SBL Lathe Update 2: Tooling Options

Wow!  Lots of questions about our Tormach Slant Bed Lathe project after the last post.  For this weeks post, I’ll address a few of most common questions.

What is the Lathe Swing?

The most popular questions had to do with various swing distances in the specification.  Its clear now that most are familiar with swing distances as a diameter, so presenting these as radius measurements probably helped to create the confusion.  Another popular questions seemed to be about the model name, SBL1012.  Our thought was the numbers in the name would indicate X and Z travel, but there also seems to be some expectation that the numbers should instead indicate swing and Z travel.  Perhaps a name change is in the future – after all, we haven’t committed to  any decals at this stage.

So… with all that in mind, here are the modified SBL specs with appropriate strike-throughs:

Pre­lim­i­nary Spec­i­fi­ca­tions — Tor­mach SBL1012 Slant Bed CNC Lathe


  • Swing over bed – 7.5″ (radius) 15.0” (diameter)
  • Swing over car­riage – 3.10″(radius)  6.20” with tur­ret or man­ual tool post, 1.88″ (radius)  3.75” with gang plate
  • Spin­dle HP – 3 horse­power continuous
  • Spin­dle taper – D1-4 spin­dle with native 5C taper.  Optional D1-4 three and four jaw chucks with low speed/high torque spin­dle motor pul­ley kit.
  • Travel –  12” Z, 10” X
  • Spin­dle Speed Range– 200 to 3500 RPM (5C), 200 to 2500 RPM (6” chuck). Com­puter con­trolled spin­dle speed and direc­tion with regen­er­a­tive brak­ing from a 3 hp induc­tion motor.
  • Ship­ping weight ~1,500 lbs
  • Oper­at­ing tem­per­a­ture range 45 to 100 oF (7 to 38 oC)
  • Rapid tra­verse –  60 IPM
  • NEMA 34 step­per motors on X and Z
  • Auto­matic or man­ual lubri­ca­tion. Each axis has an oil dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nel milled full length on left and right ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal sur­faces plus oil lines plumbed directly to the ball nut assemblies.
  • Pre­ci­sion ground ball screws in the X and Z motion.
  • Slide ways are a bonded low fric­tion sur­face (PTFE filled acetyl), hand scraped slide ways with milled oil dis­tri­b­u­tion slots.

Complete preliminary specs can be found here.

Lathe Tooling Options?

The SBL will be able to be configured in several ways:

  • Quick Change (Aloris-style) Tool Post
  • 8 station turret
  • Gang Plate

One of the more exciting features is that you will be able to combine different tooling options on the same cross slide carriage, as we will be providing two different size gang plates: “full” and “2/3”.  For example:

2/3 Gang + QC

Tormach Lathe Gang and QC post Setup

Turret + 2/3 Gang

Tormach Lathe: Gang plus Turret

Full Gang Plate

Tormach Lathe: Gang Plate

Turret + QC post is also an option. With the tooling being highly configurable, you’ll be able to keep the lathe set up for a reoccurring job and still have space on the carriage for temporary tooling for a prototyping job.

Are we taking pre-orders?

Not at this point.  But if you’re interested in getting the very latest updates on when the SBL will be offered for sale, we’ve created a signup list:

We’ll have plenty of updates leading up the release of this product, so keep reading.

Andrew Grevstad

With over ten years of professional experience in advanced manufacturing systems, digital design tools, and applied software, Andy Grevstad has worked in product development and technical support for Tormach since 2008. Grevstad has received engineering degrees from Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a regular contributor to Digital Machinist magazine and also blogs weekly about CNC milling and related topics on the Tormach blog, Milling Around.

Andrew Grevstad

8 thoughts on “SBL Lathe Update 2: Tooling Options

  • Avatar
    08/09/2013 at 8:03 pm

    This is looking better and better.

    How are the ways and ballscrews protected from swarf and what sort of accuracy do you expect for location on X and Z?


  • Andrew Grevstad
    08/12/2013 at 10:34 am

    There are bed wipers on the carriage; if you look close you can see them on the last picture. The ball screws are completely guarded with a metal enclosure; I’ll try to snag few pictures of that arrangement. Still working to put a final number to accuracy/repeatability (this is a primary goal of the beta testing); so I’ll keep mum on that for the moment.

  • Avatar
    08/13/2013 at 10:39 pm

    A spec for the spindle TIR would also be helpful. Looking forward to more pictures, too, like a full-size version of the overall thumbnail that appears in the sidebar to the August 1, 2013 blog post.

  • Avatar
    09/08/2013 at 7:51 pm

    Any talk about a steady rest, follower rest or tail stock? Would be awesome to see a hydraulic chuck/tail stock, maybe in the future?

  • Andrew Grevstad
    09/16/2013 at 10:48 am

    Looking into tail stock options, definitely. Hydraulic is probably out of the scope of design however.

  • Avatar
    12/15/2013 at 11:54 am

    How about another lathe update? Any chance of Q1 delivery for the 1st batch of lathes?


  • Avatar
    12/27/2013 at 10:27 pm

    In regards to the turret, what size shank will be required? Also, any chance of using tooling systems like Kennametal’s quick change tooling heads or Sandvik’s Capto tooling?

  • Andrew Grevstad
    02/18/2014 at 4:56 pm

    3/4″ shank. No plans for Capto or Kennametal quickchange at the moment.

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