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Boxford Lathe Big Bore Conversion

Big bore conversion?

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Brian Moss11/08/2017 17:58:16
20 forum posts

Does anyone know if the commonly encountered Boxford lathes can be modified to increase the spindle bore from 0.75" to, say, 1" or even more?

I know that some of the later ones such as the VSL could be had with 38mm bores or thereabouts.

David Standing 111/08/2017 18:43:14
1297 forum posts
50 photos

The X10 series Boxfords (250,280,330, 10.20, 11.30 etc) have a 35mm bore spindle.

Would it be too forward of me to mention that my 280 is for sale in the classifieds?! blush

Clive Brown 111/08/2017 18:45:57
826 forum posts
41 photos

The OD of the extreme end of the spindle on my ME10 measures 1.050", That measurement is also the tooth root diameter of the gear machined on the end of the spindle.

A 1" bore wouldn't leave much metal there.

Can't say how close you would get to the bearing inner races though.

Oldiron11/08/2017 20:14:41
975 forum posts
40 photos

I have asked Boxford this question and they said "Its not recommended to increase the bore of the spindle". I can measure a spindle from an "A" tomorrow and see how much wall there is. Cannot remember from my last foray into this subject.

Nick_G11/08/2017 21:02:14
1808 forum posts
744 photos


If it was a good idea then I presume Boxford would have done it themselves as a bigger bore is always a good selling point.


Clive Brown 111/08/2017 21:09:04
826 forum posts
41 photos

Further to my post above, a bit of googling suggests that the ID of the bearings is 35mm, or 1,379".

leaving about 0.188" for a 1" bore. A bit thin I'd think.

Brian Moss13/08/2017 13:55:04
20 forum posts

Many thanks for all replies to my question. It looks as though there is no easy answer without a major rework.

Bazyle13/08/2017 14:14:23
6324 forum posts
222 photos

Since the Boxford is a modular construction the bed runs right through under the headstock. Therefore you could make a new headstock from plate even a DIY aluminium casting, and fit it to the main part of the bed. Then line bore for your new selection of bearings. Moving it over to the headstock position should retain the alignment (assuming good condition bed). Probably worth basing it around the spindle of a 10" far eastern design if you can find one that has spares available. Would be an interesting article on MEW.

Brian Moss13/08/2017 14:57:01
20 forum posts

Thanks for your very interesting suggestion Bazyle, I did wonder about doing something like this. I'm not too familiar with Boxfords but would it be possible to do something similar by obtaining a spare headstock and boring it out to take larger taper roller bearings and either obtain or make a suitably larger spindle. If suitable roller bearings are not obtainable would plain bearings be OK ? Could the bull gear and pulleys be bored larger to suit the fatter spindle?

Niels Abildgaard13/08/2017 18:54:28
429 forum posts
159 photos

Been there,started but gave up.



Parts were to heavy for my old and wellworn back and the lathe where spindle comes from is cheap



Edited By Niels Abildgaard on 13/08/2017 18:57:21

Bazyle13/08/2017 20:38:06
6324 forum posts
222 photos

If you have a one off, or occasional need for the larger bore then it might be better to find an evening class or club with the bigger machine. If it is more frequent then it is probably better to get the bigger lathe anyway. Although Niels may have some more info I'd be surprised if the basic headstock would have sufficient extra metal around to bore out.

Niels Abildgaard14/08/2017 08:56:43
429 forum posts
159 photos

Although Niels may have some more info I'd be surprised if the basic headstock would have sufficient extra metal around to bore out.

There is lots of metal to bore:


The original front bearing is 76.2 mm dia and the new proposed is 90mm.

John Stevenson14/08/2017 09:17:11
5068 forum posts
3 photos
Quite where it all fits in I'm not sure how to do it but my Orac has a completely new version of the headstock with D1-3 fitting
Brian Moss14/08/2017 18:40:04
20 forum posts

Thank you Niels for your link to the Far Eastern lathes. I think the one which would suit me is similar to a Warco WM280V here in the UK, but the price is almost £3000 which unfortunately I am unable to afford. Anyway, I do enjoy a challenge and would like to further examine the modified Boxford idea. What bearing did you have in mind for the bored out headstock with an O.D. of 90mm? And which spindle would be available ?

JasonB14/08/2017 19:36:01
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

Brian, Neils was directing you to the lathe that the larger spindle was sourced from as a spare part not suggesting you buy a whole lathe. Though the same 290 lathes are available with D1-4 mount which would be even better than flange mount.


If you wanted to stick with 1" bore then the 280 spindle would do and I think my bearings for that are about 70mm OD

Edited By JasonB on 14/08/2017 19:37:21

Niels Abildgaard14/08/2017 20:27:21
429 forum posts
159 photos

Hello Brian

I bougth the spare chinese spindle plus unused bearings and a used Boxford headstock.

I have sawed the rear part of headstock away because I need no back gearing.My present backgear is only used for unscrewing chucks.

Putting headstock on saw made me realise that I was to old for lifting things.

I then realised that I could have a complete new lathe from Holland for 2400€.

I will stick with my much improved Boxford.

You can have the parts for postage and a  gift to a dogs home


Edited By Niels Abildgaard on 14/08/2017 20:54:03

Edited By Niels Abildgaard on 14/08/2017 20:54:50

Michael Gilligan14/08/2017 21:25:17
20182 forum posts
1053 photos


I have sent you a P.M.


Brian Moss15/08/2017 00:03:30
20 forum posts

Niels, I have sent you a p.m.



Brian Moss15/08/2017 00:06:32
20 forum posts

I should have referred to the Warco 290V in my earlier post and not the 280V; a slip of my typing fingers I'm afraid!


Hopper15/08/2017 00:09:14
6393 forum posts
334 photos

Another possibility might be to take a look at the Australian made Hercus lathes, which like the Boxford, I believe, are a clone of the American South Bend 9" lathe. Hercus made a model called the 260 where they took the basic model and fitted it with a larger spindle supported in a larger headstock that sat the spindle an inch or so higher than the standard 9" lathe. Tailstock and topslide were fitted with thicker bases to match.

If they are all based on the South Bend dimensions, a Hercus headstock and spindle should fit your Boxford. If you google around there are plenty of Hercus parts available still. Here's a brand new headstock complete with gears etc and spindle for A$485. **LINK**

The fellow who runs the linked business is quite helpful and may be able to tell you if the 260 spindle and bearings could be fitted to a modified 9" headstock.

Edited By Hopper on 15/08/2017 00:16:54

Edited By Hopper on 15/08/2017 00:18:30

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