I'm looking to build a lathe stand for my 7" swing lathe. I'd like to do a good job of it, but I've no experience building a stand for precision machinery. It seems simple enough, but I'm concerned about flatness and warping from welding which will affect the lathe and its alignment. I'm most likely over-thinking this, but I've previously worked with large items where sub .001 precision isn't a factor.
My initial thought is to start with a flat plate, 1/16" or 3/32" seems thick enough to resist bending from items placed on it. Cut it with an elongated octagonal outline so that there are no sharp corners to run body parts into. Then add a 1" vertical or so lip at some angle (45 degrees seems good) of the same material. That edge will be rounded to avoid sharp edges. That seems to look like most chip-trays I've seen in photos. Add a one or two holes with and a threaded bush for a oil/fluid/coolant drain. And some strainer in the chip tray to keep the chips out of same.
It seems that all the welding and heating on such thin material is likely to produce warping, bowing, and other distortion. So, it seems I'll have to isolate the lathe from the chip tray. My current idea is to cut rectangular slots in the flat plate where the lathe feet are. Into these slots would be welded "feet" which protrude both above and below the flat bottom of the tray. The feet both provide the necessary elevation to keep the lathe off the bottom of the tray, and to provide points to mount the chip tray to the lathe stand. That way the lathe stand will control the quality of the lathe mount, not the chip tray.
I can simplify the above my just welding the bar-stock "feet" to the chip tray before welding on the lip ... which is most likely to cause the distortion which would upset the lathe.
From the amount of writing above, this seems complete overkill for something as simple as a chip-tray... which is why I'm asking for some feedback.
Thanks for any advice