Gettin’ My Ass Kicked By Yet Another Little Project


Frustrating sonofabitch anyway.

I have been fucking with an “Upgrade” to the saddle on my little Chinesium Mini Lathe for over a month now and it is just kicking my ass.

It was supposed to be a little complicated according to the video that Mini Lathe Guru Steve Jordan put out over a year ago but it went South right out of the gate.

You can watch the video if you want to get an idea of what all was involved but keep in mind this is his second generation upgrade to the carriage. This builds on one he put out a long time ago where he puts studs in it but he took that video down. I had already done that one too before I decided to tackle this one.

The first five minutes of this will get you right up to speed.

Should be pretty simple right?

Remember where you are at.

The first thing I did was go have a bunch of steel cut.

Then using his measurements, I started making the slide that goes up underneath the inner edges of the ways.

IMG_20200124_202404 (1)

I got this all done before I even laid a finger on my lathe.

My first mistake.

It never occurred to me that just maybe those Chinese bastards maybe might have changed some shit up  in the parts they used to put these things together.

The minute I took the carriage off my lathe I knew I was a fucked duck and that this was going to be a MAJOR undertaking.

You see, the saddle on his lathe is basically a rectangle so it was no problem drilling a couple of holes out on the edges in the middle to bolt this sliding piece to.

I got my saddle off , took one look at it and said Oh Shit.

This is what mine looks like and this is straight off the Little Machine Shop parts page which means that this is the only style available now, which is exactly what I have.


Notice there is no metal in the middle of the damn thing on the outer edges?


Fuck me.

So I took the thing off, came up with an idea on how to fill those in but had to have my friend mill those openings out so that the edges were square. Then he machined some stock down to fill the holes. Except I cut one of them wrong, had to go buy some more stock, cut it again and hand fit both pieces to fit the openings because they were of course two different sizes.

That alone was two weekends of headaches.


I hand lapped that piece in the middle and it is a PERFECT fit.

Here are the filler pieces after hand fitting them then drilling while clamped to the saddle so they fit exactly where they are supposed to.



Then I had to hand lap everything to fit again.

Yanking back and forth on that thing until my tongue was hanging out.

It was necessary though as there were a couple of tight spots.

I also did the tail stock too because it never has fit right but that turned into a shit storm of it’s own and is going to have to be addressed later now.

So it was put it together, fit it, take it back off, put it back on, lap it, take it back off to find the tight spots and repeat until you hear cows bellowing outside the garage door wanting in.

Then there was the shimming.

Holy fuck what a nightmare that was and I do believe I am going to have to go back and do it again.

You might be able to see the shims in between the Brass slides I made for the first upgrade here,




All of this messing around trying to get rid of the slop in the carriage. They are NOTORIOUS for rocking back and forth, front to back and cocking side to side under a load..

I am still having some serious problems but part of that is because I shot myself in the foot by fucking with the tail stock at the same time. On top of that I am using a hunk of scrap stainless steel bar to use as a test bar and that shit doesn’t want to cut worth a damn in the first place. The excessive runout in the chuck caused by me crashing into it shortly after I got the thing is just gravy on top of everything else.

The carriage is jumping under power feed, it refuses to cut evenly and on top of that now there is a serious taper because the tail stock is out of alignment after I fucked it up when I was lapping it in using emery cloth  face up on the ways. It kind of rounded out the leading and trailing edges of the Vee underneath the base of the tail stock, which ain’t that big to begin with.

The original machining underneath it looked like it had been done with a chain saw to begin with and it sat a full 1/8th of an inch high on one side from being flat and level.

A shitty casting followed up by shitty machine work.

A new base for that is in order and I will get one of those coming but for right now I still have several other more pressing issues to work out.

This little Mini Lathe is testing the limits of my patience at every step so far and I am writing this post right now as an excuse to get away from the motherfucker for a few minutes.

I was pretty close to opening the garage door and seeing just how far I could fling the little fucker a bit ago and decided I needed to step away and regain my composure.

If and when I ever get this little issue fixed there are eight more lined up right behind it.

The compound on these things are a joke, the quick change tool post I bought is a disappointment, I am hearing bearing noise out of the head stock and that whole thing needs to be torn apart and upgraded also.

Then there is of course the tail stock.

This miserable piece of shit is the perfect thing for me. I just love the never ending challenges it has to offer, it never will wind up being worth a damn plus I get to throw stupid amounts of money at it while cursing profusely using words never uttered by man before and making a big mess all at the same time.

In other words, it is the Ford Bronco of lathes.

Game On.




15 thoughts on “Gettin’ My Ass Kicked By Yet Another Little Project

  1. Good luck getting any replacement parts made of chinesium out of… China.

    Might start looking for an old Southbend, Logan or Sheldon. Even a knackered, clapped out version of one of those made sometime pre WWII would probably be better than your cheap-assed craptastic junkolium lathe.

    And fixing up an old lathe would probably make you happier, as even a crappy casting by Southbend is far and away ahead of most ‘quality’ castings from Red China’s finest Peoples’ Liberation Army Cast Iron Factory #14352-B.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trust me Beans, I have been looking to get my grubby little mitts on something like that since before I got this piece of shit.
      It is a matter of time and finding a really good deal. Actually I am looking for something even older if I can find one that isn’t a boat anchor in disguise.


  2. Maybe too late, but have you considered using tercite? Much easier to scrape and fit that than trying to hand lap that stuff to fit. You may even be able to fabricate gibs for it to make it easier to adjust the slop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I was pretty close to opening the garage door and seeing just how far I could fling the little fucker”… Then we would read a post of how you’re laid up with a bad back. 🙂 Not a good idea.

    Take a look at this company. I used this on an older Kitamura Mycenter3x. The turcite had gone bad on one of the gibs and this was the easiest solution. It worked for me.

    Do some reading on it and or search youtube

    Shoot me an email and I will give you a call.

    You can also watch vids on Turcite. I have had that done as well when rebuilding machines.
    It’s fine art and you need “Patience” LOL


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shawn and Irish.
      OK, I get it with this stuff. It reminds me of when I had to use the Liquid Steel to fix the table on my drill press that had twenty holes drilled all the way across it.
      I should be able to come up with the necessary ingredients for some Home Brew Moglice like the dude in the first video.
      I only need tiny bit, probably less than a teaspoon full for that tail stock base. The damn thing is only about three inches long and it’s just the ends of the Vee that need it.
      A brand new tail stock casting is fifty bucks. That’s the only way to get a new base, buy the whole thing.
      If I had a mini mill I could make one.
      I may just go buy the dove tail mill and have my buddy make one for me if it comes to that.
      It may be a while but I’ll put up a post when I get to that point.
      I’m still fucking around with the carriage.


  4. Despite being almost at the end of your patience, you’re STILL a funny bastard when describing your lathe and other adventures. Keep on smilin’


  5. I ran lathes and chuckers for many years. Started on a USN surplus Clausing beltdrive- 2:1 dial, no brake, and worst of all, thumb screw feed engagement that got too tight to unscrew when carriage neared end of cut. That machine was a freakin’ nightmare. Almost forgot- it had no hard stops and an untrustworthy Travadial. That fucker took years off my life.
    OTOH my favorite was a sweet little Victor 16 X 30. Smooth, true and accurate as our Hardinge toolroom lathe. And unlike the Hardinge, the compound handle didn’t interfere with the carriage or cross slide feed at any angle.
    I wonder where it is now?


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