[4]

Leveling a benchtop lathe 10x30

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#1
Totally new to machining here.

Managed to get the lathe through the gravel driveway and in the house up on my work bench. No small feat here, felt like a pyramid builder.

I see now I am going to need to shim and level this thing. Looks like bring engine puller back in to lift up to get some feeler gauge pcs under it.

Knowing I am not the 1st to do this, I am asking for any tips and tricks.

What's next after leveling this?

Thanks, so much to do and learn and buy before my 1st cut..lol
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
3,386
Likes
3,880
#2
You shouldn't need the engine hoist. Apry bar for a lever with a suitable fulcrum should do the trick. After leveling as best you can, you will want to check to see if it is turning a taper. There are two ways to do this.
The first is the two collar method which involves chucking up a stout bar. minimum 1" diameter and turning down a section near the chuck and one at the far end. This is usually done with the cross feed locked or at least unchanged. To facilitate this, the section between the two collars is usually undercut, so you have sort of a dumbbell shape. This allows you to make the two cuts on the test sections without touching the area between. On a properly aligned lathe, the two collars will have identical diameters.
The second is known as "Rollie's Dad's Method and involves making measurements of a round bar near the tailstock and at the far end. The bar should be round and ideally a uniform diameter although the latter isn't necessary, it just makes the calculations easier. The bar needen't be straight as the measurement method compensates for any runout.
The measurement technique consists of mounting a test indicator or dial indicator to the cross slide so that the indicator is in contact with the test area. The spindle is rotated and the maximum and minimum reads are recorded at each test area. The average of the two readings at each rest area will be identical in a properly aligned lathe.
Detailed descriptions of these methods are discussed elsewhere in the and other forums.
The RDM method can be used to check vertical alignment as well.
A final bit of alignment would be to align the tailstock center with a spindle mounted center.The two methods for checking taper can also be used for aligning the tailstock. The difference being that a spindle center, face plate, and lathe dog are used to drive the bar and the tailstock end has been drilled for the tailstock center. The bar is mounted between the two centers and either turned for the first methid or measured in the second method and the tailstock is adjusted for identical reads on either end.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#3
Thank you so much for the detailed write up.

I skipped right past pry bar in my mind and raced towards an imaginary mini jack. Then the closest thing I have is the engine puller.

I have read about a machinist level vs a carpenters level. Any insight on what to do without one or is this basically a requirement?
 

Dave Paine

Registered
Registered
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
812
Likes
571
#4
I have read about a machinist level vs a carpenters level. Any insight on what to do without one or is this basically a requirement?
RJs post above states some of the methods to check the machine level. These can be use in lieu of a machinist level, just takes longer due to iterations of shimming, machining, checking measurements, etc.

An import machinist level is not too expensive and a good item to have in the shop.

8in machinist level at Shars
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
3,386
Likes
3,880
#5
The Starrett 98 Series machinist level has a sensitivity of .005"/ft. Their 199 Series , .0005"/ft. The inspection grade Empire digital level claims .01º translates to .002"/ft. but whether this is truly achievable is questionable. Aside from sensitivity of the vial, the accuracy of the machined surface enters in. A carpenters level often has an extruded or, at best, milled surface.

A carpenter's level has about 10% of the sensitivity of the 98 Series level. A barely noticeable deflection of my carpenter's level puts my .0006"/ft. machinists level off scale.

Nonetheless, I would start by leveling the lathe. A lathe can have a twisted headstock and attempting to correct this by twisting the bed will result in a corkscrewed lathe. Truly, two wrongs don't make a right.

I would first level the lathe to the best of my ability. With care, even a carpenter's level should get you within .01"/ft. Next I would look at headstock alignment. I would do this by putting the faceplate on the spindle and sweeping across the surface. Alternatively, you can mount a carriage bolt to the faceplate at a suitable distance from the center. Rotate the faceplate so the bolt is to the front and horizontal with the spindle.
Mount a dial or rest indicator on the cross slide and zero out on the bolt head. Lock the carriage and recheck zero. Now, rotate the faceplate 180º so it is on the backside of the lathe and move the cross slide to intersect it. The reading on the indicator should be zero. (Note: there are some schools that maintain that a lathe should face a slightly concave surface, the reason being that such a surface won't rock when placed on a flat surface. I didn't go to that school) My G0602 has an adjustment for headstock alignment, others do not. I would first align my headstock for equal readings front and back.

There is the possibility that the cross slide ways aren't perpendicular to the bed ways. Checking that would require a known good square. Correcting a non square issue with the cross feed most likely would involve something like scraping the cross feed which is fairly advanced work.

Now, I would move on to the ways, checking for taper by either the two collar or the RDM method, and shimming as required. I would go back and check my faceplate measurements, readjust if necessary and recheck the ways.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#6
Wow , this is really a delicate advanced measuring process, I never knew.

Funny in all the drop down option menus with goodies for the lathe, I never saw anything about tooling for leveling the lathe.

I definitely want to get this right and not have all my work be off center.

I will have to look up each procedure and buy some measuring devices, I lack most tools
 

ttabbal

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
549
Likes
569
#7
It's amazing how little things can affect the work. I bought one of the cheaper machine levels on ebay, it gets the job done. Don't obsess over being "level", worry about the ends of the ways being the same. Get close enough to get repeatable readings on the level, then check both sides. There is a scan from a South Bend book that discusses how to complete the process with the 2 collar test. It even shows you which corners to adjust based on the measurements. The RDM method is also valuable. Spending time to get it right now will save you a lot of time later.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#8
Thanks guys, it's all new and a lil strange to me but I love the challenge and love the feeling I get from making something good!!

Do I need other tools to get me going, I see machinist blocks and parallel bars and rounds, not real sure how these all co mingle?

Thanks again!! The more I learn, the more I learn I don't know..lol
 

ttabbal

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
549
Likes
569
#9
Parallels, 123 blocks, etc. are more for the mill. They aren't useless on a lathe, but they aren't as important. Level it up, get a turning tool that fits and a drill chuck, and practice. You will learn what other things you need/want as you go. There are some threads around that give a good list of tooling to consider, but don't go too nuts at first. It's easy to buy a bunch of stuff you end up not using much. :)
 

P. Waller

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
333
Likes
199
#10
Why do you believe that it is necessary to "level" such a small machine? Please explain this.
 

T Bredehoft

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
2,592
Likes
2,001
#11
Why do you believe that it is necessary to "level" such a small machine? Please explain this.
It isn't "Level" so much as Parallel. Standing in front of the lathe, you want the base of the headstock to be parallel the base of the tailstock. (on top of the ways.) The easiest way to do this is with a sensitive level.
Without this alignment, the machine will not cut accurately. I guess that's why its necessary.
 

P. Waller

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
333
Likes
199
#12
It isn't "Level" so much as Parallel. Standing in front of the lathe, you want the base of the headstock to be parallel the base of the tailstock. (on top of the ways.) The easiest way to do this is with a sensitive level.
Without this alignment, the machine will not cut accurately. I guess that's why its necessary.
With a machine that length the casting will be so rigid that you would have to bolt it to a rigid surface and use the screws to force it to twist, if indeed it were a long turn machine with a small swing, say 10" X 100" this would be different.
A 1:3 DL ratio machine would not require such ministrations unless it is very lightly made.

However tilting in the direction of the coolant drains is a plus, never forget the coolant flow.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#13
I take it a Starret 98-4 4" precision machinists' level is going to be better than a Accusize 6" precision level s908-c684 ?
Also looking at a anytime tools premium dial caliper 0-6"/0.001" precision double shock proof, solid hardened stainless.
Plus a magnetic base SAE dial test indicator 1" travel, accuracy 0.001" per

I am about to buy them but figured I should ask those with more experience. My budget is limited, this set of items is about $160. in my cart

Just trying to avoid the unusable garbage.

Thanks



 

T Bredehoft

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
2,592
Likes
2,001
#14
When I was working as a Tool and Die Maker, I used test indicators, they're much smaller and far more versatile than the 1 in travel indicters. I never had a 1", working, usually .125, maybe .187 travel.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#15
So with dial indicators or test indicators, I take it the need is in a very small reading vs over an inch?
Is a smaller limited range better for measuring ?
Basically I have no measuring tools at all, so I am looking for some that will be versatile for working around a 10x30 lathe.
Intended projects not being much larger than 2"diameter x 6"length, I think/guess/estimate..lol
 

ttabbal

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
549
Likes
569
#16
If you're going to do the 2 collar test, you need a micrometer the right size for the test bar you make. A 0-1" should be fine, there's no need for a 6" test bar. A caliper won't do, you need a micrometer. Even the Digital Harbor Freight one is good enough, but a used big name mic will turn up if you look long enough.

Yes, I know, HF.. but it's been tested against known standards by a few people with good results. Not everything there is crap, just 95% or so. :)

1" dial indicators are useful for lots of things. Test indicators are better for spindles and such, but the normal units are good for general indicating of work. The magnetic setups can also be used as travel indicators, like an analog DRO. There are reasons most of us have both styles. For general work alignment in the lathe, I usually use a 1" travel DI. It's usually easier to position for dialing in a 4-jaw or similar. And my test indicator only has a range of about 8 thous. My first setup is usually out more than that.

This reminds me, I really need to get something to calibrate my normal mics.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#18
I was referring to my intended project size as 6x2"

Someone stated that a 1" dial indicator was too much travel.

I listed the micrometer that I intend to buy if its not crap, it has a length of 6" and is hand held

I am confused about dial caliper vs dial indicator and what would be most useful to use on a magnetic base

Then the machinist level look to be an ok investment has V groove base. Not sure if v groove is good or if I need flat or if its ever going to be needed once my lathe is set up.

So I was looking at a starrett 4" or 6" precision level wondering if it might be a better choice

Heres some of the items I am wondering about:







1

















$119.32


1







$41.60


1







$69.98


1




 

TakeDeadAim

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
229
Likes
186
#19
Look for decent used tools on Ebay and Craigslist. Micrometers, unless they look bad and do not turn smooth are built like tanks and may only need to be calibrated to be useable. I bought a used 0-4" set of Starrett when I was 16 and am still using that set. Same guy at the same time had a Starrett #196 indicator. That Ive had repaired once and replaced the dial once but if it blew up tomorrow Id have it fixed again and feel like it didn't owe me a penny.

A quick check of Ebay shows several Starrett 231 0-1" micrometers in the $20 price range, and at least one 231 1-2" for $50, Model 196 indicator sets are in the $70 range. So for the same investment you would have quality tools. Dial calipers are "get close tools" so I would not hesitate to go with an import on them.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#20
I am open to buying used, the problem is I don't have a clue as to what I need.

Like dial caliper vs test indicator, or do I want 0-1" measuring or .0125? I have never used a dial measuring device period.
I have a micrometer that slides 6" or so with a digital read out. I use on RC heli set ups, but no dials with plungers or screw style calipers.

I am looking at a set by fowler now:
Fowler 52-229-780 Indicator, Mag Base, Dial Caliper & Micrometer Combo Set

Any advice on this much needed. Thanks

The bench is more level than the catch pan , the base of the lathe does not appear to be level or machined flat .
I like the video on leveling the lathe !!


Maybe benchtop lathes are harder as I have no feet or screw turn legs to adjust. I am stuck shoving feelers under till its more level.
The feelers under it like a deck of cards and it does not feel stable this way.
I must be missing something here, gotta be easier way.


 

Attachments

Last edited:

TakeDeadAim

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
229
Likes
186
#21
Ok, lets get you lined out on some things first. On your lathe; it should be bolted to a sturdy bench and then level the bench; I'd be more concerned about twisting the bed doing it the way you are now. The other issue with not having it down tight against the chip pan is the pan will leak. Your lathe looks like a PM from Quality Machine Tools. There stuff is pretty decent, most of the smaller lathes are pretty rigid and are made to be bolted to a bench or an optional stand. If you need some help with design on a stand I'd be happy to help. Do you have access to welding?

Ok now as far as tools go; I think your confusing some tool names dial calipers are for measuring inside and outside dimensions vs. dial indicators/test indicators which measure but more for set up.

Kind of a standard starting set would be 0-1" micrometer, 6" scale with 1/8 & 1/16 divisions on one side and 1/32 & 1/64" on the other. 6" dial caliper (will get you larger sizes and the ability to measure ID and depth) Simple dial indicator set like Starrett model 196. I'd also add a 12" combination square and scriber as you will need these for layout and many other tasks. I'm assuming you have things like a ball pein hammer and center punch just keep adding tools as you need and can afford them. You can see YouTube videos by OxTool and Tubelcain for what other tools to add, but these items will get you going.

You indicated your on a budget so Id check for the items you need on EBay, I looked earlier today and there, as usual, are some good deals to be had.
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#22
I bolted down to chip pan 1st and found it tilting backside toward wall.
The chip pan appears to be very unlevel.

I will remove shims and post a couple pics what that looks like.

to me the bolt through pc of lathe is not level front to back on the same boot, let alone from head to tail.
 

TakeDeadAim

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
229
Likes
186
#23
Yea, take some photos both close ups and from a distance so we can see the lathe, chip pan and stand
 

Creativechipper

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
131
Likes
55
#24
Ok, here's where I am at, lifted the lathe up, 3-point harness style.

Re set the lathe on the chip tray, drilled the holes at the head stock end and bolted all 3 spots down.

It is a lot more square looking at the chip tray, but about the same at the level end of things.

To me it appears the head stock end needs to shim up and the wall side needs a shim up to square up this thing.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Jay
 

Attachments

Last edited:

ttabbal

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Messages
549
Likes
569
#25
For measuring, you have a digital caliper. No need for a dial caliper. Note, calipers and micrometers are NOT the same. Calipers are great for quick measurements, but you need a micrometer for more precision. Fowler seems to make decent stuff. Here's what I started with for measuring, I've added some nicer gear as deals and budget allowed.

1" travel 0.0005 graduations dial indicator. (Shars)
Noga style mag base for indicators. (ebay)
6" digital calipers. (Harbor Freight)
0-1" digital micrometer. (Harbor Freight)
6" machinist scale. (Shars)
Layout fluid. (dychem)

It's all budget stuff, but works well enough for getting started. And you won't be too upset if you break them. While learning, they are more accurate than you are. If you get a good deal on big name gear in decent shape, pick it up.

And you can use the HF calipers for layout and such without feeling bad about it. :)

For a scribe, buy a cheap one, but it makes a great simple lathe project to make one. Clickspring on YouTube has a great video published by Make magazine showing one. I used aluminum rather than brass as I had it and aluminum is much cheaper. ;)


Leveling the lathe... Use the bench to level the way you have pictured, down the long axis. It's not really required in that direction, but it helps keep things from rolling off the bench. To start, do the same the other direction. From here you need a precision level or just use RDM/2 collar tests. The precision level speeds the process, but if budget is tight you can make do.

Shims can make it tough. If you want an easier way, make something like this...

Emco lathe leveling config.PNG
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
3,386
Likes
3,880
#27
With a machine that length the casting will be so rigid that you would have to bolt it to a rigid surface and use the screws to force it to twist, if indeed it were a long turn machine with a small swing, say 10" X 100" this would be different.
A 1:3 DL ratio machine would not require such ministrations unless it is very lightly made.

However tilting in the direction of the coolant drains is a plus, never forget the coolant flow.
One thing that has become apparent too me over the years is there is no such thing as a perfect alignment; only the alignment we're willing to live with. This holds true for manufactures, both American and Chinese. Even if a machine were impeccably aligned in the factory, there is no guaranty that castings didn't change with age or that the machine didn't get rudely jostled during shipment.

My 10 x 22 lathe's inspection report states that to pass inspection, the ways will be out of parallel with the spindle axis in the horizontal plane by no more than .03mm/50mm. This amounts to .0036" over 6". I don't know of many on this forum that would be content with that.

Small lathes are not as rigid as you might think. On my 10 x 22 lathe, I see a deflection of .001" in the vertical plane and .003" in the horizontal plane with 10lbs. of applied force.
 

TakeDeadAim

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
229
Likes
186
#28
Ok now we can see what you have. First off if you grab your bench and give it a good wiggle is it solid? If so then you dont need the next step. If it wiggles then I would add some 45 degree braces between the top and the legs.

Next does your level sit flat across the top of the carriage where your checking? If not you can use two strips of adding machine paper, one under each end of the level to make sure your not teter tottering in the center. (Id prob do this anyway)

Then I would bolt the lathe to the bench with no shims and check the level. Looks like the front of the machine is high so put some shims under the back legs until you get close. Then use some door/window wedge shims, any lumber yard or big box store will have them in a pack for a few dollars.

Having a helper will be, well helpful here, to tap in the shims while you watch the level till the head is level then the tail then check the head again until you have it as close as you can with the level you have. Then I'd do the run in procedure on the machine and re-check it as it may settle a bit. Then just see how it cuts with the two ring test. It does not need to be level length wise so long as it cuts.
 

TakeDeadAim

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
229
Likes
186
#29
My point with buying decent condition used name brand Micrometers and such is that you get the quality tool that has a very long life for the same price as the cheap stuff and you end up not having to replace it. I buy the import stuff for tools I dont use often or as a second tool of the same type but metrology stuff is the heart and soul of what we do as machinists. When I can by a quality well cared for Starrett 0-1 mic for $25 Ill take it over a new unknown quality one any day. Ive got three 0-1, my old one and two that I picked up off EBay for $20-$30 I keep in spots in the shop I always use them. Really unless you throw a mic against the wall or let it rust you can not wear the threads out on them. The 231 series satin chrome finish Starrett really hold up to use.

If you buy a few tools to get going and add as you need and can afford them you will have what you need in no time, I have really gotten many quality tools from retired guys, estate sales and the online sources. Got a set of Starrett 12" Scales and the straight and 90* clamps to put them together a few weeks back for $25 all in. Don't really "need" them but someday Im sure they will be exactly what I need for a job. If not some young man or woman is going to love buying my Kennedy boxes full of tools when I can no longer use them
 

WarrenP

Registered
Registered
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
94
Likes
16
#30
RJSakowski , When you say your G0602 has a headstock adjustment, are you talking about loosening the 4 screws and moving the headstock manually? I have the G0752 which is the same except for vfd right.... and that is the only way I know of adjusting it. Thanks
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top