Do you put additional weight in your lathe stand

Have you added weight to your lathe stand

  • No it worked fine when I set it up

    Votes: 14 51.9%
  • Yes I added weight and noticed an improvement

    Votes: 10 37.0%
  • I just added weight when I set it up so I don't know if it made a difference

    Votes: 3 11.1%

  • Total voters
    27
  • Poll closed .

Steve Ash

Member
Messages
2,437
Location
Michigan
I am far from a lathe expert, don't even consider myself a turner...here goes my expierience.

Some of you may remember my Oliver 159 lathe restoration a year and a half ago. I had no idea what I was getting into and asked a lot of questions. One was adding casters...it was suggested to not do it because if there was not enough weight in the lathe it would "hop" around the shop. I really wanted my lathe to be mobile so I added the casters anyway....the thing never hops a bit, super smooth as a matter of fact.

So....I didn't add any extra weight to the old Oliver and it performed perfectly.....I'm not sure what the effects would be on a smaller lathe since the Oliver is pretty heavy to begin with. But in my eyes the fellas that designed my old Oliver had it designed right, in the first place.
 

Mike Stafford

Member
Messages
782
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
When I built my lathe stand I built it from laminated 2X material. The headstock end was laminated 2X12's splayed to the rear to form a 28" wide base. The tailstock end was laminated 2X10's and was significantly less splayed.

Between them I built a box out of 2X6's with a 3/4" plywood lid. The 2X6's are lap jointed or through mortised into the legs. I did not put sand in this box as some recommend but use it to store all kinds of accessories for the lathe. This box is about 6 inches off the floor. The lid lifts and I store all kinds of stuff on top of the box lid.

The top of my bench is laminated from 4 layers of 3/4" plywood edged in QSRO. The top is supported by 2X6"s which connect the legs via lap joints.

Lastly I made a provision to hang up to 4 45 pound barbell weights on both ends to provide additional mass. My bench has a lot of gravity; sorta like me.

I have swung 15" diameter cherry blanks 8" thick without a wiggle. I believe in more mass equals more stability and so do most of the turners out there. I cannot have vibration and instability and do the box work I do.

About the only thing I did wrong when building my bench and setting the height which is very comfortable for me was to take into consideration having more clearance under the lathe ways for removing chips.
 

Bart Leetch

Member
Messages
3,205
Location
Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
I don't agree completely with Bill. I have my Dad's old Craftsman lathe that looks like the tube style lathe you show in one of your pictures. The lathe stand is made of angle iron wide enough at the top for the lathe to mount to & the legs splayed out from there to 30" or more at the bottom & splayed out from the ends of the top outward on each end 10 to 12 degrees with the legs cut to set flat on the floor. Even then if the wood wasn't perfectly rounded up & balanced the stand would vibrate & might even move a little on the floor.
However when needing a stand for my Delta lathe & not having a lot of money at the time I build this stand out of what I had on hand. & it doesn't vibrate or move at all & I have maybe $20 in it.

I will be making a new lathe stand with ballast in the bottom up to the same weight as I have in this stand but with wheels & drawers.
 

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Stuart Ablett

Member
Messages
15,868
Location
Tokyo Japan
I made a big stonking stand, and I put a LOT of weight on it, and it is ROCK steady, and I've turned some LARGE, well, 14" WAY out of balance chunks, and it was great, I'd put a box, down low, a bit to the back, not exactly centered, so you have some feet room, and put bags of dry sand in it. Don't open the bags, because, if you ever need to move the stand or such, it is a lot easier to remove bags of sand, than handfuls :D

Lathe Stand building page


the pic is back a while ago, see no extension bed yet, but the stand is much the same, and works well.

Cheers!
 

Jeff Bower

Member
Messages
5,732
Location
DSM, IA
I raised and widened the base of my lathe, but I think I see what Bill was saying. I only made it wider at the bottom. If I would have remade the legs splayed out it would be more stable. What I did helped though. I will be adding sand to it though as a 14" out of balance hunk of maple was kinda scary to turn until I hacked off a little. I do see you point, but my lathe will not be moving around so I figure more weight can't hurt?
 

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Frank Fusco

Member
Messages
12,255
Location
Mountain Home, Arkansas
The qualification...."if it is properly designed."
Could be open to a whole whoop of intreptations.
My Grizzly did just fine as it came on a heavy, stamped steel, frame. But, it sure would do a Tango with unbalanced 40-50 pound chunks of wood at 600 rpm. I put 120 pounds of sand on a shelf across the bottom. The whole unit just smoothed out something delightful. But, I still don't/won't do those big chunks. ;)
 
Messages
4,834
Location
Goodland, Kansas
Jay if you don't bolt it to the floor, I definitely would add weight. I have to disagree with Bill on this. I built a stand for the 15" C-man with the leg about 32" wide and the top was 1' wide. It was pretty stable till I put a unbalanced piece on it. Then it wanted to dance across the floor. My $1.298 is if you are going to do lidded boxes, mini birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, pens, etc. you probably don't need the weight. If you are going to do bowls with that Nova up to 16" yes you will need the weight. I turned a 14 3/4" bowl out of a out of balance blank and had to turn the speed down to 200 or below just to get it to sit still.
I added 320 lbs of tube sand and then could run around 400 rpm. Haven't had a problem and haven't looked back since. Again this is just my opinion.
 

Glenn Clabo

Member
Messages
170
Location
The Ocean State
Jay,
I bought my DRV and mounted it on a maple top bench. It worked great until I put a big chuck that was a little rough. I then built this...and I haven't found anything that makes it dance. Built with big lumber and lot's of voids. All the voids have sand = 400 lbs. With the weight of the lathe....it's all smooth.

p.s.-Mount it with about an inch of wood under the mounting hole so you can get to the chips...
 

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Frank Fusco

Member
Messages
12,255
Location
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Jay if you don't bolt it to the floor, I definitely would add weight. I have to disagree with Bill on this. I built a stand for the 15" C-man with the leg about 32" wide and the top was 1' wide. It was pretty stable till I put a unbalanced piece on it. Then it wanted to dance across the floor. My $1.298 is if you are going to do lidded boxes, mini birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, pens, etc. you probably don't need the weight. If you are going to do bowls with that Nova up to 16" yes you will need the weight. I turned a 14 3/4" bowl out of a out of balance blank and had to turn the speed down to 200 or below just to get it to sit still.
I added 320 lbs of tube sand and then could run around 400 rpm. Haven't had a problem and haven't looked back since. Again this is just my opinion.
Bernie, even for small objects, when I added weight, the whole unit smoothed out. Even with nothing on the lathe, just running the motor is sweeter and smoother. I believe the sand bags absorb the natural vibration. I disagree with Bill also.
 
Messages
4,834
Location
Goodland, Kansas
I agree Frank. When I put the sand on my lathe it is smooth as silk. It doesn't make any difference what I put on it. Tonight I put a big, unbalanced piece of walnut on. It never budged.
 

Bill Lantry

Member
Messages
2,666
Location
Inside the Beltway
Hmmm... which Bill? ;)

Jay, I've got a good 400 pounds under mine. The reason I made it so heavy was this line on another forum: "At one time or another, we've all chased our lathes around the shop..."

There are things I don't mind chasing, but they don't include 300 pound lathes, with big chunks of wood spinning on them. By going this way, I got heft, plus storage, plus mobility.



Which leads to the next point: placement. It's my experience that no matter where I decide to position a tool, I end up moving it after a while, and what seemed reasonable beforehand ends up with me scratching my head wondering "What was I thinking?" ;)

So I've pretty much given up on planning, and just realize what ever I do is temporary, and plan for that... ;)

Thanks,

Bill
 

Bill Simpson

Member
Messages
1,758
Agree or disagree but you are citing examples of uncommon activity for the most part. Sure if you are over taxing the design with hugh chunks that are out of ballance then they will want to move in every direction. But If you consider the common use of a lathe from large bowls (cut round when started) to delicate finiale work, a stable lathe does not need weight. Flopping raw edged pieces do. Bill, you turn some great stuff and wierd shapes and yes you should have a hunkered down mass to support that pressure. But for the most part a regular turner needs only a well designed stand and not a over weighted monster. I have seen where fellows who are pen turners have bags of sand holding down their bench... what on earth for? because someone said they needed stability? or because they might one day want to turn a chunk?

Address what it is that you plan to do. (be realistic) Sure we lurk at sites and see some nice pieces and think..."I'd like to do that" but be realistic and consider what you are going to actually do. If it is the big pieces and strange stuff then bolt it to a Sherman Tank if you need to, but in a hobby shop or furniture production shop or art Studio, most just need a correctly designed stand. I have never turned a flopping log and don't intend to. I have turned Natural edges but am not turned on by them. I have turned some large Salad bowls but I make sure they are well fastened and ballanced before beginning. I don't slap in a chunk and cringe when I turn it on and hope it doesn't come after me. That doesn't float my boat.

What I am saying is that a well designed stand does not have to be weighted down for normal use of a lathe. Much the same as with a TS.... say you have a small tabletop saw and need to slice a sheet of Plywood. Do you add sand to the base to keep it from turning over from the off center weight of the board, No, you extend the table make it wider/longer to support the mass. Same with the stand.
 

Stuart Ablett

Member
Messages
15,868
Location
Tokyo Japan
Bill I see what you are saying and I agree with you that the foundation of a good, well designed stand is where you have to start. A well designed stand, with a good quality lathe bolted to it will be rock solid when you are turning most spindle work and bowls for say a store bought blank that is without flaw and already trued up. I agree with you that in this case, the extra weight is most likely not needed at all.

Now let's change the parameters a bit. A not so well designed lathe, in a shop where the amount of space really limits the kind of stand you can have.

I have seen a number of workshops much more cramped than mine, they seriously do not have the space for a nice, big, wide, splayed leg stand, they have to make it somewhat narrower, add to that, the lathe they have is not top drawer, not even middle drawer. In other words the not so good quality lathe they do have, even without anything attached to it, vibrates badly at some speeds. This kind of lathe is most likely to have belts and pulleys to give the speeds, to the speed cannot be tweaked to go just above or below the vibration. I think that you will agree that most every lathe on the market has some RPM where the frequencies are just right to cause a vibration, correct? Wit a VS lathe, you can just tweak the speed and the vibration goes away, with a lathe that uses belts and pulleys, that cannot be done.

I think you would be open to the possibility that in a case where the space is limited, and a wide stand cannot be built, and where the lathe is not the sweetest smooth running one out there, that a few well placed bags of sand will make the lathe turn a lot smoother.

Now, in my case, I knew that I wanted to turn bigger weird stuff, if you look at this recent thread, you will see a badly out of balance piece I turned and the final results are really nice. If my lathe did not have 400 lbs of sand etc on the stand, it would have been a lot more difficult to do, as it was, keeping the speed somewhat low, I was able to get this one into shape without much drama.

You are right Bill, in perfect situation, a well designed stand is the good foundation that should be laid down for the lathe, but, the world is not perfect, not even close (for me anyways), so it is not always possible to make the best stand, so sometimes you have to help your less than perfect stand, and add some weight.

The other thing I want to mention, when I had the C-man tube bed lathe, the difference that was made in changing from the standard good quality v-belt to a linked belt was amazing. For the guys out there with a standard belt and pulley system on their lathes, I'd really suggest looking into a linked belt.

Oh, here is an unencumbered look at my lathe stand, to fit into the space I had, I needed to make the legs less splayed at the tailstock end...........



I do not think this sacrificed much in stability, but, in a perfect world, it would have been wider at the tailstock end.

Cheers!
 

Chuck Beland

Member
Messages
800
Location
Rhode Island
Question,
I was lead to believe that if you bolt yours to the floor you could possibly bend,twist something out of alignment, or cause serious damage to something.
:huh::huh::huh::huh::huh:

Chuck
 

Chris Barton

Member
Messages
294
Location
Brentwood, TN
Hi Jay,

I have a PM3520a with bed extension and a Oneway 1224. Both are heavy enough to deal with most anything I will turn on tham au naturale. But, weighting down a lathe is more like customising a car, you have to do it, you want to, or it provides a measure of usability that's not available on the lathe as delivered. It's all a matter of perception.
 

Billy Burt

Member
Messages
772
Location
San Antonio, Texas
My Mustard Monster seems fine as built. I did not weigh it down by intent, but I did build a bottom tray for it and have it filled (and I mean filled) with turning stock. I can't tell the difference between the before and after.
 
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