Poor Man’s Lathe DRO (ARO?)

My lathe doesn’t have a Digital Read Out (DRO). This isn’t an issue on a high quality machine because the hand-wheel increments are accurate. Well, on a cheap lathe, they’re merely suggestions at best. At worst, a quick way to scrap parts.

Given that, I’ve been thinking for an age on how to go about making accurate measurements on the lathe itself.

Carriage travel is fairly straight forward: A 2″ dial indicator on a magnetic base, plonk it down on the ways perpendicular to the carriage.

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The hard part is the cross-feed. Bigger lathes have plenty of places to put magnetic bases, but real estate is pretty sparse on this one. There’s plenty of space on the cross-slide itself, but that is what I need to measure, so it’s a non starter.

Finally, I found the solution. A Mighty Mag base. It’s a strong magnet, with a very narrow footprint. With that, I can steal the arm & indicator holder from a Noga-style indicator base, make an adapter(on the lathe!) to connect the 2, and that would allow me to affix the indicator to the carriage, and indicate the amount of travel in / out.

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I wipped up the adapter:

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I used the drill press to drill a 3/16″ hole about half way into the shank to give the pinch bolt something to bite into and secure it… securely… into the mag mount:

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The parts, laid out for assembly.

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And finally, on the lathe. The left side of the carriage is about the only spot I could reasonably put it where it wouldn’t interfere with the hand-wheels or power-feed controls and be bumped around. Almost as though it’s made to go there:

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Boom. Analog Read Out (ARO? Is that a thing? It is now…) complete!

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20′ Enclosed Race Trailer – Part 4 – Storage

The main idea is the keep things off of the floor, because, well…gravity doesn’t make a good load binder.
In addition to a boatload of E Track, I will put a small cabinet / bench to put on a wall, a spot for my tool box, a fuel jug carrier, and a tire rack with a way to tie the tires down.

I built the tire rack using 4 E Track 2×4 pockets, a couple 2x4s, and some bracing between the 2. It’ll take 4 race tires and 2 trailer spares. I’m using single-slot E Track anchors to secure the tires. The fuel jug rack is also there in front of the kart:

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I also put up, just, a BUNCH of E Track. Along both sides (at a useful height this time, if you compare to to earlier photos, it was barely higher than the inner fenders).

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I also put some at the very front of the trailer to serve as a bumper for the kart, to keep it from rubbing against the wall, but also to serve as storage when the Kart isn’t there:

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And then loaded everything up 1 more time as a final test to make sure I have room for everything where I think it ought to go, and as a systems test of the winch and pulley block, as I hadn’t actually pulled anything up with it yet.

Plenty clearance for the toolbox on the driver’s side:

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And space on the passenger side as well. That fender’s a nice place to hang that folding table:

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Canopy and generator added at the rear, with plenty of room for other sundries:

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A handy dandy E Track fire extinguisher mount, and a couple of E Track D-ring straps make a great way to store folding chairs:

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Even with the car, kart, toolbox and cooler loaded up, there’s plenty of room for more stuff should the need arise.

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And finally, the all important bottle opener by the door. Can’t go without that.

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Looks like we’re ready to go for her maiden voyage this weekend 😀

20′ Enclosed Race Trailer – Part 3 – Electrics & Winch

As previously discussed, the shore power connection wasn’t exactly high quality. Someone removed the 30 Amp plug and replaced it with a 15 Amp plug that didn’t actually fit in the housing. Since it was on the driver’s side, going down the road every time I looked in the mirror, that thing was flapping at me.

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Since everything had to come off the wall for paint, including the electrical panel, the was a fairly straight forward fix. A new 30A shore power connector was fitted, along with an adapter for use with normal 20A service.

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With that fixed, it was a simple matter of relocating the wiring in a way that was tidier, and positioned in a better place (the plugs were too high on the wall originally, and the E Track too low, so they switched positions). I removed the plug along the front wall, as it seemed superflous. I may re-add that later, but I already have plenty of 120v plugs in the trailer now.

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With the 120v service sorted it, it was time to move to the 12v side of things. My main 12v goals are:
-A winch to load the car
-An electrical jack
-A battery to power all that (and eventually some interior lights)
-A solar panel to keep the battery charged

The main component here is the battery and battery box. A tongue tool box from HF was mounted at the front of the trailer.

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I didn’t realize when I bought it that it was narrower than the outer frame rails, but I figured it was cheap, and it was big enough to do what I needed, so while it might look weird, there’s no real reason to replace it at this point.

I was a little concerned with the front mount bolts chafing the wiring harness from the truck:

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I found that I didn’t have any wire loom big enough to wrap around all those cables, but I DID have loom big enough to fit around the bolt. Stupid? Stupid like a fox!

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The battery box was mounted around the center frame rail:

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I didn’t have much horizontal real-estate to mount the solar panel to, but when parked at home, the panel faces nearly due west, and is in full sun in the afternoon.

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I was a bit concerned it wouldn’t work well like that (since all directions are to mount it horizontally), but it appears to be putting out plenty of juice:

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The battery never sees that much power, thankfully, as the solar panel runs through a 12v charge controller to prevent over charging the battery.

I drilled a few holes through the frame with big rubber grommets for the 12v wires to pass from the battery to inside the trailer under the floor, with marine cable pass-throughs to keep the weather and bugs out.

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I mounted the winch using a Bulldog winch mount. The front 2 bolts are through the frame, the rear 2 are bolted through a 6 x 8″, 3/8″ thick spreader plate.

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The winch wiring runs to the solenoid / wireless control box, and then to a 12v fuse block to provide service for lights and other sundries, then to the battery via a 150A circuit breaker.

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It’s definitely not a professional job (because I’m definitely not a professional), but it’s about probably the tidiest I could do without shortening the winch power cables. That’ll probably happen eventually, but I want to wait for a few months and make sure nothing crops up as a reason to move something drastically.

The electrics are *DONE*. FINALLY. Between drilling holes for grommets through the frame, making cables and figuring out where I want everything mounted, and cleaning up the 120v wiring, it took all my free time for about 3 days.

Oh! Wait…I’m sick or walking all the way to the shop for fresh tool batteries. I’ve got an idea!

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Yeah that’ll work. I think that lives there now.

Continued in Part 4