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.
-- “While the world with closed eyes sleeps, The sky knows and weeps - steel rain. ” ― Nathan Bell