Introduction: Lengthen Lathe Work Distance

Picture of Lengthen Lathe Work Distance

Mini- lathe manufacturers tend to be “optimistic” about specifications of the work envelope of their offerings, however with some creative adaptions, even their cheerful claims can be bested in certain circumstances. In this Instructable, I'll share a secret method for expanding up to 4” [102mm] of extra work length from a 16”[406mm] model that will allow 20”[508mm] of stock mounting.

Step 1:

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This method calls for the tailstock to be removed and a steady rest mounted up. A 60 degree center is installed, and it too is aligned with the chuck center in a conventional fashion. Absent a steady rest, scrap angle may be used for the same utility, simply bore the necessary hole using the lathe chuck and an appropriate drill size for the dead center. The dead center can itself be turned from any scrap or rod drop-off handy, and pointed to the standard 60 degrees. Bore a centering hole in the work end at the steady and tighten all together.

Step 2:

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It is advisable to take lighter than normal cuts using this method, but acceptable results may be had depending on the type of action performed- a follower steady might also be a good idea if reducing round stock to dimension, but polishing round rod should go quite well.


Meglymoo87 (author)2016-05-19

Good job :)

ironsmiter (author)2016-05-10

my "toy* lathe is a minuscule 7x10...the extra room gained this way is proportionally MASSIVE!

Nice steady rest! Would be a great next instructable :-)

BeachsideHank (author)ironsmiter2016-05-10

Thanks, I hope it helps to squeeze in longer work. I think the generation of 7X lathes are revolutionary in the sense that being affordable, they are being used by operators who otherwise wouldn't be able to learn hands- on how to machine parts. Old schoolers wax romantic about Atlas and Craftsman lathes of yesteryear, but most of those vintage are clapped out and require extensive restoration to become usable.

Yea, I shoulda thought more about documenting my steady, but it was an on again, off again project so build continuity was fractured, I have a few images but not enough to tell the story the way I'd like.

Russie123 (author)2016-05-08

Great idea.

BeachsideHank (author)Russie1232016-05-08

Thank you.

TheThinker (author)2016-05-04

An excellent approach! Thx. I have the same lathe. For situations where you fabricate the new narrow tail stock, how do you attach it to the ways?

BeachsideHank (author)TheThinker2016-05-04

The simplest way I would do that is a tapped plate spanning the way gap bottom, same as is done for the tailstock, if sized right no bottom wrench would be needed,

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