Minilathe Milling Attachment

Milling Attachment for the Minilathe
Note that the Z-axis is not complete in this photo

A milling attachment for a lathe provides a vertical axis in addition to the two horizontal axes the lathe already has. With it, the lathe can be used for light milling.

I designed and built this on with two requirements in mind: no modifications to the lathe or the vise; and simple installation. I met the latter requirement by making the attachment bolt to the compound in place of the four-sided toolpost, retained by the tailstock nut.

Mounts in place of the tool post
Note that the Z-axis is not complete in this photo

I didn't quite meet the first requirement because the placement of the attachment on the toolpost placed it too far forward, requiring that I move the compound back an inch. This only required drilling and tapping one hole in the lathe cross slide, which is easily done and not very critical in terms of exact location.

Palmgren 1.5" vise retained by 1/4" bolt

The vise should not have required any modifications, as the plan called for removing one of the screws that hold the jaw retainer, and replacing it with a bolt long enough to pass through the vertical slide of the milling attachment. Unfortunately, this vise has very odd sized screws (7/32") and I was unable to find one in my junk pile, so I drilled and tapped a new hole for a 1/4" bolt (stolen off an old C-clamp).

Vise Connecting Bolt

The Z-axis is operated by a 1/4" threaded rod passing through the vertical slide and into a small block. There is a slot turned on the end of the rod, and a small pin in the block engages the slot to retain the rod. The block has a 1/4" hole through which passes the 1/4" bolt on the underside of the vise.

Z-axis mechanism

The vise can rotate around the long axis of the lathe to allow milling at any angle. It has about 3" of vertical travel and 3" off front-to-back travel.



© 2003 W. E. Johns