I JUST had the exact same idea, and just logged on, and just went to the Taig section to see if anyone had done this before.
And this was the top post. That's creepy!
I think you have a great idea. In fact, thanks to both looking at my mill, and your picture, I see now that I could attempt to unbolt,
and rebolt the head way assembly up at least one or two notches higher for a bit more clearance now. I had to square it up with my
dial indicator anyway. I was going to do this today, actually, and so I'll attempt it, and see how well it works.
My reason for wanting higher clearance? Simple- I have a sherline rotary table and 4 jaw chuck on my x ways, and a jacobs chuck
in the z axis at top hight, and the part I'm drilling is just too high for a normal length bit by like 1/2". I haven't really made much with
my machine after a year now, learning how to setup everything and having the time and money for stock, and then I ran into this.
I really, REALLY could use another 2-3 inches of clearance on Z for drills, since I can't find short drill bit packages.
I also just realized I have a precision ground plate 12" long, 4" wide, 1/2" thick, that would only need chopped down and lightly lapped
to make an entirely new Z axis ways!
I'll let you know how my progress goes today when I'm done.
EDIT: Crap, forgot I don't yet have a dial indicator stand. I don't think I can do this today. I will still try unbolting and see what happens to
rigidity for you. It is only since I haven't finally trammed everything in, except perpendicularity of the Z to the X (I'm still on basic techniques)
that I know no real damage can be done here- it was going to be dialed in anyway, as I don't plan on making anything until I fully tram every
part in true with a dial indicator.
I have a good, rebuilt Starrett 0.0005" last word, works great. Perhaps I can rig something up to work as a stand today.