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Home Model Engine Machinist > The Tools and Tips > Machine Modifications > Ask a stupid question (vertical slide adaptations)

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Old 11-04-2017, 12:37 PM   #1
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Default Ask a stupid question (vertical slide adaptations)

Hi folks

I have the remains of a vertical slide which had been made to fit my previous lathe (a really unusual thing called a 'Wandess' - see if you are interested in oddities) and which went on instead of the top slide and was always vertical with its face perpendicular to the lathe spindle. Well, that was the idea.

I am wondering about fitting it to my Boxford (US - think South Bend 9") model A. It once (though not in my ownership) was meant to spin around a pin poking out of the original angle plate onto which it was mounted, and clamp at some desired angle to the vertical - I could replicate that, so the 'vertical' could become oblique.

Then I started to think that instead of replacing the top slide, it could mount on top of it (mine has a nice flat top surface and a big T slot to mount the tool post) - which would add another degree of freedom to where the thing could be persuaded to move. The face would no longer have to be perpendicular to the spindle, and it could advance along that angle with the top slide feed screw.

And the stupid question (to which the answer is, of course, 'it depends what you want to do with it') is: "is the loss of rigidity involved in mounting it on the top slide, worth the increased flexibility of moving it around with same - or is it better to ditch the top slide and mount hard on the cross slide".

I suppose I am hoping someone will pop up and say 'I did it this way and it was great / a real pain in the ass - do it that way'.

What might I do - a bit of milling, maybe try gear hobbing though mounting the blank would require thinking about. The main idea just now is to turn some scrap into a useful tool.


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Old 11-04-2017, 01:30 PM   #2
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Not quite the answer which you seek but I've sort of been running a vertical slide probably from an age old Perfecto or very early Myford.

I'm also running a top slide from a baby Enox which even fewer readers will know- or want to. It fits neatly into a Quorn( clears throat) and onto a Clarkson MK1 with a Mk2 radius grinding attachment( clears throat, again)

So what can be done that should interest? What about a engraving or slotting tool? What, indeed, about a Tinker tool and cutter grinder with it hinged to a pivot of sorts?

Again, once the feed screw is removed, it can become a very superior lettering and staking tool.

I was having another brainstorm and what about a nice retracting tool holder for Screwcutting- said he with a few more top slides and vices- that are somewhere lurking in what serves for a workshop cum glory hole?

Go for it


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Old 11-05-2017, 08:27 AM   #3
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I would choose rigidity over the ability to kick it at an angle, ie bolt it straight to the cross slide. I have a Myford double-swivelling vertical slide on my Drummond M-type lathe and it is more flexible and prone to movement than I would like. I have never had to use the double swivel ability so I think a standard fixed vertical slide that is more solid would suit 99 per cent of work.
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Old 11-05-2017, 09:55 AM   #4
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It depends how rapidly you want to remove the metal from whatever is mounted in it. Go slowly with light cuts and the lack of rigidity would not be a problem, but you might not get the finish, or the speed, that you want.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:52 PM   #5
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I went this route years ago to attempt milling on the lathe. The vertical x-y vise which I attached to the tool post was not rigid enough except for very light cuts and it was awkward to use. It justified the purchase of a mill so it did have some value.

I wouldn't spend time doing this again as separate machines (lathe and mill) in a shop are so much better unless you like set up work.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for your thoughts, folks.

On reflection (and taking your contributions into account) I think I can make it fit both topslide and cross-slide. If the round dovetail (is that a thing? If you've ever taken a top slide off on one of these lathes, you'll know what I mean) bolts onto the bottom of the angle plate with a *big* bolt, I can draw it up on the cross-slide. I can then remove this fixture for clamping onto the top-slide instead of a tool-post, if I like.

I'll let you know how I get on, and how it compares to my home-brew miller made from a pillar-drill, elsewhere in this section. That's been going well enough to invest (via my employer ) in a used Chinese tool-cutter grinder, to sort a load of scrap end mills and slot drills out. Great fun!

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