Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little update on my lathe....

If you go back in the archives here, you'll see the posts I've previously done on my Harper & Reynolds lathe that I bought from Rip Rose's (Ridin' With Rip) daughter Kristina Marie a few years ago. I've been slowly working on it (slowly being the operative word here) when I can, and it's pretty close to going into service.

To briefly bring you up to date, the lathe was made in 1887, and it was originally in a steam-powered machine shop. In 1924, it was "electrified" with a big honkin' GE 220v motor, and the lathe and motor have been in service ever since. I took the motor in to a shop here in town that specializes in old motors like this, and the guy said it'll run for another 100 years! Tommy's dad, who's a retired machinist, smiled and told me when he examined the lathe itself, that it was tight as a drum, and I can expect it to do everything I need it to forever if I keep it lubed and adjusted. Part-timer Steve thinks I'm giving it to him when I die, but I'm taking it with me......

This is what the "farmer-ized" rack for the motor and the pulleys looked like when I brought it home. It's what they made when they "electrified" the lathe. It was made out of 1/4" thick angle iron, 5/8" solid rod, and water pipe - all stick welded together by I believe, Blind Mellon Jefferson. I gotta give them credit, it lasted for 86 years! But, it was a true POS.
This is what the new rack for the motor and the pulleys loos like now. It doesn't look like it, but it's 3/4's the weight of the old rack, it's a lot more rigid, and fits in well with the "style" of the lathe. I had a guy stop by that does CNC work, and he asked if I had the end pieces cut with a waterjet or a laser, and I told him I cut them out with an oxy-acetylene torch, from a pattern I made out of posterboard, that I traced on the 1/4" plate with a soapstone. He wouldn't believe me.

See those "C" cuts on the end of the plates? That's where the pivot tubes go (see the above photo), to hang it on the back of the lathe. I've had those pivot tubes cut and they've been laying on my workbench for over 6 months! I just didn't want to drag that heavy fucker away from the wall and get it done. I finally got them welded on the day before I left for L.A. last weekend, and the rack in place. "The meeting of The Procrastinator's Club has been put off until next week......".
This is what it looks like (less the motor), mounted to the original pivot bar on the back of the lathe. Looks a little better than what they had, huh? The motor is fully adjustable now for belt tension, and the rack adjusts the tension for the drive belt. I'm going to have it powdercoated a dark maroon, to match the legs. Now that everything is in place, I can go down to Western Belting, and get new belts made for it.
After I get the belts, I need to run the line from the main breaker box to the wall outlet, and get Chris the electrician over here, and have him do the wiring from there. Nice to have an electrician that rides!


Brubble said...

Looking good so far. Nice to see somebody keeping these running.
Reminded me of the article on a Monarch lathe being restored- http://hackaday.com/2012/05/28/turning-a-1942-lathe-into-a-functional-piece-of-art/

BuzzKilr's said...

Rich..in your travels to Michigan did you ever check out the Henry Ford Museum? In the "village" part of the complex they have a machine shop with all the machines powered by belts that come down from the ceiling. Originally steam powered they now run it with electric motors I believe.