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using a lathe as a horizontal mill?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by big83chevy4x4, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    would it be possible to use a metal lathe as a horizontal mill? i need something small milled, i have a craftsman metal lathe with i believe a 36" bed.
    can i buy a endmill chuck it into the chuck and clamp the peice into the tool holder? i know it won't have the movement as a mill, but would it work without destroying the endmill or worse the lathe?
     
  2. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    is the tool holder strong/steady enough? Are the Rpm's right? If so, and you could get the endmill safely chucked up in teh lathe, great.

    I doubt you can spin it fast enough though.

    I wouldnt' reccomend it, but.......i guess it depends on how bad you need it and how safely you can rig all that up.
     
  3. wayne

    wayne 3/4 ton status

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    I don't see why it cant be done. I know I would damn sure give it a try.
     
  4. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    It can and has been done. There are milling attachments sold for lathes that replace the tool post with a modified x-y axis milling type vise. But all you need to do is find a way to secure the workpiece to the cross slide in the appropriate position and chuck a milling cutter in the spindel chuck or collet. There is a pretty good overview of the process in the book "The Amateur's Lathe" by L.H. Sparey (I think that's the authors name) as well as a whole bunch of other cool uses for a home shop lathe.
     
  5. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    yea, what mofugly13 said.

    if you dont have a mill attachment your limited by what type of tool holder you have. can you clamp what you need to mill in it? or is the part too big. also you dont have but one axis you can mill in. you cant go up or down ofcourse so you have only basically an "X" or "Y" axis. I have "turned" on a mill and milled on a lathe in a pinch many of times. just depends on if its practicle or not worth the trouble of doing it that way.

    not to mention you will find out just how rigid you little lathe is real quick. again depends on what your cutting. if it just alum. or steel or stainless. if it is doable as far as tooling and setup, just take small cuts til you get to where you need or want to be. those attachments are usually pretty pricy.

    I have some mill work I have alot of mill work I need to do but I know my lathe could never do so I will need to buy one, hopefully someday soon. what are you trying to mill?? maybe we can give some help, got any pics?
     
  6. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    to tell you the truth, i can't remember what it was i needed done. i have too many projects going on at one time, i can't remember which one it would even be for. now im gonna be racking my brain to try and remember.

    i guess i didn't realize that you can't go up/down with the piece. but, most of the time i only need a slot milled so i can have adjustment.
     
  7. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    If you are ingenuitive, you can get a precision angle plate, and secure that to your crossslide, then mount a slide table to it, and ue that for x and y axis movement. Should be just fine for light milling. This is exactly what I plan to do so I can do some light milling with my lathe until I find that elusive "Bridgeport-in-a-barn" at the right price.

    http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=201-2826&PMPXNO=951820&PARTPG=INLMK3

    [​IMG]
     
  8. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    yes that is the right idea. would have to be a real small X,Y table for my little lathe. my lathe is fairly loose, I need to tighten it up. that would be alot of overhang off the compound, would kill any rigidity on most lathes if there fairly small, but like anything, its allways worth a try.

    there IS no substitute for a good mill..............except a cnc mill.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006

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