Innovation, flexibility and the ability to get the job done with what you have are the hallmarks of craft machining. Here a basic lathe is being adapted for light duty milling.  


This adapter and other components such as the spacer and vise were machined as class projects.

Basic adapter shown mounted on the compound or top slide.  This allows easier alignment but is less rigid than removing the compound slide and mounting directly to the cross slide.  The adapter was machined from an inexpensive right angle iron from Enco.  The slots shown are match the T slots in the cross slide and are located so that the bottom vertical compound slide will just clear the edge of the lathe cross slide.  This provides maximum possible travel.  The right angle iron has two sets of drilled and tapped holes. These align the vertical compound so that when it is in the position show with minimum overhang and maximum rigidity the bottom of the slide is about 1 inch below the lathe center.  This allows the mill vise [another class project] with 1 inch jaws to be in the most favorable vertical location.

pictures of angle iron goes here

picture of disassembled compound and plate goes here

pictures of vise goes here

pictures of end mill holders for 1 inch  collet goes here

pictures of end mill holders for face plate go here

pictures of end milling in lathe go here.

If you have a lathe and would like to try milling but don't have a surplus compound slide or don't want to machine an adapter, commercial units are available.

An American made unit is two sizes is available from Palmgren
Typical catalog prices for the smaller unit is c. 175$ and for the larger c. 250$.
Palmgren also makes other very fine machine products and vises.  Be sure to browse their site.

For smaller lathes and smaller parts these units may be suitable
Typical prices are c. 60-120$

It s always a temptation to use a Jacobs style chuck and M/T adapter in the lathe spindle to do milling.  While this can be done with very small end mills (c. 1/8 inch diameter) and a great deal of care such as retightening the chuck every pass, it is never successful in the long run or for larger end mills.  To avoid person injury and possible damage to the lathe, part or cutter, always use a draw bar end mill holder or the  face plate/collet equivalent.  The are inexpensive to buy and easy to make.

click on the back arrow in your browser bar to return to the main menu

last updated by GmcD on 19-Mar-11 19:30
click here => GmcD to send George an Email
Hit Counter