He made the top out of what?

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Project by Mainiac Matt posted 01-13-2015 11:57 PM 6093 views 6 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I do some hobby metal working as a complement to my woodworking and finally saved up to indulge in a bench top lathe. These machines are pretty capable, but lack somewhat in rigidity and mass. As I set about to design a bench for the lathe I came across some discussions on metal working forums about bolting smaller lathes very tightly to concrete tops to increase rigidity, dampen vibration and provide a stable platform to resist the effects of temp. and humidity changes. And as it turns out, it is actually very economical to do make.

Wood frame is Fir posts and stretchers and a pine 1×10 form. Lap joints assembled with glue and screws made for a speedy build….

Mixing Quickcrete isn’t exactly fun, but it isn’t so hard either. Floating the surface well is a skill acquired with lot’s of practice, which I don’t have.

So I wound up needing to do a skim coat with a product meant for prepping concrete floors for tile. This gave me a Smooth flat surface flush to the top of the form.

The top alone weighs over 320 lbs and the mill weighs about the same, with another 100 lbs of tooling on the bottom shelf. It shows no indications of going any where, but I’m going to attach it to the wall with ‘L’ brackets since it is so top heavy.

No chisel or hand plane work on this top :^o

Thanks for looking.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

18 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 4168 days

#1 posted 01-14-2015 12:57 AM

Yup, ya done did good.
I’m sooo glad you didn’t need my help….
Mixing concrete & placing the lathe into position!!!

When will we see the video of you working at the metal eating behemoth???

To improve your concrete floating skills….
Kitchen counter tops come to mind!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

10055 posts in 3821 days

#2 posted 01-14-2015 12:59 AM

To improve your concrete floating skills….
Kitchen counter tops come to mind!!!
- DIYaholic

Ack! Don’t even go there :^o

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View August McCormick Lehman III's profile

August McCormick Lehman III

1826 posts in 2983 days

#3 posted 01-14-2015 01:02 AM

Very nice work
Nice lathe too bud


View Hazem's profile


292 posts in 2741 days

#4 posted 01-14-2015 01:10 AM

Very cool indeed.

View Campzeke's profile


66 posts in 3426 days

#5 posted 01-14-2015 01:55 AM

This site and the things you guys do never ceases to amaze me! Good job. I never would have thought of that.

-- Campzeke, Tampa, FL

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4514 days

#6 posted 01-14-2015 02:15 AM

Now that’s a stout base

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10906 posts in 3902 days

#7 posted 01-14-2015 03:36 AM

Impressive work, great idea. To think some friends have seen my work in person and commented that I overbuild things!


-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


5114 posts in 4602 days

#8 posted 01-14-2015 03:46 AM

It took a small cost for the cement, and yielded a great result. The thing to think about is the utility of the machine now that it has the basis it needs. I’ve set and leveled machinery, and the initial investment in time and labor pays dividends from that time forward.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3785 days

#9 posted 01-14-2015 04:25 AM

Very unique and cool! I definitely like what you’ve done here.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4925 days

#10 posted 01-14-2015 12:56 PM

Gravitas!!!! You Sir , have it!!!!

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4925 days

#11 posted 01-14-2015 12:59 PM

Give a problem to a Sailor, and get out of his way, be impressed by his solution.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View eztrigger's profile


162 posts in 3420 days

#12 posted 01-14-2015 01:51 PM

I must say I am impressed. I really like the application of concrete here, and you did a great job on execution. congrats on the new toy!

-- "Some get spiritual 'cause they see the light, and some 'cause they feel the heat." --Ray Wiley Hubbard

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3500 days

#13 posted 01-14-2015 02:03 PM

Nice base!
What are the pipe nipples for? In one pic it appears you’re leaving them exposed, but in the smoothed top pic they’re gone. At first I thought maybe you were going to run power thru them?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12647 posts in 4921 days

#14 posted 01-14-2015 02:19 PM

Matt, I don’t know if this tip would work for you but, to dampen vibration on a delta scroll saw, I made hockey pucks from 1” thick rubber floor matting. I cut them out with a hole saw and the resulting hole in the middle was perfect to bolt the machine down with. They really did the trick.
Of course, you would have better access than I to real Hockey pucks.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

10055 posts in 3821 days

#15 posted 01-14-2015 04:02 PM

What are the pipe nipples for? – JoeinGa

The lathe has two mounting bolts, with matching holes in the drip pan. Though I have a hammer drill I hate the mess of drilling concrete and I don’t have a 1/2” bit. So the pipes serve as forms for bolt holes, and also add strength to the concrete pad at that location (though with 4,000# mix they’re hardly required). By mounting the pipes in the threaded flanges, I could keep them plumb and screw them in or out to make them flush. During the skim coat, I plugged the pipes with paper towel wads and leveled right over the top. Then after the concrete set, I poked that through.

I bolted the lathe down with 1/2” carriage bolts last night… went as tight as I dared, without stripping them.

I tallied up the cost and it was ~$75 (I had 1×10 in my scrap bin), with the most expensive component being a sheet of 3/4” CDX, which I still have half left.

I thought about painting the concrete, but opportunity knocked to have a friend (stoutly built guy in his later 20s) help me huff the lathe off the dolly up onto the bench, so I skipped the paint. I’ve dripped oil on the concrete already and yup… I wish I had painted it… but then again…. I’m not overly concerned with its appearance.

It was fun to build and I’m just glad it wasn’t a total bust.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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