Flip Top Lathe Bench - Pro's and con's ? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Default Flip Top Lathe Bench - Pro's and con's ?

Hi to all,

I have, by most of your standards a small workshop. It was even smaller and I have just finished a new addition of another 8' x 4' section now giving me a new wide part that is 10' x 8', the rest is still just 6' wide!

The new part is really awesome and I can now build much larger things and cut up even bigger boards as the whole front 8' wall is a window that swings outwards like a canopy. It is such a pleasure to be able to break down an 8 x 4 sheet without having to do it outside (and it seemed to ALWAYS rain when I had to).

Anyway enough excited rambling on. Now to the main reason for this post. Since I got my new larger space I have become very appreciative of it and would like to gain more room. I can't expand outwards any further so I decided on space saving mods.

I Recently built a flip top stand for my Fox router table and SIP Planer/Thicknesser and am pleased with the outcome, but that little voice in my head is saying make more space. What I came up with was that my lathe goes unused for long periods and maybe when I do use it it is only for a few days at most at a time.

Bingo thinks I, move the lathe and I gain a bench, but it's a real pain to put the lathe somewhere and then there is all the setup, so I decided to make a flip top table with just the lathe on one side and a decent size workbench on the other.

Now the problems start! Nowhere on the internet can I find any info about anyone doing the same thing. Surely I can't be the first to think of this? Or is there some reason that no-one has made one before. I have no problem constructing the thing, in fact it is almost done, it's overall size is 5' x 2' and has a torsion box top made from 3/4 ply and 2" inserts so with its thin ply protective sheet on each side it is 3 1/2" thick and VERY strong. I can sit on the center and it does not deflect noticeably. My only worry is WHY no-one has done it before?

So if anyone out there has tried, failed, succeeded or simply had a good reason not to start please let me know. Maybe then that little niggling doubt will go away.

Worst case scenario I put a couple screws in and have a standard bench at least!

Any thoughts guys?

Al
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 08:15 PM
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Well Al sounds like a good idea so when you done post some pictures you get to be first

Last edited by Semipro; 08-12-2014 at 02:38 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 11:06 PM
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The only reason I can think of is vibration Al. I have a very good book on turning by Mike Darlow and he said the heavier the better and that some turners he knew were even weighting down their lathe stands with sandbags. If you haven't already done that then I don't see a big disadvantage yet by doing what you are.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
I have, by most of your standards a small workshop.

Nowhere on the internet can I find any info about anyone doing the same thing.
I know the feeling, my shop is 8'X12', and I feel fortunate to have that much.

Never seen any on-line, but there's probably something out there somewhere. However, there is always a however, I have seen something similar in a book on small shops. Also saw a lathe with the top hinged against the wall. You could always hang it against the wall, then set it on a workbench and clamp it down.

I had a lathe, but finally got rid of it because the only thing I found that I liked to make on it were carving mallets. And once you've got a dozen or so of varying sizes and weights, you really don't need more. What I did was make a top for it, plywood for the work top, with short bow 'legs' fitting the lathe bed. Viola, got more workbench space, and almost instant access to the lathe if I needed it - I didn't.

If it were me, it wouldn't bother me if anyone had done it or not, I'd just go ahead and see what I could come up with that would work for me. I say, go for it.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 06:31 AM
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Main reason I have not considered it , is flipping a 175lb lathe didn't sound like much fun!
My new lathe is floor standing, so not even an option!

As long as you can rotate it safely, sounds like a great idea for a small shop.

I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:50 AM
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Al, The only thing I would think about in doing the flip thing is center of gravity. If you have ever used an engine stand, and rotated a car engine while assembling it, you would know how easily it can pendulum out of control. Good luck!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 10:55 AM
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I would be REAL hesitant to put a lathe a flip top cart. Any lathe should stand on a strong and stable surface. The reason being is that for bigger stuff you can be working with pieces that are off balance and that can create a lot of vibration and movement. The stand for the lathe needs to be able to absorb that with out moving around. With a flip top, even a sturdy one, there are now many points of failure that may not be able to withstand the (sometimes very strong) vibration from the lathe.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by NiceG316 View Post
I would be REAL hesitant to put a lathe a flip top cart. Any lathe should stand on a strong and stable surface. The reason being is that for bigger stuff you can be working with pieces that are off balance and that can create a lot of vibration and movement. The stand for the lathe needs to be able to absorb that with out moving around. With a flip top, even a sturdy one, there are now many points of failure that may not be able to withstand the (sometimes very strong) vibration from the lathe.
I agree with you Mike. Personally I don't want anything on a flip cart, I'd rather lift one machine than have to spin 2 or 3. And like you say, there is the stability thing, especially with a lathe.

Maybe motorized with lockdowns... nah, too much trouble.

I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dmeadows View Post
I agree with you Mike. Personally I don't want anything on a flip cart, I'd rather lift one machine than have to spin 2 or 3. And like you say, there is the stability thing, especially with a lathe.

Maybe motorized with lockdowns... nah, too much trouble.
Hi guys,

Lockdowns and motors! Hmm sounds interesting especially as I have access to a virtually unlimited number of very powerful 24v linear actuators and have an electronics background.

Also I was initially planning on having the window/canopy opening by actuators but sadly the forces were too much, not for the actuators but for the hinges! My son who has an engineering job told me that the entire force of the actuators and the weight of the window would act on the hinges at the first point of opening and when he worked it out it was staggering how much force would be on the hinges.

Anyway I am taking on board all the comments and trying to defend against failure where I can, but since I have started building I may as well continue. As I said before if it does fail I can always just permanently lock it down and at least I will have a strong bench.

I will post some pics tomorrow if I can get the wife into the shop to take them.

Keep the comments coming, ALL knowledge is valuable!

Regards, Al
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 04:44 PM
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Hi Al. I look forward to seeing your pictures. Hope it works well for you!

I come from an electronics background also, but I am fortunate to have enough space to not need to go that way even though it does sound like a fun project.

PS. Al, I have seen designs for a triangle affair for 3 smaller tools, and I suppose they counterbalance each other. I am Interested to see how you handle that with one big heavy tool! You might just be on to something.

I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Last edited by Dmeadows; 08-12-2014 at 04:49 PM.
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