READY TO GO "POSTAL" IF I CAN'T FIX MY TAILSTOCK!!

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Ric

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I am at "wits end" when it comes to trying to get my tail-stock reasonably straight when I tighten down the cam.
When I slide my tail-sock into place & tighten down the cam, the whole unit moves about 1/8".
It is so bad that I have been placing shims under the edge to build up one side so that it doesn't throw my centre out of "whack."
Is there something I can do to correct this, other than purchase a better quality lathe.
This lathe is a Commander 12" Variable Speed which is P.S.I.'s top end. for most part I am impressed with this machine, but this tail-stock problem is gonna make me do something rash!
Any suggestions..please let me know.
Thanks for listening....Ric.:mad:
IF LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS....MAKE MOJITOS !
 
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Skie_M

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When locking up, it's going off center?



If it's a type that cams shut from underneath with a split bed lathe, you could shim it and glue the shims in place once you find the right alignment ...

If it's an adjustable type made for off-center and taper work, there is an alignment bar you can get that will help you get it back on center, but you'll need access to the underside of the tailstock to loosen the adjustment hold downs and fix it in proper position so you can re-tighten them after alignment is finished.


Check out this post! :)

Tailstock Alignment Tool
 
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KenV

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Good Morning Richard

Wood lathes align on the inside of the ways (slot in the bed) and are not a tight fit such as on the metal lathes. Depending in the manufacturer specs, some have more play than others.

I checked to see which side provides the better alignment and depending on the lathe, either push it to the back or pull it to front to firmly mate to one side of the ways. I have two lathes and best alignment is opposite between them.

That gives good axial alignment with the head stock and tailstock parallel as well as pretty good spatial match within a few thousands. It is a wood lathe and was not designed, made, and priced as a precision device.

Our wood lathes are much better than those of a few decades ago in precision,, stability, and power, but still have a fair amount of slop compared to machine work equipment.
 
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Ric

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Yes it is, that's when it goes off centre. I have slid the t/stock off the back of the bed & the only adjustment that I see is a bolt that lessens or lengths the amount of travel in the cam when you cinch it down.
You suggested adhering strips to the underside to offset the variance is that what you thin should be done?
Thanx.. Ric.
 

Skie_M

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Yeah ... I suggest using some brass shim stock so that it wont wear against the bed of the lathe. The brass will wear out before damaging the lathe bed, so you'll have to replace the shims periodically, but it should work. Just make sure that when you lock down that cam, you're as close to dead center as you can be, not only right in front of the headstock, but also 5 - 10 inches away .... you can turn a test bar out of hardwood, as is mentioned in that Alignment Tool thread, or you can just get one of those tools. Check out the alignment video that is linked in that thread and you'll see a lot more of what I'm talking about.
 

KenV

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Thanx Ken, I assume you are referring to the plate on the bottom of the cam when you tell me to push it all the way back, or forward?
Nothing so fancy. My left hand pushes the bottom of the tailstock against the ways as my right hand pulls the lever to tighten the lock. The push/nudge is just to assure the front and back of the tailstock are against the same side of the lathe bed. (Big lathe is a push. little lathe is a pull).
 

low_48

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Peoria, IL, USA.
I am at "wits end" when it comes to trying to get my tail-stock reasonably straight when I tighten down the cam.
When I slide my tail-sock into place & tighten down the cam, the whole unit moves about 1/8".
It is so bad that I have been placing shims under the edge to build up one side so that it doesn't throw my centre out of "whack."
Is there something I can do to correct this, other than purchase a better quality lathe.
This lathe is a Commander 12" Variable Speed which is P.S.I.'s top end. for most part I am impressed with this machine, but this tail-stock problem is gonna make me do something rash!
Any suggestions..please let me know.
Thanks for listening....Ric.:mad:
IF LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS....MAKE MOJITOS !
What direction does it move?
 

TwinkE

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I am at "wits end" when it comes to trying to get my tail-stock reasonably straight when I tighten down the cam. When I slide my tail-sock into place & tighten down the cam, the whole unit moves about 1/8". It is so bad that I have been placing shims under the edge to build up one side so that it doesn't throw my centre out of "whack." Is there something I can do to correct this, other than purchase a better quality lathe. This lathe is a Commander 12" Variable Speed which is P.S.I.'s top end. for most part I am impressed with this machine, but this tail-stock problem is gonna make me do something rash! Any suggestions..please let me know. Thanks for listening....Ric.:mad: IF LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS....MAKE MOJITOS !
Does it line up prior to locking the cam? My tailstock was out of alignment and it turned out to be the lathe wasnt level. I didnt think that could possibly be the issue but I leveled the stand and it lined back up. Something to check if you havent already.
 

TurtleTom

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Does it line up prior to locking the cam? My tailstock was out of alignment and it turned out to be the lathe wasnt level. I didnt think that could possibly be the issue but I leveled the stand and it lined back up. Something to check if you havent already.[/QUOTE]

This probably isn't a problem if the lathe is iron and isn't bolted down. But, in the machine shop we leveled the lathes with a level that was traceable to The Bureau of Standards (now The National Institute of Standards and Technology)
 
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Bean_Counter

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Thanx Ken, I assume you are referring to the plate on the bottom of the cam when you tell me to push it all the way back, or forward?
Nothing so fancy. My left hand pushes the bottom of the tailstock against the ways as my right hand pulls the lever to tighten the lock. The push/nudge is just to assure the front and back of the tailstock are against the same side of the lathe bed. (Big lathe is a push. little lathe is a pull).
I have the same problem with my PSI turncrafter and this is exactly what I have to do to align the head and tail stock. This is probably the only down fall with this lathe. It's not a big deal just annoying at times if you forget and out of around when TBC.
 

Skie_M

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For KenV and Bean Counter ...


Why not pull that tailstock off and apply some nylon shims underneath so that you don't have to remember to push/pull while locking down anymore?
 

TonyL

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How about guitar pics - they are inexpensive, can be cut, and come in various thicknesses?
Separately, I have also known PSI to honor their lathe warranty.
 

Bean_Counter

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For KenV and Bean Counter ...


Why not pull that tailstock off and apply some nylon shims underneath so that you don't have to remember to push/pull while locking down anymore?
Thanks for the suggestion, but for myself I don't have the time and or the pressing need to do it. I just see it as a casual annoyance that is easily remedied by just pulling the tail stock towards me when locking it down.
 

Ric

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Thank you Skie_M, KenV, Low48,TwinkE,& TurtleTom for all your responses. It seems from the consensus so far that I am doing exactly what you have all suggested already. I have been first making sure that my lathe is perfectly level, then I bring the tail stock up to just short of my mandrel, Tighten down the cam on the tail stock while looking at the centre & my mandrel to see how much the tail stock moves to the left when I tighten it down, then I select the correct size of "feeler gauge" slipping it under the centre of the base of the tail stock(that seems to be the place that has the best bang for the buck) & then tighten it down while looking if there has been any side motion in my tail stock while doing this. Then I turn my tail stock into my mandrel...
I wasn't sure what to expect when I wrote the original message, ,perhaps I was thinking that the problem may have been the plate on the bottom of the cam not being machined properly, or something...but nobody seemed to consider that solution, so I guess I can rule that one out....Thank you very much for your help fellow "pen turners" I hope that I can return the favour to you all sometime....Ric.
 

Ric

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Hello TonyL I hadn't thought of guitar picks, god knows I have enough of them just laying about. When I purchased the lathe back about 3 years ago now I had another problem with the electrical unit being broken when I received my shipment. I notified their Tech Services (Tony I think) & we discussed it. I would have had to pay for the shipment back to P.S.I & that cost would have made the journey from my location, not exactly a expense I wanted to incur. (I live in Chilliwack B.C. Canada.) So I fixed the problem myself.
I suspect that the situation & policy for P.S.I. has not changed in the past 3 years, so I think that option may be out once again, also I think perhaps the warranty has expired by now.
Now don't get me wrong P.S.I. has always treated me with respect, going out of their way to fix most any problem I have had, so I'm not "ragging" on them. It's just a fact of life these days. Thanx..Ric.
 

TurtleTom

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I don't believe shimming is the slightest bit realistic with anything other than shim stock. You are probably talking less than 0.010". Beer can is about 0.005, paper 0.003". Try testing with various THIN materials to find out how much, or just use an indicator. Remember if you shim the front, then you have to check again to see if the back also needs it, which it probably does. Brass shim stock is readily available in any thickness from Amazon suppliers.
Very little can be done without knowing exactly how much and in which direction the discrepancy occurs.
It is possible to braze (with brass) the bottom, but you could probably buy a new lathe for what it would cost.
 
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TonyL

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Forgive me if this has been covered or the issue has been resolved.

I was cleaning the top and inside rails of my lathe bed, and I fully removed my tailstock. I noticed that the bottom surfaces of my tailstock had never been cleaned and some light rust and debris had accumulated. I used the T-9 cleaners and protectorant to clean-up the surfaces. There are also some "female-angled" grooves that needed some cleaning under it. Anyway, clean or not, I thought that inspecting the surfaces under the tailstock maybe a "good" place to look for any sources of misalignment. I don't know...just trying to eliminate all possibilities.
 

Ric

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I mentioned my problem to an older long retired machinist, who was able to help in record time. we took off my tail-stock took it over to his shop where he set it up on the strangest combination milling machine & planner I have ever seen. He mentioned that this was his "invention" He clamped down the tail-stock under one side & ever so carefully milled off a couple of "thou" off one side. I took it back home slid the tail back on the sleighs, clamped it down with a live centre on the chuck & one in the tail-stock & to my surprise both points of the centres lined up as if they were made that way.
This guy is now getting a "Nouveau Sceptre" in buck-eye burl for Xmas this year. I better make sure its the best pen I have ever made, I'm sure he will see any imperfections.
Anyway...Thank you every one that replied & offered advice on this problem. I appreciate all the suggestions. Thanx...Ric
"IF LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS...MAKE MOJITOS !"
 

Ric

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Well I think I have finally found a solution to my "tail-stock" problem. On Tuesday I contacted Penn State Industries once again about this problem & was able to get a hold of a very helpful tech in their service department. His name is Bob & he was so much more helpful than my last experience dealing with that department. He did not ask me to ship the lathe back to them as the last person had told me to do, because he was at a loss to find an outfit here in Canada that they could trust to fix the problem. Instead Bob had me take a few measurements of the bed width & height & he then arranged to send me out another one at no charge.
At the same time I was experiencing a problem with the switch box. It had begun to crackle & smoke, which them would interrupt the signal going to the lathe controller which would make the lathe stop. Bob was also quick to solve this problem as well & has now sent me out a new control box with my tail-stock parts.
what a huge difference than the last time i had to deal with that department. Bob was very informative & helpful & did everything he could to rectify MY problem. I am happy that I took your guys advice here & tried contacting P.S.I. again.
The bitter taste I had in my mouth from my previous experience with the Service Department is now a distant memory.
 
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