Thursday, September 10, 2009


Lathe operational; no blood spilled.

Not the best of pictures, but here it is
It's bolted to a piece of 3/4" plywood. As PeterT mentioned in comments the other day, all by itself probably not rigid enough, but I've got a nice solid bench it'll be sitting on for use. For a free-standing bench, I'd probably do as he suggested and double the plywood on top of solid legs.

Here's the motor setup
It's a 1/2-horse 1725rpm washer motor, so right in the recommended speed and will have plenty of torque for anything you can do on this. It's a 'paddle', another piece of 3/4", with two good hinges bolted to the base and the paddle, with the motor bolted in place(no screws). I can adjust the motor up or down if needed, and the weight keeps the belt tight.

The white in the jaws is a piece of pvc(an Og suggestion for practice). The bit that was in it is somewhat dull, but still did a nice job of facing the end. I did a bit more fiddling with it, but not much. I'm going to stone the bit tonight and see if I can sharpen it(I'm always nervous
about starting on a type of tool I've never worked on before) before trying anything else. The thing runs very smooth and quiet, and I can detect no signs of the bearings being worn, for what visual inspection is worth on this. There's an oil fitting on each end of the headstock and I did remember to put some in yesterday and spin it a few times by hand. I engaged the backgear and tried that; it turns very slowly with that. It came with a plate that shows the gear arrangements to use for threading when I get that far, and all the gears.

Question to anybody out there: is there a way to oil or otherwise lube the backgear assembly? Or do you just leave it alone?

I guess I'll need to get a dial indicator for truing pieces in the chuck; doing it by eye... can get by with that on pvc or delrin, but I'd rather be a bit more precise for brass or steel. And I think I'll rig something to protect the motor from bits being thrown off the stock.

Happily, this belt seems to be in fairly good shape, so should last a while. 'Happily' because to replace it with another standard belt would mean disassembling the headstock. There's a belt mentioned that comes in sections and does not require that; I think that's what I'll use.

Those sawhorses are some light plastic ones I bought several years back. They're good for light work and not much else, and I hadn't used them in so long(been under a tree) that when I opened them and slapped them down to clear some dirt on the feet, spiders and crickets and ants fell out. Leading to a short session with the bug sprayer. And no, didn't try it on them; this was just for the pictures.


Anonymous said...

Those sectional belts are a gift from G-d. Not only does one no longer need to dissasemble things to replace belts, they almost completely stop vibration and thumping.

Varmint Al has the best tutorial on grinding and sharpening lathe bits I have ever seen. It also shows the best shapes for various cutting jobs. For 99%, and likely a bit more of machining you're going to do on that sweet little lathe, M2 steel tool bits are superior to carbide and so much cheaper it boggles the mind. He's good on hand grinding of twist drills, too.

I learned to grind twist drills in Boat School in the early 60's. Boeing gave Edison Tech. Boat School a fiber drum with about 300 lbs of mixed twist drills. I ruined 15 or so lbs of 'em learning to grind 'em. I can still grind a 1/8" twist drill so it'll cut a .128" hole. (On purpose.)

If you haven't yet, get Grizzly Industrial's catalog. Good, but not the very lowest prices. On the other hand there are excellent photos of things and they have a measuring instrument section that is hard to beat.

A magnetic base and a dial incator you'e in business. Buy the cheap Chinese stuff and spend the big bucks on good beer. Go to Grizzly's site
and look at H3022.

I oil the gears in my lathe with Dexron III. Og will have a better idea, I'm a boatbuilder, not a real machinist. I do have the male cheapness gene, though.

Gerry N.

Anonymous said...

"Question to anybody out there: is there a way to oil or otherwise lube the backgear assembly? Or do you just leave it alone?"

Oh, make it so easy. LOLOLOL.

You did ask "anybody". It's up to you, babe. :)

Keith said...

There should be some sort of oil zerk, or little ball bearing oiler on the sleeve that goes around the spindle, and also on the ends of counter shaft for the back gear.

They need plenty of oil when you use the back gear.

Tony Griffiths' site ( should have some pictures of the oiling points.

It is worth stripping down the saddle and apron to clean out any dried up oil from the lubrication grooves, and to get old swarf out of the felt wipers.

lots of way oil and a good clean after each use will work wonders for accurate life span, cover everything up if you are going to be turning cast iron, and keep her away from any grinding or abrasive dust.

A machine is made to tolerances of 4 to 10 times finer than it is intended to operate to, so if she's to turn to thous, she is made to an accuracy of tenths of a thou!

If you do ever wear her out, the plain bed is the simplest to scrape or grind back into alignment (far easier than beds with V ways).

The plain bed can also be used as an improvised surface plate for measuring and marking out metal.

I'm going to be investing in some of that sectional belt for my old myford, although I will be dis-assembling the spindle for an inspection and clean.

Firehand said...

I'll get a flashlight and look for them.

'Backgear' lube, Fire, not lubing- ah, places you're thinking of

Anonymous said...

;) ;)