View Full Version : My Lathe project; might CNC it one day

02-15-2004, 12:50 PM
Here is the cross slide set-up; the Bronze handwheel was todays effort; the alumi support was also made today (tool post is beside the cross slide)
The circle you can see is the referance locator for the compound slide; it keeps it on center as you swing the compound through the arc; an 8mm screw locks the compound

Looking right down the cross slides center; the small setscrew deep down is the adjustment for backlash; there is a small teflon button under the screw; it presses the leadscrew into the nut to reduce the backlash; the other 2 cap head screws hold the nut under for the leadscrew

Compound slide being attached; the 6mm allen key is in the locking 8mm caphead

Here is a bottom shot of the compound; the locating ring can be seen; the 2 small holes in the alumi handle extention are for gaining access to the locking 6x32 setscrews that lock the handwheel and the leadscrew adjuster

The compound on the cross slide; the allen key has locked the compound at an angle to show how tapers can be cut; the bronze insert in the middle is the nut for the 1/4"x20 leadscrew (0.05"/rev)

The final normal setting for the compound slide; the access hole for the taper setting is now closed as it's quite far ahead of this position; also helps to keep crap out of the allen head; tool post is on; the round guide bars for the main way are visible too; these are Thompson shafting; held with 4mm capheads into a CNC machined 90dgr each side of the main bed; these are accurate to within 0.001

Shot of the collet set-up; also in the shot is the main leadscrew bearing (just under the collet chuck) this will support the 7/16"x20 (0.05/rev) leadscrew
The collet chuck still need 2 holes drilled into it for tightening; the adjusters for the main carrage can be seen too with locking nuts; these again like the leadscrews have teflon buttons to help maintain accuracy; the cross slide has smaller set screws for the same reason (2 small holes just above the main section of the carrage)

Drive end of the spindle; the 1.125 dia is threaded ready to hold the 8 step pulley; the main bearing can be seen; another is right behind the collet chuck; the spindle can take 0.650" through; the run out is 0.0004" at this time; once the drive is complete I'll grind it totally true with a pencil grinder in the tool post

I'm also going to add chinese scales and make the ShumaTech DRO; there will be a tail stock added and a 90dgr block to make the compound into a vertical slide; the tool post will be removed and a small vice added to hold small parts
Top speed wil be over 12,000 and lowest speed will be just over 1400 with 8 steps
One day (after my NC mill) I'll CNC it

I should add; the project was designed in SurfCam 2001; the machines used to make the parts were a Supermax 56 and a Fanuc wire
I don't work at that place anymore (projects like this are not allowed; and I had to hide it all the time); my new place the boss says "hey just build whatever you want" (in my time) The Mill project is coming nicely in SurfCam 2002 and I'll post a photo of the shaded surfaces soon

02-15-2004, 01:26 PM
Very nice pictorial of your excellent work!

02-15-2004, 09:42 PM
Very nice pictorial of your excellent work!

Bloy2004 does some really nice work and knows what nice work is, so that is a nice compliment to which I fully agree.

Nice work on the knurling, speaking of which I will post a question on in the correct forum.


02-16-2004, 12:51 AM
Wow I must say that I'm very impressed. Its nice to work in a shop that will let you do your own projects in your spare time. Keep up the good work and post us on future progress.


pack rat
02-16-2004, 09:07 AM
It really is Superb workmanship and plan. Great pictorial representation to boot. Talent is easy to recognized in the work it does and as a novice I can see it here.

02-16-2004, 10:32 AM
The round ways are interesting, did you build the ways or is it a part of an existing machine?

02-16-2004, 05:22 PM
Hi Guys; thanks for the kind words (although some of the parts I'm "Embarrassed" about; could have made them better; I rushed them to get them out of sight again)

pminmo: no it's not part of anything else; I designed it to be that way; the cuts are 0.250" X 0.250" the round stock is 0.500" the Supermax cut the rabbits and I simply screwed the stock in place (quick way to make ways)
The Saddle is wire CNC EDM'ed to match the centers; 4 adjustment screws with the teflon buttons to keep it all nice and tight (tool makers love tight things ;-) )

Ken; the knurl is one of the things i could have done better; the cross slide one was tough as the stock I used only just made the part; I had nothing to hold on; the knurl puts soo much pressure on the bronze it was almost coming out of the 3 jaw (it was a scrap piece I used)

The mill project will be much better as now there will be no pressure to hide it; I've got it 50% designed; I have designed some parts a little different just like the Lathe project; after more than 35years in a trade you do learn something; and I'm almost to that age when stuff starts to fade from memory; the changes are to the head slide/motor area; I think it will be interesting to some
The lathe will be fully digital; I was going to go the chinese scale route; but after finding the linear optical encoder strips by US Digital I'll simply make my own fully enclosed DRO/slides using extruded alumi; plus the compound is only 2 1/2" of travel; so the optical route is much better

On another note for the lathe project; before i do go the whole hog CNC way; I'd like to try to make it stepper powered for the ways; but have it use a manual jog; is there a way to move the steppers with a jog dial; and have multiple resolutions by using a selector switch working in tandem with the jog dial; I'd love to have 0.1-0.010-0.001-0.0001" switchable and have the jog dial marked accordingly; even better would be 2 full sep jog dials (saddle and cross slide) the saddle could be swichable to the compound stepper
So has anyone tried this on a small scale; the full sized Supermax had the exact same setup for manual milling and for zero pick-up

For those interested in the CNC mill project; the travels will be 10" Z 10" Y and 26 or 28" X not exactly small; but still benchtop; I want it big enough for several projects i have in mind; one is a super small fully CNC mill using #17 sized steppers with 2X2X4" travels and a spindle speed of 100,000 rpm

02-16-2004, 07:00 PM
one is a super small fully CNC mill using #17 sized steppers with 2X2X4" travels and a spindle speed of 100,000 rpm


What will you use it for? Or just a show peice?

I like your lathe so far. Tool and Die makers always impress me because they are very fussy by nature, so the work they do is always impressive.


02-16-2004, 07:40 PM
actually the size would be ok for quite a few projects; you could even make a small RC aircraft engine with that size; granted a lathe would also be needed; but imagine the carbs and stuff it would make
Small engravings was my first thoughts on it; plus the "wow" that really works factor
I guess after seeing the 4mm ball screws you can get; my mind started to grind
As my regular job is not really Tool and Die anymore (just regular old General Machine work) I need to keep my hand in with design and toolpaths

I was working on a 12ft long stellite coated auger shaft this week; the flights and some of the working areas of shaft got re-welded up and needed to be re-machined to size 5.250" dia; with 0.125"/side stellite; needed a 63 finish (tough to get) I used a Makita hand belt sander 1"x30" to get the final finish; worked really good too; run the lathe in reverse (80rpm) and sand with Alumi oxide belts; don't go below 120grit and the stellite will spring to life

The Mill project will be all steel for the main frames of the machine; most likely 1/4 plate mig welded and stress releaved (over-night soak)

Another thought on the lathe; I'll be adding drilled holes with a div head; every 10dgr around the rear part of the collet chuck; with a indent shaft i can then lock the spindle ever 10dgr; I also bilt a small 2 way slide to mount above the spindle; this has a 30,000rpm air powered 1/4" spindle; with this i can machine stuff like hex's while the part is still on center; I have some 25mm anti-aircraft guns to make in 1/48th scale and the muzzle has 6 flash ports; I'll have to use a 0.01"ball mill to make them

02-16-2004, 08:13 PM
I'm almost to that age when stuff starts to fade from memory
I knew we had something in common:D

I got a feeling this is going to be a great thread.

Don't quit on us now Stevie.


02-16-2004, 08:20 PM
Ken; this July 22nd I'll be 51
Started my apprenticeship in England when I was 15; got payed 5 pounds a week; thats about 25cents/hour; and still managed to get blind drunk every Thursday and Friday night (hehehe)

02-16-2004, 08:58 PM
blind drunk every Thursday and Friday night

And I bet every Saturday morning you said "I am never going to do that again" Right?:D

02-17-2004, 05:08 PM
pretty much

I have not got drunk since i moved to Canada in 1980 (well maybe a few times) I find it's just not worth it

02-18-2004, 11:55 AM
I can think of worse places to get drunk than England... love those ales and bitters. A meal in a mug, like a liquid pork chop.

Mice work on the lathe. I also like your concept of a nano-mill. It would actually be perfect for jewelers who mill precious metals directly, or design a wax for a mold.

nano-mill spindle, a dental handpiece perhaps?


02-18-2004, 12:01 PM
"Mice work on the lathe..." haha obviously I meant "Nice". One thing I forgot to mention, for knurling like yours, if you can find a "Quick" brand coin knurler, it makes exquisite instrument type knurls by cutting rather than cold forming. They are expensive but can occasionally be found used/surplus and bought for a song from someone who doesn't know what he has.

03-13-2004, 03:30 PM
Good news on the spindle run out front
I made a small tool post grinder and re-cut the spindle taper for the collets

I used a block of 7075 T6 Aluminum and fitted into it the NSK pencil grinder; by holding 1 collet on a mandrel and the other end of the mandrel in the spindle I was able to accurately dial in the exact taper with the compound slide
Then with the pencil grinder going at 60,000rpm I could re-cut the inner taper with the lathe turning (took 5 cuts of about 0.0001 to make it run perfect)

Next project: I'm going to make the lathe CNC controlled; I've ordered a 2 axis PCB board (kit) for stepper motors; with a PC power supply and a breakout board (kit) to connect the 2 axis to a PC via the LPT1 port
I have 6 NEMA17 (35oz/inch approx) sized steppers already; however I think NEMA 23 (100oz/inch) sized will be needed to make it really sing

With this set-up I can make brass or aluminum AA barrels for my scale warship project to my hearts content

03-13-2004, 07:06 PM
I forgot to add why I've had a change of mind and I am CNC'ing it now; well I figured out how to change it to both; the 7/16" 20 leadscrew for the X axis is still very long; I can fit both a 14 XL groove timing belt pulley and a handwheel; thus a stepper can be outboard of the leadscrew and I can still just manually use the lathe; the cross slide set-up is just a bit harder to change; look at the last but 1 of the pics; the bronze nut/bearing on the cross slide leadscrew; I'll swap this for an extended version; it will still control the leadscrew playbut will extend out and be bored to fit the stepper shaft; a simple support can come off the center 2 wear adjusters on the saddle; this the stepper motor can be screwed to :cool:
If I make a few small changes to the compound slide I can even make it stepper powered; then when it's mounted on the 90dgr block and the cutter is in the spindle collet; I can use it like a 3 axis mini mill :D

03-13-2004, 09:54 PM

First cut tonight with the lathe; thats a P/Bronze scrap I brought home from work today 5/8" dia
I was just looking to chk the stability of the spindle bearings and the ability to take a good cut; this puppy can really cut; up against the collet (you can see the 90dgr cut) it's almost 3/16"/side and no chatter; wow; then I went for finish cuts in steps with a taper; it worked way better than I thought it would I'm on the slowest speed 1800rpm
I'm still just locking the saddle and using the compound for X axis

I'm going full speed now to CNC it for sure; it will be a great non-ferris lathe (if I use a slower motor I could cut steel)

The tool post grinder I just made is right behind the lathe (excuse the feelers for shims under the tool; I need 0.03" for a 1/4" tool)
The V belt drive can be seen; the motor is under the benchtop and on vertical slides for belt tension (it's own weight)
I need way covers for sure; I'll make them from brass shimstock I made a tiny bending brake some time ago (5" max width 0.02" capacity)

What do you guys think; will Nema 17 steppers drive this; or should I go right to 23's ???

03-14-2004, 01:03 AM
What kind, size, and how many bearings are used in the headstock? Does the saddle ride on linear bearings or wear pads? Igus has a new design similar to your main way. Drylin W series I think. Very nice work!

03-14-2004, 08:51 AM
The head has 2 6006 SKF Precision-Plus Steel Ball Bearings
you can get them from a bearing supplier or McMaster-Carr page 1015
I made the pulley retaining nut to encompass the job of tensioning the bearings (pre-load)
The head is 6061 T6

Now about the ways; the main bed was CNC machined to + - 0.0005 in all directions; then 2 Thompson 1/2" shafts were screwed down into the 2 1/4X1/4 rabbits (for use of a woodworking term)
The saddle was wire EDM'ed to mate with the 2 round bars with a min clearance; the saddle is made from 7075 T6 same as the bed (in fact for now the cross slide nut is also 7075 T6; with a teflon button for backlash comp)
There are no bearings as such in the set-up; the thompson is very smooth and the wire cut is smooth but with the tiny surface imperfections 1 pass leaves; this is what I wanted; the tiny pits hold my way oil; the screws holding the thompsons also hold a bit of oil that the saddle can pick up; it all seems to work real nice

The way adjusters for the saddle can be seen in the next to the last pic on page 1; again under each 4mm setscrew is a teflon button (I made a small core drill to make them; 1/8" dia x 3/16th long)
So I guess to answer your question there are no linear bearings in the lathe; just round ways for the saddle and dovetails for the other 2 (all dovetails were wire EDM'ed with 0.0005 clearance)

*edit edit* I should also add; the tool post will not be staying; I'll machine up a length of steel with the same shape as the interchangeable tool post holders like can be found in tool suppliers; then I'll cut off as many as possible and make 5 or 6 holders; the holders will be matched to a new post with height adjustment; if I'm going to CNC this I'll need repeatablity in the tool set-ups

03-16-2004, 08:40 PM
I went back to work tonight; and finally got to make the X axis parts; a few nights drill and tapping plus a few small details and it will be complete for manual work; I'll post a pic once its assembled

Next will be the CNC re-fit for the cross slide; the X is already done and the belt/pulleys are coming :D

03-17-2004, 07:23 PM
As promised; the drive for the X axis; the bronze spacer is a dumby just till the timing belt pulley arrives


The overall shot of the lathe; I'll engine turn finish the whole thing once I'm happy with the workings


Next will be adding steppers; the alum support for the X axis stepper is long untill I establish the right belt length; I've ordered a 6.5" center to center with the 15 tooth pulleys for now

03-17-2004, 07:57 PM
Impressive... I can't find more words.


03-22-2004, 05:33 PM
It's amazing to see what a skilled person can do with a few pieces of metal. I'm trying to scoop everything up and learn as much as I can :) . Really cool, thanks for sharing it with us, Stevie!


03-25-2004, 11:06 AM
Nice work Stevie.

To your question about motor size, a friend of mine CNC'd a Emco Unimat which is about the same size with NEMA 17's.

It worked fine. Not exactly fast rapids, but usable. Are the NEMA 17's you have low inductance?

You are probably better off with a Nema 23 on Z.

03-25-2004, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the link; it's just a bit smaller than mine

I've decided on 23 sized

03-25-2004, 08:27 PM
Amazing work. Keep us updated...

03-25-2004, 08:35 PM
I'm thinking the compound can be removed for the CNC use; I can always replace it for manual work
I'll increase the cross slide capacity that way too; I feel 5/8" max turnable dia is a bit limiting so the prospect of mounting a 4 or 3 jaw is always within the range of possiblities

03-26-2004, 05:12 PM

Here is the X drive with the handwheel support off; inside you can see the 2 small ball brgs that support the leadscrew; there are 2 more just behind the timing pulley


I decided since the lathe will now be CNC controled I'd need it to be as free as possible; hence the next 3 pics; the first is the handwheel support for the cross slide; here I have machined the big dia to take a ball brg; the support holding screws had to be re-drilled deeper to make room


Here is the back of the hand wheel; I machined just a few thou off to make the brg fit (I got lucky on this one)


And now the oppisite end of the cross slide lead screw; I machined the brg dia into the cross slide block and re-machined the leadscrew down to suit; just behind the brg is a wave washer to keep tension on the set-up (got it from a 17 sized stepper)
I still have to make the drive coupling that will take the place of the small lock coller

04-14-2004, 09:17 PM
I got home and found the first of the Compumotor microstep drivers/motor combo

I used the self test to run the motor at 1-r/p/sec; just to test the drive/motor and to see how the motor which is nema 23 sized would perform; it ran the saddle up and down the bed with no problems; I even asked my little girl to try to stop the saddle; she could not and other than the motor humming a bit; she had no effect at all.

The drive is a Zeta4 with the matching motor I think it's about 65oz/in holding; bigger motors can be used with this drive all the way up to a 400oz/in monster; I have the Japan servo 310oz/in but these are for my mill project

I've never felt the power of a stepper before; and although I did manage to make it skip steps under the self test function; I'm impressed; for a small one; it's got some push

So with the other drive and motor arriving tomorrow; next will be the mountings for the steppers (and one coupling) I'm hoping to be moving it with computer control soon :D

04-14-2004, 09:41 PM
I'm hoping to be moving it with computer control soon

We are anxious for you as well Stevie.

I have a Haas CNC mill here at the shop but all the fun you guys are having is making me want to get something CNC going on at home. I have been over the months putting together some parts, and I think a router/mill may just be the ticket.

It has to be something that is noisy enough to make my wife mad :D


04-14-2004, 10:02 PM
There's nothing like something to make them mad; mine's always mad at me; just so long as i still get my nummies :eek: I'm ok with the mad thng :cool:

ooops edit; that should have been nummies

04-15-2004, 10:00 PM
Hey Ken

Great news on the Mill front; I just won 2 35mm THK slides 1 meter long with 4 trucks on eBay; I got the last bid with 2 seconds left; $202.50; I'm pleased; my wifes pi**ed; so I guess it was a good night all round

04-15-2004, 10:27 PM
Great Stevie,
Really good price, I got a set of HSR25 by 32" with 4 blocks and paid 252.00 and thought that was a good buy, but not as good as you got. And you got the added bonus of getting your wife P***ed :D Man some people get all the breaks, mine just looked at me like I was crazy. I am not Crazy, I don't care what everyone else says, I am not crazy, I am much better since I had my treatment :D

It will be a while before any mummies for Stevie :D

Keep us posted on that sweet little sucker


04-15-2004, 10:58 PM
And what are the rails for; is the cat out of the bag

come on; spill the beans; your about to build a home mill arn't you


That will be the end of your nummies too :rolleyes:

04-15-2004, 11:24 PM
Yeah, I admit it, I have been putting together over some months items to build a CNC router/mill to play around with at home. Not really all that set as to size but not too large maybe a cutting area of 36" x 30" x 6" . You can't be a CNC fan and not want to build something can you?

I have a very powerful 3hp x 10,000 rpm motor I would like to drive it remotely with but have not really spent a lot of time figuring how or where to place it, it is bigger then a router, may just go with a router to simplify things.

May start on the plans soon and begin building it come fall when business slows down.


04-17-2004, 06:08 PM
It lives


Yes I know the z axis is just cobbled together (motor mount) but the mill at work is tied up this weekend; it will be similar to the X axis motor mount

It will now move under turbocnc control; I am 1 happy camper :D

04-17-2004, 09:23 PM
It will now move under turbocnc control; I am 1 happy camper

And you have a right to add "Proud" to that statement as well Stevie, it is one sweet setup.


04-20-2004, 10:59 PM

Got the cross-slide stepper mount made today on my lunch time; it's a 2 piece mount with a base and the outer plate for the motor; it's screwed to the inner piece with 4-40 countersunk screws; then the inner is screwed to the saddle with 6-32 in counterbored holes

04-20-2004, 11:34 PM
It’s a beautiful piece of equipment, you can be very proud. Enough said.
It would be so nice to see a video of it running.

05-01-2004, 05:24 PM

Here is the newly installed Tailstock block; it's not qite all done; but is now useable for drilling; and if I can find the right bearing setup maybe pressed into service as a rotating center


Differant angle to show the locking device for the stock; that is a 10mm bolt through the outer section of 6061 T651 and tapped into the inner section and clamps to the rail by compression


Front view; the Rohm drill chuck (0-0.25") is mounted for now on a 0.500" dia mount; but as a #1 morse spindle will be fitted into the upper block the mount is temp; the spindle is ready to go into the Alum but the #1 morse has not arrived yet; nore has a #1 morse rotating center; the spindle will be threaded for in and out movement and another nice Knurled brass handwheel is to be made


In this shot you can see the gouge I've made to increase travel of the X axis; I gained almost 12mm


Similar gouge on the handwheel end; gain of 8mm


X axis almost to the limit; total travel is now up to 91.5mm; I could gain a bit more at the expense of strenght; but I feel it's not worth it :rolleyes:


Top view of same


My new Z axis spindle; this is a 6" extended air powered diegrinder front shaft; I'll be modding this into a Z spindle for the Lathe; the tailstock is way bigger than it needs to be; this is for a gridge to be bolted across the headstock and tailstock; on this bridge will be mounted the compound slide once the new toolpost mount is made; the compound will carry the new spindle with it's drive motor 30,000rpm and will be driven up and down by another Compumotor stepper drive and step motor; the software I use to control this machine will have 2 copies in the computer; one will be the lathe control; the other will be a 4 axis mill setup; a new timing belt drive will be added to the main spindle in the headstock; with a common timing wheel on the spindle and 2 options for drive systems; one system will be a DC ver drive with about the same top speed as now; the other drive will be a Nema 34 stepper motor and drive (300oz/"+ hold)
With this system and by moving the Z axis off the bridge and mounting it to the cross slide (now Y axis as the mill) the spindle will become the 4th axis of the system (or a C axis) The Z axis of the lathe system will become the X axis of the mill
With this setup I can have
1/ lathe 2 axis
2/ Lathe 2 axis plus steppable spindle
3/ Mill with 3 axis (table is replacing the lathe toolpost; Z axis is on the bridge)
4/ Mill 4 axis Lathe spindle becomes C axis; Z axis moves from bridge to Y axis mount and is useable over the C axis in 3 directions
All in all a nice setup indeed once its all finished

05-02-2004, 05:58 PM
Well after a frustrating morning with dropped steps keeping me re-picking up my Zero's again (bloody crappy threaded rod; I have a ball screw coming)
I figured untill the new ball screw and the Compumotor 2 stack 23 size stepper comes i'll use one of the Japan Servo KP86SM2-002 that I got
Wow; some power heh :cool: I think that puppy would cut 1/2 hard 4140


Looking from the tailstock


looking from the headstock

Nice thing is it will be 3 mins to return to the original setup with the handwheel again; I just removed the drive belt and handwheel; tapped 2 holes that you would never see and added the new setup

05-04-2004, 09:55 PM
I've removed the compund slide; it's not needed on a CNC anyway; if I need to taper I just program the taper
I also lowered the tool post; I thought the chance to move to 3/8" sq tools was a good move
The max before was only 1/4" sq
The toolpost now has a nice P/Bronze bearing to rotate on too; before it was just a shoulder bolt; I still need to drill the indexing holes for the 90dgr points
Another thing I did was to make the mount block so I can rotate it on the 2 1/4" dowels and place the toolpost more to the tailstock; never know it may come in handy
The same mounting holes now drilled into the cross slide will mount the small mill table too; once the bridge is mounted the Z of the lathe will become the X of the mill setup Y will be the lathe X and the new bridge will carry the Z


05-04-2004, 10:18 PM

LOL, (bloody crappy threaded rod; ) , I take it then that you are not happy with that :D

What do you have in mind for protecting the ball screw? maybe you could mill a rabbit all the way around and drop in a .125 or so fitted metal plate, possibly in two sections so it could be removed

Since you wont have the compound how does a CNC lathe deal with threading as I usually use the compound set at 29.5 and feed with that?


05-04-2004, 10:23 PM
I got a 3/8" dia .4 pitch ball screw from eBay last week (not here yet) with 2 ball tracks and 10" of travel (litte short but good enough)
Just need it to arrive and presto; fixed
However the 34 sized stepper has cured the main problem

It just sounds like an F16 on the run up ramp

05-04-2004, 10:25 PM
missed your edit

I always just plunge my threads at work; I rarely add side cuts; if you thread fast enough you generally dont need to move sideways

for a 1" dia thread I'd go 200rpm min usually faster if it's not blind

05-04-2004, 10:38 PM
The compound feed was just how I was shown to thread, often wonderd why, speaking of which Why ?:D


05-04-2004, 10:56 PM
me too; but over the years I've developed many better ways; and way faster

05-05-2004, 08:01 PM
Well now I'm really blown away with the capacity of this tiny lathe; I've been machining my tailstock spindle; this is from a multi head tapping machine once; it's got to be at least 45RC; I'm using a 3/8" sq carbide at 1500rpm; at 100mm/min feed; with .5mm cut; this little bugger takes it with hardly any chatter or slowdown; no stepper slips since the 34 went on; I'm using the micro center I made; still in the drill chuck
The new spindle will shorten the distance the center is out; the #1 morse will be great for drilling and support; I was getting about 0.0025" taper over the 3.25" cut; but a simple addition to the gcode line made that go away in a hurry; not bad for a tough material like this; plus the slot for the drift is in there too creating an interupted cut at almost 5" out from the collets (the spindle is on a broken expanding reamer I've had kicking aroud for ever)
I feel with the right suppot by the tailstock; this little gem can do a lot of work; the travel steady is the next small project for it (after the tail is finished) I also roughed out the small 4"x6" miling table to replace the tool post and mount today :D

05-07-2004, 05:11 PM




Bored the Aluminum with a line bar using the 1/5" reamed hole as a guide
The reamed with 11/16" to match the spindle that is on the tailstock

05-08-2004, 05:19 PM

Here is the lathe making it's own morse taper mount for the Rohm Drill Chuck; the plain jane 1/2" mount is turned down to a #1 morse; still need to make the knock out tang at the small end

I also have to turn the threaded rod down to fit through the 5/16" hole in the spindle to push the morse taper out; the threaded rod (B7) will be turned at the back to fit 2 1/4x5/8x3/16 bearings and a handlwheel will be made just like the others from Bronze

Next project for it is the traveling 3 point steady rest; this will be full adjustable and with have 5 x 13 x 4mm bearings to contact the stock being turned; the cross slide is drilled to mount the steady ( I think ahead sometimes)

05-13-2004, 06:15 PM
Here is the new antibacklash nut assembly for my Z axis
The front nut (left side) is made from Ampco Bronze; the rear from Yellow brass; that spring is quite stronge and crushed about 1/8"
The principle is the spring will keep the forces at opp sides of the flanks of the leadscrew; hence no backlash; the 2 staked rods keep the nuts in line with each other (the brass nut floats in and out)
There are many way to do this; but as my space is very limited it what I had to do


05-22-2004, 05:36 PM
The new 240oz/in stepper for the Z axis; complete with US Digital encoder
As you can see the handwheel I stole for the tailstock
Temp on this only moves 4dgr above room @ 2Amps/phase 2000steps

The new 2 stack Compumotor stepper for the X axis; almost 80% more power; I was chking the temp rise with use and standby; hit 50dgr in the first config 1.5Amps/Phase; 40dgr(better) in the 2nd setting 1Amp/phase; still seems high but well within the specs (100C or 212F) again @2000 steps

The finished tailstock; complete with stolen handwheel (hehehe)
I need to remake another now for the Z axis

05-22-2004, 05:59 PM
The next update will be a big one
A New headstck and spindle is planned with taper roller bearings with setable pre-load (2X Fag320006X and 55x38x8 oilseals)
I got a 3" 3 jaw off eBay and I'll make a new more ridgid headstock to accomadate it
I'm still collecting the parts for the 3axis mill conversion; so that update will be coming too

05-22-2004, 11:45 PM
The incredible Mr. Stevie !

I don't know how you do it but you are beginning to PI## me off:D

Once again you have outdone yourself, while I remain a jack of all trades and the master of none.:(

Nice, nice work Stevie.


05-23-2004, 06:16 PM
Thanks Ken

Well it has started to make it's self some money to pay for all the updates; as of now 36 barrels sold at $8.00US each; not bad; plus a few other things to make for cash too
Nice when it can pay it's own way


06-05-2004, 01:10 PM
Finally got a bit of time in the shop to start the head conversion
Here is the basic block bored for the Fag's and oil seals
It's bored exactly the same the other end; once the spindle is installed with a lock nut to preload the taper rollers the head stock will just rock; I'll add a couple of threaded holes in the side and bottom for an oil bath supply; the oil will not be in the head all the time; but I'll circulate it to cool it; I figure with the high rpm's it will be making this will be a good idea


Next will be finding time for the dual use spindle; I intend to make it accept ER25 collets without the 3 jaw; and the 3 jaw

Also note the new drive belt for the spindle; this round belt made all the differance to belt noise and vibrations

06-06-2004, 02:08 AM
Hi Stevie,

Nice work. I'm impressed.
If you don't mind my backing things up a little, I have a couple of questions.
How did you drill your linear rods to bolt to the bed?
Second, How did you bore for and what kind of bearings did you use for your carriage?
Your new headstock looks great also.


06-06-2004, 07:43 AM
Hi Chris

Well the Thompson shafting is tough for sure; i used a carbide end mill at slow speed to punch the counterbore first; then drilled through with a 5mm carbide drill
I Held the bed in 2 V blocks to drill through rail to the bed; once i got 2 screw in I removed the c clamps; they really did not sit well; but worked long enough for the first 2 screw holes

The carriage bearing holes (I'm thinking you mean the crosslide shaft) were wire EDM'd at first with 8mm dia; but over the course of the project have changed a bit; I usually just stand it up in a good vice and dial it in with a 0.0001 finger dial (Mitatoyo) If however you mean the round guides; they were also Wire cut and the semi rough finish left by a 1 pass with the wire creates very small depressions for the oil to be trapped; these are no more than maybe 0.0001 deep

When I made the tail stock; I no longer had access to the wire (moved jobs) I made the matching holes for the bed way with a reamer and the DRO for correct centers; this works almost as well; but the holes are very smooth and do not slide as freely (sounds weird) I then roughed them up a bit and that seemed to free it up (now there is somewere for the oil) very high polish on bearing surfaces can cause oil to not stick
I was designing the new spindle last night (just 2D) and I can fit the ER25 Collets and the chuck in the same spindle; the front gets a bit complicated with the location diameter having to be used for both the chuck and the front section of a collet retainer

The old collet spindle (which I was never very happy with) I will use as a V/H dividing head; I'll add a set of gears to it and a stepper

06-06-2004, 01:37 PM
"New Head update"

What technique is used to make a hole like the one in the head block? Is it milled or turned, and with what tools?

Looks really cool!


06-06-2004, 02:10 PM
First off mill the block to sizes
I used the big lathe with a 4 jaw to make te first hole very close to the center height; then went in the vertical mill; I bored close to the final size and measured to the outside edges; moved the block till dead on
Flip it over and repeat

06-06-2004, 02:41 PM
Managed to slip back again to the shop
New spindle set into the tapered roller brg; this will be finish cut to fit the chuck under power in the brgs; the collet taper and some small detail can be done then too; this will ensure accuracy
The back view; still need to make the locking threaded coller; but the 1.000" dia is finished ready for the drive pulley; this is longer than the single 8 step pulley I was using to allow for a timing pulley to be added just behind the lock coller; this will be for indexing the spindle with a 310oz/in stepper 3-1 reduction
Note the shallow keyway 0.125 deep 0.1875 wide I kept it shallow because the hole through is quite big 23/32" dia

Next will be the lock coller and mod the pulleys; the extra depth in the bores is for the oil seals 55mm 38mm 8mm

06-06-2004, 03:12 PM
Let's see if I got this straight;

you first used a lathe to mark the hole position and get a start hole, then used the mill to do the actual hole?

I'm unclear about the different ways to make a hole - there's the normal drill (spiral or "twist") for small "crude" holes (I've heard they don't make a hole really round), then the reamer for finishing the hole off (better surface quality, a round hole, and better tolerance in dia). Is this correct?

And then boring... which is actually like turning but done on the mill? In a manual mill I guess one would use an offset boring head to get the correct hole size? Is it possible to only use the boring bar in a CNC mill and still get variable hole size?

I could really use a tutorial on how to make holes in metal :)

How good diametric and positional tolerances can you get with the method you used?

Thanks for the help,

06-06-2004, 03:35 PM
I used the big lathe because it's easier to bore a big hole than the miling machine; I drilled about 1" dia first then took 3 cuts to 1 13/16" dia
This would have taken a great deal of time with an offset boring head in a mill; the block is 5 1/2" long
The mill finished the brg and oil seal dia just 0.880 deep; behind is a second bore to clear the inner section of the taper brg 2" dia 0.187 deeper than the brg depth

I got the 2 sides within 0.0005" thats close enough for me

06-08-2004, 07:57 PM
Newest images
Here is a side shot of the new head finally bolted to the bed; yes it's quite a bit longer and has already caused a few thoughts about the layout under the bench
The head is 1/2 filled with #30 oil ready for the machining of the chuck location diameter; bearings are preloaded too


Above shot; once again that trusty bronze has shown up; this is the preload nut; 2 holes for a tommy bar and 1 lock set screw; just behind it is a collar for the oil seal to run on; it also spaces the inner bearing race

I've lost a bit of travel with the chuck and new spindle; but without the chuck I gain a few mm's
The old collet setup will not be reused; I intend to make a new ring to fit the same diameter as the chuck; this will have an inner thread and a push ring to lock the collets tight; a simple pin wrench will fit it

Now for a question
I'm running it now with a 1/2hp 120Vac motor
If I got a sweet deal on a 1/3hp do you think it will be enough power; remembering the new tapered roller brg setup; the old setup had very little resistance to rotary movement; now we have preload to consider

06-08-2004, 11:15 PM
If I got a sweet deal on a 1/3hp do you think it will be enough power

Maybe Steve if it is a high torque type but I have my doubts if it is not, since I know you are going to be cranking the RPM at times on your unit. Not that big a deal to just try it and see how it goes.
I am assuming cheap is spelled "Sweet":D

I put one on an old lathe years ago that was 1/3 HP high-Torque and it amazed me the power it has in starting up. Came off a pin setter from a bowling lane.

How does tyhe head mount to the bed?

BTW, and once again, nice work.


06-09-2004, 06:15 AM
There are 2 8mm grade 8 socket head cap screws up from the bed bottom; but this will have to be increased now; I'll add 2 more plus a rear support

Also I forgot to add; the driven and drive pulleys have swapped places; I'll re-make the drive pulley with bigger changes to the steps; this will space the speeds apart a bit more; there will be 8 regular speeds plus any differentals

06-09-2004, 10:24 AM
Look for a motor at http://www.surpluscenter.com/

Also think about using a DC motor with a DC variable drive. No pulleys needed. Well, maybe high and low gear.

06-09-2004, 08:17 PM
Basically the new head is finished as for the running part; it sure cuts nice; there was a small sound for the brgs at first; but I think I had a bit too much preload; or it could have been a very small chip; piece of hair; who knows??
I ran it for 1 hour with a temp sensor; hit 49dgr; which is why I think it needs an oil cooler; at 6000rpm she is sure winding out; this is still 3000rpm from max speed with oil


Here is the head with chuck fitted and cuts made

Wayne; I've looked into VSD; might one day

I was thinking of buying a small drill press and removing the motor; for about 80bucks i can buy a 8" benchtop drill; i can't get a 1/3hp for $80 as just motor

06-09-2004, 08:27 PM
Very, very cool.


06-09-2004, 08:31 PM
Thanks Eric

06-09-2004, 09:10 PM
1/3hp for $80 as just motor

Are you serious Steve, wow!, any scrap yards around you?, how about a well digger or plumber, ask if they have any old jet pumps that maybe the motor is still good, these are high torque but do have a 4 bolt flange on the face for mounting, sometimes that can come in handy, sometimes not. If you need something shipped from the states let me know. I can probably round you one up here and ship it to you for about $50 or so maybe even a 1/2 HP.


06-09-2004, 09:18 PM
Well the rest of the drill press would be worth making something out of it too; the spindle maybe just the ticket for another project

Remember $80 Canadain is about $50 American

06-09-2004, 09:30 PM
Well the rest of the drill press would be worth making something out of it too; the spindle maybe just the ticket for another project

Thinking ahead, that's smart.:)

I can get a motor for about $10-$15 the shipping of about $35 is the killer.


06-09-2004, 09:40 PM
which is why I think it needs an oil cooler

How about machining some thin cooling fins into the sides of the head or trying oil additives that cut friction?

I use CPR brand here, it is not in Canada but I would think there would be similiar products there or I could mail you enough to try for FREE:D


06-10-2004, 06:17 AM
Hi Ken

I can't; there is too much stuff to be bolted to the head; there will be a 3 axis milling attachment; plus the bridge to the tailstock for another Z axis

I can try an addative; I even think I have a free sample somewhere

06-10-2004, 08:42 AM
Because lathes don't interest me, I haven't read this thread till now. Boy have I missed out.
Stevie, you have done a magnificent job. The photos you have posted are fabulous too.
Tremendous effort.

The Lathes looks too good to use. You wouldn't want to dirty it.

06-10-2004, 04:49 PM

Thanks; ho it's been plenty dirty; I use a shp vac every time I'm finished

06-11-2004, 02:57 PM
Hey Ken

Good news

The 1/3 HP will drive it just dandy
I got a 8" drill press for $69.95; so in effect I got a 2" travel spindle with 3 spoked handwheel (if this were laid down and the back cut off; I see a tailstock of sorts) a new 1/32-3/8" chuck with Key; the 1/3HP motor; a nice 115Vac switch; small cast iron base with column and rotatable table (must be another use for this too)

06-11-2004, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by Stevie
Hey Ken

Good news

The 1/3 HP will drive it just dandy
I got a 8" drill press for $69.95; so in effect I got a 2" travel spindle with 3 spoked handwheel (if this were laid down and the back cut off; I see a tailstock of sorts) a new 1/32-3/8" chuck with Key; the 1/3HP motor; a nice 115Vac switch; small cast iron base with column and rotatable table (must be another use for this too)
Stevie: If you were really clever (and going by your Lathe you are) You could make a mini turret out of your left over drill parts !

06-11-2004, 08:48 PM
I'm already planning a bigger more complex lathe for after the Big Mill project

Maybe a turret with powered rotation might be just possible

BTW, nice mill project you have going :D :cool:

06-11-2004, 10:17 PM
I'm THOROUGHLY enjoying your pictorial here, Stevie!

06-11-2004, 10:36 PM
Stevie: Thanks :)!

Of course the turret would be powered :D!!

06-11-2004, 10:59 PM
Yeah guys,
Stevie may be resourceful, talented, experienced, visionary and methodical but can he chew gum, pat his head and rub his stomach all at the same time? :D

06-19-2004, 11:36 AM
Got a chance to go into the shop again
I made the 2 support blocks for the vertical axis ballscrew

Here is the rough assembly; you can see the flex coupler sticking out of the upper block; there still need a small lock nut to be turned for the shaft/brg setup; the tiny 3/8"x5/8"x1/8" brg is for the lower block (still need to bore that; just roughed out)
The 370mm slide is facing down; the ballscrew will be on the back (out of the cuttings)
The spindle you can see fits into the cast iron sleeve; this is from the 8" cheap drill press; I'll bore it for the collet you can see in the pic (if anyone can identify this collet series let me know)

Here is the assembly dissassembled; the lower is cleared for the lowest ballnut ball return tube to enter into the block; the upper is bored for the outer brg retainer; the brgs will be preloaded by 0.001; the retainer will be held by 4 4-40 capheads countersunk into the outer ring of the retainer; inner bore of the retainer will just clear the ball return tube of the upper ballnut

Both blocks will be drill and tapped to mount to the back of the slide; and will then be drilled and tapped to mount the assembly to the bridge from the headstock/tailstock of the Lathe
The sliding mass will be counterbalanced with a weight supended from a small cable
Travel will be on the order of 7 - 7 1/4" max cutter 1/4" 4 speeds planned in the 3,000-26,000 range (got a 13,000 rpm motor 1/4hp)

06-19-2004, 09:02 PM
Made the retainer/locking sleeve today with the lathe
It's a 2 piece; the outer ring is held by 4 x 2-56 cap heads; the ring is 7mm thick; the sleeve is .5mm longer than the bore; hence the outer brg race is held firmly; the inner brg race will be spaced by a 0.001" spacer to preload the brgs


The lower block I also worked on and other than the mounting bolt holes it's done :cool:

Still need the upper blocks stepper mount and the small 10mm fine thread lock nut to lock the ballscrew shaft to the brg setup
All this should provide for a nice free running assembly with zero backlash
The ballscrew is 3/8" dia with a lead of 3/16"/rev

06-21-2004, 09:27 PM
The lock nut to hold the brgs on the ballscrew

Yeah I know Bronze again; I just love this stuff; and the stepper mount below it is also partly bronze