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Surface plate built into a workbench?

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expressline99

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#1
I was just curious if anyone has put a surface plate into their workbench? I do not have mine yet but I'm planning ahead. I of course do not want it exposed all the time It would have a cover of sorts to match the existing workbench. The idea would be to have the surface plate below grade and have some sort of "lever" to raise and lower it to working position. My current workbench is a very simple painted plywood setup.. The system for the surface plate would be welded up and or modify an existing table if I buy them together.

That's as far as I've gotten in my thought process... Still not sure how it would all work. If anyone has already implemented something like this I'd love to hear all thoughts.

Paul
 

JimDawson

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#2
I did that with mine. It just sets on the bench, then I built a plywood box that goes over it, about 1/2 inch clearance above the surface plate. My machinist tool box then sits on top of the plywood box.
 

Bob Korves

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#3
Make sure you provide for a way of sliding parts on to the surface plate by running them up and over a side edge and then onto the top surface. Parts should not normally be placed down directly on to the top of the surface plate, a good way to ding the plate.
 

expressline99

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#4
Make sure you provide for a way of sliding parts on to the surface plate by running them up and over a side edge and then onto the top surface. Parts should not normally be placed down directly on to the top of the surface plate, a good way to ding the plate.
Great Bob, I'll make sure to have it elevate high enough to expose the edges. I think I see the point of the built in ledges on some of the plates now.
 

Bob Korves

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#5
Great Bob, I'll make sure to have it elevate high enough to expose the edges. I think I see the point of the built in ledges on some of the plates now.
The ledges are for clamping stuff to the plate, don't really know of any other use for them...
 

expressline99

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#6
The ledges are for clamping stuff to the plate, don't really know of any other use for them...
I was just thinking it would allow you to bring the part up to the plate on the side without the plate stand interfering or dinging the part? The clamping makes total sense. I've seen a lot of plates with threaded inserts. Would those cause inaccuracies for marking up a part?
 

Bob Korves

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#7
Any part of the the surface plate that is low does not cause issues unless your work or measuring tool can fall into the low spot. One of the nice things that makes granite near ideal as a surface plate is that dings pretty much only remove material, but do not raise high spots or burs like metal can do. You can slide the work on to any side of the plate at an angle so it bears on the edge while it starts on to the plate, as long as you have access to the edges from below the top surface.
Watch Don Bailey do it here, at about 0:15 into the video:
 

expressline99

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#8
Any part of the the surface plate that is low does not cause issues unless your work or measuring tool can fall into the low spot. One of the nice things that makes granite near ideal as a surface plate is that dings pretty much only remove material, but do not raise high spots or burs like metal can do. You can slide the work on to any side of the plate at an angle so it bears on the edge while it starts on to the plate, as long as you have access to the edges from below the top surface.
Watch Don Bailey do it here, at about 0:15 into the video:
Really neat. I like that guys stuff and I've watched quite a few of his videos. Very good speaker.

I have a Mitutoyo height gauge I need one of those extensions he has on his for the dial indicator. What is the name of that and where would I find one?
 

chips&more

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#9
I have a surface plate on my bench. I do not have to worry about it being exposed. It’s buried under about a 3 foot high pile of crap! My bench is like a magnet for my random stuff. The bench is about 25’ long. And I have only about 6 sq in. of usable space on it!!! When I built the bench I called my wife to come take a look at it. Told her to take a good look at how clean and not cluttered it was. Told her it was the last time she would ever see it not cluttered. I’m keeping my promise no problem!!!
 

expressline99

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#10
I have a surface plate on my bench. I do not have to worry about it being exposed. It’s buried under about a 3 foot high pile of crap! My bench is like a magnet for my random stuff. The bench is about 25’ long. And I have only about 6 sq in. of usable space on it!!! When I built the bench I called my wife to come take a look at it. Told her to take a good look at how clean and not cluttered it was. Told her it was the last time she would ever see it not cluttered. I’m keeping my promise no problem!!!
It sounds like you are describing my entire garage! I was really impressed with myself that I cleaned off my bench for my bridgeport rebuild. Of course today with half of that on my bench...my lathe carriage made it over there and somehow came apart. LOL

I'm not so worried about having the surface plate out as having even more lack of space to work when not doing that type of work. I still think I can build it into the bench by cutting some of the bench out. Then make a frame that can raise and lower. It's now starting to get complicated in my mind as well. Now I've got acme screws in mind for leveling x and y on it. I hope in the end I don't just plop it down... because I'm sure like you mine will get 5 projects piled on it!
 

benmychree

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#11
I rather think that it is better to have a surface plate on top of the bench (I can't figure out how to disable this underline thing) My thinking is that having it higher makes it easier to see what you are doing when doing layout work and not having to bend over so much. Personally (Wow! I figured out the underline!!!) Also personally, I much prefer cast iron plates to granite, for one thing, they are much lighter and easier to move, and of course they may be re scraped . I have one 13- 3/4" square and another 24" square. And, I admit that my two plates are also a catch all for all sorts of stuff, but the smaller plate has a plywood cover with a continuous cleat fastened all around (to keep it in place) that serves to protect it and can be lifted off with all the stuff still on it if desired to use the plate.
 

expressline99

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#12
I did actually just finished what I decided to do. Which was to build a stand for it. That is over at thread: http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/surface-plate-support-quick-question.57016/ Ended up being not such a quick question. But the stand is built for 36" working height or higher as needed. This places the top of the plate high enough there shouldn't be any bending unless you are tall. Of course I'm not very tall so :)
Paul
 
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