Yep... I’m a home-shop machinist, too

After taking metalworking classes in high school, I worked part-time at a small shop where we did all kinds of fabrication that included electrical, sheet metal, plastic, and of course use of the lathe and milling machine. I also learned to weld in college. So... my shop includes all sorts of equipment, tools, and supplies for those tasks.

Crammed into this 8 by 10 foot area is a lathe, mill, drill press, 4x6 cutoff saw, grinder, and oxy-acetylene welder, along with a bench. It’s partially walled off from my woodshop, but I use cloth covers for the machines when dust is in the air.

Below is a photo of my 1958 South Bend Heavy-10 lathe. I restored it in about 7 weeks, taking it down to bare metal and disassembling it down to the last bolt, gear, and tapered pin. This is truly a classic piece of American machinery, the most popular lathe ever built. And it was made to be maintained and rebuilt. I note that restoring machinery is like restoring classic cars, except almost nobody can appreciate it.

Here’s my Chinese drill-mill, the poor man’s vertical mill. It’s a love-hate relationship. Not a great machine, but once you get to know it, and use the right tools and techniques it’s ok. Don’t expect a great finish however; there’s just too much vibration and the column really could be stiffer.

The cabinet is super sturdy, with 4x4 corners, and 1.5” plywood top with formica, which is easy to clean.

The spindle now has an iGaging DRO on it. I made a sheet metal spndle cover to replace the plastic one. Finally added DROs to the X and Y tables, too.

The readouts are now externally powered by 5 VDC derived from a wall-wart transformer and voltage regulator. (Lithium batteries actually last quite long.) This box also powers the ring light, below.

Another very useful addition is a ring light on the spindle. This idea came from the drill-mill Yahoo group. Search on Ebay for “angel eyes” LED rings. They come in many diameters and are really cheap, from China, and run on 12 VDC. Make an enclosure from Lexan or acrylic, with an inside diameter that’s a press-fit over the spindle housing. If it tends to fall off with heavy vibration, a couple dabs of silicone glue will keep it in place. Nice, uniform light and not too dazzling.

Since this photo was taken, I've converted the motor to a DC adjustable speed drive and added a digital tachometer, similar to what's on my drill-mill.

Also there are digital readouts on the carriage and tailstock ram, based on cheap iGaging linear encoders. They work great.