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Thread: How to re-align tailstock?

  1. #1
    rendoman's Avatar
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    How to re-align tailstock?

    Hi all!
    I'm in trouble and ask for help, any advice welcome

    I have an old lathe, the tailstock position is not correct and the centre is off axis.
    There are some marks on the back of tailstock, the "0" seems out of phase, more 2 scratch to the side, maybe have been done later by hand.

    Currently I got no double fixed point, no rectified bar, there is some way or tips for finding the correct alignement?

    I take some picture

    Thanks
    Stefano

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Make a set of alignment buttons, e.g...

    Tailstock alignment buttons

    In my construction notes in that article I indicate that the holes should be center-drilled. If your tailstock is badly out of alignment, then that operation may be problematic. A more accurate process would go like this...

    Rough drill hole using tailstock
    Bore hole to ensure its centered and cylindrical
    Form 60 degree bevel on mouth of hole using compound rest

    Once you've carefully made the buttons, save them. You'll need them to reset the tailstock the next time you set it over to turn a taper. [Although there are better ways than tailstock setover but that's not related to your problem.]
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    align tailstock

    Quote Originally Posted by rendoman View Post
    Hi all!
    I'm in trouble and ask for help, any advice welcome

    I have an old lathe, the tailstock position is not correct and the centre is off axis.
    There are some marks on the back of tailstock, the "0" seems out of phase, more 2 scratch to the side, maybe have been done later by hand.

    Currently I got no double fixed point, no rectified bar, there is some way or tips for finding the correct alignement?

    I take some picture

    Thanks
    Stefano
    Hey Stefano, Just chuck up something, center drill and use tailstock dead center or live center to piece as long as you can and turn between it and chuck and indicate you will see how it is off, than adjust tail stock accordingly. God Bless Ya Dave

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    The button method. This is one of the easiest ways to do it. Once the buttons are made, put the small end of one in a collet or 4 jaw chuck, make sure it's running true. Put the other one on a center in the tailstock and bring the 2 big ends together. Measure across them horizontally with a mike as you adjust the tailstock side to side. When the reading across both buttons is the nominal diameter of the button, the tailstock is centered.

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    There are pretty easy adjustments for horizontal adjustment, but not vertical so hopefully that part is ok. If not, going up will definitely be easier than going down with the help of good shimstock.The fastest way I found to check alignment was to chuck a coaxial dial indicator up in my 3 jaw (assuming that the chuck is centered) and I put a piece of machined round stock in the tailstock chuck. Then its just a matter of moving the tailstock in and out to check for being true with the bed ways, and spinning the coax indicator around the round stock to get the tailstock centered with the spindle, making necessary adjustments to dial it in. Hope that helps.

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    No trouble just miss aligned

    Quote Originally Posted by rendoman View Post
    Hi all!
    I'm in trouble and ask for help, any advice welcome

    I have an old lathe, the tailstock position is not correct and the centre is off axis.
    There are some marks on the back of tailstock, the "0" seems out of phase, more 2 scratch to the side, maybe have been done later by hand.

    Currently I got no double fixed point, no rectified bar, there is some way or tips for finding the correct alignment?

    I take some picture

    Thanks
    Stefano
    You need a dial indicator with a magnetic base or some other appropriate way to mount it. Just chuck "something" a rod or round bar in the Head-stock that is the right size for your lathe. The smother or rounder it is determines the accuracy of your alignment. Bring the tail stock up to the head-stock close enough to reach across with your Dial Indicator mounted or clamped on the rotating part of the tail-stock. Now you can spin the tail-stock so the indicator touches the outer diameter of your chucked up "something". As you spin the tail-stock slowly the indicator will show you the relative difference between the rotational axis of head and tail-stock. Adjust your tail-stock mounting ever so slightly and spin it again noting if the difference is more or less. Now you know which way to move the tail-stock mounting to bring the difference to near zero. This dance must be repeated on another location on your "something" by moving the tail-stock backward or forward to a new location. All of this is relative to the size of your lathe. The bigger the "something" is the better you will see the miss alignment. This is a really shotgun approach but I assume you have some skills or tools. Moving the dial indicator mounting to the lathe way bars that go under the tail-stock you can touch the indicator to the diameter of your "something" spin the head-stock to see if your "something" on the same centerline as the head-stock. Moving around the lathe just spin or stroke all of your slides and spindles. using the dial indicator to show the difference as they move. Trial and error will teach you what to move to bring everything to "dead nuts" zero. Like I said this is relative to the size and quality of your "something" (aka Cylinder Square) and the condition of the lathe and the tools you have to measure with. If you have access to a Machinist, tool maker he can asses your situation and give way more specific instruction. From Microns and Angstroms to feet and inches the process is still the same. Whether you have a Dial indicator or a Laser , spin, sweep, stroke or tram, it's what you have and what you make of it. Hope it helps

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    Thank you all very much!
    I will try soon all the advice received
    I post a couple of pictures only to show old lathe

    How to re-align tailstock?-dsc02400_1600x1200.jpg How to re-align tailstock?-dsc02402_1600x1200.jpg

    How to re-align tailstock?-dsc02403_1600x1200.jpg How to re-align tailstock?-dsc02405_1600x1200.jpg

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    caldude53 Caldude53's Avatar
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    Adjusting the tail stock.

    Many good points have been made here. Here is my 2 cents:

    Many years ago, my mentor taught me to turn a rod between centers, using a lathe dog (lathe dogs are cheap; every machinist should have several of different sizes.) This eliminated any error in my 3-jaw chuck. Also, by turning the rod end-to-end, I eliminated any error in the rod itself. Once I had turned the rod, I measured it for taper, using a good (calibrated) micrometer. After adjusting the tail stock accordingly, it was rinse & repeat, using the same rod. Eventually, the rod miked out equal in diameter along its entire length. Thus, the tail stock was aligned with the spindle's center & it was good to go.

    This procedure can be a bit tedious, but it works. It eliminates errors that may be introduced by the chuck* and by the rod itself.

    Good luck, and happy machining!

    *run out error in a chuck is another matter, but it too can be fairly easily adjusted to run true to the spindle.
    Last edited by Caldude53; 05-06-2017 at 02:35 PM. Reason: further thoughts to help clarity.

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caldude53 View Post
    Many years ago, my mentor taught me to turn a rod between centers, using a lathe dog (lathe dogs are cheap; every machinist should have several of different sizes.) This eliminated any error in my 3-jaw chuck. Also, by turning the rod end-to-end, I eliminated any error in the rod itself. Once I had turned the rod, I measured it for taper, using a good (calibrated) micrometer. After adjusting the tail stock accordingly, it was rinse & repeat, using the same rod. Eventually, the rod miked out equal in diameter along its entire length. Thus, the tail stock was aligned with the spindle's center & it was good to go.
    Precision alignment is usually done with an axle bearing two rings, one at each end. Run between centers to avoid chuck errors, etc., a cut is made on each ring and their resultant diameters compared. This is very similar to what you suggest.

    Nevertheless, it is tedious. Having a set of alignment buttons to get you close will minimize the time spent with precision alignment and, depending on what the work is, may themselves provide sufficient alignment.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    tailstock alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    Precision alignment is usually done with an axle bearing two rings, one at each end. Run between centers to avoid chuck errors, etc., a cut is made on each ring and their resultant diameters compared. This is very similar to what you suggest.

    Nevertheless, it is tedious. Having a set of alignment buttons to get you close will minimize the time spent with precision alignment and, depending on what the work is, may themselves provide sufficient alignment.
    Hi; there is another method , that you can use without turning buttons or machining anything, just put a magnetic stand with a "finger" type indicator in the face of the chuck, make sure that the indicator finger is touching either in the inside hole of the tailstock or the outside diameter of the tailstock quill.Now, rotate the chuch BY HAND, slowly and you will see how much the tailstock is out, just adjust until you have same reading in the indicator across both sides of the tailstock.
    Please allow me to say this... MERV KLOTZ you are a GENIUS!
    Mariano

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