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Thread: Lathe Leveling Foot Pads

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    Paul Jones's Avatar
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    Lathe Leveling Foot Pads

    In my home workshop, I recently installed a 12”X37” geared-head gap bed metal lathe that was manufactured in Taiwan in 1987. The workshop is located in the garage where the garage floor has 1/16” per foot slope and the z-axis of the lathe runs in the direction of the slope. I built lathe leveling foot pads to help level the lathe in the x and z directions. The pads were machined from ASTM A36 mild steel plate that was rough cut with a CNC plasma cutter. The pads bottoms have a machined recess that leaves a 0.3” wide outer rim. The leveling bolts have a 12mmx1.75 thread pitch to fit the threaded holes in the bottom of the lathe stand. The threaded ends of the bolts were machined flat to fit into a recess in the pad tops. Each foot pad is 2.1” in dia., 1.5” tall, and has a 0.5” diameter by 0.5 deep recess in the top for the adjustable leveling bolts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Lathe Leveling Foot Pads-lathe-foot-pads-installed.jpg   Lathe Leveling Foot Pads-lathe-foot-pads-adjustment-bolts.jpg   Lathe Leveling Foot Pads-lathe-foot-pads.jpg  

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Paul Jones For This Useful Post:

    galebars (08-02-2017), kbalch (02-27-2015), LMMasterMariner (07-31-2017), PJs (07-10-2018), Y-geo (08-04-2017), zarembak (07-10-2018)

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    Thanks Paul! I've added your Lathe Leveling Foot Pads to our Lathes category, as well as to your builder page: Paul Jones' Homemade Tools. Your receipt:


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    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Those are really nice foot pads, Paul Jones!

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    Paul Jones (02-28-2015)

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    Hi Paul,

    Nice-looking machining! Your Lathe Leveling Foot Pads are the 'Tool of the Week'!

    You'll be receiving one of our official HomemadeTools.net T-shirts:

    Lathe Leveling Foot Pads-hmt-t-shirts.jpg

    If you've already received one of our official HomemadeTools.net T-shirts, we'd be glad to award you a $25 online gift card from GiftRocket. Your choice!

    Either way, just let me have (via PM) your details (size, color choice, and mailing address for the shirt or email address for the gift card) and we'll get things processed directly.

    Congrats!

    Ken

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    Ken,

    Thank you very much for the recognition. I appreciate the feedback. I am always interested in seeing the variety of tools published in HomemadeTools.net. I plan to publish a series of other tool improvements for my 12"X37" geared-head lathe so stay tuned for more to come.

    Thank you!
    Paul

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    This thread has been moved to the Must Read subforum. Congrats (and thanks) to Paul for making such a valuable contribution!

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    Simple and elegant... Thank you Paul.
    I have a Harrison L13 x40 lathe that will be receiving a new set of feet thanks to you.

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    Thank you. I still want to make the lathe a little more stable in the lateral direction. I think the footpads are too close together for optimum stability. One of these days I plan to attach sections of 4"x4" angle bar at the headstock and tailstock ends. The angle bars will extend approximately 3" beyond the front and back sides of the lathe cabinet, angle bar will be drilled and tapped for the same leveling bolts, and use the foot pads for height adjustments.

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    Mikebr5's Avatar
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    I know what you mean Paul... Lathes are so top heavy that they -seem- like they could benefit by a wider stance.
    Has your lathe shown any instability with just the fine feet that you built, or are you just looking to make it more stable just because?
    I've barely been tempted to extend the supports on other machines but I hate catching my toe on things that stick out so much- drives me almost nutty.

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    Paul Jones (03-15-2018)

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    Machine leveling is somewhat a science all it's own. Paul Jones pads seem a good proportion to the estimated machine weight. Load bearing is central to leveling and therefore stability. Set machine on a flat, clean and dense surface. Rubber pads are for salesmen, not good lathe feet. Only non-metallic interfaces acceptable are machinery felt or diamond patterned interlock bonded to plywood. You can use feet too small that mushroom or indent floor, just like too large, which doesn't grip as intended.
    You could easily duplicate commercial pads with a little research. Machine weight/ number of leveling points = estimated weight per pad. Unless you have a long bed shaft lathe, the headstock is adding weight to the feet, so the figure is valid enough. Find a manufacturer of solid steel pads, enter their chart with that weight and that will reveal a diameter to pattern yours after. A ball endmill or drill point makes a good socket. Don't fuss over the point shape, just get contact with the 'inner' 40-60%. A drill shape flattened on the end is very serviceable. If you don't have a radius attachment, a corner rounding endmill makes a good form tool, even file to shape if need be. What you made are essentially the same a C-clamp pads, just bigger. Threaded portion is best with fine standard threads for your diameter; more mechanical advantage to jack the weight and better for small adjustments. Provide a lock-nut at least on the underside. Use a level reading better than .001 per foot, a common torpedo is insufficient. A pair of bearing balls on CLEAN ways works to rough it in. Support the level at ends on unburred shim stock.
    A true precision level is .0005 per foot; so sensitive drafts or breath will displace the bubble
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

  14. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Toolmaker51 For This Useful Post:

    LMMasterMariner (07-31-2017), Paul Jones (03-15-2018), Y-geo (08-04-2017)

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