Lever-Operated Compound Lock


Tired of cranking the compound back to get at those hidden screws every time you need to change the angle? Ever done that only to find that the new angle is “not quite right” so you have to do it over again?


This mod replaces that tiresome exercise with a quick, lever-operated action. Flip the lever to unlock the compound, set the new angle, flip the lever to lock it in. Done!

When I set out to make this modification, I thought it would be pretty easy. I had a working prototype done the first afternoon – but it did not work out in practice. After a lot more experimentation I finally arrived at a solution that works.

With the plans provided, you can skip all the problems that I encountered and get right to a working modification. By the way, the small lever in the lower part of the photo is for my lever-operated saddle lock mod.

While a little beyond the reach of the beginner, this project is relatively easy and can be knocked off over a rainy weekend. And while a mini-mill makes some of the operations easier, a drill press is sufficient to do the job. The only accessory you need for the mini-lathe is a 4-jaw chuck.

While you’re at it, you can optionally incorporate J.W. Early’s compound setback mod with this one. The setback mod gives you extra clearance for large diameter workpieces while significantly reducing chatter. You can even switch between the original compound location and the setback location in less than a minute.

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Skill Level: Intermediate

Topic Length: Not yet determined

Tools Needed