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Thread: Lathe Alignment Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    London, Ontario, Canada
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    19

    Lathe Alignment Question

    I picked up my lathe today. It's a Craftex B2338; it looks identical to the Grizzly G0584. Craftex doesn't have the best of names in Canada but unfortunately I needed a lathe now and couldn't wait until I could afford a better one.

    My question is:

    The spur centre and live centre do not line up. They are about 1/32nd to 1/16th off. Is that critical for doing pens or other spindle turnings? I can't see any way to make them line up. I tried loosening off the locking nut all the way but the tailstock will only twist so far. Other than that it appears to be pretty decent. Well, except for the shelf being difficult to bolt to the legs. My mini lathe will line up when I twist the tailstock but I've still gotten pens that are a little off at the nose piece. Any ideas out there? Bringing it back is not the best option as the local store only had one and it's the one I got. Any suggestions / opinions?
    Last edited by Barry Temple; 03-30-2008 at 04:57 AM.
    Regards,

    Barry

    No matter what you achieve,
    somebody helps you.
    Behind the creation
    that we call our own
    are the thoughts and efforts of many.

    - Althea Gibson


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Barry, is the mis-alignment side-to-side, or is one tip higher than the other? If it's sideways, you should be able to swivel the headstock a little bit to get them lined up. If one is higher than the other, I believe you can fix it with shims, but I don't know the recommended procedure.

    I believe (but could be wrong on this), that 1/32" to 1/16" is indeed enough to cause you problems with pens and other spindle work.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ...........
    I believe (but could be wrong on this), that 1/32" to 1/16" is indeed enough to cause you problems with pens and other spindle work.
    Barry-Vaughn, This should only be a problem if you are trying to drill accurately sized holes in a chuck supported piece of wood with the drill located in a tail stock drill chuck. (the difference will be accentuated by the extra drill chuck/drill overhang)

    If you are turning between centres with or without a mandrel there should be no problem when using hand tools as you position the tool cutting radius to suit by hand, any bending of the mandrel will be hard to perceive. (on a metal lathe with a fixed tool post travel it would turn a taper)

    Note that a person using a crude pole Lathe cuts perfectly round spindles.
    Last edited by Chas Jones; 03-30-2008 at 09:12 AM. Reason: spelling
    Chas. just a traveller on the road of time.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chas Jones View Post
    ...If you are turning between centres with or without a mandrel there should be no problem when using hand tools as you position the tool cutting radius to suit by hand, any bending of the mandrel will be hard to perceive. (on a metal lathe with a fixed tool post travel it would turn a taper)

    Note that a person using a crude pole Lathe cuts perfectly round spindles.
    I can see bigger spindles would not pose a problem, but I was wondering if the misalignment would cause flexing of a pen mandrel, particularly where it meets the Morse taper in the headstock, and if that flexing would be a problem. Based on what you're saying, it looks like it isn't.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Chas Jones View Post
    Barry-Vaughn, This should only be a problem if you are trying to drill accurately sized holes in a chuck supported piece of wood with the drill located in a tail stock drill chuck. (the difference will be accentuated by the extra drill chuck/drill overhang)

    If you are turning between centres with or without a mandrel there should be no problem when using hand tools as you position the tool cutting radius to suit by hand, any bending of the mandrel will be hard to perceive. (on a metal lathe with a fixed tool post travel it would turn a taper)

    Note that a person using a crude pole Lathe cuts perfectly round spindles.
    Interesting thread. Also an interesting reply. After much thought I guess I would have to chime in here fearing that my machinist career might put a slant on this. I don't think it should though.

    No matter if you are a turner or not, have the mentality of a machinist or not, my experience in metal and wood is that you need to be as accurate as possible early on in the project. It does not matter if this is round work, flat work, parts for a boat or a hollowed out vessel. Initial set-up is critical. Since a lathe is a start-to-finish kind of thing, this falls within this category.

    I can see where a good wood lathe operator could turn a perfectly round spindle between centers on a mis-fit lathe, but I wonder how much skill it takes to compensate for that? I wonder if life would be easier if the centers were perfectly aligned? I would think by leaps and bounds.

    I would think too that misaligned centers would be a fairly common problem and that adjusting and compensating for that...even on a wood lathe...would be easy to do. My suggestion, and do what you want with this...is to spend some serious time setting up your lathe. I am betting you can get this spot on.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Stow, OH
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    I am not a fan of this Grizzly lathe model. The spindle thread size is not standard; the 600 slowest speed is too fast and 3/4 hp motor is anemic for 14" swing.
    This lathe has a pivoting headstock. If the mis-alignment is horizontal, the Morse taper alignment tool would help:
    http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Merc...es-acc-mrstool
    If you still have problem, the zero detent for the pivoting head may need some adjustment. Please also check the pin of your centers first, they may also be bent.

    Chas is right. When turning between center, your spindle rotates around the two points. The axis is the line between the two points; it has no reference to your lathe bed. Alignment only matters when one end is fixed with a chuck or other device.

    I was told some pen turners do not use mandrel anymore. They turn one blank at a time between centers to eliminate any run out of the pen mandrel.
    Gordon

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chester. Cheshire. UK.
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    I agree that it is only when your work is fixed in the chuck that you will have any movement if you centres don't meet. Also as timber is a material which is effected by humidity I doubt whether you can ever get the accuracy to 100%. But an easy way of checking lathe head / tail alignment is to use a double morse taper shaft. Teknatool do a 2 morse taper double ended shaft, and no doubt you can get other sizes around, or if you have a tame engineer around ask him to knock one up for you.
    all the best

    Tam

    trying to let the beauty of wood live on (still trying)

  8. #8
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    Feb 2007
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    Mooreland, Indiana
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    Barry,

    First thing I would suggest is, make sure the lathe is level from front to back. If it isn't, the bed will be in a twist, thus throwing the centers off.
    Randy,

    Maker of Fine Lathe Tools & Accessories.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tam Porter View Post
    ........ But an easy way of checking lathe head / tail alignment is to use a double morse taper shaft. Teknatool do a 2 morse taper double ended shaft, and no doubt you can get other sizes around, or if you have a tame engineer around ask him to knock one up for you.
    Yes most useful if you have the average hobby wood lathe with rotating headstock, few have adequate alignment detentes, but even this is no guarantee of absolute alignment on most wood lathes, their bed ways, tubes etc. are not produced to metal working engineering standards and unless you set up the bed ways to be accurately aligned with the spindle over their whole length then there is every chance that a tail stock aligned 4" from the headstock will be out at 36".

    It is of no consequence anyway as the wood will move more than the average misalignment as soon as you turn your back.

    My own lathe which is admittedly only mounted on a substantial wooden bench is of the twin tube variety, it moves 20-30 thou. just with the sun playing on the machine through the windows.

    (I only know this because in an idle moment I put a laser alignment aid on it after I had to verify my little metal lathe for a particular task)

    Mind you I have seen wood lathes so far out that even a normal headstock drive centre had a job maintaining drive contact.

    A quick and dirty alignment aid can be made by turning up a short stubby cylinder from hardwood in your chuck to fit the jaws at ideal grip setting.
    Turn a 60deg cone in the front face big enough to accommodate your tail stock centre. (Wrap some fine abrasive around the tail stock centre to do final fit if needed) you can then use this to align the headstock nearer to the centre whenever you feel the need.
    Chas. just a traveller on the road of time.

    Bits & Pieces Gallery
    My Web Site

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Harvey, Michigan
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    Randy is correct - check for level!
    Steve

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