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Craftsman Lathe Reeves Drive Repair #1: Freeing up the Reeves Drive on a Craftsman lathe

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Blog entry by Jim Jakosh posted 20 days ago 825 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My Craftsman lathe would not change speeds so I had to stop and fix it today and I’d thought I’d share the process in case someone else has this problem. This is my second Craftsman 15×38 wood lathe and they both have had this problem. This time the the lathe would not slow down. When I tried to crank it down, it just lost drive power. It has a Reeves Drive in it with an upper and lower sheave. The lower one is opened and closed with a crank and lever inside and the top sheave has a big spring behind it and it supposed to respond to the lower one by opening when the bottom one is closed and vice versa. Well the top sheave was frozen on the shaft and would not move so the belt just came loose on both of them.

The first time I ever did this, I managed to remove the c-clip holding the spring tension without compressing the spring. I thought I could hold it and let it out slowly. WRONG.. It shot across the barn and I was lucky to find all the pieces!!
So I started by making this puller with long piece of threaded rod, some nuts and a cut away cup so I could get at the C clip.

I goes through the spindle and compresses the spring.


After i got the C clip off I tried to get the sheave to slide back even with a mallet.

I would not move so I tapped two holes in the end of it and used the puller I made for the other lathe for the same condition.


Then I was able to pull it off and sand down the inside and the shaft until it moved easily. I put it together dry because I learned from the last one that lube gums up and freezes it more quickly.

Now it runs high and low like it is supposed to.

And they lived happily ever after!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.................Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!



11 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

2341 posts in 648 days


#1 posted 20 days ago

Glad you found an easier solution to fixing the frozen pulley. I hear some people never have a problem with the Reeves lathe and others give them a bad review. I think it’s like everything else, sometimes you get the lemon. I read somewhere back when I was looking at upgrading that periodical maintenance is needed to keep them running smooth. Then again others do nothing. I will be coping this just in case I get a second lathe with a Reeves drive. Thanks for sharing Jim.

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

View ShopTinker's profile

ShopTinker

872 posts in 1373 days


#2 posted 20 days ago

Do you think a periodic application of graphite would prevent it from seizing?

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11099 posts in 1710 days


#3 posted 20 days ago

I don’t know if I can do preventative maintenance on it. On the first lathe. I use silicone, anti seize compound, Lubriplate grease and some other lubricant and they all gummed up withing 6 months of use. Dry ran the longest.

I had a couple of the Jet lathes at school freeze up like this, but their Reeves drive is designed differently and I used PB blaster on them and they worked as smooth as ever. They slid into each other on the same shaft and mine has the outer sheave slide on the shaft that is part of the inner sheave. It is harder to get to with lubricant.
Jim

I’d really like to find an electronic speed control head for this lathe. They made it for short period of time but I can’t find one.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile

stefang

12605 posts in 1939 days


#4 posted 20 days ago

You are a very hand guy Jim with a talent for fixing things and making specialised tools for the job. I guess I’m lucky as I’ve had my Record lathe for 18 years and I’ve never had to do any maintenance on it except to do simple adjustments periodically on the headstock bearing which is normal. It has a bronze bushing type of bearing instead of the more common ball bearings found on most lathes. I haven’t even had to change any pulley belts so far.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile

Roger

14177 posts in 1409 days


#5 posted 20 days ago

Indeed, handy dandy Jim.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11099 posts in 1710 days


#6 posted 20 days ago

Hi Mike and Randy!! I think some of the old lathes are the best. They used to be made with better material and machined better. You should see the rough finish on the inside of this sheave. I think the high shots on the grooves is what galls the shaft. I sanded it with 240 paper and it looks more like a ground finish .

I have another lathe just like this one and that one had the armature .005 out of center and there was only .004 “clearance on a side for the armature in the field windings. It was all blue inside where it had heated up and finally quit. I think that friction is what killed the starting capacitors so ofter in that machine. I turned the armature down .012” to clean it up and now I have 2 of these lathes working. If I did not have the metal lathe to work on, I’d be out of luck most of the time!!

I think the root of the problem is Chinese manufacturing with a lack of quality in design and manufacturing!! But, the American made lathes are too expensive for me so I fix these to keep going.

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View English's profile

English

156 posts in 82 days


#7 posted 19 days ago

The first Time I took a Reeves drive pulley apart it was a 20” industrial model and I was 19. I took out the pin and walked away for some reason. It let go and the spring stuck 1” into a 6” solid oak cotton mill floor. I have a real respect for springs now. That a sharp looking jig you made. Keep on being safe

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11099 posts in 1710 days


#8 posted 18 days ago

Hi John. That is hefty spring in the back of the sheave! It earned my respect too!!

.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7627 posts in 2657 days


#9 posted 18 days ago

Glad you solved your problem…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

404 posts in 2121 days


#10 posted 17 days ago

Thanks for showing this Jim. I need to pull something off of a shaft and your little puller looks just like what I need. Also, I passed up a deal on a bigger lathe because of all the negative comments about the Reeves Drives, I may have to rethink it now. The price of a the conversion to electronic speed control is more than I was interested in. We’ll see. First I have a project sitting on my drill press to finish though. The 7 hour drive I did yesterday tuckered me out though, so everything is on hold until tomorrow

-- jstegall

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11099 posts in 1710 days


#11 posted 17 days ago

Hi Joe. It is working good today!

Hi John. I have always looked for an electronic head for this 15×38 Craftsman lathe and just found one in So Carolina on E bay for $400. I’d have to pick it up and the overall cost would be too much for me. If I find one close, I’ll buy it. I have got the cleaning of the Reeves drive down to a science now. I can do it complete in a half hour.

If you get one and need some special pullers or a compressor end, let me know and I can make it for you!!
Next it is on to fixing my 80 yr old drill press. The top bearing was screaming and finally gave up the ghost. I’ll tear that apart in a few days!

..................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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