Minilathe Carriage Lock


Carriage Lock for the Minilathe

On more than one occasion, I've noticed the carriage of the lathe move when I've been facing or milling. Engaging the half nuts on the stationary lead screw helps, but not much. This simple carriage lock solves the problem.

It bolts to the carriage where the follow rest goes - the manufacturer of the lathe generously provided two 6x1 metric threaded holes, temporarily plugged with grub screws, for that purpose.

I cut a T-shaped piece from 1-5/8" x 1/2" aluminum bar stock, and drilled it to match the spacing of the provided follow rest holes. Since I've never had more than one tool in the tool post, and it used the same size screws as the follow rest, I reused two the cap screws from the tool post, though I had to shorten them. (When you're a good scrounger, the world is your hardware store.) I plugged the holes in the tool post with the grub screws from the follow rest holes, so even they found a use. ("When I was a boy, we used every part of the lathe!")

Using my milling attachment I carefully drilled a 1/4" hole through the carriage lock for a 1/4-20 2" cap screw (I wanted to use 6mm, but didn't have any). This screws into a T-nut of sorts that goes under the ways, which I milled out of aluminum. I also counterbored all three cap screws to recess the heads (otherwise they interfere with the compound slide).

The disadvantage to this design is that the compound rest sometimes blocks access to the tightening screw. The advantage is that it's really, really easy to make.


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© 2003 W. E. Johns