Head/tail alignment

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NosamLuap

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How 'critical' is the headstock/tailstock alignment? I have a 2nd hand Axminster AWVSL1000 lathe, which I've bolted to a workbench. The head/tail is slightly out of alignment, as per the photo.

Is this enough to warrant me trying to better align things? I'm not even sure how I'd do that - shims? Double checking that the bed isn't twisted after I've bolted it down? Or is this 'close enough' and I shouldn't worry about it?

I've no experience of using a lathe, except via YouTube. I've been dabbling with a couple of bowls and a pen or two, but I'd like to do more, particularly pens, and I'm not sure whether this alignment is enough to throw things off a little?
IMG_20210809_184637762.jpg
 

Ttrees

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What are things like when the work is mounted, possibly even worse.
Saying that, there could be some slop of that live center, or just badly made to begin with.
I'd try and see if it's eccentric.

Presuming both headstock and tailstock is locked down.
I presume you have a chuck for turning? two possibly?
if drilling out pen blanks, then I would think things need be lined up.
Have you checked there isn't some crud burr or flaw on either of those contact surfaces.

Just some thoughts
Tom
 

NosamLuap

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What are things like when the work is mounted, possibly even worse.
Saying that, there could be some slop of that live center, or just badly made to begin with.
I'd try and see if it's eccentric.

Things seem to rotate OK When mounted, but I have no experience or reference... I have noticed that when I mount a pen mandrel in the headstock, it, being longer, 'magnifies' the alignment issue and doesn't meet the tailstock without a little persuasion, but once I kinda bend it into alignment, then it appears to turn true...

Presuming both headstock and tailstock is locked down.

Yup, both are rigid once locked with no (or minimal) movement when I try to move them. The lathe itself appears to be really robust/rigid not no obvious movement once locked down...

I presume you have a chuck for turning? two possibly?
Yup, it came with a chuck (xact model, if I recall correctly) and I have bought a new kit from Rutlands ('cos it was on offer for £119 a few weeks back, and was cheaper and less risky than trying to get additional jaws for the random chuck that came with the lathe!) Buy Precision 75 Woodturning Chuck Complete Kits from Rutlands Limited - Rutlands

if drilling out pen blanks, then I would think things need be lined up.
Have you checked there isn't some crud burr or flaw on either of those contact surfaces.
So far, I've drilled out pen blanks on the drill press, because I don't trust the alignment and I didn't (until recently) have suitable jaws for the chuck to mount the square pen stock easily.
I can't see any crud in the receiving holes or the morse tapers...

Appreciate the thoughts :)

Paul
 

Phil Pascoe

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Obviously to suit the MTs of your lathe -


 

NosamLuap

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Obviously to suit the MTs of your lathe -


Well that's bloody genius! I didn't know that existed (and annoyingly, I was in the Axminster store on Wednesday!! I may have to make another trip! ;) )
 

NosamLuap

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Obviously to suit the MTs of your lathe -


Local store has one in stock, and it's less than 10mins detour from my route home from work... Collecting tonight!!!
 

Ttrees

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Things seem to rotate OK When mounted, but I have no experience or reference...



Yup, both are rigid once locked with no (or minimal) movement when I try to move them. The lathe itself appears to be really robust/rigid not no obvious movement once locked down...


I can't see any crud in the receiving holes or the morse tapers...

Appreciate the thoughts :)

Paul

Sorry I can't multi quote.
It may be obvious by seeing whether that live center, is on center,
by seeing if it lines up with the head stock when slightly loose in the MT and rotated by hand, crud as you mention could be evident also.

I would have a look in between bed and headstock casting for light, when something is between centers and tight.

The bed and the underside of the headstock casting might have the burr or crud, which was where I was suggesting to look at.

The Morse taper alignment tool looks good, but for my money, I'd spend on a dial indicator and chuck some rod up.

All the best
Tom
 

NosamLuap

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Sorry I can't multi quote.
It may be obvious by seeing whether that live center, is on center,
by seeing if it lines up with the head stock when slightly loose in the MT and rotated by hand, crud as you mention could be evident also.

I would have a look in between bed and headstock casting for light, when something is between centers and tight.

The bed and the underside of the headstock casting might have the burr or crud, which was where I was suggesting to look at.

The Morse taper alignment tool looks good, but for my money, I'd spend on a dial indicator and chuck some rod up.

All the best
Tom

I can't (easily) multi-quote either - I just manually cut n pasted the Quote/Quote bits! LoL! Good suggestions - I've ordered the 2mt alignment tool now, so will try that - I do have a dial indicator, so I can cover all bases when I get some time to fettle :)
 

okeydokey

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When you have the alignment centre and start to fit it between centres - perhaps if it's a little tight don't be tempted to force it in - I would loosen off or remove off all bolts that hold the lathe bed to the workbench. Wiggle the bed around a bit to ensure its not held down then try the alignment tool again, if it fits it without heaving around then it might be you need a washer between the bed and the bench somewhere as the bed could be held under tension causing it to misalign the centres.
 

NosamLuap

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When you have the alignment centre and start to fit it between centres - perhaps if it's a little tight don't be tempted to force it in - I would loosen off or remove off all bolts that hold the lathe bed to the workbench. Wiggle the bed around a bit to ensure its not held down then try the alignment tool again, if it fits it without heaving around then it might be you need a washer between the bed and the bench somewhere as the bed could be held under tension causing it to misalign the centres.
That's a great (and really simple!) idea... that will rule out any unintended warping I may have introduced when bolting to my bench - it's certainly possible (likely?!) that my bench isn't perfectly level, so I am suspicious that I've introduced this when mounting. Unfortunately, I didn't think to check alignment when it was mounted to its original legs (space in my workspace required that I took it off the legs and mounted it to a bench, so the legs are tucked away in the loft in case I ever sell it!!)
 

cowtown_eric

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if this was a metal lathe, this would be REALLY serious! At best from what I see in the photo you will be turning a taper, and at worst (bent shaft)-you will be turning an elipse-even in wood! Easily checked with a cheapo digital caliper

1st thing is to check that the bed is level, or at least not twisted.

Then put a straight edge on the ways and see if it got bent...I dunnowhat type of bed it is

Check and see if the bed (ways) are flat (back in the early days of Taiwanese machinery it was not unheard of to have "green" castings machined before they had "matured". DAMHIK. Not likely

If all those check out, next thing I would do is purchase a new spur centre, in the off chance that this used machine suffered some horrendous accident and actually bent the spur center-an inexpensive item.

Then I would use a dial indicator to see if new spur centre is concentric. If it ain't, you may have a bent shaft(which would likely cause some type of vibration), again from some horrendous accident. putom theface plate and seeif it is relatively flat

( heavy piece of green log, of length and spinning at a high speed COULD suffer a dig-in from a roughing gouge, dislodge a loosely tightened steady rest, which the spinng log then hits bringing it to a sudden stop, and all that inertia COULD bend spur centre, shaft, or even tail stock centre- that's the kind of horrendous accident I am envisioning!)

This is forensic millwrighting at a distance I know, but the thing to do is ID the problem, and if it's still a mystery, I would shim the head-stock and not the tail stock.

Hope that helps!

eric
 

Fergie 307

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Is it my imagination or is the paint on the motor housing and the tailstock a subtly different colour? Just wondering if the tailstock is the original, if it's been replaced that might be the cause of the problem.
 

skeetstar

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How does that alignment tool fix the problem? I assume that once fitted it shows you how much and where you need to shim the tailstock? Otherwise when you remove the tool, everything reverts to beinng off centre again... am I right?
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
In industry it's often the case things get outta line.....
if the bed is out a little, place a shim on the opposite side, then when tightened down to the bench will bring it back.....thats why a lot of machines have adjustable feet....not just for bad floors....
setting up an industrial metal lathe needs care....as even a 10 ton monster with all that iron can twist.....
so an Axminster Chinese special has no chance......hahaha....
 

Ttrees

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I would have thought this scenario, say if the machining was accurate on those parts,
that the headstock would be tipping up to the sky when something is held tight between centers, making the points of the tool not always fully engaged in the work.

I guess everything can be made well and secure on that lathe, as in enough cast meat to fix it, (should say 1mm of precise filing be nessecairy)
but haven't went there with my budget version of this lathe, where you could
see a lot of light underneath headstock when somethings mounted between centers.
Could possibly fit a washer under mine, so I am going to stick quite a large f clamp on to keep that headstock down.
(I think my similar machine with large flat bed, has good potential compared to many in this price range)

If it wasn't addressed, not sure how small of a boring bar one would need for pens, and would likely be more faffery than a chuck and bit in the tailstock, so I'm struggling to see how it doesn't have consequence?

Didn't know one of those taper tools existed before, so would guess there are many or at least one other important reason why a turner would want this.

All the best
Tom
 
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hawkeyefxr

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If it is a height issue the head stock is bolted down, you could get shims for the underside to level it up. You could check under the headstock that it is clean and nothing is trapped there.
Using a DTI will give you a definite figure for adjustment.
 

NosamLuap

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Well, the Axminster alignment thingy was brilliant. Loosened the head and tail stock, fitted the alignment thingy into both sides, and then tightened it all up again. Simple as that! 😁
IMG_20220312_151415465.jpg
 

KimG

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I have a Jet lathe and thought I had a similar problem, actually the real season they don't line up is most likely the feet need adjusting, even cast iron beds can twist little, try leaning against the tail stock and pushing a bit, I bet it will move rleative to the headstock (lock it to the bed first) so I adjust the feet of the lathe bed and then it was aligned perfectly.
 
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