Heath Robinson lathe vertical milling slide idea.

  1. Reman

    Reman Member

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    Bristol, UK.
    I've been looking for a cheap vertical milling slide to use on my lathe for ages now, But it seems lots of other people out there are also looking, so they don't stay "Cheap" on Ebay by the end of bidding. :(

    It's just an idea at the minute (As I don't have a milling machine I'd have to get someone else to make it), But I'm thinking that for lightweight milling on a lathe it should be possible (As long as the dove tail on your QCTP can be mounted to overhang the side of the cross slide) to make a kind of pin vice with a dovetail on the back that slots into the quick change tool holder. With a reasonably stout height adjustment screw it could be positioned for the cut and locked with the usual tool holder lock. The work may be less well supported at the ends of the travel, But in theory that doesn't matter, Because where the actual cuttings going on will always be directly against the QCTP.

    Now it's crossed my mind it seems an obvious idea, But it also seems TOO obvious. After all, the idea's just like a really long tool holder with a work clamping jaw. So why doesn't every mini lathe come with one out of the box? It would add a huge amount of functionality for minimal cost.

    I must be missing something....... What's the problem I'm not seeing?
     
  2. grim_d

    grim_d Unlikeable idiot.

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    I don't see why it wouldn't work. I've seen plenty people do a bit of milling by holding stock in a toolholder.

    You run into the usual rigidity and small work envelope problems...but necessity is the mother of invention.
     
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  3. optima21 Forum Supporter

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    cheapest vertical slide may be to remove the lathe topslide and mount that in a vertical position on an angle plate.
     
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  4. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

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    Reman likes this.
  5. grim_d

    grim_d Unlikeable idiot.

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  6. Reman

    Reman Member

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    132
    Location:
    Bristol, UK.
    Possibly, But it's the "Faff factor" that get's me. I could make a plate to mount a vertical slide on the compounds mounting bolts, and it would take about 10 to 15 minutes to swap over and tram. But my lathes got a tool post stud that's removed from the bottom of the top half of the compound slide, so each time I wanted to switch over from lathe to mill I'd need to strip my compound right down to get that out. The idea of just using the QCTP means I could go from turning to milling mode in seconds.
     
  7. Reman

    Reman Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Bristol, UK.
    Bodging?....... Mmm, I wouldn't call that bodging. It's more along the lines of "Probing the boundaries of acceptable risk". :)
    As I've always said. It's your life and health, Only you know if your desired outcome is worth the personal risks. I've seen some truly horrific lash up's done just because they had to be made in order to get the job done, and most have worked well enough.

    I saw a large hobby lathe on a car repair garage once (ML7 sort of size) where the owner had repositioned the whole headstock about a foot further back and 6" higher using ruddy great pieces of thick wall box section that he'd filled with rebar and concrete. It looked like a hideous bodge! The bed was bolted to a thick slab of pig iron that was in turn bolted to his bench. The headstocks new mount also had more metal welded in to tie it into the pig iron. The tool post looked bizarre as it was mounted on a 6" X 4" x 4" piece of bar stock to raise it up from the top slide to the spindles new centerline. The primary pulley on the countershaft looked something like a monster 15" job off a rotavator. When I asked why all this had been done to this poor little lathe I was told it was to profile the rims of curbed alloy wheels after new metal had been TIGed in.
    They'd get the basic shape back with the lathe tool, Then finish the final rim profile with files and wet+dry. They didn't have the room or money for a "Proper lathe" that could swing 20 or so inch alloys, So they had to make do with what was available in their price range. The rotavator pulley was there to get the RPM down so the surface speed at the outer edge of the alloys wasn't ridiculous (They apparently learnt that they'd need to do this AFTER they spun up the first wheel !!!! LOL !).

    I spent ages wondering how that thing hadn't ripped itself apart already, But eventually I realised that most of the forces were still pushing roughly in the same directions, And the ones that weren't or had extra load to bear had more than enough extra metal and bracing added to make it a moot point....... Still looked like the sort of machine that would cause any workplace H&S executive to instantly go into cardiac arrest though ! LOL !
     
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  8. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

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    Don’t think it was particularly dangerous, tho I was surprised when it worked at all!

    I like the idea of the top slide mounted vertically. I think that’s your best bet.
     
  9. Reman

    Reman Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Bristol, UK.
    Because of how my top slides put together I'd prefer to get hold of another rather than having to strip + rebuild mine every time I wanted to mill something, But suitable used top slides go for almost as much as well used vertical mill slides. :(
     
  10. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

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    I wonder how many lathes get scrapped, might be worth finding where they go in your area.
     
  11. Kram

    Kram Member

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    Sussex
    Problem with QCTP is the single bolt fixing. Its fine for most turning becuase the load is downwards. Any milling it will rotate.

    Dont look for a vertical slide, instead look for small lathe cross slide. Drummonds and myfords are a good size.

    Example of mine :D



    Top slide will be rubbish not enough travel and too small. Plus Im looking out for a decent topslide, they are rare, so that would be a massive waste.
     
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  12. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

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    Looks like a really decent setup. I daren’t think about it too much or my project Bridgeport is going to rot in the garden!
     
  13. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Member

    Messages:
    12,441
    Location:
    Bedfordshire England
    Got a small vertical slide here somewhere
    Owes me 30 quid
    Il pull it out later
     
  14. Reman

    Reman Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Bristol, UK.
    .......... Mmm, interesting . ;)
     
  15. zx9

    zx9 Member

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    4,110
    Location:
    South East London
    I might have missed you saying what lathe you are using. My Drummond has a Myford vertical slide bought from a forum member. it is limited in travel and rigidity both by the movements of the slide and the cross slide on the lathe but it is usable for small projects with end mills and slot drills held in a collet chuck. An angle plate and vice bolted to the lathe's cross slide would be more rigid but more difficult to set up and still be limited to the travel of the cross slide, still an option depending what you want to do.
    My biggest problem has been getting my head around tool movements, most of the projects I see using a small vertical mill are doable on a lathe but turning the work through 90 deg, just don't try taking big cuts or climb milling oh and back the tension off the drive pullies a bit to mitigate damage during tool crashes. :ashamed:
     
  16. Reman

    Reman Member

    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Bristol, UK.
    Its a "Willimott Ideal"........ No, I hadn't heard of them until I found one up for sale either. :D
     
  17. zx9

    zx9 Member

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    4,110
    Location:
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    They look all right, much like many small lathes of the time, I just had a look on Tony's site http://www.lathes.co.uk/ideal/ there is even a picture of an original vertical milling attachment. Looks like you could pick one up from just about any small T slotted lathe and with minor modifications you would be good to go. IIRC Cromwell were doing Myford type ones a lot cheaper than RDG / Myford I don't know if they still list them but worth a look.
     
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