to keep it, I later spruced it up a bit and still use it occasionally.

                              BTW, it does have, and always did have, a guard over that belt when running, it had been removed there for a speed change.