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Lathe and Mill for a wheelchair user.


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Munty Scruntfundle

Established Member
22 Sep 2019
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Hi there.

I may have asked this before, if I have I apologise and stead fast blame the medication. I can't find another one anyway.

In the new year I'm going to be wanting a decent centre lathe and mill. I've had my fair share (and fill) of the mini/hobby stuff, you can be really lucky or you can spend a fortune shining a horse cowpat. I'm not doing any more of that.

So I need some middle weight machines. A lathe the kind of Colchester Student size, and because of the geometry of a mill I'm looking for something around the size of the Axminster/Sieg SX4.

I'll have to be inventive with the base of both to get the overall height down to wheelchair user height, but I'm pretty sure this will be possible.

The lathe worries me less than the mill. All the middle weight mills I can find that are a suitable size have a manual draw bar system, I need something powered. I know there are many home made solutions and kits, but I think I'd struggle to fit most.

So, could you kind folks please let me know of any ideas you have. It's more than possible and very likely you'll have more ideas than I can muster.

Many thanks.


Greatest Of All Time
29 Jul 2018
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I think you'll possibly have more luck raising the floor around the lathe with duckboards to wheelchair user height relative to the machine rather than the other way around, especially with the older and much heavier machines. Duckboards should also help keep some of the swarf from embedding into the wheelchair wheels. Another concern might be can you get close enough to the machine with your wheelchair to operate it comfortably? Some machines like the older Colchester Masters have a gap between the legs of the machine which might suit a wheelchair user better than a machine with a footwell, although it might not be an issue anyway.


The mill is a difficult one though as they're designed in a way that you need to reach around and above the machine to engage levers and as you say operate the draw-bar rather than a lathe where all your controls are up-front. I can't really suggest anything for that than perhaps some kind of scissor-lift table for it to sit on so you can easily raise and lower the machine to operate certain controls, although I'm not sure how safe and sturdy that would be for a mill. A decent quality one should hold one of those smaller mills like you pointed out though.