Well everybody next update on Alex's mill. It's my first CNC machine - loads to learn wow. The mill has a 4hp horizontal spindle as well which is powered by a separate motor. I realized I could buy an R8 5" chuck, mount it on the horizontal, and with some ingenuity and mach3 configuration turn it into a limited CNC lathe. I got the chuck at KMS mounted it and got started. Fortunately I had a skeptical Alex over to help get the initial program going and I was encouraged with his help that this was actually going to sort of work. I had lots of config to do first with the motor setup and such - I had both axis going the wrong way and other problems but eventually it came together.
Below you can see some pictures. I'm still really learning the feed and depth of cut settings - I've had several crashes already but it does seem to work. You can see the weird tool holder I made gripped in the swivel milling vise. This is to keep the vise well away from the jaws on the chuck. I also seem to either set the depth of cut way too deep and it crashes or way too shallow and it takes forever to do anything. I can see the need already for variable spindle speed control. If you look closely on the part you can see a nicely finished section and then rougher towards the axis. I believe this is because the surface speed slows down as the tool progresses inward on the X axis.
It's possible I could make a tailstock of sort to mount in the other end of the ram which would normally support an arbor for milling out gears or key ways with horizontal milling cutters. The real limitation to this is length of travel on the Z axis. It's just really short once the chuck is mounted. The whole setup has rigidity issues too of course. Still CNC Lathe!
What is it? It's a coffee tamper... :>
The next thing to do on this project is motorize the Z milling axis. Maybe over Christmas.