Removed saddle, using drill press, drilled and tapped two holes (positioned to avoid interference with CS gib screws) 1/4-28 for mounting.  Top part is 1/2" keystock drilled and countersunk (for compound slide clearance) for 1/4-28 SH cap screws and locking bolt.  Used piece of 3/8" aluminum plate sized for beneath bed ways, drilled and tapped 1/4-20, rounded corners, backed off it moves freely without hanging up..

At first I considered using the existing tapped holes for traveling steady at HS end.  But realized this would not be practical if I wanted to get close enough for work on certain pieces mounted on face plate.  Right beneath radius of opening in the bed is portion of casting enclosing motor, this would prevent further forward travel.
Once I had made mod to saddle, realized if one so desired, it was really unnecessary, as mechanism utilizes compression forces for locking.  I removed the mounting bolts and tightened center bolt, the carriage locked up just as tight and solid as before. 

By loosening the center locking bolt, it can be slid off,  turn keystock lengthways and drop it down and out to remove as one unit, it can quickly be reinstalled in reverse.
Carriage lock mod
t.No mod carriage lock
Having viewed several different mods for TS lock up, including cam locks, decided to take another approach.    The main problem with the factory TS lock is having to use a separate wrench to tighten/loosen the nut.  I used one of the cheap ubiquitous multi purpose tube wrenches (in this case, 11/16") that come with chain saws, ATV's, etc. (they can be picked up at yard sales for two bits or less)

Once cut to appropriate length, drilled through both sides of tube for 1/4" bolt, used a piece of copper tubing as spacer and for a little more diameter, threaded on a nut, inserted bolt through hole and added another nut. (for jam nut)  Screwed bolt in until outside nut bottomed out and end of bolt protruded out other hole, tightened jam nut solid to outer nut, cut off bolt protrusion and dressed close to outer tube wall.  To add a bit more heft, from the bottom packed off to just below bolt with plumber's putty, melted some wheel weights and poured tube full to top, filed top off flush and dressed tube diameter outer edge to remove sharp sticky things.  Hit the wrench with a couple coats of paint and slipped a length of soaker hose onto bolt to cushion handle.

If placed on the correct nut flats, the wrench can quickly loosen or tighten TS (to move or lock) without having to lift wrench to reposition and the added (WW) weight keeps it securely in place.

I figure if a ways chip guard is good for the mini-mill, why not for the mini-lathe, the non-hardened ways need all the protection they can get..  LMS.com has this accordion material (p/n 1431) 12" long and 7.8" wide for six bucks, there is enough material to make two like mine.

Having some aluminum angle and using the tapped traveling steady holes, decided to make way wipers, milled off both legs of angle for top and bottom fit.  Cut out for the V-way and open end slotted the top for mounting bolts.  This allows the chip guard to be installed with the flat  length of aluminum for compression and SH cap screws to be started.  Flip over the chip guard material, slide aluminum angle in on bolt slots and clamping wiper material, (in this case, pieces of an old thick wool blanket)  then tighten SH cap screws to secure the whole in place.  The chip guard works great and once well oiled, the wipers keep the ways lubricated and any wayward chips clear of the pesky V-way apex opening.
Even after reading the cratered gears horror stories from leaving the fixing pin in place, still,  first time out of the barn, I almost committed the sin.  My first thought was of the kit that LMS sells, but needing something for the moment, came up with this.  A 5/16"  bolt being the right diameter, found one with long unthreaded shoulder, cut to appropriate length and turned head down in lathe.  A tapered coil spring with the small end making for a tight, no slip friction fit completed the gizmo.

First picture, the hand that should be pressing the locking pin in, is holding the camera.  Although even a little torque on the drawbar will retain the pin in place as shown, relax, or a slight back off, and the pin makes a leap for freedom, (don't ask how I know) hence the  restraining cord lanyard. (which as the hanging pin is always at hand and out of the way, I left permanently in place)

Been using it for sometime now, a simple affair, but very satisfied so far, I think it's a keeper.


Having owned machine tooling in the past, (Emco Maier) and then getting rid of it, I have been mentally kicking my butt since.  After researching the cheap Chinese mini lathes/mills, I recently bought one of each, not being of highest quality, bare bones, and with a multitude of faults. (almost none that can't be worked around of)  I have found them to still be one heck of a bargain for their price, and within their limitations, a real blast to play with and capable of doing some well finished work.  For right now I am doing almost nothing but modifications, of which many are needed.
    Roland's Mini Shop (a corner of the garage) for his mini machines
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As the cutting tool is required to be on lathe center when turning, made up this center finding gauge.  Sure simplifies for quickly shimming tool bits to correct height.
CDCO Tool had a nice price on a five piece indexable carbide insert tool set, so picked up one with 3/8" shanks.  Although the OEM tool post is designed for 5/16", I opted for the 3/8", and then milled them down to be at precise center height, took off .055", (down to .320") and now no shimming hassle is required.  In the first pic one can see the over hang and the second pic shows what was milled.  The triangular carbide inserts are only $2.00 each, they work great, and I sure like the convenience of them.  Even got a little boring bar in the set, so will need to make up a boring bar holder for it.
Cutting slots etc in the X-axis gets to be a bit of a bother at times.  Having some 3/4" x 1 1/4" aluminum bar stock, decided to make up a couple of stops and milled them out.   They started life as one piece units, but then retrofitted to the current two piece ones.  Drilled and tapped for 3/8x16 clamp bolts with 1/8" alignment pins, spring loaded 1/4x28 SHCS for micro adjustment.   They clamp very securely, sure makes it nice when making repeated cuts and having precise positive stops without fear of over runs etc.

Now to make some stops for the Y-axis, which will be a bit more problematic.

Saw this simple boring bar for lathe on another site, so made one similar.  Quick and easy to make, works great, .625" square key stock, drilled to .312" and then slotted with hacksaw.
The stops sure made it nice for doing multiple slots on an angle plate making for a future projest
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Needing a sizer/lubrication die for a nonstandard .302” cast bullet in 7.35x51 mm cartridge, found the price for custom die too high, so decided to make my own. The lubri/sizer is a self contained device, which uses dies to down size cast bullets to fit firearm rifling groove diameters, hydraulically injects lubricant into bullet grooves and seats a thin copper or aluminum gas check to protect cast bullet base from hot gases in hotter loads.  My old orange Lyman #45 sizer/lubricator (pictured) I bought in 1963 has given good service.  The sizer/lubricator die I made is on the right with two loaded 7.35x51 mm cartridges.  Reloading presses, two Dillon’s and one Lee Cast Iron Classic.
Some of the 43 bullet molds I have.
I first turned down piece of 4140 round stock to size, cut o-ring groove and beveled bottom end , then drilled it out with a letter drill size “M” (295”).  I then made a small boring bar by turning down piece of 5/16” drill rod end to .250”,  drilled and tapped for 8-32 thread through 250” diameter and end of same to lock cutting tool bit in place.  Made bit from 8-32 allen head set screw by grinding to shape, flame hardening twice with Kasinite and quenching in cold water

The 5/16” end is inserted into boring bar holder,    (same one I had made earlier from section of 5/8” square stock) the slit I cut with hacksaw.                                                                                             
Center of die diameter in relation to drill/mill head stock is
obtained by using centering tool and adjusting milling table.
A rigid inflexible center drill is used to obtain accurate starting points of 9/64” drill for lubrication holes.
The cutting bit and locking set screw can be seen at end of boring bar.  When placed in tool post holder and hex headed cap screws tightened, the boring bar is clamped in desired position.    Used boring bar to enlarge drilled hole to finished .302” diameter..