South Bend lathe milling attachment – Part I

I bought a South Bend Model A lathe late last summer.  It is a wonderful tool that has greatly increased my capabilities, allowing me to make, among other things, my own saw bolts/nuts and saw filing guides.

Although this lathe brought me one step closer to my goal of being able to make all of my own parts in-house, I still want to mill my own slots for the spines.  As much as I would love to own a Bridgeport or other full-sized mill, space and other constraints simply make that impossible at this time.

A few months ago, my friend and machinist mentor John brought up the idea of building a milling attachment for the South Bend lathe.  After much discussion, sketching, and research, we came up with what looks like a working idea.

The attachment shown in the SketchUp model below mounts permanently to the lathe bed.  The spindle is mounted on an old machinist vise for vertical/height adjustment, and uses the lathe carriage and cross feed for travel in the X and Y directions.  It will have 18 inches of travel in the X direction, allowing me to mill spines for saws up to 18 inches long.

The spindle will be driven by a variable speed DC motor mounted behind the lathe.  Power is transmitted by a flat leather belt.

Now all that remains is to turn this idea into a working reality.  With a little luck, it will work out as hoped and planned.  If I fall flat on my face with this, then  back to the drawing board I go…

Front view of milling attachment.

Front view of milling attachment.

Side view of milling attachment.

Side view of milling attachment.


This entry was posted in SB lathe milling attachment, Toolmaking. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *