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Centre lathes
Browser - 19/11/06 at 07:13 PM

I'm kinda-sorta looking at getting one and was wondering if anyone on here owned one, if there's any to avoid or any to look out for. I'm looking 'cos I used to be able to access the Ajax at work (about 1.5m between centres I think so quite useful) but someone at another site had an accident and now they've completely knee-jerked and are clamping down on useage for 'government' work. In addition to this I've been looking for a bit anywhay as it'd be so useful to have at home, trouble is I've got space for a small hobby machine but want something like a Harrison M300
There are plenty of Myfords on Ebay but I feel you can end up paying for the name if your not careful. I keep looking at pre or just post-WWII stuff as well but would like metric screw cutting capability and don't know how I'd get on with the metric scaling on the slides as I am a post '71 child and learned on one o' them new-fanlged things


JB - 19/11/06 at 07:27 PM

Look for a Harrison, Boxford or Cholchster ex school or college. Myfords are more suited for model engineers and you will pay more. I also think they are too small for general car stuff.

I have a Harrison and its great. I could not have built my car without it. Sorry but I cant remember the actual model.




Boring out my lower wishbone balljoint housing after welding.



John


khm - 19/11/06 at 07:47 PM

If you want any advice let me know as this is our business, when not playing with cars !! As JB say's i think a myford / Boxford would be too small for you & would soon grow out of it, depending on how much you want to spend will depend on what sort of machine you will get but make sure it has a Norton box for screw cutting if you go for an older type machine - ie. colchester student mk1 or mk2. also you will have to find a single phase machine or you can run through a convertor. hope this helps a bit !!


Wadders - 19/11/06 at 07:53 PM

Looks like an L5 Mk2 John, i have the slightly later L5A, and agree they're cracking machines
The beds were induction hardened and tend to last well. Mines a 1958 model and still capable of precision work. Perfect size for home use if car stuff is your thang. Although they do weigh in the region of 600kg, so not as easy to transport as a myford.


khm - 19/11/06 at 07:55 PM

Yes definetly an L5, always good to get a gap bed as well for swinging bigger jobs.


JB - 19/11/06 at 08:30 PM

L5 sounds familier. Very adaptable machine. 2 friends have Boxfords and I do feel they are a bit small. Make sure the mandrel (the hole in the tube behind the chuck) is at least 1" otherwise you will be compromised to just what you can easilly do.

That lathe came up 3 steps through a normal width door...............




See the door in the back corner, the lathe went up there.

John


BenB - 19/11/06 at 08:41 PM

You doing corner weights on Bond's Vanquish again?


NS Dev - 20/11/06 at 09:19 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Browser
I'm kinda-sorta looking at getting one and was wondering if anyone on here owned one, if there's any to avoid or any to look out for. I'm looking 'cos I used to be able to access the Ajax at work (about 1.5m between centres I think so quite useful) but someone at another site had an accident and now they've completely knee-jerked and are clamping down on useage for 'government' work. In addition to this I've been looking for a bit anywhay as it'd be so useful to have at home, trouble is I've got space for a small hobby machine but want something like a Harrison M300
There are plenty of Myfords on Ebay but I feel you can end up paying for the name if your not careful. I keep looking at pre or just post-WWII stuff as well but would like metric screw cutting capability and don't know how I'd get on with the metric scaling on the slides as I am a post '71 child and learned on one o' them new-fanlged things


Old Colchesters are SUPERB!

Look out for a roundhead student or master. These are the ones with a rounded cover over the belt drive end. Look on www.lathes.co.uk for details, but most of them had metric AND imperial screwcutting as std built in with no gear changing etc, really good range of speeds, built like brick outhouses, really not much to fault on them.

Paid 100 delivered for my, admittedly rather worn out, Colchester 6.5" master gap-bed jobbie (which will machine a 13" wheel rim which is useful! )

cheers

Nat


Browser - 20/11/06 at 10:18 PM

Thnaks for the replies chaps. I keep watching on Ebay to see what turns up (s'cuse the pun) and there's plenty, I just need the money fairy to drop 500 in my lap and I'll be away.
Oh, I also need to reinforce the shed (12ft x 8ft) floor, as that's where it'll be going


DEAN C. - 25/11/06 at 10:32 PM

I have a Colchester student as well running through a three phase converter,love it to bits and wouldn't part with it for anything.
Harrisons are probably slightly better due the clutch set up but they are both the dogs danglies in the garage sized lathe department.


David Jenkins - 26/11/06 at 09:47 AM

Just don't under-estimate the weight of one of these lathes - my Colchester Student Mk1 weighs roughly half a ton (i.e. just a little less than my Locost).

Mine cost me 200, then 100 for a local professional machine-moving company to transport it 15 miles and bring it into my garage - I thought that was a bargain, as they are big awkward beasts to move if you don't know the clever tricks for balancing, etc.

I wouldn't be without it, though.

David


Gav - 26/11/06 at 10:47 AM

gotta say i couldnt imagine building mine without a lathe!


David Jenkins - 26/11/06 at 01:14 PM

Oh - another thing - if you buy one of this big old lathes make sure that you get all the accessories (3- & 4-jaw chucks, travelling & fixed steadies, and so on). Mine came with a full set included, but they are fearfully expensive on the 2nd-hand market.

David


Wadders - 26/11/06 at 02:11 PM

I bought my Harrison from a retired engineer, who showed me a great trick for loading heavy machines into the back of a van with minimal effort/equipment. Two long planks of approx 7" x 3" timber laid with a slight gap between to form a ramp into the van, with enough length inside the van for the lathe to sit on ( 5' or so.) Nail a peice of angle iron or similar across the ends of the planks and attach a block and tackle. using 3 short lengths of solid bar as rollers, drag the machine up the ramps. when it gets past the pivot point, the planks tip up and the machine is in. You need at leat two people, but three is better as lathes etc tend to be very top heavy and someone steadying it as its dragged up, adds a bit of security. Getting it out is a reversal of the process. I didn't have far to bring mine so left the planks in place with the back doors open. Egyptian ingenuity at its finest.



Originally posted by David Jenkins
Just don't under-estimate the weight of one of these lathes - my Colchester Student Mk1 weighs roughly half a ton (i.e. just a little less than my Locost).

Mine cost me 200, then 100 for a local professional machine-moving company to transport it 15 miles and bring it into my garage - I thought that was a bargain, as they are big awkward beasts to move if you don't know the clever tricks for balancing, etc.

I wouldn't be without it, though.

David



Alan B - 27/11/06 at 03:24 PM

I agree with the Myford comments...small and overpriced...Boxford only slightly better. You really can't go far wrong with Colchester or Harrison, both are great makes.
I have a Mazak, around 10" centre height and 60" between centres, so it's actually a bit big for many jobs, so I could use a smaller one (to supplement of course.....not replace)


bass - 3/12/06 at 06:27 PM

yes the bigger the better, mines a colchester triumph 2000. weight 1.5 ton. 7 horse motor .you can get all the tipped turning tools cheap,spun my mini pickup wheels on it to polish them (put them in the dishwasher first)


Browser - 7/12/06 at 07:57 PM

Effing typical! Missed out on a cheap Smart And Brown on Ebay the other day 'cos I couldn't be here for the last minutes of the auction to bid. There's another one ending Sunday and guess what???? Thaaaats right, I'm f*****g-well out for the day All I can do is put in a bid before I go and pray