Topics

Precision level needed or not?

George Meinschein
 

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

glenn brooks
 

George,

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...

Glenn 


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Ruth Busch
 

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

George,
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...

Glenn 


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

jonwoellhaf
 

Lathes onboard ships are level thousands of time a day – for a fraction of a second, at least. Smile
 

From: Ruth Busch
Sent: June 11, 2019 15:05
To: SouthBendLathe
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
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" <SouthBendLathe@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:52:54 PM
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
George,
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...
 
Glenn


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com
 

Flash Gordon
 

Oh boy here we go again. You do not need a precision level. A level just get you close. The real test is make cuts on the lathe the adjust the feet untill the cuts are equal.  SB has a procedure for this. Look in the file section to find it.

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

George,
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...

Glenn 


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

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

George,
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...

Glenn 


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Steven H
 

The idea behind using a precision level when leveling a lathe bed in my understanding is to check for and, if necessary, remove any twist in the bed. So the level is placed across the bed at the headstock and tailstock ends if the bed. You would want the bubble to be in the same position in the level vial so don’t rotate the level end for end when moving it from headstock end to tailstock end of the bed- that would theoretically mean that the bed is not twisted. It is not that important that the lathe bed be absolutely level along its length - close is good enough. In fact, trying to level crossways and lengthwise is an exercise in futility, ask me how I know.

After leveling the bed, one can take cuts on a piece to see if the lathe is cutting a cylinder, and then decide if further adjustment is necessary.

Steve Haskell


On Jun 11, 2019, at 5:09 PM, jonwoellhaf <jonwoellhaf@...> wrote:

Lathes onboard ships are level thousands of time a day – for a fraction of a second, at least. <wlEmoticon-smile[1].png>
 
From: Ruth Busch
Sent: June 11, 2019 15:05
To: SouthBendLathe
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
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" <SouthBendLathe@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:52:54 PM
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
George,
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...
 
Glenn


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com
 

Jim_B
 

I purchased a cheap China made one about 15 years. 
I find it useful. Normal wood working levels are not sensitive enough. 
Yes you can turn a rod to get your lathe true, and in fact that should be a final step.  BUT you need to start somewhere and know which way to go   when you start trimming. I find the level invaluable to do that. 
It's not the thing I use a lot, but perhaps once or twice a year, but I am happy wit it. 

Sent from my MacBook
Jim B.




On Jun 11, 2019, at 4:44 PM, George Meinschein <bustedguns@...> wrote:

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com


--
Jim B

Jim_B
 

The term “Level a lathe” is really a misnomer. You are/want to take any twist out of the bed. 
You can do this by starting with a level floor and making the lathe parallel to the floor in  a direction at right angles to the lay of the bed, or has been noted, by trimming a piece of material on the lathe. 
Search “Rollies Dad’s Method”. It should be in the files section, although I have not looked since the move to .io. 

Without straight (detested) bed you will cut a taper on stock. Even if you have a pristine bed. 
Sent from my MacBook
Jim B.




On Jun 11, 2019, at 5:05 PM, Ruth Busch <jbusch@...> wrote:

What are the consequences of a lathe not being level?  Most ships have a lathe or two.  They are almost never level.




--
Jim B

Ray De Jong
 

Amen!

On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 4:45:41 PM PDT, Steven H via Groups.Io <stevesmachining@...> wrote:


The idea behind using a precision level when leveling a lathe bed in my understanding is to check for and, if necessary, remove any twist in the bed. So the level is placed across the bed at the headstock and tailstock ends if the bed. You would want the bubble to be in the same position in the level vial so don’t rotate the level end for end when moving it from headstock end to tailstock end of the bed- that would theoretically mean that the bed is not twisted. It is not that important that the lathe bed be absolutely level along its length - close is good enough. In fact, trying to level crossways and lengthwise is an exercise in futility, ask me how I know.

After leveling the bed, one can take cuts on a piece to see if the lathe is cutting a cylinder, and then decide if further adjustment is necessary.

Steve Haskell


On Jun 11, 2019, at 5:09 PM, jonwoellhaf <jonwoellhaf@...> wrote:

Lathes onboard ships are level thousands of time a day – for a fraction of a second, at least. <wlEmoticon-smile[1].png>
 
From: Ruth Busch
Sent: June 11, 2019 15:05
To: SouthBendLathe
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
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" <SouthBendLathe@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:52:54 PM
Subject: Re: [SouthBendLathe] Precision level needed or not?
 
George,
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...
 
Glenn


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

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com
 

Bill in OKC too
 

I think the phrase "Trust but verify" works here.

Use what you have, then check. If it is good enough for your purposes, it's good enough. If not, adjust, and try again. Or buy a better level, then adjust, and try again.

I'm a student machinist, not a professional, but info on how to do this is readily available. South Bend has pamphlets describing the process, IIRC.

HTH!

Bill in OKC




On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 3:44 PM -0500, "George Meinschein" <bustedguns@...> wrote:

Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

George Meinschein
 

Gentlemen,
Thanks for the responses!  I have a cheapo Craftsman digital level with 0.1 degree resolution and a not so cheap Leica Disto D8 that measures angles with 0.05 degree resolution. I checked the specs on a Starrett precision level and found that the graduations in the vial are separated by roughly 0.025 degrees.  The spec is actually 80-90 seconds. Then, I thought - suppose I took my plumb bob and hung it from something oh about 5' high and attached to a parallel that sits across the ways. Unless I botched my quick calculations, a 1/64" movement of the plumb bob would represent about 0.015 degrees.  Time to do a little testing!  This is on the back burner right now, but I'll report back with results on my zero cost precision level when the project moves forward. 

Thanks,
George H. Meinschein, P.E.

Meinschein Engineering Consultants, LLC
150 Brittany Drive
Freehold, NJ 07728-1500

Email: george.meinschein@...
Direct Dial: 732-409-0778
Cell: 732-580-1736
Fax: 732-358-0369
www.meinscheinengineering.com

   

Bill in OKC too
 

With photos! Please! I'd be quite interested in how you work this out!

Bill in OKC




On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 6:06 AM -0500, "George Meinschein" <bustedguns@...> wrote:

Gentlemen,
Thanks for the responses!  I have a cheapo Craftsman digital level with 0.1 degree resolution and a not so cheap Leica Disto D8 that measures angles with 0.05 degree resolution. I checked the specs on a Starrett precision level and found that the graduations in the vial are separated by roughly 0.025 degrees.  The spec is actually 80-90 seconds. Then, I thought - suppose I took my plumb bob and hung it from something oh about 5' high and attached to a parallel that sits across the ways. Unless I botched my quick calculations, a 1/64" movement of the plumb bob would represent about 0.015 degrees.  Time to do a little testing!  This is on the back burner right now, but I'll report back with results on my zero cost precision level when the project moves forward. 

Thanks,
George H. Meinschein, P.E.

Meinschein Engineering Consultants, LLC
150 Brittany Drive
Freehold, NJ 07728-1500

Email: george.meinschein@...
Direct Dial: 732-409-0778
Cell: 732-580-1736
Fax: 732-358-0369
www.meinscheinengineering.com

   

Nick Jonkman
 

I never use a level. I use two straight bars of steel across the bed, one on each end, the longer the better and of course high enough to see over the carriage. Sight over these from the tail stock end and you will immediately see any twist in the bed no mater what angle the lathe is sitting at. Get a couple of pieces of cold rolled bar stock or precision ground bars about 1/2" thick and at least one foot long or longer and wide enough to site over the carriage and you have every thing you need to set up your lathe.

Nick Jonkman

On 19-06-11 7:45 PM, Steven H via Groups.Io wrote:
The idea behind using a precision level when leveling a lathe bed in my understanding is to check for and, if necessary, remove any twist in the bed. So the level is placed across the bed at the headstock and tailstock ends if the bed. You would want the bubble to be in the same position in the level vial so don’t rotate the level end for end when moving it from headstock end to tailstock end of the bed- that would theoretically mean that the bed is not twisted. It is not that important that the lathe bed be absolutely level along its length - close is good enough. In fact, trying to level crossways and lengthwise is an exercise in futility, ask me how I know.

After leveling the bed, one can take cuts on a piece to see if the lathe is cutting a cylinder, and then decide if further adjustment is necessary.

Steve Haskell

Guenther Paul
 

George
Use the level you have make a cut and see what you have. A precision level is nice but don't buy one 

GP


On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 4:44:51 PM EDT, George Meinschein <bustedguns@...> wrote:


Group,

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!

-- 
Thanks,
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
www.meinscheinengineering.com

Virus-free. www.avast.com

comstock_friend
 

Here's a method that doesn't require a precision level...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qIdsnl5vpg

John

George Meinschein
 

John,
That's almost exactly what I thought of this morning. I was going to tape a machinist scale on the parallel and go with a 5' plumb bob.  Bill in OKC!!!  You watching???

Thanks,
George H. Meinschein, P.E.

Meinschein Engineering Consultants, LLC
150 Brittany Drive
Freehold, NJ 07728-1500

Email: george.meinschein@...
Direct Dial: 732-409-0778
Cell: 732-580-1736
Fax: 732-358-0369
www.meinscheinengineering.com

   


On Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 2:53 PM comstock_friend <jfriend314@...> wrote:
Here's a method that doesn't require a precision level...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qIdsnl5vpg

John

Scott McGrath
 

You could also use a long precision straightedge to determine twist if yo have one.

Content by Scott
Typos by Siri

Stephen Bartlett
 

I like the plumb bob idea, but have a question.

I have never done this but would it work to put a mandrel known to be the same diameter at both ends on centers and then indicate the surface at the two ends with an indicator on the carriage set at one end and then the other?

At the very least it might be quicker than taking cuts and adjusting twist until the ends are the same?

Steve Bartlett

Steven H
 

What you are describing - an alignment bar placed between centers - is one way of checking and setting the tailstock alignment both horizontally and vertically. These alignment bars are commercially available - Edge Technology makes one that is 12” long. Don’t know if such an item could be used to check for lathe bed twist, but if the idea would work, the bar should be max length the lathe can hold between centers.

Steve Haskell

On Jun 13, 2019, at 9:32 PM, Stephen Bartlett via Groups.Io <tower.op=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:

I like the plumb bob idea, but have a question.

I have never done this but would it work to put a mandrel known to be the same diameter at both ends on centers and then indicate the surface at the two ends with an indicator on the carriage set at one end and then the other?

At the very least it might be quicker than taking cuts and adjusting twist until the ends are the same?

Steve Bartlett