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Lathe controls position

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Mike Poole17/04/2019 15:42:51
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It seems universally popular to locate the lathe motor controls around the headstock which encourages you to stand in line with the chuck when starting the machine. Should the job not be properly secured you could soon be wearing it, also any oil or swarf can also be ejected in your direction. Relocating purely electrical controls to the tailstock end would move the operator away from the danger area. Not all machines lend themselves easily to this layout, the Colchester’s often have a brake incorporated into the start stop lever.

Mike

JasonB17/04/2019 15:46:59
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Isn't that why modern lathes have chuck guards?

When the guard is down on mine anything is more likely to come out towards the tailstock end

Edited By JasonB on 17/04/2019 15:50:11

Clive Foster17/04/2019 16:18:13
1780 forum posts
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Mike

Headstock location of controls has always been normal due to mechanical constraints on the linkage between operating levers and the various headstock innards.

However the designers were generally well aware of the potential hazards and most industrial quality lathes of any pedigree are so called "three shaft" types where the clutch can be operated by a lever on the tailstock side of the saddle via a rod with an appropriate keyway or splines machined in it. No idea when this became normal but my P&W Model B 12 x 30, a wartime re-iteration of an early 1920's design, is so equipped. Starting the motor and speed selection has to be done at the headstock but no need to run the job up from potentially hazardous position. Most later, bigger machines have remote electrical start and stop controls on the saddle too.

About the only quality lathe I know of that doesn't so conform is my Smart & Brown 1024 VSL which has no clutch, just big green forward and reverse run buttons and an even bigger red stop one. Start-up can easily be done from outside of the line of fire but stopping if things go pear shaped mid job does require moving into the danger zone. One day I might fit a tramp bar.

When it comes to chuck guards I have zero confidence in these flimsy devices being able to stop anything other than fairly small parts making a bid for freedom. I might be more tolerant if they were any good at containing swarf but the usual "fixed to the headstock" arrangements pretty much precludes this over any useful length. On day I'll sort the one on the 1024 so it is properly useful and fit one to the P&W.

Hobby lathes swim in a different pool where performance and features are dictated by the shallowness of the first purchasers pocket. Can be hard enough for Mr Ordinary Home Shop guy (or gal) to afford the basics let alone sophistication.

Clive

David Standing 117/04/2019 17:53:46
1243 forum posts
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My recently acquired Student has the start/stop/forward/reverse switch located on the saddle (the big red knob in the photo, stop in centre, up for reverse, down for forward)).

Very safe and very handy!

dsc_4630.jpg

Alan Jackson17/04/2019 18:23:24
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I purposely located the controls for the Stepperhead at the tailstock end for safety

http://www.lathes.co.uk/stepperhead/

Alan

not done it yet17/04/2019 20:23:44
3166 forum posts
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Straightforward 3 phase motors can be controlled from virtually anywhere sensible, if fitted with a VFD with the usual low voltage remote controls in use. Can’t easily move the headstock change levers, so setting up those is a bit fixed by the manufacturer. I suppose they put the stop/start controls together with the lever/rotary selectors for convenience.

JasonB17/04/2019 20:31:31
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Posted by Alan Jackson on 17/04/2019 18:23:24:

I purposely located the controls for the Stepperhead at the tailstock end for safety

Alan

Good idea with all those uncovered belts and pulleys down the other endwink 2

Zan17/04/2019 23:17:38
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My vdf and DRO controls on the Myford are above and behind the tailstock. Keeps me away from the mess and you get a better view of the workings. Found it to be very convenient, but stil have to reach fir the clutch!

Bandersnatch17/04/2019 23:19:30
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I located the Electronic Halfnut that I built for the AutoArtisans ELS down at the tail;stock end. Seemed more natural there.

els halfnut control.jpg

(OTOH the remote controller box for the Motor VFD is at the headstock end - albeit farher over than the spindle - it seemed more natural there).

Hopper18/04/2019 01:05:16
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I set up the stop/start switch at the tailstock end of the bench, and the reversing switch at the headstock end. Five bob each way.

But generally use the tailstock end switch as I prefer to stand out of the line of fire of swarf and the constant mist of oil that old Myfords and Drummonds etc fling off the chuck from the total loss drip fred bearing set up. Maybe a longtime habit from using the old DSGs that had the clutch/brake lever on the tailstock end of the carriage so one tended to stand back there. Also was away from coolant flinging off job/chuck.

Bazyle18/04/2019 10:13:51
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Anything below tray height is a bad idea unless you are using it to train knuckle dragging apes and if too far down the tailstock end again may only be in reach of the ape when an emergency is happening at the head end.

Not sure about the S&B 1034 but my recollection is that the Model A has a little lever on the apron ready to be accidentally nudged.

Alan Jackson18/04/2019 12:25:44
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JasonB

"Good idea with all those uncovered belts and pulleys down the other endwink 2"

Only one belt, and it could have a belt guard but that would deny the easy use of the large pulley being used for many applications like holding the spindle for collet locking/unlocking, Threading etc. I much prefer the open arrangement, but it is up to the operator/constructor to do what they want. What about that rotating chuck as well?

Alan

vintage engineer19/04/2019 11:12:44
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Why do lathes have the chuck on the left?

Hopper19/04/2019 12:02:44
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Posted by vintage engineer on 19/04/2019 11:12:44:

Why do lathes have the chuck on the left?

 

Because if the chuck were on the right you'd have to reach over the back to wind the cross slide in and out and halfnut lever would be almost impossible to reach?

Edited By Hopper on 19/04/2019 12:03:08

Bazyle19/04/2019 13:28:27
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Posted by Hopper on 19/04/2019 12:02:44:
Posted by vintage engineer on 19/04/2019 11:12:44:

Why do lathes have the chuck on the left?

Because if the chuck were on the right you'd have to reach over the back to wind the cross slide in and out and halfnut lever would be almost impossible to reach?

Edited By Hopper on 19/04/2019 12:03:08

Surely that's not a problem for you in Australia where the lathes are upside down.

Vic19/04/2019 14:01:22
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Posted by Alan Jackson on 17/04/2019 18:23:24:

I purposely located the controls for the Stepperhead at the tailstock end for safety

http://www.lathes.co.uk/stepperhead/

Alan

Nice job Alan. yes

Mike Poole19/04/2019 15:16:49
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2019 forum posts
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Equipment aimed at industry has to satisfy a pretty good standard of safety these days as it is subject to an ever increasing raft of safety legislation. Equipment aimed at the home workshop has noticeably improved as chuck guards are now fitted but I feel that these mostly do little apart from prevent the chuck key being left in, they offer little protection from a badly secured workpiece getting its freedom but offer some protection from oil, coolant or swarf though most are on the short side to be very effective. Dave’s Colchester being a modern machine has a chuck guard, travelling guard and saddle mounted stop start, the estop is still at the wrong end in my opinion. I fitted a VFD to my Myford and located the control panel at the headstock end (what was I thinking?) As many of us are owners of vintage machinery and this often needs a refurb and upgrade to a new motor or VFD then it would be a good time to site the controls where they give the best chance of avoiding anything ejected from the machine on startup. For a standard motor a starter that offers an NVR function and the simple incorporation of as many stop buttons as you like and the possibility of locating the start and stop buttons in a safe place has to be worthy of consideration. The controls for a VFD can also be positioned in the optimum position for safety and convenience. In general a machine will be supplied so it complies with the letter of the law and is as cheap as possible, this often falls short of the very best solution and personal preferences. When I was an apprentice we were trusted not to leave the chuck key in the chuck, the eagle eyed instructor had spring loaded chuck keys for anyone caught and it didn’t need to be started and launched, just a few seconds in the chuck without a hand on it qualified for the spring key, of course the question had to be answered as to what happens when the chuck key is launched and the answer was it hit the fluorescent tube above the lathe, luckily it didn’t hit the bed and break anything apart from a tube. Having used a lathe for 50 years now I have not yet launched a chuck key but I think it is now programmed into me to never leave it in the chuck and always check. Being conditioned by training often holds you in good stead for a lifetime, I bet most chaps who have done a good spell in the military do some things that were drummed into them by military training and routine.

Mike

Edited By Mike Poole on 19/04/2019 15:36:11

David George 119/04/2019 19:38:25
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I instaled my Drummond M type controles at the tailstock end .controle switches.jpg

Forward and reverse and start stop.

David

Ian P19/04/2019 20:15:48
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Do you operate the on/off by feel and fumble?

I hesitate to ask, but where is the mains socket is that the lathe plugs into?

Ian P

David George 119/04/2019 20:55:57
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Hi the socket it straight above on a beam and you just known were the stop start is, the stop button stands proud and a flat hand just stops the lathe without thinking. If you turn the forward reverse switch the power is cut by no volt relay on contactor to save switch contacts.

David

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