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bolting it down

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Kevin Jenness, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    I recently extended the footprint of my lathe considerably (Earth scale) by bolting it down. What a difference. I can spin unbalanced blanks faster which makes the roughing out so much easier. Should have done it sooner.

    I have a General 260-20. With 80# of lead in the bottom of the headstock pillar and 140# of sand slung between the two bases the total weight is somewhere north of 750#, but the pillars are only18" and 16" wide. It may be that heavy lathes with a wider stance don't need to be fastened down, but this one definitely benefits. I feel like it is easier on the lathe as opposed to having it rocking when settling in on the optimum roughing speed.

    My floor is 3/4" Advantek on 3/4" sleepers over a concrete slab. I bored 5/8" holes and set 1/2" x 6" threaded rod in an annulus of thickened marine epoxy, making sure there was a blob of goo surrounding the stud between the slab and underside of the flooring, and shimmed level with high density rubber shims used for setting glass units.

    Now my turning is well grounded and in harmony with the world.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
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  2. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Those out of balance forces do not disappear when you secure a piece of equipment to the floor, they are concentrated to various components on the machine. The main spindle bearings and the (4) points of attachment to the floor see the greatest amount of out of balance forces. Keep the bearings clean and they will last a long time, you can always check the temperature of the bearings when turning an out of balance piece to see if you are abusing them or not. A set of bearings is a cheap investment for twenty or thirty years of pleasurable wood turning and not having a lathe shake, rattle and roll across the floor.
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    We have had this discussion many times and I have yet to see anyone who has damaged their lathe by bolting it to the floor. I have considered it many time and now that I'm in my new shop and it seems like this is a good permanent spot for the lathe I may give it a try. That was my only objection before was simply that occasionally I had to move my lathe for this or that reason. Not sure how hard it would be to realign with the floor holes once I unbolt it and move it. But that may not be a problem in this new shop.
     
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  4. Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller

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    I’m using a grizzly 766 which is one of their larger lathes.
    It too has a narrow stance but even if it had a wide stance I would bolt it to the floor, I bolt ALL my machinery down to the floor without exception.
    I just place it where I want drill holes and use 1/2” X 4” TapCon screws, solid as a rock and I don’t have anything stick up out of the floor.
     
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  5. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I’m fortunate. I have in floor heat, so I don’t even have to consider it. There will be no holes drilled in my floor. I have a Robust AB and that lathe has a wide stance, so it isn’t any problem for me.
     
  6. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    My Robust AB became much more stable and pleasant to use once I bolted it down. Things have to be wildly out of balance to get vibration now.
     
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  7. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    My Oneway has been bolted to the concrete slab for upwards of 15 years. I regularly mount up 18-20" octagon blanks for bowl roughing and recently noticed a vibration. Discovered that my floor bolts could each be tightened about 1/8 to 1/4 turn each. Vibration is now gone again. Doesn't hurt to check them once in a while.
     
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  8. odie

    odie

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    Thanks for the heads-up, Owen. I just wrote a note to myself to check the torque on the anchor bolts securing my lathe to the cement floor. The current shop was put together in 1996, so I've been turning constantly for about 24 years without ever checking it! :)

    My Woodfast lathe has never not been bolted down. The Northwood lathe I had prior to that was bolted down, as well. Back in the 1980's, there was a lot of discussion about bolting the lathe to the floor, and I just assumed it was "common knowledge" to do so. Now, it looks like it's a controversial issue.......again! :rolleyes:

    Seeing as how I haven't turned on a lathe that wasn't bolted down since the 1980's, I can't really give a valid opinion if it is necessary!o_O

    -----odie-----
     
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  9. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Are you all bolting directly to the floor without anything underneath. should you put anything such as hard rubber washer between the bolt head the leg if nothing is under the feet.
     
  10. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Can't bolt mine down as I have a wet weather spring on the lot.
     
  11. Larry Copas

    Larry Copas

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    Big and out of balance? IMG_2234.JPG

    DSCF1381.JPG
    When I first got my lathe, I filled the hollow stand on the tailstock end full of sand, probably 200 pounds. Than I built a weight box and suspended it from the headstock with 250 pounds of sand. Than I added a third weight box between the legs with 40 pounds of sand. One day I decided I wanted to turn a 32" platter on the outboard side so I had to remove the weight box from the headstock. Decided than to bolt the lathe to the concrete floor. Bolting it down was so much smoother. I would never go back to just weight.

    This past February I got a chance to turn on a AB without weight and not bolted to the floor. Nothing too big, about a 15" hollow form. The lathe felt like a super lightweight compared to my bolted to the floor General. I'm sold on bolting the lathe to the floor.
     
  12. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Mine is bolted directly to the floor through the standard leveling feet/plates that came with the lathe – no cushion of any sort. My shop is in the basement of our c.1920 home with a concrete floor that slopes in multiple directions within the span of the lathe's footprint. I recall my decision to bolt it to the floor stemmed from the lathe often moving only slightly with use and becoming unsupported under one of the foot contacts. It was frustrating not to have a solid machine, so bolted it.
     
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  13. odie

    odie

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    Two of the bolts I couldn't budge with a decent amount of force. The other two budged just a very slight amount. I think I was probably ok with those four bolts, as they were.

    @john lucas. I didn't have anything between the lathe and cement floor. The way the CSUSA mount from lathe to floor was designed, the tabs for the bolt holes could bend just slightly for a flush fit. I can see how some lathes might not have any flex to the mount, and probably could benefit with the hard rubber washer.

    -----odie-----
     
  14. Timothy White

    Timothy White

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    Odie: Just curious how many times have you replaced the bearings in your bolted down lathe?
     
  15. Karl Loeblein

    Karl Loeblein

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    Kevin, What are these high density rubber shims you talk about?
     
  16. odie

    odie

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    Hi Timothy......I replaced the bearings for the first time several years ago. I checked for play a week, or so ago.....there is no play in the bearings......yet! ;)

    -----odie-----
     
  17. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I used the hard rubber shims as recommended by Robust.
     
  18. odie

    odie

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    You know......there are many factors that influence bearing life, and the fact that I solidly anchor my lathe to the cement floor is only one of them. I don't turn extremely out-of-balance chunks of wood, like some turners do. There probably isn't a single bowl block that is in perfect balance, but those who do turn significantly out of balance turnings have much more stress on their lathe spindle bearings than I do. Another thing that adds to the stress on bearings, is the rpm.....and that, plus out of balance conditions compounds the stress on the bearings.

    RPM......I used to turn as fast as I could, as long as the detected vibrations were minimal. I no longer have that "philosophy", and turn at significantly less rpm than I did at one time. In those times, I discovered that higher rpm allowed a cleaner cut with tools that were less sharp and presented well, than I do now. My turning journey is in a continual state of flux, and my ever-changing methods allow for a slower rpm with better results than I used to get.

    -----odie-----
     
  19. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    They are just some 1/16" x 1" x 3" rubber shims my glass supplier gave me for setting insulated glass units on a sill. I used them only where needed to level the lathe, elsewhere I bolted directly through the floor to the slab below. I'm sure you could find shims of any density at McMaster Carr.
     
  20. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    What purpose do the shims serve?
     
  21. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    The shims would probably absorb some of the shock the vibrations are giving by bolting down lathe to concrete floor. Thus less forces on bearings of lathe.
     
  22. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    It would seem a rubber shim negates the purpose of bolting it down???
     
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  23. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    My lathe has been bolted down to the concrete floor since 1995, first my previous shop and now in my shop here, the lathe itself is levelled on the 10" I beam that is the top of the stand.
    I did use in both shops to use drop in anchors, so no need to drill right through the concrete floor, the anchors hold harder with more pulling on them, and yes I have tightened the bolds a couple of times after just bolting it down, as for the bearings, they are tapered roller bearings running in an oil bathe and are still the original ones.

    Maple root burl.jpeg
     
  24. Kevin Jenness

    Kevin Jenness

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    I used them to fill the gaps between the lathe pedestals and the wood floor after getting the ways as close to level as possible and checking the center alignment. I could have used something less resilient like phenolic plastic laminate or milled hardwood. Of eight pedestal corners I shimmed two with one and two rubber shims respectively. I used standard lock washers and left a little slack when compressing them. I will check for tightness periodically.

    My floor is 3/4" advantech (water resistant osb) over sleepers on a slab, so there is some inherent flex in the machine's support. I doubt the fact that I used rubber makes a great deal of difference. The engineers here can opine on whether bolting directly to a concrete slab is better than interposing some cushioning material. All I can say is bolting down the way I describe is better than not doing so in my opinion.
     
  25. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I bolted my new Stubby 1000 to the floor. Used Concrete Epoxy. Super happy with the results. I do not know if I would recommend a beginner to bolt it, maybe after they know what they are doing. Meanwhile, let the lathe dance around the shop.
     
  26. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Think of it this way: if adding weight to a lathe is good then adding the weight of the entire world is even better. :)
     
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  27. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Impressive chunk of timber there Leo.
     
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  28. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Bill's comment about the earth made me remember I once had a poster that said Golf is a game in which you place a ball 2" in diameter on a ball 24,000 miles in diameter and attempt to hit the little ball while not hitting the big ball.
     
  29. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually, the Earth is a mere 7917.5 miles in diameter, but nevertheless it is still a lot easier to hit the big ball. And, that's why I don't play golf. :rolleyes:
     
  30. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Robust recommends baler belting which is a fairly hard rubber for making foot pads to dampen minor vibrations. You can find it at Tractor Supply or similar places. They also say soft rubber is useless for vibration damping. My guess is while you can adjust the legs of a lathe so that they all make solid contact with the floor, the adjustment procedure isn't perfect because you are going by what "feels right". And, if you bolt the lathe to the floor, the hard rubber pads would also help compensate for the difference in tightening torque.
     
  31. stu senator

    stu senator

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    Bolting the lathe to the floor with only a pad between the floor and the lathe but not between the bolt and the lathe does not help vibration absorption. Only the downward force is damped, not the upward or side forces. All vibration mounts have cushions between the tool and the mounting surface in the vertical (up and down) as well as the radial directions.
    The hard rubber pad between the machine and floor really only fill the gaps between the uneven floor and the machine base as the bolts are very tight (as noted in this discussion) between the machine and the world.
    Large machines are bolted and grouted to secure them.

    Stu
     
  32. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I meant to write Circumference but I guess my fingers got ahead of my brain, as usual.
     
  33. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    I'd bolt mine down but the old floor in my old shop is so bad it would probably lift.
     
  34. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I seem to remember some one using hockey pucks for pads. Some conveyor belts have some rubber in them for traction, and flex. I guess they could work.

    robo hippy
     

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