Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Machining while seated

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Machining while seated

    I have lived somewhat beyond my best used by date and my doc says that I need to think about living a while longer. I've spent most of my work and hobby life on my feet but I am getting to the point where standing at a machine tool is less comfortable than it used to be. My feet hurt (I'm working on the shoe aspect and I stand on mats). Machining is a hobby and I can and have downsized my projects. I could sell my larger lathe and mill and replace them with table top machines.

    I'm thinking of a Grizzly G0602 10" x 22" lathe and a G0720 9 1/2" x 32" vertical mill. I can't quite picture the position of the machines and their controls with respect to my hands and forearms, the height of the work piece and the distance to my eyes. For example, can I easily see the mill table graduated dials - they are at some distance and there is the factor of sight angle. So I'll ask for the experience of the members of the forum. My question is: can table top machines be operated while seated?
    TIA
    Carl

  • #2
    I've run regular machines while sitting on a stool. I think what my brain and hands are doing is more important than what my arse is doing.

    Just get the heights of the handles right in relation to your elbows and you should be fine. This might take some work getting the right chair. Also, if you err on the side of a bench that is too short, you can always add pedestals under the machines.

    I keep a magnifier in my back pocket for dials. You should be able to do something similar.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by millhand View Post
      I have lived somewhat beyond my best used by date and my doc says that I need to think about living a while longer. I've spent most of my work and hobby life on my feet but I am getting to the point where standing at a machine tool is less comfortable than it used to be. My feet hurt (I'm working on the shoe aspect and I stand on mats). Machining is a hobby and I can and have downsized my projects. I could sell my larger lathe and mill and replace them with table top machines.

      I'm thinking of a Grizzly G0602 10" x 22" lathe and a G0720 9 1/2" x 32" vertical mill. I can't quite picture the position of the machines and their controls with respect to my hands and forearms, the height of the work piece and the distance to my eyes. For example, can I easily see the mill table graduated dials - they are at some distance and there is the factor of sight angle. So I'll ask for the experience of the members of the forum. My question is: can table top machines be operated while seated?
      TIA
      Carl
      Short answer, yes, you can

      I have the equivalent of a swiveling bar stool that I occasionally use when working at the bench. It's the style in the photo at the left. ** It raises and lowers as needed by spinning the chair.

      Looking at pictures of the G0720, the handwheels are within 6 inches of the table. That's guessing based on the relative depth of the table to handwheel size to distance to table.




      Dan
      ** When the phone company closed the switchboard that I worked on, they had hundreds of these chairs to scrap. I was allowed to take one home.
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

      Comment


      • #4
        They have adjustable height seat that are called sit-stands. They are essentially a stool with a small seat that you can plant your butt cheeks on and take most of the weight off your feet and legs. The good ones are adjustable with a gas cylinder like an office chair. These can be used at a bench or a machine tool. You are almost standing, but a little further back from the machine.

        Comment


        • #5
          Time for a DRO! Maybe a camera and a display so you can see the tool up close without needing to lean in. Stepper motor and dial pulse generator on the axis you can’t reach easily.

          Keep the good machines and let technology help you use them comfortably!

          Comment


          • #6
            I see nothing wrong with downsizing to good table top machines and having a good adjustable height office chair or office stool with the 5 wheel caster base to scoot around. I'd get one of the nicer ones with adjustable angles for the seat but leave off the arm rests. The arm rests on most of them stick up higher than your legs by a fair amount and would stop you from being able to lift up higher where you legs just get in under the edge so you can get "over" the machines a bit better. But the seat tilt angle adjustment will also come in handy as I think you'll find you want the seat flat or even slightly leaned forward. The full adjustment range of all these aspects would allow you to fine tune your seated position for the best possible effectiveness with comfort. There really are some fantastic chair options out there for not a lot of money as long as you leave the arm rests off.

            The trick would be that a major change such as this is going to call for a rather sturdy stand(s) or benches for the new lathe and mill. And if you're looking for easier things to do then who would be making up such stands for the machines to sit on?

            You want a relatively thin top. So no bracing. But that means you need the top itself to be very rigid. Especially for the lathe. This might be the right time for the 3 inch thick poured reinforced concrete bench tops that have been mentioned in past threads on table top lathes. The end pieces and back panel could be done in very sturdy wood but the very rigid and heavy top would be a really good support for the lathe. Next up would be something like 3" thick laminated hardwood such as oak or maple. The trick here is you're after a very solid top with a fully open front so your knees on the chair can get in under the top and roll around easily. And you want enough extra on each end to lay out parts and tools in a handy way and to give you the leg room to move between working the apron controls and the tail stock.

            The mill looks great. Although part of me thinks that it may be a bit bigger than needed to be a match to the fairly compact lathe. But the power Z axis means you don't have to stand up to use it. That's a bonus. I'd worry about the power switch I see on the column though. If the head controls have a switch to start and stop the head that isn't a main power switch then no problems. You lean over and turn on the main power at the switch on the side of the column then run it all while seated from the motor control panel. But if that's not the case and you need to use that switch on the column frequently I'd want to relocate it down to somewhere more handy to reach while seated.

            Here again I think you'll want a very stiff and strong top that has minimal thickness and a smooth underside. Which, by the way, means sunken heads or nuts on the underside for the mounting bolts for the machines. You don't want to find THOSE with your knee caps ! ! !

            The one spot I think you're "stuck" with standing would be for any hand work at the big machinist's vise. We use our whole bodies for much of the work in the vise and being on a chair with casters isn't a good thing. But on that aspect the work island I have in the middle of the "L" shaped standing bench is at a height which would allow for seated work quite nicely while it holds the vise and table mount drill press at just the right height for standing work. Speaking of which you didn't mention anything about a drill press. You'll keep the one you have? Or will you be using the mill for all your drilling needs?

            You won't need to fear becoming chair bound in your new shop setup. The need to vacuum or sweep up the swarf so the chair can roll easily as well as any vise work will ensure you get your exercise getting up off that chair often enough. And when I consider it the adjustable seat angle with a very slight forward cant and at just the right height would make it easier to get up and get seated.

            Just make sure you set it at the right height so it doesn't scoot away and leave you falling back. Or learn to get a grip on that slippery sucka before settling down. I know that sounds a bit silly but when we had castering shop stools in the electronics area I worked in with the smooth floors more than one of us fell prey to the stool moving away as we sat back. Perhaps get in the habit of scooting to where the backrest is up against one of the bench supports?

            If all this sounds like I'm thinking ahead to my own situation (I'm almost 65 so I've got a few good ones yet but I'm thinking ahead) then you're very correct. Although when it's time to move on and go to one of those places where they strain my Pablum for me I may just take along some woodworking and model airplane stuff and give up the machining end of things.

            Comment


            • #7
              When I go for a drink I always sit at the bar. I can read the label on the first few beer bottles just fine.
              But then the bar starts getting taller.

              Comment


              • #8
                We use a 3 legged stool with a bicycle seat to operate the Bridgeport mill,
                once you are set up it works for production work, no wheels on ours.
                Larry
                http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/322639851583

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nerve damage in my spine means I too can't spend a lot of time in my shop on my feet. I have a bench top milling machine, a floor standing drill press and a 10" lathe on a stand. I purchased a few bar stool type chairs with padded swivel seats and backrests for not much money at Target and customized their height with a hacksaw. That gets me off my feet. The next important thing is good lighting. I have a 4' LED fixture above the lathe running parallel to the ways and a 2' long, shatterproof mirror mounted at a tipped down angle on the wall behind and slightly above the lathe. No need to stand up to look down on the work.

                  The drill press is next to the mill table with 2 LED light fixtures above plus flexible work lights mounted to the wall behind.

                  My workbench is an old fashioned public library wooden reading table. Weighs a ton with a 2.5" thick top with a piece of conveyer belting nailed to the top and the perfect height to slide up to and under on a chair. Again, fairly low hanging LED fixtures above.

                  I find this keeps me off my feet most of the time since spending too much time standing doesn't bother me on the day I do it but the next morning I can hardly get out of bed. Since this is primarily a hobby with a little paid work once in a while this works for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can table top machines be used while being seated?

                    YES! I have been doing it for years, decades even.

                    I have a couple of WalMart stools in my shop. They are inexpensive and I find them quite comfortable. They even have a foot rest.



                    I am six feet tall and they seem to be just about right for me. I use them at benches, the lathe, the mill, the drill presses, etc. Almost everywhere in the shop.

                    You may notice the repair to the front feet on that one. I had to repair the front feet on both of them. I used PVC pipe Tees on this one and they have made excellent feet. They are bored out with a hole saw and I cut one side of the Tee shorter. I drilled a hole in the leg and used epoxy to hold them on. So far, no further problems.
                    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 03-03-2018, 03:58 PM.
                    Paul A.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have Lymphoedema, Arthritis & Fibromyalgia so standing for any length of time is a problem, I use folding chairs very similar to Paul's when working on my Bridgeport and Tom Senior mills, using one on my Boxford lathe was a bit more of a challenge so I raised the lathe up 6" or so.

                      My chairs are quite tall so for me it's more of a case of just sliding on and off them as opposed to shorter chairs or stools where you can be up and down a lot, my legs tire very easily I find sitting down and standing up very wearing.

                      I'm not sat down all the time but certainly enough to take the sting out of the job and enable me to carry on with my favourite pastime.

                      Paul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I went through this some time ago. I found chairs to be too low and regular stools with no back rest to be uncomfortable. At the time there was a chair made for typists that would make you sit upright with your knees resting on a padded crossbar. I thought to combine the features and make a stool with a foot rest bar, plus a seat that tilted forwards to some extent, combined with a short back. The idea was so you could rest your butt on it and not slide off the back, but also put your feet up. You're not standing or sitting, but you get to take most of your weight off your feet. Because you aren't far from standing, you could stand up almost instantly if required- probably important if you're operating a machine.

                        I ended up using a regular stool, but I replaced the seat with a padded one and tilted it slightly forward. I can lift my feet off the floor, but then I'm sliding forward to some degree. With some weight on my feet it balances out and it's pretty good, helps to keep my back upright- but what it does need is the foot rest to be a part of the stool and close to the floor.

                        I would not want to be in a full seated position. It's too much of a rest position and your knees then have to go under the stand to some degree, like sitting at a desk. I don't think I'd like that for operating a lathe or mill.

                        I want a cross bar or similar to rest my feet on, with my calves upright, thighs leaned back about thirty degrees, and my head at about the same height as when standing. The height and angle of the seat would be adjustable, and there should be a short back, also adjustable. If I made this myself, which is what I'd have to do, I'd use two plywood sides so I could easily alter the positions of the foot rest, the back and the seat. Once the best positions and angles are found, it is then screwed together as a permanent structure and excess plywood can then be cut away.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My wife has a drafting chair that she uses for her sewing machines and jewellery bench. https://www.staples.ca/en/WorkSmart-...0_1-CA_1_20001 I would suggest a 2" solid maple top would be enough to support a benchtop milling machine, but a concrete top would be a better bet for a lathe. The problem with most benchtop lathes is a lack of features and a lower build quality, but there are 12" lathes that would still be suitable for bench mounting, with a lot of them the stand is an optional extra anyway. Something like this might not seem like to much of a step down from a full size lathe. https://www.grizzly.com/products/12-...ed-Lathe/G4003

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by millhand View Post
                            I've spent most of my work and hobby life on my feet, but I am getting to the point where standing at a machine tool is less comfortable than it used to be. My feet hurt (I'm working on the shoe aspect and I stand on mats).
                            Any chance you are willing to examine the issue from the other end of the telescope a bit further here?
                            • What is your physician's opinion about cause(s) for the foot pain?
                            • Has the Dr offered to refer you to a foot/limb specialist, or have you sought one out yourself?
                            • Is your Body Mass Index number above 25 ? If so, is it above 25 by a lot ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              With my broken back I can stand/walk a max of 20-30 minutes combined a day. I tried shop stools with backs but the best I use is a alum/plastic shower chair with a back. It weighs nothing, is very stable, the legs adjust to the right height, the seat is curved as well as the back & is very comfortable. I use them in the shop & as a shooting chair.
                              Like these only I have friends pick them up at yard sales for next to nothing.

                              https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/no...017652-product
                              Last edited by flylo; 03-04-2018, 01:36 PM.
                              "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                              world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                              country, in easy stages."
                              ~ James Madison

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X