Lathe working height

Hey Guys,
Well, everything is in the new shop. IN. That's all. Still to be
placed in the "correct" (yeah, right!) spots for each. I bought and
used a 2500Kg pallet cart (pump jack) to move everything around when
loading the truck, and so each machine is still sitting on a skid of
It's been seven months since I loaded the truck, and a month or so
longer since I ran any of the machines.
I'm 6' 2" tall, and almost that far in circumference!! My 10" X 30"
SB bench lathe is mounted on a decently high custom wood and metal
framed bench with casters, and with jack bolts to level and steady it
on the floor. This puts the centre of the spindle at exactly 48" from
floor level. Works good for me. I remember thinking to myself,
especially running the surface grinder and not as bad but more often
the 13 X 40 lathe, that I'm getting old and that this stance with a
slight bend all the time is a real pain (pun intended). So this
morning I'm moving the 15 X 60 into it's hopefully final resting spot
ready to lower it down off the skids to the concrete floor, and
realize that this extra 6 inches of distance off the floor seems like
it might be nice if left it there at that height. I measured, and
both it and the 13 X 40, up on the skids each have a spindle centre
height of 50" I can't leave it on the "skids" that it/they are on,
because lathes inherently being pretty top-heavy and narrow stanced,
the skid pieces stick way out front-to-back (prevent tipping in
moving/shipping). But I am considering placing it, and the other
machines, up on blocks of PT wood timbers of say 6" X 6" X
cabinet/foot depth. I think I would put maybe 1/4" plate between the
riser and each foot of the machine(s).
Any comments or suggestions, pro or con?
Anybody else done this?
Any thoughts as to what will happen as the humidity changes?
Maybe I'd try it temporarily, and if it goes good I could make up some
metal blocking. I could do it either way right now, but expedience is
to try the wood.
Any comments today or ASAP (want to get going here now!!) would be
appreciated, although I don't really know what the big rush is!!
Take care.
Brian Lawson.
(cross-posted to rec.crafts.metalworking and modeleng-list)
Reply to
Brian Lawson
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I paid particular attention to the working height of my lathe and mill when I built the tables for them. Really makes a difference when spending more than an hour at the machine. Better than wood supports would be 2 6" I-beam boxes, accurately mitre-cut and welded. JR Dweller in the cellar
Brian Laws>
Reply to
JR North
The wood will change size and shape a bit with humidity and time. Better a steel base, or if you are sure you don't want to move it you can build up a base out of concrete block and mortar.
I'm only 5' 11" and 48 to 50 inch spindle height feels about right for me. You might experiment with another inch or two height. You also want your elbows at close to a 90 degree angle when spinning the wheels. That will probably fall in place with a 50-52 inch spindle height for somone your height.
Here's some human factors input on the conventional lathe arrangement and height.
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"Some years ago, researchers compared the relative positions of the controls on a lathe with the size of an average male worker. It was found that the lathe operator would have to stoop and move from side to side to operate the lathe controls. An ?ideal? sized person to fit the lathe would be just 4.5 feet tall, 2 feet across the shoulders and have an arm span of 8 feet."
Reply to
Brian Lawson wrote in news:
Use some round stock (Ø3-4") face the bottom and top to the needed height, put a recess in the top to fit the jack screw feet. We have these under our automated CNC equipment all over the plant. If you have problems with walk, epoxy them to the floor.
Reply to
You and I are about the same height. After a couple back surgeries, I dont like to bend over much, and I work from a stool in front of the mill or lathe a lot. As my shop floor is dirt with the heavier machines on slabs only big enough for the individual machines, Ive put everything not on slabs on 4x4s or 6x6s just to keep them off the ground, and even a few of the machines on slabs are on 4xs or 6xs as they come up to a far easier working height for me. Ive not noticed any significant problem with the wood changing dimensions on me, but then the lathes all tend to have 3 point mounting (Hardinge) which makes no difference as to level, etc
The Logan shaper got mounted on a 6x6 "pallet" as it tends to want to take a walk when running, and its pinned to the floor with sucker rod driven into the ground through the 6x6s in a couple places.
Gunner s "The British attitude is to treat society like a game preserve where a certain percentage of the 'antelope' are expected to be eaten by the "lions". Christopher Morton
Reply to
I'm your height but much narrower. :-) My lathe bench is 36-1/2" high and my lathe adds another 12" to the spindle for a 48-1/2" total. I find it comfortable to operate either standing or sitting on a bar stool. I wrote up the design of it and my layout table which may interest you.
I like the design of the layout table more than the lathe table. If I were to do another lathe bench, I would use the design of the layout table but with cross bracing added for better rigidity and anti-vibration characteristics.
Reply to
Ted Edwards
I recently installed my Rockwell lathe on concrete pads. I used 1x6 lumber to make the forms, so my lathe is raised 5.5 inchs which is about right for me (I'm 6 foot tall).
I determined where I wanted the lathe and drilled two holes in the floor where each concrete pad would be. I pounted re-bar into the holes. The idea is to prevent lateral movement of the pads.
I positined the lathe where I wanted it and raised it up a little higher than the forms. I slide the forms under the lathe and suspended bolts into the empty form hanging from the lathe mounting points. I wired some re-bar between the bolts and a couple cross pieces too. I used 3 bags of concrete mix to fill both forms. Concrete cost about 3 dollars a bag.
After the concrete set, I lifted the lathe up with a automotive floor jack and used washers to level it. It worked well and didn't cost much. chuck
Reply to
Charles A. Sherwood
Howdy! The ergonomic term for your 48" is "standing elbow rest height". Stand and lift your hands bending the arm at the elbow with hands flat, palm down and the forearm parallel to the ground. Then measure from the ground to the palm of your hand. This is 'your' "standing elbow rest height". If you measure most machines, you will find the main controls are no where near your working height. Too low and you get a back ache, too high and you get pain between your shoulders. When you do the measuring, you need to take into account the shoes you are wearing and anything you may be standing on like a rubber mat.
How close does the height need to be? As with most things ergonomic, "it depends". Typically the degree of pain will be a function of the height deviation from ideal and the amount of time spent doing the activity. A 1/4" deviation will be not be noticed if you only spend 10 minutes a day doing a task. But the same 1/4" will be torture if you do the same task for hours at a time. Just as important as getting the machine to the right height is making sure that you have adequate illumination. You will defeat the effort of adjusting the machine height if you don't have enough light. Bending closer to your work so you can see better in dim light will give you back pain just like a machine that is too low.
I usually take the time to get the setup close with wood blocks and try that for awhile, adjusting the height with washers until I feel good working at the machine. Then I go to a more permanent solution, usually a 2" angle iron frame with cross bracing and 3/4" nuts welded to the inside of the angle iron veticals. This way I use 3/4" bolts, head down, as adjustable feet since my shop floor is neither level nor flat.
As in most things, YMMV.
Just a thought,
Rick Dulas
Reply to
Dr. Spiff

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