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Member postings for Lathejack

Here is a list of all the postings Lathejack has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Mitutoyo Caliper
21/10/2020 00:09:30

I also have a Mitutoyo 150mm digital caliper that I bought over 30 years ago and they don't turn off automatically, still going strong after all these years.

A cheap new digital caliper I have does turn itself off, it also turns on automatically as soon as the jaws are moved.

Thread: Optimum products?
20/10/2020 21:53:38

As well as Optimum there was also another Chinese/German brand called Quantum. The Optimum and Quantum hobby lathes that I looked at some years ago were good but didn't appear to be particularly better in terms of the machining and fit of parts. The equivalent Chinese machines from the main UK branded suppliers are just as good, allowing for the odd lemon of course, which you can get from any brand of Chinese made hobby machine tool. A Chinese made SwissTec 10X22 lathe I also examined was certainly not any higher quality.

I can recall a conversation I had several years ago with a UK supplier of Chinese lathes and mills. He told me that on one of his visits to the factory in China he asked the owner if he could have his own inspector there, the factory owner put his arm around him and replied " Of course, you can have as many of your own inspectors here as you like, but we will corrupt them"



Edited By Lathejack on 20/10/2020 21:55:28

Edited By Lathejack on 20/10/2020 21:56:10

Thread: Chinese BS0 Dividing Head
11/10/2020 20:09:59

I don't think you have to worry too much about the quality of the Chinese made BS0 dividing heads, they look fine to me. It must be almost twenty years ago when I bought my Vertex BS0 from Chronos at either the Harrogate or Donnington show and I am sure back then it cost £199, it came with a tailstock, division plates and a chuck back plate but no chuck.

The internals of the Chinese heads are identical to those in my Vertex, and I am not certain that my Vertex BS0 was made in Taiwan, it could also have been made in China, so there is probably no need to search for a Vertex branded dividing head anyway.

The spindle has a taper roller bearing at the front, with a radial plain bearing at the rear together with a needle roller thrust bearing.. After checking it over my dividing head sat unused for years from new, when I finally came to use it the spindle seemed a little tight. Dismantling revealed rather too much spindle preload had been applied at the factory. Although it was quite clean inside the factory applied grease was becoming a little dry, so it is worth the effort to dismantle them to ensure they are clean, properly lubricated and adjusted.


Edited By Lathejack on 11/10/2020 20:12:48

Thread: Buying a new Lathe....Asian?
04/10/2020 21:48:45

It's a few years since I looked at the Southbend Heavy 10 on Grizzly's website, but I remember that it is quite a close copy of the earlier Emco Super 11, before Emco put the curved covers on some of their lathes.

The Southbend Heavy 10 has just about the same headstock, screwcutting gearbox, tailstock, apron, saddle, topslide and crosslide with three longitudinal tee slots. The tailstock now has a camlock lever and although the bed casting looks the same as that on the Emco the guidways are different and it is now machined with triple vee ways, with two vee ways guiding the saddle which is a very nice detail as used on original Southbend lathes.

Edited By Lathejack on 04/10/2020 21:51:18

Edited By Lathejack on 04/10/2020 22:00:02

15/09/2020 20:19:34

Despite the tang being primarily for edjecting the tooling I think a tang slot machined into the quill of a lathe tailstock is also intended to help stop tooling such as a drill bit slipping and spinning. The nature of work on a lathe often means that there isn't as much load on a drill to force the tapers firmly together as there is on a drilling machine. There is nothing wrong in using the tang for this purpose in a tailstock, and it certainly works.

Lathe tailstocks that have a tang slot often still have a self edjecting facility, where the feedscrew pushes on the end of the tang when the quill is retracted, such as my Smart & Brown Modal A toolroom lathe. The last thing you would really want to do is bash in a wedge in the side of the precisely positioned tailstock and risk knocking it out of line. Some tailstock quills have the tang slot machined only from one side, so you can't really pass a wedge through them to edject the tooling, they self edject instead.

We do have a large old lathe at work though that has a tailstock quill with a tang slot, but the rear of the quill is solid with a thread machined on the outside diameter and projects out the rear end of the casting. A captive handwheel meshes with the external thread to drive the quill. So on this tailstock a wedge has to be used to edject tooling, but the tailstock is a very hefty casting with a very large diameter quill that is out of proportion to its 4 Morse taper, so a bit of a whack just won't do any harm.

Thread: Milling Machine Identification
14/09/2020 20:48:15

The three phase motor that this Champion mill is fitted with does look to be the original motor fitted from new, its external appearance is the same as the single phase motors that they were usually supplied with during that period.

I do recall Chester demonstrating one of these Champion mills fitted with a variable speed inverter at one of the Model Engineering exhibitions, must have been at least 25 years ago.

Mgnbuk is correct in his assessment of these early Champion milling machines, when new they were somewhat rough and ready and rather crude in places with no real feel of quality, although the price was quite low. The table was quite good though with a nice ground finish and Tee slots that extended past the coolant troughs and right up to the ends of the table. The tilting milling head was opperated by a worm gear which was an unusual addition on such a low cost machine. I agree that a £1400 asking price for one of these mills is rather excessive.

Edited By Lathejack on 14/09/2020 20:50:38

Edited By Lathejack on 14/09/2020 21:09:00

14/09/2020 09:24:38

It's a Chester Champion milling machine, one of Chester Machine Tools early products that they sold for years. It had a four speed belt driven tilting head powered by a single phase motor.The identical Warco version was called the ZX15.

The six speed geared head Warco XZ15 mill was Warco's replacement for their VHM mill which was the copy of the Emco FB2 machine, the geared head XZ15 was not as good as the Emco copy VHM and was only offered briefly.

It's easy to mix up the Warco belt drive ZX15 with their geared head XZ15 mill.

Edited By Lathejack on 14/09/2020 09:26:43

Edited By Lathejack on 14/09/2020 09:33:02

Thread: Tail stock spindle out of line .
17/06/2020 15:58:44

It's many years ago now, but I remember Anthony Mount bought a new Warco BH600 lathe which he was pleased with, but just did a few tweaks to it, or fine tuning as I vaguely remember he called it.

I seem to remember he commented that the tailstock quill was a good fit in the casting, and I think he made a collar to fit over the quill and screw to the face of the casting but this was just to house a seal.

So if your quill is a sloppy fit in the tailstock bore, and it is the bore that is worn or it's all just a slightly sloppy fit from new, you could machine a thick collar that is a close sliding fit over the quill and secure it with screws and maybe dowels to the end face of the casting, assuming the end face is machined flat and square to the bore. The clamping method that your tailstock has wouldn't then matter or cause a problem if there is no clearance around the quill.

I have a 16 year old large Warco 1330 lathe with a tailstock quill that is a firm push fit in the honed bore of the casting, just like my old Boxfored lathe, with no play at all. The quill on my Warco lathe is clamped by a Bronze bush either side of the bottom of the quill that are pulled together by a lever, the radiused ends of the bushes then clamp the quill firmly. This is a common method used on lathes but even this would still deflect the quill if it were a sloppy fit in the casting.

Edited By Lathejack on 17/06/2020 16:00:46

Edited By Lathejack on 17/06/2020 16:02:24

Edited By Lathejack on 17/06/2020 16:05:17

Edited By Lathejack on 17/06/2020 16:28:40

Thread: Mill Issue
13/05/2020 23:27:21

As well as the belt drive  ZX15 mill Warco did briefly offer the XZ15 mill which was a Chinese made six speed geared head machine that is a similar size to the Emco FB2 copies, although the base casting, table, head and other parts are a little different.

It could be either the ZX or XZ as I get the two mixed up as well. I think it was at least 20 years ago that Warco offered the XZ15.

Edited By Lathejack on 13/05/2020 23:34:49

Edited By Lathejack on 13/05/2020 23:37:24

Thread: Used Lathe Pinnacle PL1340C Gap Bed
13/05/2020 13:28:33

Apart from the centre hight and slightly different screwcutting gearbox controls the headstock, apron, saddle, topslide and tailstock look to be the same as the current Chinese made 1440 lathe offered by Warco and the Chester Challenger 1440, although apron controls may be left or right handed.

So it is possible that items such as some gears, feedscrews and feednuts from current 1440 machines will be usable, but only from similar 1440 lathes, but obviously there could still be small detail differences in components preventing direct replacement without some modification.

Not all new 1440 lathes are of the same design, some have different headstock, gearboxes, carriage assemblies and tailstocks.

Toolco also offer spare parts for 1440 lathes, although they haven't stocked the machines for some time.

Edited By Lathejack on 13/05/2020 13:34:23

12/05/2020 23:01:56

The lathe shown in the link isn't a copy of a Harrison lathe, it is actually a copy of the old Colchester Student 1800 lathe.

They are not an exact copy, having simplified internals and different controls, but the headstock, gearbox, bed and tailstock castings are based on the Colchester Student 1800 lathe.

Later versions which grew to 14x40 capacity are still available new, Warco still offer it as their GH 1440 and these are now made in China. Also Chester machine tools also offered a version of it, I think called the Challenger, not sure if they still do.

They are good heavily built machines, so if it's in good mechanical condition it would be fine.

Edited By Lathejack on 12/05/2020 23:11:00

Thread: Clarkson autolock help
29/04/2020 15:43:44

I was also told to back off the the nose piece on an Autolock chuck when I started work almost 40 years ago, but it is certainly not the correct method and is unnecessary and not what the designer and manufacturer intended, and I never do it.

The nose piece with its collet should be screwed and nipped up fully up to the shoulder and left there. Then the cutters are screwed fully in until they tighten up, the collets will fully lock automatically when cutting, hence the name Autolock. The shoulder is also a register to square up the nose piece, and the radial register will centralise it to ensure that cutters run true.

Posiloc milling chucks work on the same principle, but the nose piece is located by a taper at the bottom as well as a radial register. So when the nose piece on these is fully screwed up there is always a large gap below the unused shoulder.

I think the upper threaded collar on Steve's Morse taper Autolock chuck can also be used to eject the chuck by screwing it up against the spindle after the draw bar is released.


Edited By Lathejack on 29/04/2020 15:44:43

Edited By Lathejack on 29/04/2020 15:46:46

Thread: Motorcycle General Discussion
25/04/2020 15:48:29
Posted by mgnbuk on 25/04/2020 14:41:10:

I miss the variety of quality, small capacity, motorcycles that were available in the mid '70s - compact two stroke singles, twins & triples, four stroke singles & twins and all great fun to ride at sane speeds.

Nigel B.

Yes I agree, that just about sums up how I feel. In the UK up until around the early 1980's we had a great selection of Japanese bikes to choose from, they produced a bike to suit every one. I lost interest in most new bikes from the end of the 80's when the bike shops were full of mostly race replicas or trail and US chopper style bikes with silly exaggerated styling......Yuk!

I have at times even considered buying a new Jawa 350, just for one last chance to buy a new traditionaly styled air cooled two stroke twin like those of yesteryear, but I just don't do the mileage to justify it.

Thread: Re-magnetising
15/04/2020 21:59:10

Well this has reminded me that I made a start on a magneto remagnetiser almost six years ago. I bought a roll of insulated copper wire and machined up a pair of mild steel cores and cut a slab of mild steel for the base, I then machined up a second set of cores of a larger diameter to those shown, but I haven't got much further with it yet.

Apparently soft ingot iron should ideally be used for the coil cores because of its low carbon content, so it does not retain any magnetism when power to the remagnetiser is switched off, unfortunately it is quite expensive at this size but mild steel is usable. I downloaded and printed off the instructions and have them filed away somewhere.

Magneto charger.

Edited By Lathejack on 15/04/2020 22:01:17

Edited By Lathejack on 15/04/2020 22:05:58

Thread: Motorcycle General Discussion
12/04/2020 12:20:49

I think those new RE 650 twins are great bikes, if I still did a lot of mileage on bikes I would certainly order a new one. The seat looks a bit flat and shapeless, not that it matters when your sat on it while riding if it's comfy. The 48 BHP is just right, and is about what a British 650 from the late sixties produced.

As for the primary and timing being on opposite sides to tradition, I don't think it is done simply to differentiate the new bike from the old. I think it's done for sound engineering reasons, and I wish my old BSA,s were done that way. Most Japanese bikes have been built that way for donkeys years. With the primary drive and clutch on the right, and the generator and final drive chain and sprockets on the left.

So on old Jap bikes and the new 'RE twin it takes just minutes to get to the final drive sprocket should it need replacing. Compare that to the traditional Brit bike with both the primary and final drive on the left. To get to the gearbox sprocket first drain the primary oil then off with the cover, then the clutch pressure plate and plates followed by the clutch centre. Then remove the alternator stator then the rotor, then pull off the primary drive sprocket together with the clutch drum and primary chain. Then extract the clutch hub from the gearbox mainshaft. Next remove the circular plate from the crankcase to finally gain access to the gearbox sprocket....hurah! Now put the whole lot back again, good grief!

By the time you've completed the job on the lovely old Brit bike the chap on the Jap bike or this new 'RE twin will have long since finished doing the same job, been out for a glorious ride in the sunshine, met folk and made new friends, then returned home and sat down with a drink with their feet up to ponder on a pleasant days activities.

Having said that, I do like my old British bikes and wouldn't have anything else at the moment.

Edited By Lathejack on 12/04/2020 12:23:14

Edited By Lathejack on 12/04/2020 12:32:36

Thread: Mystery Tool.
03/04/2020 18:27:01

Yes, you have to question BSA's logic in fitting a 12000 RPM Tacho, and without a redline, onto the relatively fragile B25 engined bikes.

This Tacho and its matching Speedo are the 60 mm diameter type that were also designed for the BSA Fury & Triumph Bandit DOHC 350 twins, they were also fitted to some Ducati singles. There are still plenty of these NOS Tachos about, but the matching Speedo is harder to come by. The Speedo I have just bought only shows 6700 miles but has an alarming amount of wear around the spindle, allowing the needle to slop about all over the place, although the rest of the internals are in excellent condition. The only reason I dismantled the perfectly working Tacho was just to see how the needle spindle was supported, so I could then attempt to repair the Speedo.

I also have the 1971 Victor Trail version, this is a standard and totally factory original example showing less than 1700 miles, a really great bike to own and ride.

1971 BSA Victor 250.

02/04/2020 19:32:10

Adrian was there pretty quick, followed by a few others. I made this tool specifically for removing the needles on some Smiths speedo and tacho guages for my 1971 BSA 250ss Goldstar.


Edited By Lathejack on 02/04/2020 19:33:35

02/04/2020 12:46:02

Can anyone guess what this little tool is used for?

It's actually a tool I made myself a few days ago, it's machined from a piece of 3/4x1/2 inch key steel. The threaded screw is a high tensile M5 capscrew with a knurled bronze thumb wheel added. The end of the screw is machined to form a tiny pin 2.5 mm long by 0.7 mm diameter.


Thread: Machine feet/mounts?
27/03/2020 19:28:41

I bought quite a few of the M12 threaded adjustable mounting feet from Warco over ten years ago, the type with the ball socket so the foot can seat flat on an uneven floor. They are adjustable for hight but are really designed to fit in a threaded hole, they are suplied with a single locknut but the lower hexagon is integral with the shank so adjustement isn't possible if they are used in a plane hole, unless they are fitted with a second nut as I had to for use in my Warco 1330 lathe.

The Warco 1330 requires six of them, they work perfectly well and are more than man enough for the job.


Thread: My new lathe a Warco 918
11/03/2020 22:42:51

That 7 1/4 inch independent 4 jaw chuck was standard issue supplied with most new 918 lathes. They are awkward to use for metal work because the jaws are not positively or precisely located in a tee slot, I think they are actually really intended for wood turning lathes. 

Edited By Lathejack on 11/03/2020 22:44:53

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