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  • jwh784

Home Machine Rigging for Dummies

Updated: May 29, 2020

This past week was another big project. You'll remember the business about getting the 13 inch Jet wired up and running. Well, I knew from the beginning that the wooden bench I put it on was too tall, but I didn't have a good, solid overhead lifting point in my basement to move it onto anything else. Or so I thought.

Separate question, on what lower thing to put it? Back when I was acquiring lathes with spouse-alarming regularity, I bought a cabinet model Logan 10 inch on eBay. It was cheap because it was local pickup only in the middle of nowhere, WV, and because the owner confessed that it was, um, damaged. Photos showed a brown and grey thing sitting outside under a tree. I thought I could fix anything and perhaps I could have, but when I unloaded it and started taking it apart, I realized how comprehensively crashed and screwed up it was, came to my senses, and stashed the parts. Anybody want a project?

This explains why, when I decided that I couldn't live with standing tiptoe to see the cut on my Jet, I happened to have this heavy, sturdy (and rusty, filthy) Logan cabinet and chip tray in the corner of my garage. It was about this time last week that I started gutting, cleaning, stripping, and repainting it. Which was more work than it sounds since just about every nut and bolt was either welded (Stripped thread? Weld it!) or rusted solid.

Once I had the cabinet ready for transplant -- actually some time before -- I started figuring out how I was going to get 800 pounds of lathe from the bench to the cabinet. One plan was to install a beam in my shop parallel to the joists, supported on one end by a cinder block wall and the other by a suitably reinforced interior wall stud. That would have worked, except that the beam needed to go over an AC duct that, I discovered, had an x-brace under it. Plan B. I was getting ready to probably win a Darwin Award with Plan B, lifting the lathe with a shop crane, when I noticed the steel beam above the mid-basement door. Well, of course.

Fortunately, I had put the wooden bench on casters, and I put the Logan cabinet on casters for the swap. So, here we go. Logan cabinet and chip tray assembled, holes drilled, bolted together. Jet rolled into doorway on bench, lifted with chain fall, bench rolled out, Logan cabinet rolled in, Jet lowered and bolted down, rolled into position in the shop, casters replaced with leveling feet, and Bob's your uncle. Actually, it was a very long day and the next day I did very little except complain. But, because the Logan cabinet was built for a smaller lathe, the Jet is now at PERFECT height for me, and it is a completely different, smoother machine on a solid, level metal cabinet. Such a pleasure to run now. I put the wooden bench back in as a work surface and moved the buffer onto it where I put dust collection on it, finally. No longer am *I* the dust collector when I buff a pipe.

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