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Re: Lathe question forwarded

Subject: Re: Lathe question forwarded
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 10:53:53 EDT
In a message dated 9/25/00 11:01:59 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> The only reason that I can think of to level a lathe is so a person could
>  cut a taper with a protractor instead of a calculator.
>  Can anyone think of any other reasons?

Some offset turning setups with a four jaw independent chuck can be made with 
a level  on the workpiece for reference.  If the machine is not level, the 
setup will not be correct.  Watched this done a few times thirty years ago.  
Do not remember what the exact application was.  Probably to rebuild oilfield 
pump parts.  I remember him using the level much more on the milling setups 
he made than the lathe setups.  Probably not very useful trick for 99.98 
percent of us.  I have used the Machinist's Level to set up my larger machine 
just because they were always set up like that in the shops I worked in guess.

The setup was done with a Starrett Machinist's Level AFTER it was carefully 
adjusted before each use.  You have to learn how to adjust or zero them to 
true level or they are no better than a carpenter's level.  Did not make a 
lot of sense to me to adjust before every use, but you will definitely want 
to adjust before the first use to get it right. Used to be lots of them in 
Antique stores around my area of the country (Texas/Oklahoma).  Look for one 
that has a clean, straight, rustfree base, clear vial,  and still in the 
case.  If you are going to actually use it, it might be better to try to find 
one you can see, try, etc. before you buy.  I bought mine ten years ago for 
twenty dollars in the original wooden case.  Base is perfect, lots of flakes 
and scratches in the paint, box is oil stained, adjusted out fine on the 
first try and stays in adjustment for several months.  Ugly, but works fine. 

Of course, IMHO for all the level work to be any good, the lathe has to be on 
a stout stand bolted firmly to a strong floor and then grouted in.  
Otherwise, you spend all that time and money and bump it out of level the 
first time you use it.

Alex H.
Tulsa, OK

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