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Mini lathe harder to turn closer to the tailstock

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Pcmaker

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#1
I have a Grizzly 7x12 mini-lathe and ever since I got the lathe 2 months ago, the handwheel gets harder to turn as I get closer to the tailstock. I tried messing around with the leadscrew bracket on the tailstock side, moving it around, but I could never get it the handwheel to smoothen out. It's not so easy to feed by handwheel when the force you use turning it isn't so uniform across the board.

Anyone have an idea what it could be?
 

RJSakowski

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#2
Was this a used lathe?

A common reason for differing force required to move the carriage ( or cross slide) is uneven wear. There is usually a region of most use on a lathe. The region nearest the tailstock is often the least used. aside from scraping or stoning the unworn regions to bring them more in line with the the worn regions, there isn't much that can be done. You can loosen the gibs so you have easier movement in the unworn regions at the expense of play in the most used region.

Re the carriage. Your lathe has vertical stays on the front and back side to prevent the carriage from lifting off the ways. If you have a similar setup, this may be binding. These would be parts 92 in the parts diagram. You could try loosening the attachment screws. If this works, a shim could solve your problem.
 

Pcmaker

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#3
This was a brand new lathe from Grizzly that I bought from Amazon
 

higgite

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#4
Could be some paint or dried cosmoline on the underside of the ways where the saddle plates ride.

Tom
 

Pcmaker

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#5
Just fiddled around with it more.

If I loosen the 2 carriage bolts, the movement becomes a lot easier, but when I tighten, it goes back. Can't seem to find the right position of the carriage bolts. Not sure if there is a right position where the carriage movement is smooth and uniform all the way through.
 

Kenny G

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#6
there are several youtube vids on adjusting a mini lathe feed screw. It's a fairly simple operation just amounts to loosening the feed screw at the tail stock end (with the tailstock off) and clamping it with the half nut so it finds center and then re tightening the bolts on the bracket. The brackets have a slight enlongation on the bolt holes for adjustment, it actually should be done on both endsworks the same way. There are also gib adjustments and half nut adjustments on the apron. There are also gib screws on both sides of the saddle that may need to be adjusted one set is covered by the apron and a little awkward to get at.
 

Kenny G

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#7
there are several youtube vids on adjusting a mini lathe feed screw. It's a fairly simple operation just amounts to loosening the feed screw at the tail stock end (with the tailstock off) and clamping it with the half nut so it finds center and then re tightening the bolts on the bracket. The brackets have a slight enlongation on the bolt holes for adjustment, it actually should be done on both endsworks the same way. There are also gib adjustments and half nut adjustments on the apron. There are also gib screws on both sides of the saddle that may need to be adjusted one set is covered by the apron and a little awkward to get at.
 

macardoso

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#8
Ways could also be machined improperly. The smaller Grizzly stuff is known for some QC problems. Similar issue to wear on the lathe
 

Kenny G

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#9
on re reading your post this may be more important.

 

Ken from ontario

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#10
If I loosen the 2 carriage bolts, the movement becomes a lot easier, but when I tighten, it goes back. Can't seem to find the right position of the carriage bolts.
Try this, loosen the two carriage bolts, then lock the threading knob (power feed lever), now tighten the two bolts evenly . unlock the knob and see if the hand wheel turns any easier near the tailstock.
these two bolts don't need to be super tight.
 
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rgray

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#11
I had a mini lathe once. The serial number stamped into the top of the end of the bed made the carriage tight on that end.
Many of the mini lathe sites spoke of it. Filing the numbers flat took care of the tightness on the end of travel on mine.
 

homebrewed

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#12
The fact that the carriage gets easier to move when the apron bolts are loosened suggests that the bed and/or carriage slide plates are not the problem. In addition to the procedure recommended by Ken, you also should try loosening up the bolts on the feed screw mounting block. Move the carriage as far to the right as you can, then tighten the bolts back up. This is a commonly-recommended adjustment, along with loosening/tightening the apron bolts. You want to do both adjustments with the carriage as far to the right as possible. Edit: Both adjustments should be done with the half-nuts engaged.

If neither of those work, take a closer look at the rack -- if it is thicker on the right side (or has some other problem on the right side), that could be your problem. I haven't tried it to see if it works, but it MAY be possible to turn the rack around and re-install it. If so, it would be a way to check the rack -- if it is bad, the carriage would become harder to move when it is moved toward the headstock. However, it's likely the rack is OK because I have never heard anyone complain about it in this context.

It also is possible that your lathe has a manufacturing defect that will prevent you from being able to completely resolve your problem with any of these approaches. I have heard stories where owners drilled out the feed screw mounting block holes, to provide more adjustment range. However, if your machine is new and it is determined to have a defect, I'd suggest contacting Grizzly before doing anything you can't undo.
 
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