I’ll start with the good news. I am in absolutely no danger of running an end mill into the cross slide table. Think of it as an old drill press table that has drill pock marks all over it like a dart board. The quill on my mill just doesn’t reach that far down. Depending on the bit, I’m about 3″ away from the cross slide table. Good news.
Now for the bad news. You guessed it. I can’t mill anything thinner than about 3″. After much pondering and sketching (on paper), I came up with a design for an auxiliary table that I can anchor to the cross slide table.
I went to the steel supply yard and picked up a piece of 1/2″ plate steel that would get cut in half to yield the top and bottom plates. I had a couple pieces of 1/4″ plate to serve as the “legs” of the table. I milled shallow slots in one of the plates to accept the two pieces of 1/4″ plate. I called in a favor to get the table welded together. I think I owe some future machine work…
I took the table to a local machine shop to get it surfaced flat and parallel. Easy breezy. They put the table on their Blanchard surface grinder and now it is nice and shiny with a pattern that reminds me of the Spirograph I had as a kid. It is so pretty I hesitate to mill slots or tap holes for hold downs. I’ll get over it after I mill/drill the first hole.