Re: Precision level needed or not?

Flash Gordon

Ruth your are correct. The lathe does not have to be level to the earth. It has to be level to itself. In other words the bed should not be twisted. "leveling " a lathe is the wrong term. Getting the bed straight is what you want to do. If it is not "level" to itself or twisted; the cuts on a project will not be straight  i.e. the piece will be tapered.

The problem is almost 100 years ago SB wrote up manuals and said you have to "level" the lathe and they sold precision levels to help. But the last paragraph of the manual shows how to check for "level" by making cuts on a bar between centers.  Remove the word level from the project and insert "take the twist out of the bed"

Ed S

On 6/11/2019 5:05 PM, Ruth Busch wrote:
What are the consequences of a lathe not being level?  Most ships have a lathe or two.  They are almost never level.

From: "glenn brooks" <brooks.glenn@...>
To: "SouthBendLathe" <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:52:54 PM
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?

Generally a precision level is the only way you can dial in a lathe in a reasonable length of time.  Carpenters levels generally don’t have the level of precision needed for machining - 1/1000” Versus 1/32”.  

Maybe you can borrow one from someone in the hobby machine world, near where you live...


On Jun 11, 2019, at 1:44 PM, George Meinschein <bustedguns@...> wrote:


What's the consensus on whether or not a precision level is really needed to setup a lathe?  Can I use a regular old carpenter's level (or a digital level) and then check the lathe installation by cutting and measuring a cylinder?  I'm thinking even if I had a precision level, I'd still want to turn & measure a cylinder to check the installation and correct for any bed twist anyway.  Thoughts & comments please!

George H. Meinschein, P.E.

Meinschein Engineering Consultants, LLC
150 Brittany Drive
Freehold, NJ 07728-1500
Direct Dial: 732-409-0778
Cell: 732-580-1736
Fax: 732-358-0369


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