Ya Know, Having A Small Lathe Is Pretty Cool

Having TWO small lathes is freaking AWESOME!

You can use one, to fix the other!

I finally got around to trying to put the New And Improved! Tail Stock together for that damn Mini Lathe that has been the bane of my existence since the day I got it, even though I wanted it Very Badly.

You may recall a good friend of mine made me a new and bigger base for it in his spare time that wound up taking even longer than either one of us expected.

It’s one full inch longer, which doesn’t sound like much but is almost a full one third more than the wimpy one that came with the thing.

I have had that Tail Stock apart for MONTHS.

A trip to Wally World the other day for a spray can of paint that was anything but that nasty Red color the lathe came bathed in resulted in two cans of Hammered Silver coming home with me.

I had already surfaced the main body of the thing and primered it in Flat Black so it was just sitting there waiting for a new color update.

I’m liking this new paint and am now fighting the urge to tear this thing completely down and make it look like it should have in the first place.

Anyway, that ain’t happening any time soon, I have way too many other things to finish first.

The Tail Stocks on the majority of these Chineseium Mini Lathes had a funky T Bolt and a Nut that you had to snake a wrench in to get at to tighten them down on the ways when you didn’t want them to move. Absolute Crap and one of the first things I did was to make a little tower and a handle for that because the lathe is so short that the handle for the compound was constantly in the damn way of getting any kind of wrench down there .

So when I found an upgraded Tail Stock on Craigslist a couple of years ago that has a locking lever set up on it for only $50 I jumped all over it. That one turned out to be too tall in the end and that was what started this whole fiasco.

This is the original,

The handle I made kept getting in the way too.

It pissed me off one too many times.

I had already painted the new Tail Stock a few days ago so it was plenty cured and ready to go.

Then there was the upgraded connecting rod and bottom plate for the lock that I had problems with when I started putting it all together.

The locking lever has a camming action and when you pull the handle, the cam pulls up on a rod that goes through the ways and pulls up on a plate underneath to lock the Tail Stock into place. The original stuff was fucking Chineseium and weak shit.

The new rod I made wound up being too big around and too long.

This is where having two lathes is so awesome.

The connecting rod and locking plate there at the end.

Instead of having to disturb everything I was working on for the Mini Lathe so I could fix these problems, I chucked it up in the Smithy and fixed it right up. Double bonus, I was able to take the rod out of the chuck on the Smithy, put it on the tail stock, get an idea of where the handle was winding up in the locked position and then put it back in the Smithy, allowing me to fine tune the length of the rod so that now the handle locks in the perfect spot. Before it went way past that and was locking in an inconvenient location.

I had also drilled 4 holes in the body of the tail stock so that I could put 4 Brass screw in the corners to help lock it into place side to side instead of the one single chintzy screw they had originally used for this purpose that dug into the cast iron base and then wouldn’t let you adjust the side to side alignment because every time you tightened the screw back up it would want to recenter its self in that gouge.

Much better.

Pretty much all of these improvements were inspired by watching Youtubes and seeing what other folks have done to these things to improve them.

Notice the new bushing at the end of the Lead Screw that I drilled and installed an oil port in.

That kind of stuff.

I did find that the tail stock is just a smidge too tall still. A tiny bit. I’m not even going to worry about that. This looks like it’s close enough for me.

That Feeler Gauge is just slightly tilted towards the chuck but is good side to side.

Man I can’t tell you how glad I am to get that little project off my plate!

Little parts have been laying all over in the top of that cart the lathe is sitting in, I can’t believe I didn’t lose any of them.


I am going to box up the old Tail Stock and put it away where it won’t get lost, finish cleaning all the crap out of the top of that cart and call that little chore done.

On to the next one.

One of probably 300…. easily.

3 thoughts on “Ya Know, Having A Small Lathe Is Pretty Cool

  1. I bent the head of an 18mm box wrench to 90* to handle the tailstock clamp. Some improvement, just pad the upper end so it’s not a new hazard.


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