Trying to stay "on the level"

  • DeanThom
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12 years 11 months ago #4523 by DeanThom
DeanThom created the topic: Trying to stay "on the level"
Greetings, trusted sages and keepers of Shopsmith wisdom and lore!

I'm on a quest. I'm trying to figure out a way to ensure that my machine keeps its alignment!

My machine does not have the luxury of being a static machine. I'm in a basement shop situation where I have to regularly move the machine about the space for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the basement also contians the laundry area, storage area, ministry materials sorting/packing/loading area, plus it's the current repository of numerous miscellaneous boxes in various stages of unpack-ed-ness from our last move (don't ask!). And we won't EVEN begin to talk about the current shambles that are my workbench areas. YOY!

The house is old and wonderful. Most of you would be jealous of the wood employed in the decor of my 1911 inner-city home. Tiger-sawn oak wainscoting, inlaid with walnut and maple stripes, matching square pillars entering the living room and again into the "den" (smoking room for the German gent who built the home). The den has what was described to me as a coved ceiling, original germanic wall murals, and two marquetried pictures of outdoor scenes. Neat place, but OLD place with all its foibles.

Among the foibles is the basement floor. Poured concrete, but with a rather unpredictable multidimensional sloping system to one non-central floor drain. Getting the SS to find a nice stable position is a booger! I have LOTS of thin slats and shims that I often use to accomplish some semblance of "level". It's been an irritation for me forever, both in this house and in the last one (which had FOUR such drains--not a level spot to be found). Royal PITA.

Does anyone else have the same irritation? What are YOU doing about it, if anything. A few SSers that I've known over the years have pretty much nailed the thing to the floor in one place, leveled it out and refused to move it: "If I can't do it in this position, I won't do it!" type of attitudes. I can sure understand. Ya get the thing positioned and able to take things on, and then move it and lose the stability. Big bummer

Since the situation is not going to change much if at all, I've been chewing hard on this thing for a couple of months. I think I may have finally come up with at least a tool for easily re-establishing my levels, both L-R & F-B. All I have to do is find, purchase, and install the piece or pieces to make it happen.

I am aware of a nifty single bubble level similar to that used when balancing tires the old-fashioned way, available in lots of variations. Bubble is in a plate rather than in a tube, and is infinite in its directional aptitude ( Sample ). If I can get the SS totally leveled up, and then put this bullseye bubble level on some stable bit of stuff that won't change or interfere with SS "postures", I should be able to easily level it out without having to make even minor adjustments.

The only problem I can really foresee comes with vibration that often happens in lathe mode, in my experience, but I'm getting ready to do something totally different about that problem. I've played with sandbags. While that helps a lot, I have something totally different in mind, but that's a different post!

Your thoughts, gents and ladies?? Experiences, apprehensions? Different approach (short of building a shop with level floors!)? :lol:

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12 years 11 months ago #4526 by ralphtheplumber
ralphtheplumber replied the topic: Re: Trying to stay "on the level"
You could:

1. Get some self-leveling concrete patch and spread it around your shop area. Build a dam where you don't want it, and start slinging it around. Don't forget the little ramp to get in and out.
2. Get some feet off a washing machine. They're screw adjustable, and some of the nicer machines are self-leveling and/or shock-absorbing. Old washers are usually free, but you have to haul the parts you don't need to the junkyard when you're done.

3. Shims.

4. Outriggers.

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12 years 11 months ago #4527 by DeanThom
DeanThom replied the topic: Re: Trying to stay "on the level"
Thanks, Ralph.

Responses to your responses:

1. Really can't do that because I have to be moving the machine regularly to be able to work on a given project, and I can't leave it set up in any convenient place unless I convert it to a lathe only machine. Can't do that.

2. That's possible, actually. And I think that they're pretty much available new at appliance parts stores for little money. Might even be able to match up what's under there somehow.

3. Already do the shim thing. It's fine until I get something that's out of balance or try and spin it too fast on the lathe.

4. Outriggers??? I understand the concept, but how to 'tach them??? If I could do that with some nice large non-skid pads under 'em, that'd be pretty darned cool! Try and rip 'em off of a back hoe?? :lol:

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12 years 11 months ago #4528 by ralphtheplumber
ralphtheplumber replied the topic: Re: Trying to stay "on the level"

4. Outriggers??? I understand the concept, but how to 'tach them??? If I could do that with some nice large non-skid pads under 'em, that'd be pretty darned cool! Try and rip 'em off of a back hoe?? :lol:


I suppose you could use hydraulics, but I was really thinking about some hinged or pinned pieces on each side of the legs. A couple screw jacks and you're in business.

Then you just have to remember not to trip over them :roll:

How about the ones they use on scaffolding? They've got locking wheels and screw jacks built in.

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12 years 11 months ago #4530 by Bill Van
Bill Van replied the topic: Re: Trying to stay "on the level"
Dean;
Does the machine really have to be thatl evel or just stable enough to work with?
If all of the alignments are correct, That is table square to the blades plane of rotation and all that then I don't think it matters as long as the off level condition does not make your work slide around.
If only one leg is off the floor then an alignment block similar to those used on cabinets would keep the machine steady on a rough floor.,
Bil

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12 years 11 months ago #4532 by Ron Roberts
Ron Roberts replied the topic: Re: Trying to stay "on the level"
Reading your post Dean and seeing the level put me in mind of leveling a travel trailer or camper. If you could find a small leveling jack of some kind that you could bolt to the 4 corners of the Mark V you could pretty quickly get it level and stable at the same time.

I'm not sure what these would be but I'm visualizing something that is attached to the outside of the Mark V legs thus they are angled matching the flare of the legs. At the bottom would be some sort of rubber shoe'd pad on a swivel so it would match the floor.

Ralph's on target I think with the staging/scaffolding parts. I've worked with this stuff but I'm trying to think of something that would be on the Mark V's scale.

I've got a couple of other ideas but so far I haven't been able to figure out the parts you'd need if that makes sense.

Keep us posted on your idea for adding weight. I've been thinking about that for a long time myself. My thought is to fill the bench tubes with shot or sand or something. I just haven't figured out a good way to plug them that's not permanent.

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