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My First Lathe

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Blog entry by ChuckV posted 363 days ago 872 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I would like to be able to incorporate turned pieces into my projects. About a month ago, I attended a three-day spindle turning workshop at North Bennet Street School in Boston. The workshop was great and I came away with some good ideas about what I should look for in a lathe to get started in spindle turning. I also came away with my first useful turned pieces:

After a few false starts, I connected with the type of lathe I was looking for about an hour’s drive from my house. It is a Rockwell International model 46-111. Based on the serial number, the machine was manufactured in 1974. The lathe is mounted on the metal stand that was sold as an option. It has a great GE 1/3 HP motor – from the days when a horsepower meant something.

The stand was the part that needed the most work. One of the angle iron cross pieces was bent, there were some missing connectors, and it needed to be painted.

Here are some pictures of the original condition:

There was quite a bit of vibration, especially at the lower speeds. I did a few things to try to fix this. I installed a link belt, replaced the bent angle iron on the stand, made a plywood shelf for the bottom, and added some steel sheets above and below the stand top where the motor hangs. The vibration is greatly reduced. Now it is only noticeable at the lowest speed, and it is much less than it was. If I decide to try to reduce the vibration even more, I will attach a piece of MDF to the underside of the stand top. The user’s manual that I downloaded from vintagemachinery.org shows that there was some sort of board on the underside of the stand top that mine no longer has:

Other than that, I just cleaned things and waxed the bare cast iron. I want the lathe to work well and look decent. The bed cleaned up nicely and is dead flat. The centers align correctly, the bearings are fine, and the tool rest and tail stock work as designed.

Here are some recent pictures:

There was a box of “extras” included.

Some if it is junk, but there is some good stuff too. There are the other two tool rests that came standard when the lathe was new. There is also a 24” tool rest that was sold as an option.

These rests all look like they were not used. The 24” rest requires a second support base. I got a second one in that box, but there are some parts missing. Between eReplacementparts and the hardware store, I was able to find them all. The parts from eReplacementparts should be here in a few weeks.

-- “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” ― Mark Twain



11 comments so far

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3192 posts in 2436 days


#1 posted 363 days ago

Nice looking score on that Lathe. Looks like it cleaned up nicely. That 24” tool rest is something neat.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View alph's profile

alph

9 posts in 364 days


#2 posted 363 days ago

AWSOME! i love lathes so i can relate to your project!!

great job!

-- alberto angelo

View punk's profile

punk

129 posts in 917 days


#3 posted 363 days ago

looks good i bought one a lot older and love it, the next thing you might want to do buy a nice used dc motor with varible speed fairly cheep on ebay, its like going from a yougo to a cattie it saves a lot of belt changeing for differnt speeds you have one of the better old deltas you will realy like it.i notice in your box of parts a old style tail stock wondering if you might want to sell it thank you

-- Punk in PA

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2260 posts in 2028 days


#4 posted 363 days ago

Punk,

Unfortunately, that old tail stock is part of the junk. It is broken, as you can see here:

If you just want it for some of the parts, send me a PM.

-- “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” ― Mark Twain

View vipond33's profile

vipond33

1405 posts in 998 days


#5 posted 363 days ago

If you want zero vibrations and really smooth turning then lay several sandbags on that lower shelf. You’ll be amazed at the way they soak it up. 2-3 hundred pounds is good.
Happy turning.
gene

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Roger's profile

Roger

13062 posts in 1305 days


#6 posted 362 days ago

ChaChing…. looks like a gr8 score. You’ll be havin much fun with this baby. How did that link belt perform for ya? Thnx in advance.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2260 posts in 2028 days


#7 posted 362 days ago

Roger,

The link belt really seems to help. The motor hangs from the top by a hinge. This provides the belt tension as well as making it easy to change the belt to another set of pulleys. With the original belt, there was a lot of bouncing of the motor on startup. Now it works much more smoothly.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had to use a 3/8” link belt to replace the 1/2” rubber belt. A 1/2” link belt rides too high in the pulley and rubs on the top guard when in the position shown in one of my photos above.

-- “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” ― Mark Twain

View Roger's profile

Roger

13062 posts in 1305 days


#8 posted 362 days ago

Thnx Chuck. Very good. Appreciate the reply and info. My old ‘50’s Craftsman TS runs very good, but, I’ve been thinking of putting one o these link belts on it to help it along even more. I look at them every time I’m in the HF store here.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Porchfish's profile

Porchfish

545 posts in 1033 days


#9 posted 362 days ago

Chuck V ,the lathe is looking good, and you are off to a good running start turning ! Keep going !

don s. Porchfish @ Porchfish studio , Havana (florida)

-- If it smells good, eat it ! The pig caught under the fence is the one doing all thesquealing

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1586 days


#10 posted 362 days ago

Good lathe, I have a slightly older model and really like it. The only thing I can suggest is that you raise
the lathe bed above the bench top with some sturdy spacer blocks. It will make it a lot easier to mount
and remove the banjos/tool rest supports without having to slide the tailstock on and off the bed. I have
rather large hands, so you may not need the extra space for access, but it does make it easier to clean under
the bed. The nice thing about link belts, you can just add a few more links, you will not have to buy new
belts.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Dave's profile

Dave

10914 posts in 1341 days


#11 posted 361 days ago

Looking good Chuck!
I like it.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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