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Leveling feet on the lathe itself? Ideas?

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Pcmaker

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#1
My table is not level. I ordered a PM 11x27 lathe that I should get sometime after Christmas this year.

Is it a good idea to level the lathe itself instead of leveling the table? In order for me to level the table, i'd have to redo it from the ground up. It'd be easier for me to level the lathe itself. I'm trying to come up with leveling feet ideas for my lathe. I figure it'd be a lot better than shimming.

Another issue is that machinists' levels are super expensive. I'll probably just use a digital level for now and make sure the ways are level on the Y axis on both ends of the ways. I hear the X axis isn't important at all as it's not twisted the bed.

I want to be have less than .001 difference in diamater of whatever I'm turning on each end.

Anyone have a Precision Matthews 11x27?

 

ttabbal

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#2
I have one. The idea when we talk about leveling a lathe is about the twist of the bed. Level to the horizon / gravity is nice for round things rolling around, but the lathe doesn't care. There is oil in these, so it's probably required to not be upside down or similar, but perfectly level isn't an issue.

A precision level isn't required, but it can help speed up the process. Even with one, you still need to do a two collar test to finish up. You might have to do the test a few more times without the level, but if your bench is too far off level anyway, a reading with a precision level is just going to be pegged anyway.

As for leveling adjusters, there's no need to get complicated with them. I used some flat steel stock from the hardware store and some 3/8-24 bolts and nuts. The center hold down bolt is 1/2-13. I ended up using metric washers as they fit better. The plates have 2 unthreaded holes for structural screws holding the plate to the drip pan and the bench cross beam. 0.001 taper isn't difficult to achieve with them.

20180207_194840.jpg
 

Djl338

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#4
I made some out of hockey pucks.
Those are beauties! Curious how you milled them, I've heard of dropping rubber in liquid nitrogen or freezing first.
I bought a set of self-leveling pads from MSC Self Leveling pads my shop floor isn't perfectly flat, hoping it will make a difference when the new lathe arrives. for $12 they're very well made and hold 5000lbs
 

gjmontll

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I too made feet from hockey pucks (used ones are much cheaper, see eBay). As is, they machined fine as I counterbored the hole to recess the bolt head and fender washer.
Only problem for me was trying to rely on them to crank the apparent twist from my old Logan 10". Just as I'd approach the goal, one foot would raise off the floor. I'd need to anchor the feet into the concrete to overcome that. I choose to leave it as is.
 

WarrenP

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Only problem for me was trying to rely on them to crank the apparent twist from my old Logan 10". Just as I'd approach the goal, one foot would raise off the floor. I'd need to anchor the feet into the concrete to overcome that. I choose to leave it as is.
I wonder if you left it raised off the floor and put a weight on that corner for a while it might eventually bring it down a little to make the difference, especially since it sounds like it is close. If it can be twisted to mess it up it can probably be twisted back. Dont know how long the weight would have to be on it to make a difference though. Maybe a week to months ?
 

Pcmaker

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What did you guys use to level your lathe? Machinists' level?
 

petertha

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MarkM - nice!
- so to change frame elevation, you hold the square area (1) with a wrench & rotate nut (2) to jack it up or down?
- are the metal inserts made of steel or?
- is are they glued into the puck or just important that its a tight fit?
- if the floor has a bit of slope then I would expect the edge of the bolt (only) would be contacting the metal. Have you found this to be an issue in any way like wearing an arc recess or metal on metal vibration etc.?
 

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petertha

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#9
The classic rubber dampening adjustable machinery mounts option of course, but they can get spendy in larger diameters.
 

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NortonDommi

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#10
If you don't have a machinist's level try this method.
 

ddickey

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I too made feet from hockey pucks (used ones are much cheaper, see eBay). As is, they machined fine as I counterbored the hole to recess the bolt head and fender washer.
Only problem for me was trying to rely on them to crank the apparent twist from my old Logan 10". Just as I'd approach the goal, one foot would raise off the floor. I'd need to anchor the feet into the concrete to overcome that. I choose to leave it as is.
Shim the bed where it attaches to the stand. I had teh same problem with my lathe.
 

bill70j

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#12
What did you guys use to level your lathe? Machinists' level?
I used a 48" carpenter's level for the top and SHAR's 8" precision level for the bed. Their level costs about $65.
 

P. Waller

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#13
What makes you believe that such a small machine needs a good deal of mucking about with leveling?
I would suspect that such a short stout casting would not be effected by its own weight and gravity, if the bed was 100" long with the same cross section that would present a different problem.

A humorous anecdote.
I have an aquaintence that owns a local corner bar, he bought a new regulation sized coin operated pool table.
He asked me to check how level it was after installation by the dealer because I have one of those "high dollar" Starrett machinists levels.
This I refused to do knowing full well that this way madness lies.
I did however have one of the local residential contractors place a 48" level on it and adjust it to 0.
I had three 200+ lb pool players stand at one corner and the bubble ran right off of the scale.
I explained to the owner that you can not maintain a level playing field on a wooden floor in a climate with 80Deg F temperature changes and a bunch of fat guys walking around.
 

Pcmaker

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#14
I hope/wish I don't have to mess with it. I had a 7x12 grizzly lathe that was turning tapers that I sold before buying the 11x27
 

bill70j

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#15
I hope/wish I don't have to mess with it. I had a 7x12 grizzly lathe that was turning tapers that I sold before buying the 11x27
If I were you, I would do everything possible to get the new lathe set up correctly, to include precise leveling. Otherwise, there is yet one more variable to question when things go wrong to the 0.0005". Just my opinion. I went through it with my 10".
 
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Mark Needham

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#16
To the point.
Level your Lathe. Don't worry so much about your bench.
and Yes, leaning on a machine, can change dimensions. It is the degree at which you worry, that is the question.
Have fun!
 

WarrenP

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#17
Your Grizzly im sure just needed leveling and then use the cutting barbell method. The PM will have the same problem if you dont get it setup. I used 2 machinist levels to do mine. I have a starrett level, it think is .001 accurate then I have a grizzly level that is .0005 accurate. Used the starrett first to get it close then used the grizzly to get it more accurate, seemed easier that way with getting it close first then finishing it. The Grizzly was about 65.00 also , the starrett was more. After done with the level do the barbell cutting test and finish adjusting from there, you will get it this time. It takes time to do this but needs done.
 

MarkM

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#18
Yes I raised and leveled my stand by jacking the carriage bolt. A couple things to do is face off the bolt for a flat bearing surface and use the hole to keep the bolt centred when cranking. I used a .187 hole and turned the carriage down to fit. The pucks are three inches in diameter. Used a two inch pocket by .100" deep with a .200" thick 316 washer in the pocket with the hole in it. , and also a 2 inch by .100" boss on the bottom to increase ground pressure since the machine is around 700 lbs. It s done well for me and i think the rubber adds it s own dampening effect.
The pucks machine real easy however it can bite you if you get greedy as it will flex then dig in. Chucking, it also squishes so you have to consider this in your cuts as you can t clamp it too tight as it gets out of shape but really it s like butter to cut just pay attention and give the rubber some respect machining it so it doesn t ruin your day.
 

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P. Waller

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#19
I hope/wish I don't have to mess with it. I had a 7x12 grizzly lathe that was turning tapers that I sold before buying the 11x27
I run some nice lathes, however most are at least 20 years old and will turn a taper if you are not careful, the CNC machines are easy you simply program the taper out, the manuals take a bit more work when turning a 70" length with the tail stock. This is not generally an effect of leveling but the effect of wear over decades of 40 hour per week use and abuse.
Every time that I run a long part on this lathe it takes several hours to adjust the tail stock to as little taper as possible, it will do +- .002" over 6' if you are careful.
 
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