No, I carefully levelled the machine in the initial setup and adjusting the tailstock was pretty straightforward. The gibs do need to be carefully adjusted to ensure consistency without undue binding or friction, especially the table gibs. One of my modifications was to swap out the recessed allen-head table gib adjustment screws with long ones (made on the lathe
) complete with lock nuts, to make the process easier.
Best mod was to install a DTI. I don't know how anyone is expected to read the table wheel index ring when the cross-slide is hanging over it.
Tramming the head was a bit trickier, since there is no natural adjustment provided. But, loosening the 4 column mounting bolts allowed me to slide shims in the joint. It actually didn't take much -- I think I used 1.5 or 2 thou shim stock.
Other mods include:
Swapping out the SCR drive controller for a pair of PCM controllers for better torque at low rpms, and independent speed control of the motors. Now I can use the lathe motor as a drive when milling. Note that I ordered my machine with 1hp variable speed DC motors to begin with. As an added bonus, the motors run cooler, smoother and quieter. Guys talk about VFD drives for AC motors -- they are nothing but PCM controllers for AC motors. Whichever you have, get a PCM or VFD controller -- well worth the money.
As part of the above, I had to rewire the tachometer leads with shielded wire and ferrite choke cores. The high-frequency emmissions from the PCM and associated wiring were causing strange readings on the electronic tach!
Modified the lead screw protector to accommodate a threading dial. From the factory, it was one or the other but I wanted both.
Ground the 3-jaw chuck jaws for perfect concentricity.
Swapped in the stock tool post for a QCTP, and of course, mounted it on a plate to centre it on the table.
Re-worked the "Quick change gears" (a misnomer if there ever was one) to simplify things. Now I only have to swap the two easiest gears and it only takes 60 seconds or so. I call it my "rapid change" gearbox
Note that I started with the HQ800V model, which came with an actual gear box on the lead screw for most range changes. The change gears are only necessary to switch between fine feed, metric threading and inch threading, the gear box sets the actual pitch. This is not a common accessory.
It was wearing out the half-nut and cross-slide nut with surprising rapidity. I polished the associated screw shafts -- the keyways left sharp edges which I think contributed to the wear rate.
Cut new headstock gears from aluminium to replace the nylon ones. Replaced the various steel keys and roll pins with copper shear pins/keys instead so I have easy to change designed failure points in case of a crash.
I ordered the machine with an R8 spindle, so this isn't exactly a mod, but they screwed up and shipped it with an MT3 so I had to swap in the R8 myself when they finally sent the correct one. I means more tooling, since the spindle and tailstock do not have the same taper, but there are some advantages to R8 for milling.
Added felt wipers to the table to keep chips and dust out of the sliding surfaces. I'm going to add them to the tailstock too, just need to get a "round tuit".
Another planned mod is to fabricate a new handwheel for the table crank. A larger diameter should help with fine adjustment. As it is right now, there's a bit of stiction when the table is loaded down with the weight of a rotab, 4-jaw and workpiece. A decent sized handwheel should give me better leverage and therefore control.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. There may have been some other little tweaks along the way, but mostly just things light tightening bolts and adjustments.
Actually, I should mention that I beefed up the stand with some angle iron. It's still too flimsy for my taste and I will do something else eventually. For the interim, I just avoid any speeds that cause harmonic vibration.