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DIY Tailstock Milling Attachment?

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JRaut

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#1
I'm pretty new to the hobby machinist game, so forgive my ignorance if I'm asking a stupid question.

I've got an old Montgomery Wards / Logan 10 x 24" lathe.

I don't have a mill or even a drill press (barely have room for the lathe, so certainly no room for anything else). I compensate for the lack of drill press by using a shop-made 'drill platen' that screws onto an MT2 arbor and nestles into the tailstock quill. I can clamp weirdly-shaped or off-center parts to the platen and use a drill chuck in the lathe spindle to drill holes. Drilling forces stay concentric with the tailstock spindle, so everything is super solid. (Has anyone ever seen that done? Seems people must have similar setups, but a few lazy google searches came up empty.)

Milling attachments for this lathe pop up on eBay every once in a while, but they're often beat to hell and always several hundred dollars. And even so, I've read many a complaint about how milling attachments for lathes are just barely better than worthless because of how flexible the setup inevitably is, what with them mounting atop the cross slide or compound rest.

So that got me thinking.... has anyone ever mounted an x/y slide table (or even a rotary table) to their tailstock and for use as a milling attachment? It must be a stiffer setup than the traditional carriage-mounted attachment. And even if not used to mill slots, it could be very useful in drilling accurately spaced holes.

The weak point, I suppose, would be how it connects to the MT2/tailstock spindle. But again, everything stays concentric with the tailstock spindle so it shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks,
JR
 

francist

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#2
Drill pads used to be pretty common accessories for drilling on the lathe. A variation of that was the crotch centre that allowed drilling of round stock. Both used a taper in tailstock, here's a snip from a 1940's Atlas catalogue to illustrate. Your setup sounds a bit more elaborate perhaps, but same idea.

Capture drill pad.JPG

Can't comment on the milling attachment, never used one. I think lots of folks find them pretty useful though.

-frank
 

Eddyde

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#3
I have used a cross-slide mounted milling attachment on a 9" South Bend lathe. It works well, in the sense the parts can be milled to spec. However, the set up is not as easy and you must take lighter cuts than on a dedicated mill. For the occasional on off part it will work.
I don't think the rotary of XY table will work well mounted in a tailstock, too much flex and what to do about it possibly rotating... I think mounting it to the cross slide would be a much better solution.
 

T Bredehoft

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#4
what to do about it possibly rotating.
A couple of feet resting on the ways could eliminate that problem.

I think a mill attachment to the cross slide would be more to the point. Unless you remove the cross slide you're gonna be reaching across it with tools.

Edit: correct embarrassing typo.
 
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Charles Spencer

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Before I had a mill I used a Palmgren milling attachment. I bought a spare cross slide for my SB 9 off ebay, drilled and tapped some holes in it, and installed the milling attachment directly to it. I added a large weight to the back to add stability and the ram from the tail stock could be cranked forward to back that up. I held the mills in collets. It worked for light milling.

attach2.jpg mill3.jpg
 
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Charles Spencer

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#6
I've also mounted a rotary table to my saddle with a spare cross slide nut mounted underneath. Again, I think that a support for the rotary table that fit in the tail stock could be made if necessary.

rotary table3.jpg
 
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chips&more

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#7
Hello neighbor, yes, I understand your problem with a milling attachment for the lathe. And the room constraint. Maybe one of those Smithy’s or the like would make an all in one machine that fits all of your needs?...Dave
 

Tozguy

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#8
Milling attachments to the tailstock with an X and Y seems to be uncharted territory. Don't know why. I use a milling attachment mounted on the carriage.
If it is just for drilling, I would mount the work on a faceplate and put a drill chuck in the tailstock.
 

JRaut

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#10
Thanks everyone for the info, and appreciate the comments.

I suppose I'll just keep an eye out for a reasonably priced milling attachment.

Also, @Charles Spencer : pretty darn impressive setups you've got there!
 

JRaut

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#11
But!!!

I still maintain that an x/y slide table mounted to the tailstock would be a pretty darn effective milling or positioning device. Maybe I'll build one if a slide table falls into my lap for cheap.

Anyone want to make a donation to science?
 

Charles Spencer

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#12

epanzella

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#16
I bought a single slide table for the Z axis. The carriage provided X & Y axes. The angle plate is store bought also. Here are some shots using both direct clamping and a mill vice.
DSC_0895.JPG DSC_0897.JPG DSC_0085.JPG
 
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