Watch this video introduction to aligning your lathe's headstock and tailstock. Tech expert Kurt Repsher walks you through how to use the Edge Technology Tailstock Alignment Bar, and explains the benefits of aligning your lathe's tailstock to the headstock. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and be the first to see more awesome how-to videos like this one!
The Benefits Of aligning Your Lathe's Tailstock To The Headstock
If your lathe is cutting a taper, your lathe's tailstock and headstock are not aligned. Like any rotating machinery, a lathe needs to be properly aligned in order to run efficiently and produce quality parts. Aligning your lathe, and aligning any machine, delivers a number of key benefits, including:
- Aligned machinery minimizes waste: When out of alignment, your machinery is more likely to produce faulty parts. A tapered workpiece or an out of tolerance part may require additional machining, or to be scrapped. Aligning your machinery increases your accuracy and your efficiency.
- Aligned machinery improves your working environment: An aligned machine will vibrate less, reducing noice levels and allowing smoother, more accurate machining.
Why Use a tailStock Alignment Bar?
Manual alignment of your lathe's tailstock to the headstock can be cumbersome and time-consuming, and results can be varied. Use of a Tailstock Alignment Bar to align the tailstock to the headstock allows you to both save time and ensure you have eliminated any taper on your workpieces. Accurate alignment is critical to eliminate any taper in work pieces that are supported by the tailstock. Use of a quality tailstock alignment bar makes the process of tailstock alignment fast, easy and accurate.
The Edge Technology tailStock Alignment Bar
While a variety of tailstock alignment bars are available, the Edge Technology Tailstock Alignment Bar is a popular option that is highly regarded by both professional machinists and enthusiasts for the bar's ease of use. The high strength anodized finish aluminum bar is equipped with steel bar ends that are precision ground after assembly to offer superior accuracy, with bar end diameters equal within 0.0002". Use of this tailstock alignment bar allows you to align the tailstock to the headstock in a few steps that can be completed quickly and easily:
STep 1: Install tailstock alignment bar between centers
Insert a morse taper dead center into your lathe's Tailstock. Align a dial test indicator, digital test indicator, dial drop indicator, or digital drop indicator that is held by a magnetic base indicator holder that is on your lathe's carriage and align the point of the indictor to the center of the morse taper dead center in your tailstock. Either remove your chuck and insert a dead center into the spindle, or insert a dead center into a sleeve, and place the assembly into your chuck. Insert the Tailstock Alignment Bar Into the headstock side of your lathe. Move the bar close to the tailstock side, and adjust the tailstock as needed to allow for the Tailstock Alignment bar to fit securely between the centers.
STep 2: Introduce an indicator
Attach a dial test indicator, digital test indicator, dial drop indicator, or digital drop indicator, to the cross slide surface of your lathe using a tool post indicator or a magnetic base indicator holder. Align the indicator tip with the Tailstock Alignment Bar end on the headstock side. Use cross slide to depress the indicator as needed, and zero the indicator face.
STep 3: Align The lathe's Tailstock To The Headstock
Without moving the cross slide, move the carriage until the indicator tip is aligned with the opposite end of the Tailstock Alignment Bar. Adjust the tailstock until the indicator reads zero. Now your tailstock is properly aligned with the headstock on your lathe.
TECH TIP: Intentionally moving your tailstock to create a taper? If desired, you can use the Edge Technology Tailstock Alignment Bar to position the tailstock for cutting slight tapers. The distance between the alignment bar ends is 12" (304.8mm). The amount of taper per foot is read directly from the indicator as the tailstock is adjusted.
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