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Colchester rescue.

Saving a dropped and damaged Colchester Student 1800 from the scrap bin.

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Lathejack11/01/2020 17:22:19
278 forum posts
334 photos

This poor Colchester Student 1800 was damaged in several places after it was dropped while being moved. It sat uncovered in our works yard for a few weeks, awaiting its fate in the scrap skip.

I suggested I try to fix it, but there was no interest, it being deemed uneconomical to repair. So I kept squirting oil on it every now and then, and salvaged some parts off it, but unable to bear the site of it decaying in the rain no longer I then suggested I put it under cover in a lean to in order to salvage other parts off it. From there it discreetly made its way into our steam engine workshop for some TLC every now and then when time allowed..image.jpg...............I have repaired the smashed cast iron apron hand wheel, and removed the damaged crosslide dial, thankfully the crosslide feed screw appears to be undamaged..image.jpg................The Alluminium Alloy headstock speed control levers are smashed, also a bent joystick lever on the screwcutting gearbox plus a broken joystick locating lug.image.jpg..

Oldiron11/01/2020 17:43:21
442 forum posts
22 photos

Nice rescue. As with most things if the major parts are good (in this case Bed Gearbox Carriage) then a machine can be restored to reasonably good working order by enthusiasts even if not viable for a company to do.


Lathejack11/01/2020 19:53:44
278 forum posts
334 photos

I knew that new spare parts for some British lathes were expensive, but a resent search revealed just how lunatic the prices are, even for the most simple of items. In the case of this Colchester it only requires the cost of less than half a dozen replacement parts to render the machine a write off.

Some of the damaged parts, the crosslide dial is the duel metric and imperial reading type which has badly damaged internal gearing for the duel dials. I have already done a weld repair on the broken hollow shaft with the gear teeth on the end, this slides onto the splined end of the crosslide feed screw.

The broken headstock levers, and the snapped off end of one of the screw cutting box levers were found amongst the wreckage.

image.jpg.................The aprons cast iron handwheel was smashed into three pieces, with a break running through the full length of the centre of the threaded hole for the handle. I welded it all back together with the Tig welder using some nickel iron electrodes as filler rods. The two halves of the threaded hole joined back up nicely with the handle screwing straight back in.


image.jpgEdited By Lathejack on 11/01/2020 19:55:57

Edited By Lathejack on 11/01/2020 19:57:07

Edited By Lathejack on 11/01/2020 19:57:58

Edited By Lathejack on 11/01/2020 20:00:49

vintage engineer11/01/2020 21:39:13
250 forum posts
1 photos

I worked on many Clochesters. I think the gear change levers are the same on all models just speeds will vary.

Phil Whitley12/01/2020 15:29:06
1194 forum posts
145 photos

Were they by any chance moving it with a fork lift?

Lathejack18/01/2020 18:38:10
278 forum posts
334 photos

I am not sure how the lathe was moved, but the way some items were damaged suggests that it was dropped from some hight, allowing the machine to rotate before it hit the ground. Or maybe once it was on its side they were a little rough using the truck to stand it back up.

The smashed cast Alluminium headstock control levers were stripped of their plastic coating and cleaned up ready for Tig welding.

.image.jpg.................I welded up the cast levers without any problems, thankfully they were made from Alluminium Alloy and not some Nast Zinc Alloy.image.jpg.................After a little fettling the levers fitted back fine, followed by the colour coded covers that were pinned back on.image.jpgimage.jpg

Lathejack18/01/2020 18:46:32
278 forum posts
334 photos

The screwcutting gearbox joystick gate had one broken locating lug. This is also made from cast Alluminium, so I built up a new lug using the Tig, then reshaped it with a die grinder.  


..............A look inside the headstock revealed internals in excellent condition.image.jpgEdited By Lathejack on 18/01/2020 18:47:50

Edited By Lathejack on 18/01/2020 18:56:52

Edited By Lathejack on 18/01/2020 18:57:53

larry phelan 119/01/2020 10:48:48
719 forum posts
14 photos

Difficult to understand why spare parts are so hard to get and so expensive for so many of these machines, and not just Colchesters .Would be enough to put anyone off trying to save them

Pete Rimmer19/01/2020 10:56:26
717 forum posts
49 photos
Posted by larry phelan 1 on 19/01/2020 10:48:48:

Difficult to understand why spare parts are so hard to get and so expensive for so many of these machines, and not just Colchesters .Would be enough to put anyone off trying to save them

Who would keep a gear change selector dial knocking around in case someone needs it? Space costs money.

A couple of years ago I called up Boxford for a part and the guy said 'you better be quick, next week we're clearing out everything that we haven't sold one of in the last 5 years.'

clogs19/01/2020 11:02:27
527 forum posts
12 photos

I admire ur idea of saving it........

I have a few things I've repared over the years.....

get a good feeling when I use them .......

even better in the pocket......

also have a sq. top student...I wanted a few bits.....ended up cobbling things to make do......

works just as well and as I say for us it's not a race anymore........hahaha......

keep up the good work, just wish it were mine.......

Pete Rimmer19/01/2020 11:06:56
717 forum posts
49 photos

Meant to add - Lathejack's work is damn nice. Anyone would be proud to pull off repairs that good.

Phil Whitley19/01/2020 16:17:52
1194 forum posts
145 photos

Nice work lathejack! I have seen several times the scenario where the FL truck driver puts the lathe on the pallet, then lifts the pallet with the confidence and gusto he usually uses, only for the pallet to flex, and the lathe to fall forward. I watched a guy last year who was oh so careful, and still oh so nearly dropped an identical lathe to this one! No matter, you are doing an excellent save! ALWAYS lift a lathe from above, NOT from below, they are usually extremely top heavy! You can still use a forklift with a lifting eye on the forks, or even a chain round the forks


East Yorkshire.

SillyOldDuffer19/01/2020 16:56:19
5784 forum posts
1232 photos
Posted by Pete Rimmer on 19/01/2020 10:56:26:
Posted by larry phelan 1 on 19/01/2020 10:48:48:

Difficult to understand why spare parts are so hard to get and so expensive for so many of these machines, and not just Colchesters .Would be enough to put anyone off trying to save them

.... Space costs money.


Too true it does, you and I see a shed and some shelving. Accountants see it very differently! They know the rateable value of a business is based mostly on area occupied, and that paying rates bleeds money year after year forever. They also see the cost of heat, light, security, fire-precautions, stock-control, sales overheads, and the storeman's wage packet!

Spare parts with a slow-turnover cost a fortune, often far more than they cost to make. While there's value in keeping customers happy by selling spares at a loss, there comes a point where it's best to dump the whole lot a skip! Even if they are irreplaceable...

When was the last time anyone wanted a treadle stand for a 1911 Relmac?


Neil Wyatt19/01/2020 17:26:58
17896 forum posts
706 photos
77 articles

Very neat work, Lathejack.


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