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Harbor Freight tailstock wobble

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gabe Skypala, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Gabe Skypala

    Gabe Skypala

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Location (City & State):
    Amarillo, Texas
    I am pretty sure that this is a huge problem. Any advice on what I can do to fix this or just get a good lathe?[​IMG]
     
  2. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
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    242
    Location (City & State):
    Roseville, CA
    Video wouldn’t play for me.
     
  3. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    73
    Location (City & State):
    Auburn, MA
    "Video Not Available"
    How does the tailstock wobble, it's locked into position? My harbor freight tailstock was not milled flat on the base but it's not a big deal in most cases. The quality of these lathes is awful and the customer service is even worse. I complained about the tailstock and asked if I could get a replacement and they declined. They wanted me to disassemble the entire lathe and box it back up and ship it back for a replacement! Even after I told them I through the box out. That wasn't going to happen, so I just deal with it and shim the tailstock when I need accuracy. So my advice would be to try to fix the tailstock yourself or if you feel ambitious and it's within 90 days, return it for a new one.

    Good luck and I hope it works out for you.
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
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    Home Page:
    Just copy and paste the URL of your YouTube video into your post and the forum software will automatically recognize it and properly format the link.
     
  5. Gabe Skypala

    Gabe Skypala

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Location (City & State):
    Amarillo, Texas
    Apologies, i made the video private instead of unlisted. now y'all should see it.
     
  6. Gabe Skypala

    Gabe Skypala

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2018
    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Amarillo, Texas
    The tailstock has about 3 inches of side to side play. Locked down it has about 3/16" of play. I think I need to get a real lathe. This one was a gift.
     
  7. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Messages:
    622
    Location (City & State):
    Marietta, Georgia
    Yeah that looks like one of those things that look like a lathe but not really a lathe. If you have a freind with a welder you might be able to tack some shims on the tailstock to take some wiggle out but there no guarantees the bed is accurate either.
     
    Dylan Skeean likes this.
  8. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,886
    Location (City & State):
    Nebraska
    The further you have the tailstock extended the more "wobble" will be encountered. This model of lathe is an entry level constructed machine that does not provide very tight tolerances for the bed-ways and tailstock assemblies. I have one of these lathes that I use as a buffing station with several buffing wheels mounted on a mandrel between centers.
    As Gary mentioned above you could have some shims attached to the tailstock to take the wobble out and keep it centered on the bed-ways. You also need to retract the tail stock all of the way prior to tightening the nut on the bottom of the tailstock when you are loading your wood piece onto the lathe. Once you have the wood piece positioned between centers move the tailstock up to your center point on the wood billet and the tighten the nut on the bottom of the tailstock assembly. You can then advance the tailstock handwheel several turns to secure the wood billet between centers. Advancing the handwheel too many turns trying to apply excessive pressure on the wood billet can cause the bed to flex on this particular model of lathe.
    The other issue with this model of lathe is the drive spur on the headstock, most of these drive spurs were threaded onto the headstock spindle which does not provide a morse taper mounting. This design does not allow knocking the spur drive from the headstock and then using a mallet to center and set the drive spur with several strikes of a mallet. You either need to use a wrench to remove the drive spur each time or you need to use a tool to cut grooves in the billet to mate up to the drive spur. You can find another drive spur with the same spur design and use a mallet to create a center point on your wood billet prior to mounting it on the lathe to speed up the process.
     
    Dylan Skeean likes this.
  9. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    301
    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    Harbor freight closed out that lathe almost three years ago. The square sheet metal tube lathes were sold by many companies, including Rigid and Cummins. I thought there was supposed to be a piece of metal the width of the tubs, under the tail stock that kept the thing from sliding side to side. like that. One could be made easy enough from a piece of wood. .
     
  10. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    73
    Location (City & State):
    Auburn, MA
    I didn't realize they even made that lathe, I thought it was the same model I have that's why I didn't understand how it was rocking like that. I can see how that can be a really big problem for you! I agree with the posts above, for a quick fix I would do what Perry suggested and make it out of wood. At least you could get it working for you quickly and inexpensively. Good luck, I hope you can get it working for you so you can enjoy the lathe.
     
  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Wow, I've never seen one that bad. I think that Gary is right. That's the kind of lathe that can discourage someone from turning.
     
  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
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    6,575
    Location (City & State):
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    Just saw the video deleted my first post.
    My suggestion is that you look for a used Jet min lathe.
    In our area they go for around $150. They sometimes get donated to the turning clubs.

    The tailstock shown in the video - I would not use it for Turning between centers.
     

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