Leblond Tailstock Alignment

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Active User
Apr 7, 2012
This is probably obvious info to all you old-timers, but it was new to me and maybe I can save someone else a bit of aggravation.

I just had a craptastic morning trying to drill small holes using the tailstock of the lathe (Leblond Regal 13"). When I set up the lathe I checked and aligned the tailstock front/back. It was good up/down - or so I thought. Well trying to drill 1/16" holes at low speed I could see the bit jump and bend as soon as it hit the work and move in a circle. I checked alignment again with the tailstock right next to the headstock and all was good. I thought maybe there was wear in the bed somewhere that I hadn't noticed and spent an hour checking with a straightedge and feeler gauges again. Nothing.

Finally I looked at the tailstock again but this time with it a foot from the headstock. I put my smallest center drill in the headstock so as to have a target, and I put the drill chuck back in the tailstock, and extended the tailstock spindle until the drill bit just touched the work again. It was obviously low - like over 1/32" low. I looked all over the thing for an adjustment screw and found nothing. Then about 4 hours into the mess I grabbed the spindle out of frustration and shook it and realized it was moving but the tailstock wasn't. I took the entire tailstock off the lathe, unscrewed the spindle, and realized the spindle had that @#% groove underneath that was riding in a rectangular piece of metal (to keep it from spinning around inside the tailstock?) Well that little piece of metal had been worn down sometime in the last 60 years so the spindle had up/down play and would droop when extended. I scraped off a half inch of gunk and four layers of paint and found no screw, but could see where there was a piece of metal supporting the rectangular piece. I tapped on that with a hammer, pushing the piece of metal up farther into the spindle housing, until the play was gone, remounted the tailstock and it was spot-on.

So if you're getting lousy results drilling, or alignment seems inconsistent - check the tailstock spindle for play and tighten if needed.

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