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Thread: Lathe placement

  1. #1

    Lathe placement

    Hi everyone

    Well, I'm starting to set up the new lathe, first one for me. Space is limited, and I initially had thought about putting it on wheels. but thinking about the weight and the fact that I'm going to fill the stand's legs with sand I think that is a non starter. I have two places I can put the lathe, one at the back of the garage against a wall, the other on the side next to a window.

    I have read about stuff exploding on the lathe and think that I would be risking breakage and I don't want to do that! Especially with the hurricane codes in the city, if I have to replace a window I have to put in a new code compliant one which would be BIG bucks. We have hurricane shutters so our present "non rated" windows are OK. If I put it against the window I was thinking about putting on some lexan panels on the inside of the window to protect against flying objects.

    A third alternative would be to put it near the front of the garage, I could open the door when the weather was nice and let the chips fly out into the driveway! But when the door is down I would need supplemental light.

    I am pretty good at spacial relationships and laying out stuff on paper, but that skill breaks down when it comes to the shop. For some reason I have to stand in front of the machines to get a feel about their placement. Things that have looked great on paper haven't worked out when I go to the actual layout. Fortunately most of my stuff is on wheels so I can push them around and my DC is one flexible hose that I attach to the machine that needs it.

    Thoughts/comments most appreciated!


  2. #2
    Jay....I"ll be placing my new lathe in a week or so. It won't go by a window. My walls are covered with 1/2" plywood and the lathe will be near the wall.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    i`m with ken, if you have the wall space? benches or assembly/finish areas should have as much natural light as possible. my lathe sits in the corner
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Collierville, TN
    Jay, I use to have mine against a wall. It worked fine except when it came time to clean up behind it. That was a real pain. Mine currently is 90 degrees to the wall with the headstock toward the wall. I have my tools on that wall so everything is convenient. I think wheels/casters are fine if they can be retracted so the lathe stand sets solidly on the floor when in use.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Natural light is great, I don't have any in the Dungeon, you can very easily get good light on the lathe without natural light.

    If in front of the window, you also do not have good walls space to put tools on, as there is a widow there.

    If you were to put it in front of the window, a Lexan panel would be a start, steel bars would be good too

    I'd vote for the wall area.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Rhode Island
    Someone sent me a copy of a wood magazine article
    (I lost my copy) in it it has a out feed table/work bench which would be perfect for your lathe. It has a revolving leg system that when you want to move it you put it on the wheels & when you want to use your lathe you put it on the normal legs (They have levelers on the bottom)
    If you want me to send you a copy let me know & I'll e mail it to you.


    Jay this is the bench I'm talking about check out this video that tells you about it.
    Last edited by Chuck Beland; 10-08-2007 at 09:00 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Coastal plain of North Carolina
    The one thing you need when turning is light and lots of it. I have tried everything I can do to have as much light as I can so I can see what I am doing. My lathe is against the wall and under a high window that is near the tailstock end. So I have natural light that is not in my eyes since I am looking away from it when I am turning. I also have a Moffatt lamp mounted on that end of the lathe and directed into the area where I will be turning. This is particularly helpful for looking into things that you are hollowing. I have another magnetically mounted light that sits atop the headstock and has a long gooseneck that I can direct onto the front, back, top or inside of what I am turning. Then I have two more 4 tube fluorescents on the ceiling to the right and left of the lathe.

    My tools are mounted above and behind the lathe. Convenient, yes, but also potentially dangerous if you were to reach over the lathe while it is running and have something catch in the turning wood. I have a bench at the tailstock end where I place all the tools I am currently using so I don't have to reach over the lathe. Of course my lathe is a shortbed so the tools are at arm's length.

    Yes, the chips behind and under the lathe bench/stand are a pain to clean up. But I don't have many choices for placement in my shop. If I had room I would have my lathe headstock angle out from the wall with the lathe bed pointed in the direction of the window. I would also have a movable wall that would carry my tools and still swing back out of the way to facilitate cleaning. It would also make it easier to provide dust collector access.

    The window allows me to put in a high velocity fan which I use in warm weather to exhaust turning dust outside. That high velocity fan really clears the air but obviously it is a 3 season tool at the most.
    I may be getting a little older physically but mentally I'm still tarp as a shack.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    33.8736N, 117.7627W
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Stafford View Post
    The one thing you need when turning is light and lots of it. I have tried everything I can do to have as much light as I can so I can see what I am doing.
    (reads post)
    (looks at avatar)
    (reads post again)
    (looks at avatar again)
    Um....don't take this the wrong way, but...

    Have you considered using a different pair of safety glasses?
    Might help with the lighting problem...
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Coastal plain of North Carolina
    Do you think that is my problem, Lee?

    When I walked up to Bill Grumbine on Friday he asked, "Where are your green glasses?" Then he went on to say, "You look better, er, I mean, different with them on...."
    I may be getting a little older physically but mentally I'm still tarp as a shack.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Jay, I'm thinking the best placement for that lathe would be about 3000 miles west in my shop.

    I'm limited on wall space, so my lathe is in the middle of the shop, roughly where you'd expect me to have an outfeed table for the tablesaw. It's a pain to clean the space between the TS and the lathe. Also, I have to move either the lathe or TS if I want to rip long pieces of wood (which happens very rarely). Fortunately, both are on wheels. I have tools stored at the tailstock end of the lathe stand, and have a built-in wall bench and drawers directly behind where I stand at the lathe.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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