An Improved Lathe Stand.
I was becoming a bit annoyed with my Asian HMC lathe. It was noisy, and whatever I did with respect to feed rates, tool types, material etc, I could not seem ever to get a really good finish, and it did not seem particularly accurate.
I had spent a fair bit of time getting it level, and adjusting the tailstock offset, but the settings never seemed to hold for long.
The base was as supplied originally. 2 fairly solid sheet metal cupboards with handy storage compartments, and a rather flimsy piece of sheet metal joining the 2 cupboards. Each cupboard had 4 adjusting bolts, ie 8 altogether, so levelling the lathe was tricky. But the worst aspect was that it all seemed very flimsy.
So I decided to make a new base.
A visit to the local scrap metal yard yielded up a 3 meter length of 300 x 100 x 16mm channel. Too heavy for 2 men to lift onto my vehicle roof bars, but easy with a fork lift.
Getting it off at the other end was tricky. But I managed to do so without damaging my vehicle.
I made the legs from some 100 x 50 x 3 or 4mm RHS, and welded it up. It all seemed heavy and rigid.
I measured and drilled the mounting holes for the lathe bed. The new base was at the same height as the original, so I was able to crow bar the lathe over onto the new base, hoping that it would not fall between the 2 bases. It weighs several hundred kilograms, so a fall would have been messy.
Amazingly, the bolts dropped straight into the new mounting holes, after some manoevering with a podger bar. Then I levelled up the base using bolts at the bottom of each leg, and a machinists level on the lathe ways.
Then I did some test turning.
1. The lathe is appreciably quieter.
2. The work finish is definitely improved. No unpredictable and odd grooves to mar the finish.
3. I have yet to measure the accuracy change.
4. Unexpected bonus. There is a lot more storage space under the lathe than there was in the original pokey little cupboards. Small items now live in the mobile chest of drawers unit next to the lathe, and big items such as the toolpost grinder in its box, are under the lathe.