Test cuts and adjustments

lathe leveling-16Before I take any cuts I’m warming up my machine for at least 15 minutes.  Here in this example I’m using a 20mm in diameter steel rod that is sticking out of the chuck less than 60mm. The ideal would be a 25mm in diameter rod and two collars to be machined on it, one in front of the chuck and the other at the end of the rod. This is something that I’m not doing here to avoid decreasing the diameter farther more. I’m using a very sharp tool at the finest feed to take less than 0,1mm test cuts at a low rpm.
 Let’s take some measurements, .42mm plus near the chucklathe leveling-17
lathe leveling-18 and .48mm at the other end. That makes a 0.065mm of deflection in a distance of 5cm approximately. Not so good.
 lathe leveling-19I know that my bed is twisted the way I show in the picture with the ruler. That cause the tool bit to getting lower from the center as it travels across the ways and my work piece is getting bigger.
 lathe leveling-21I’m using two paper cards folded in half two times to rise the tailstock end of the bed, one on each side of the leg. The ideal supposedly, is to use metal shims but I don’t have in hand so thin shims to make the necessary adjustments and I’m afraid that the shims will penetrate the softer wood when the bolt will be tightened.
Alathe leveling-22t the other hand I know that the paper is consistent in thickness and my experience from work holding tells me that it can take a lot of abuse. I don’t know, I will give it a try.
 I’m tightening the bolt as much as possible.lathe leveling-23
 lathe leveling-24For now on I will take two light test cuts to eliminate the possibility of effecting my measurements from the previous inconsistent results.
 .42 pluslathe leveling-25
 and .41. I’m getting closer.lathe leveling-26
 I will add a half card folded in two on each side of the leg.lathe leveling-27
lathe leveling-28And I’m taking another cut.
lathe leveling-29Now things has change, my work piece is slightly smaller away from the chuck.
lathe leveling-31My lathe bed must be twisted the way I show in the picture.
lathe leveling-32This side is probable a little higher and that cause the tool bit to getting closer to the work piece as it travels across the ways.
lathe leveling-34I will remove one piece from the folded card that I added previously on this side to lower the bed.
lathe leveling-35I repeated the same process again and now my work piece it’s again a little bigger away from the chuck. The piece of the card that I removed it was too much. I need to add a thinner piece of paper in place. Now I believe it’s obvious why you need a precision level.
Let’s see what we have now, .30mm and lathe leveling-36
.30mm .Finally I made it.                     lathe leveling-37



5 Replies to “Leveling the lathe”

  1. After you added the half cards to each side and your “work piece is slightly smaller away from the chunk.” How did you conclude that the problem was due to a twist rather than simply having the tailstock be a tad overcompensated (too high compared to the headstock)?


    1. Hi Charlton, it was an assessment that verified by the next test cut but you’re right it could be either way with different results in each case. Keep in mind that after making this procedure a couple of times you know your bench downsides.

  2. Hi, i came across this site after i ordered this lathe as a newbie, so apparently not a bad choice. Very informative, great site and workpieces you have. If have a question before delivery already 😉 Is your lathe attached to a surface and if yes how ? ty !

    Keep up the good work !

    1. Hi and thank you for your kind words. Sorry, but can you rephrase your question please? What do you mean by saying “attached to a surface and”?

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