Wood Lathe - Status

What things would you use at the maker shop?
Booka
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Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Booka » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:04 am

The Harbor Freight lathe that was brought in and cleaned up but missing a tail center has other issues.

I bought a basic live tail from PSI, and brought it in early Wednesday to just see what worked, and if we were all set to put it to use.

Basically the frame has some flex in it, way to much flex. With a piece of Oak between the center and tail, we saw well over 1/4 inch of vertical movement when tightening up the Tail Center.

What this means is that we need to either replace or reinforce the base. Bolting it down to the table could work, but I think it would be best to replace the base with a new one made from 1 inch square tubing, and maybe replace the bench too. JRSPhoto and I talked a bit about it, but next I think we should talk to the person who donated it, and see if our Metal Lathe Master can help with the re-working as the rails and tail stock holder are the next weakest link and it may be a good idea too look at them before we change anything.

Bottom line- The wood lathe is not ready to be used, and still a safety concern until this is fixed.

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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Booka » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:40 am

Update- Talked with the person who donated it, and we can repair or replace as we see fit.

The stronger of the two options may be just to replace the base with a stronger one, or we can go with the option to just add reinforcement to the existing base.

Judeling voted to use the option that does not break it, and I agree, so to start with I think we should just find something and fill the hollow base up, and use that base to tie the existing sheet metal too.

I will look at it next week, unless somebody else wants to.

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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Orkraider » Sun May 01, 2011 7:52 pm

If there's a void in the base, and it sounds like there is, I've heard of folks using concrete to fill and add weight. The was in home built metal lathes, but the principle is the same. (I hope. ?)

Another option would be melting down some scrap zinc (like what pennies are these days) or aluminum and simply pouring it into the void.

I also like the idea of bolting it to something nice and strong, this would lead me to believe that it could be unbolted if needed.

My last suggestion would be, "ask Karl." =)
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Booka
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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Booka » Sun May 01, 2011 8:52 pm

The base is open on the bottom, so welding or bolting a couple of sections of square tube or angle iron will do. I think I have a 6' section of square 1" in the garage, so I will look for that.

That would correct this problem, and I hope make the unit workable. Though to be honest I would also prefer to skip all this and find a tail stock for the Shopsmith instead, it is a much more advanced piece of machinery.

But that is more just a money thing, and I do not have the funds to just pick this up.

So the DIY option is what I have, and will work with.

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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby kstoerz » Tue May 31, 2011 11:16 am

I'm a little late to this conversation, but I'm familiar with the problem in question, and I don't think any significant fix has been attempted that I recall seeing.

I don't feel that the hollowness in the underside of the sheet metal lower portion is the main problem, or that filling the void will make the lathe significantly stiffer. The problem I see is that the headstock (a sheet metal box, in this case) isn't rigidly held perpendicular to the bed (the two parallel square tubular steel pieces). Welding a simple base for the base out of some reasonably stiff square tube stock should do the trick. If it were ~2" square stock, two pieces run beneath the bottom like railroad track would likely be a very robust fix AS LONG AS the headstock, especially the end where the spindle protrudes and grabs the workpiece, is very securely mounted to the new rail thing.

This same idea could probably be executed using wood as the main structural part, but would be heavier and less portable. The bench the lathe is on right now (the old metal lathe bench) isn't ideal for a variety of reasons. I would propose building a new bench, or rather a set of legs for it. Something not too far from being a wide-stance sawhorse with just enough platform on top to support the lathe bed would be compact for storage yet sturdy enough for normal use, and would have significantly less horizontal surface area to accumulate wood chips and debris.

Something roughly this shape:
http://www.redmondmachinery.com/prodimg/WMH-708352.jpg

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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Booka » Tue May 31, 2011 11:42 am

You are right of course, this unit is not an ideal unit under almost any circumstance.

We have permission to modify it any way needed to make it safe, and given the option I would not chose to use this unit, but get/build a tailstock for the Shopsmith.

I have talked about it with several others, and the agreement is that this unit under best modification should be used to turn light woods anyways.

I have held off on the modifications to see what other options are there, and while the flex of the base can be curtailed quickly, the other problems you mentioned still exit.

It is a bit beyond my skill to build a new unit with that motor, and tool rest, but I can offer what little skill I have welding and building if you think you want to try.
(and during this redesign I would love to add in a better power switch that has a quick power down option)

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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby kstoerz » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:22 pm

<reviving old topic>

Did anyone pick up a live center for the flexy wood lathe yet? I'm still all for getting the tailstock for the Shopsmith, but all the flexy lathe needs is a bit of fabricating to stiffen it up and it'll be perfect for turning small things. I already made use of it months ago to turn log cabin style peg fittings onto a stick of maple from my back yard. I used the dead center for the Craftsman, which even when oiled, heats up VERY quickly. Not practical at all except for the smallest, quickest turning jobs. Someone had indicated they planned to procure a center. If that's been done, I'll happily stiffen up the lathe. Lemme know.

-Karl

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Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Odegard » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:33 pm

No live center yet, Karl, but it's on the short list for acquisition. Jude mounted it to a solid table, and that seems to have done it a world of good. In the mean time, I'm pretty sure Scott got the tailstock for the Shopsmith. I had planned to ask him about it when I see him. Unless he plans to buy a bandsaw blade for it, I'm going to ask him to set it up as a lathe for now.


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Re: Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Booka » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:38 pm

Actually I did buy a live center for it, but due to the nature of the lathe, I am not leaving it with the machine.

Karl, I am willing to let you and a number of others have it, but leaving it in working order is not something I want to be part of, if there is a chance a less experienced user can get at it.

I have also talked with Scott about the ShopSmith, and he is open to a knowledgeable set of hands putting that lathe together, and checking it out.

Now my skill may not be high, but I like to believe that the common sense side of things puts me over the threshold for handling both lathes, though I doubt I would try anything more hardwoodish before a little soft word working, and practice.

Booka

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Wood Lathe - Status

Postby Odegard » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:28 pm

Booka, please find me in person some time so we can discuss the lathe. I'm surprised to learn there is a live center available, and would like an opportunity to evaluate the machine myself.


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