Saturday, 26 October 2013

One good turn deserves another....

After a year or so in the workshop I'm often working on improving the layout and functionality in order  for it to work more efficiently and be user friendly for the people who come along to make chairs, boxes and other stuff with me. Recently that included identifying that we needed another lathe for the courses.
                                             Australian made Waldown High Precision Drill

Those who know me well know just how much I 'appreciate' quality machinery and more specifically Australian made quality machinery. Ok, I admit I perhaps have a slight infatuation with Waldown machinery. But I digress.....

Back in the day we had any amount of makers of quality machines but now I can only think of Parken ( drilling machines, linishers etc ) and Vicmarc ( wood lathes ) that are making woodworking machines in any number now.

Even Waldown, once the makers of some of the finest Australian made drilling machines and grinders available, have now taken their manufacturing off shore to Asia and the resulting offerings from them are not much more than landfill.

Another fine maker of days gone by was 'Tough.' Made in Western Australia, Tough manufactured drilling machines, morticing machines, wood lathes and apparently tractor implements! Their machines were rugged and hefty to say the least, but their quality spoke for itself. So given that my budget didn't come close to a new or even used Vicmarc lathe, I decided to keep an eye out for a Tough.

A few weeks ago one appeared on ebay. It was down on the Mornington Peninsula, about two and a bit hours away, so I watched it like a hawk, threw my hat into the ring and as luck would have it, won it. For the princely sum of $255. Nice.

Nice........ and rusty. The lathe in situ in Red Hill. I think most of the Red Hill was sitting on or       around this lathe!

On arriving to collect it I soon realised it had been sitting dormant for a few years, as everything was covered in rust. Apparently, the seller had acquired it when she bought the small farm it was on and the fella who sold the place couldn't be bothered getting it out of the shed! Out with socket set and screwdrivers and in a just under an hour I had it stripped down from it's flimsy pine stand, in the back of the ute and headed out of the paddock for home.

I had every intention of building a solid wooden base for the new beast, but when I got it back to the shed I remembered that I had an old cast iron bench that I'd bought a fair while back. Voila, new stand for the lathe.

Now to strip the rust off everything. I ended up using a combination of steel wool, a Beartex wheel on the bench grinder and elbow grease. In one afternoon I had pretty much had the rust beaten.

The next morning I sat the bare lathe bed on the cast table and marked out where I needed to cut a hole for the v-belt to run to the motor.

A pattern was then made to locate the holes for bolting the bed down. With the holes drilled and v-belt hole cut out, I then started to make a new stand for the motor to sit on. Most lathes of this age rely on the sheer weight of the old motors to create enough tension in the v-belt, so I simply laminated a nice bed for it to sit on and hinged it from the rear so that the v-belt pulleys would would be pivoting in line with the belt. The motor had previously been pivoting perpendicular to the line of the belt, meaning the belt would wear disproportionally when under tension.

                                            Headstock pulley to corresponding motor pulley below

To line up the headstock and motor v-belt pulleys I sat the motor on it's new stand and sighted down through the top of casting to line them up as best as I could be eye. I then used a plumb bob to check this and adjust it slightly.

I have some new linked v-belt coming in the mail and a few other bits and pieces to pick up to finish the job, which hopefully should happen shortly after I finish classes for the year, at the end of this month. It'll be good to see this thing turning once again.

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