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By TFrench
We've just bought a nice old 13" swing lathe for our unit - mostly for our own use it has to be said, but hopefully we'll get the odd paying job for it as well! It's given me the kick up the backside I need to get a thread started about the various machines I've been tinkering with recently.
First up is this nice RJH pedestal grinder - a £40 gumtree special. It looked very ropey - but its all cast iron, right? Had to drill the solid rust from the water pot with a masonry bit it was that solid! I milled 2 flats on the spindle while I had it in pieces to let me get a spanner on it to change the wheels more easily. New bearings in the head, paint and a nice new NVR switch had it pretty much sorted.
ImageRJH grinder by tfrench123
It's got a coarse wheel and a wire wheel currently but I think I may swap the wire one for a fine grit wheel.

Next up is this RJH linisher - I've been looking for one for a while and this popped up on ebay fairly close (turned out to be the same seller I got my bandsaw from - more on that later) so I picked it up and got it back to the yard. Not run it up yet as we've not got a 3 phase plug socket but I'm pretty confident it will be fine. I've hoovered all the dust and belt debris from the guts of it, just need to give it a splash of paint to cheer it up when I get a chance to do it.
ImageRJH Linisher by tfrench123
Last edited by TFrench on 28 Mar 2018, 19:31, edited 1 time in total.
By TFrench
This brings us onto current projects: the bandsaw. Another "too cheap to not buy" ebay purchase! It's going in my home workshop eventually, but I've taken it to work for now so I've got the room and tools to work on it! Main issues are the 3 phase motor (240v at home) and the fact it weighs about the same as a small elephant. It's an 18-T-10 - 18" throat and a 10 speed gearbox. The motor is a 6 pole slow running jobby so it would be very expensive to convert to a single phase one so I'm thinking of sticking an inverter in it. I'm also making a set of Myfordman's cammed castors to move it about on. For now though I've just bolted the castors straight to it so I can at least move it:
Imagestartrite bandsaw by tfrench123

Castor brackets:
ImageCamming castor bracket by tfrench123

I'm planning on mounting the inverter where the original switchgear was, so I've made up this aluminium replacement so I don't wreck the original, and had one of the guys on the estate punch some louvres into it to help with cooling:
ImageLouvred panel by tfrench123
By TFrench
The bearings in the guides were all quite impressively full of swarf:
Imageknackered guide bearings by tfrench123

And the gearbox was leaking oil and covered in crud:
Imagegearbox by tfrench123

I thought it was the centre gasket but when I degreased it it turned out to just be the oil seal behind the pulley, which was then flicking oil over everything! Both problems now sorted (hopefully!)
By TFrench
So now the metal lathe, and the reason for starting the thread! It's been listed on ebay for months now and the start price has been creeping further down, with no takers at all. Eventually it got low enough I thought it had to be worth a look, so me and my dad went to see it and ended up doing the deal :D It belonged to an old engineer who was offered it as part of his redundancy package - so it's pretty much a one operator from new machine! Further information here, for anyone interested: Last weekend we went back armed with jacks, skates, levers and lots of chocks of wood to remove it from the shed it was in. I'm pretty sure it was built around the lathe as we did have to chop chunks out of the doorframe to roll it out! Didn't get any pictures, but suffice to say getting it in the trailer was "interesting". Getting it out at our end was much easier:
ImageUnloading the lathe by tfrench123

So it's now inside, waiting for a serious clean up and inspection:
Imagelathe front by tfrench123
Imagelathe back by tfrench123

I didn't get a picture of the piles of stuff that came with it, but I think we did pretty well. Couple of coventry die-heads and lots of dies, LOADS of bar stock in steel, brass and aluminium, faceplate and dog drive plate, fixed and travelling steadies, loads of new inserts and a few insert tools and boxes of HSS ground bits. Going to need a new toolchest just to store it all! The motor should be 3 phase but it's been running on single phase - that lovely chunky 1.5mm twin and earth you see wrapped up on the bed :shock: Pretty sure the motor on the floor you can see in the pictures is the original one - we found it in a corner of the shed it was in. Not sure yet whether to refit the 415v motor or keep the 240v in it - I've not had chance to look at the plate of the one thats in it yet. Am I right in saying the 3 phase would have more torque?
Thats all for now, plan is to keep this updated as I do more to it and move it into it's final home at the other end of the factory (a challenge in itself!)
By TFrench
I had a spare hour on friday afternoon so I started degreasing and cleaning the old girl down. Only had white spirit so I didn't go too mad. I picked up some proper degreaser this weekend so I can have a proper go at it next time.
Imagefront before cleaning by tfrench123
Imagerear before cleaning by tfrench123

Imagefront clean 2 by tfrench123
Imageback clean by tfrench123

Started working out what levers do what - I've got a manual coming so hopefully I'll be able to sort it out then! I opened the coolant tank and the pump and pipework has been removed and filled with sawdust. Not sure how much really heavy work we'll do with it so I'm going to leave it alone for now, but it would be pretty easy to sort at a later date. The only really major thing it was missing is a 4 jaw chuck but one popped up today on ebay that has the correct L0 taper fittting so I'm picking that up tomorrow.
By Keith 66
Well i have never seen a big Harrison described as a Colchester!
Looks like a Harrison L6 ? nice lathe, well worth doing up, The norton gearbox on the front has three levers so is a late metric one, that gearbox should be oiled never greased, if its full of grease you will have to wash it out. The whole machine uses 68 hydraulic oil for everything. If you have three phase its worth putting the original motor back as it is a big machine & the power is nice.
The toolpost looks like the one on mine, they are an indexing toolpost that is similar to a capstan unit, you can have four tools set up in it & one crank of the top lever rotates it 90 degrees & locks it again, very quick & easy, but if its broke it is an absolute sod to fix, i know this as several small springs escaped into my workshop never to be seen again, took me hours to get the toolpost right but it was worth it.
By TFrench
That's a damn good point Keith - must have had a severe brain fart when I wrote the first post! (hammer) The manual arrived today so I've got some new reading material - it's even called an L13 on the manual. Not sure why they went to the trouble of making such a massive range of lathes with such small increments in centre height. The gearboxes are all full of oil (looks pretty clean too!) but I'll probably change them all while I'm at it. The 4 jaw chuck I picked up turns out to be a 12" one, not a 10". I'll see if I can swap it with a tool dealer for a smaller one at some point. The toolpost is just a 4 position one - loosening the lever on top lets it spin freely to use whatever tool you want. We have got 3 phase so refitting the motor is not a problem - just not sure on rewiring the switches.

Spent the afternoon degreasing it - got the back pretty much done, and the bits between the bed. Turns out its painted red in there!
Imageback degreased 2 by tfrench123
Imagebed cleaned by tfrench123
By TFrench
Yep, all round access is making it very easy to get cleaned up! Getting it in position is going to need a big area clearing out - stationary engines, engines and axles from Austin Champs and lots of assorted tat, then I'm planning to fit an OSB partition wall to create a little machine shop - theres a little surface grinder and centec horizontal mill to go in there as well. Need to fit wiring and lighting in there too. Once all that is done we can skate the lathe down (forklift won't fit!) and into position. Its going to be quite a project.
Yesterday I took advantage of an early finish to go to Walsall to pick up a nice tooling cabinet to sort everything into, which was today's project. Been tripping over all the stuff that came with the lathe for a couple of weeks now, then there is all the stuff for the milling machine so it was nice to get it all consolidated into one box!
ImageLathe HSS tooling by tfrench123
ImageLathe insert tooling by tfrench123
Plenty of room for the inevitable adding of tooling too!
By TFrench
The eBay monster strikes again... Browsing harrison lathe bits and bobs and spotted a collet chuck. Which just so happens to be the correct L0 nose fitting for my lathe. And listed incorrectly AND collection only which normally seems to keep the price down. Only problem - its in Bristol. Luckily I was heading back up the M5 from Cornwall this weekend so I stuck a cheeky bid in on it and won it. Whoops. :lol:
ImageBurnerd collet chuck by tfrench123
What a beautifully made chunk of metal! Just need to make a better lid for the box it came in now.
By TFrench
Finally, some progress! Made a decent lid for the collet chuck box (I've added a latch as well since I took the photo)
ImageCollet chuck box
I picked up another job lot of tooling for a ridiculous price on ebay. As well as these brilliant old engineers boxes there was a red mechanics topbox full of tooling and a plastic tub with loads of cutters. It then took me a week or so of lunch breaks and odd hours here and there to sort it all out into the proper tooling drawers so I can find everything!
ImageMore tooling!

We finally got a free afternoon at work and set about making room for the new lathe. First time this area has been tidied out in years! First job was to get the tool cabinets in place at the back - had to remove all the drawers to be able to manhandle the big one into position - its seriously heavy filled up!

To move the lathe we've got a set of machine skates, but they are a bit temperamental - moving over any uneven surface allows them to drop and whatever is on them becomes very unsteady! It's also hard to change direction with them - you need to keep jacking up the machine to adjust the angle of the skate. This is my solution:
Imageskate boots
The box drops over the skate, and you can bolt them to the machine. They then pivot on the bolt easily just by tapping with a soft mallet. They also allow the skate to drop by 2" before they come out, so they can go over a lot trickier surfaces. Here they are bolted to the lathe:
ImageOn the move
Made it a very easy job - 2 pushing the lathe and one tapping the front skates to steer. Easiest machine move we've ever done!
ImageEagle has landed!
It still needs to move back to the wall quite a bit but I still need to finish cleaning it up and swap the motor back to 3 phase. Big step closer to having a man sized lathe though!
By gregmcateer
I know jack - .... about metal working, but even I can see that is a proper job. And you've got some serious space there! What does your firm do, other than source awesome machines and various other associated pieces of tooling?
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By Droogs
all i can say is "You lucky lucky drinks technician" :P