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Heavy Duty Cross Slide for Watchmakers lathe


I've been planning on building several attachments for my WW lathe such as a radius cutting tool, a knurling tool and a vertical t-slot table for milling. All of these require a very stable and rigid cross slide to support them. I've already made the chuck a great deal more stable with the external chuck bearing (also on this blog). The beautiful little Derbyshire cross slide I have is excellent for smaller brass and steel work but just doesn't have the surface area on the dovetail ways to spread out that kind of force and not flex or take damage.
Last year I was lucky to find four vintage and nicely robust low-profile slides of the right size on eBay (I'm only using three for this set up). I set about making the secure attachments to assemble them to the bed and each other. The results are below. It is now a rock solid platform for my next three projects.
Heavy Duty Cross custom cross slide for Watchmakers lathe 1
I direct bolted the wide bottom slide to the longitudinal cross slide. I then set about making the vertical bracket out of brass that I would solder together.
First I cut out the pieces and drilled and tapped the parts for small 4-40 brass screws to hold it all aligned while I silver soldered it together. I needed 2 Mapp gas hand torches to achieve the heat on such a large piece.
Brass parts for vertical cross slide bracket
Here you can see the parts assembled ready for soldering
Assembled cross slide bracket

Assembled cross slide bracket
All soldered and lapped to 100% square and ready to mount. It took a couple of hours to get it just right but the accuracy is well worth it.
Cross slide brass bracket soldered and lapped

Cross slide brass bracket soldered and lapped ready to mount
With the parts all assembled I like the way the brass and steel look together on the lathe
Heavy duty custom cross slide assembled and mounted on Watchmakers lathe

It's super stable in part, because I made the connection to the split bed with a double nut and clamp bar set up. I'm using some large stainless steel hex rod again for the nuts. compact and allows one to really clamp them down with a spanner.
Heavy duty cross slide double nut and pressure bar mounting to watchmakers lathe split bed
I can't wait to make the attachments for this cross slide set up. 
Custom heavy duty cross slide for watchmakers lathe ready to add accessories

All of my standard machining is done with the smaller derbyshire cross slide but this heavy duty slide will really open up more possibilities for some new attachments. I know some folks are scratching their head and wondering why I don't just by a bigger lathe. I ask myself that sometimes too but making these parts and solving how to do new things with an antique jewelers lathe is a big part of the fun for me. I'm not doing large parts but am certainly making some things that aren't tiny watch parts. All good fun and I love making quality things work even better.


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