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Faircut lathe tidy up

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Jacob Leonidou05/05/2020 13:03:54
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62 forum posts
35 photos

Hello.

I thought i'd share the story of a little lathe I picked up several months back. I got it home and covered it up for a bit while i got some other things sorted out. I've since given it a bit of a clean up and begun the process of acquiring what seems like an endless amount of tooling. I've been looking for a lathe for a long time, and this one appeared out of nowhere on facebook for a price i could not refuse. Luckily i was one of the first people to enquire and i later picked it up only to realise i did not have the forklift necessary to get it out of the van. Thankfully i was able to remove it with a bit of thinking and a lot of muscle.

I've spent a lot of time researching this lathe in order to better understand it. I'm only a novice so it would be great to learn more about the lathe and machining in general. I have a workshop at home and I do a lot of wood/metal work, but my main interest is knife-making.

So this is the lathe when i got it home

Pay close attention to the quality of engineering applied

This is how dirty she was

This is how she cleaned up

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I'll upload some more pictures shortly. Thanks for looking.

Pete.05/05/2020 14:33:04
253 forum posts
43 photos

That looks like a nicely made little lathe, I'd like to see more of it as you resurrect it.

I might have pick your brains on the knife making, it's something I've been meaning to try for a while.

Where abouts are you located?

Andy Carlson05/05/2020 17:04:29
311 forum posts
124 photos

Hi Jacob,

Congratulations on the new (old) lathe. It looks pretty complete and in decent order.

I'd say it's an early model - it has the flat belt pulleys and the power feed knock-off doesn't extend along the whole bed. I suspect your backgear covers are steel (like mine). Later ones seem to be gunmetal or similar.

It looks like yours has a half nut and a rack handwheel. I've not seen any other Faircuts like this (most have a permanently engaged full nut) so I'd guess it's a user modification but looks pretty neatly done from the photos.

I see you found my Faircut thread. I've answered your toolpost question over there.

Regards, Andy

Jacob Leonidou06/05/2020 10:02:26
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62 forum posts
35 photos

Posted by Pete. on 05/05/2020 14:33:04:

That looks like a nicely made little lathe, I'd like to see more of it as you resurrect it.

I might have pick your brains on the knife making, it's something I've been meaning to try for a while.

Where abouts are you located?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it) i'm in Australia, but I'm happy to answer questions on knife making. I love talking about it. Here's one i prepared earlier:
img_6684.jpg img_6663.jpg

Jacob Leonidou06/05/2020 10:09:51
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62 forum posts
35 photos
Posted by Andy Carlson on 05/05/2020 17:04:29:

Hi Jacob,

Congratulations on the new (old) lathe. It looks pretty complete and in decent order.

I'd say it's an early model - it has the flat belt pulleys and the power feed knock-off doesn't extend along the whole bed. I suspect your backgear covers are steel (like mine). Later ones seem to be gunmetal or similar.

It looks like yours has a half nut and a rack handwheel. I've not seen any other Faircuts like this (most have a permanently engaged full nut) so I'd guess it's a user modification but looks pretty neatly done from the photos.

I see you found my Faircut thread. I've answered your toolpost question over there.

Regards, Andy

Hi Andy

Thanks for that! It is a strange one as i've not seen another unit with the same apron design. I like to think it's a modification, but it looks far too neat. I wonder why my particular lathe has the extra wheel.

As for the backgear cover, i'm not sure how to tell between the two materials. It appears too thick to be pressed if that's what you meant. I sent Tony an email (from the lathe website), so hopefully he knows more. I'm not sure if hes still involved in it all.

Jake

Jacob Leonidou06/05/2020 10:26:11
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62 forum posts
35 photos

So i've only really run it for short amounts of time, and as i had no oil, i opted for engine oil (im awful, i know). I'm currently looking for oils and i've found some on ebay that i think might work. I (obviously) don't know a great deal so does anyone know if ISO22 will be appropriate for the bronze spindle bearings? This particular seller also recommends ISO68 for the external gears and another type of ISO68 for the ways. Does this seem like a good start? The spindle bearings only have oil caps, can anyone recommend a good oiling procedure for the novice?

This is how she sits in her final resting place

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Andy Carlson06/05/2020 13:59:26
311 forum posts
124 photos

Hi Jake,

A magnet will tell you if it's ferrous or not. The main reason you'd want to know is in case you were thinking of stripping and polishing the covers - if they are steel then don't bother.

I use ISO 100 Mobil DTE Heavy in my headstock bearings. I have no idea whether this is right for the lathe or not beacuse there is no known surviving manual. The spindle speeds are pretty low so I doubt whether it is too fussy, but as you probably know, car engine oil is not a good idea. Probably better than no oil at all but get some proper stuff ASAP.

You may find the oil cups rather small but whatever you do, don't be tempted to alter the holes in the headstock bearings. The parts I had from Steve King came from one that somebody (not Steve) had drilled and tapped for bigger oil cups. One of the bearings broke across the modified oil hole.

I think my lathe has the original plain brass cups. I've made some brass lids to stop muck falling into them.

Brian Morehen06/05/2020 16:34:33
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127 forum posts
11 photos

Hi Jacob

Lathe looks nice lots of fun a games ahead when working with it together with results

Brian Morehen

Andy Carlson06/05/2020 17:49:45
311 forum posts
124 photos

Thanks for that! It is a strange one as i've not seen another unit with the same apron design. I like to think it's a modification, but it looks far too neat. I wonder why my particular lathe has the extra wheel.

As for the backgear cover, i'm not sure how to tell between the two materials. It appears too thick to be pressed if that's what you meant. I sent Tony an email (from the lathe website), so hopefully he knows more. I'm not sure if hes still involved in it all.

Hi Jake,

It would be interesting to know whether your rack and half nut arrangement is a factory fitted thing. As you say it is very neat but I've never seen another one on a Faircut. If you ever take it to bits then have a look for stamped numbers on the parts. You should find a number (usually one or two digits) at the far right hand end of the top face of the lathe bed, right at the back corner (mine was covered in crud). My lathe has the same number stamped on almost every large part... except the upper parts of the compound where it changes to another number.

Another interesting bit of 'character' is the cross slide dial. So far every Faircut that I've seen photographs of has a different arrangement... and so does yours. Some have dials, others not. No two dials are the same. Mine has a nice brass one with a resettable dial.

Tony is still active (or at least was last August) but he may take a while to reply - I think he gets a lot of people asking him questions.

Jacob Leonidou07/05/2020 07:41:53
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62 forum posts
35 photos

I'd love to take it apart when i can finally get ahead of all the other work i have piled up.

The gear covers are steel. I was actually really excited when you mentioned polishing them. As for the dials, the cross slide is resettable but appears as though the numbers were stamped freehand. The compound slide dial is static. Pity there's no dial on the carriage wheel, I can't measure cut depth when i'm facing (perhaps it's not important?). I'd love to hear what Tony thinks about the apron design.

When do you add oil, Andy? Is it a few drops every time you start it up? Do you have to keep adding oil while you're running the lathe? I wasn't sure if my bearings were shot because of the awful finishes i have achieved (very likely poor setup and lack of training). If i yank on the spindle hard enough i can see play (albeit very slight), but it's likely just the bearing clearance. Does yours have shims between the bearing caps? Mine has brass shims that i removed.

Edited By Jacob Leonidou on 07/05/2020 07:59:54

Andy Carlson07/05/2020 08:09:13
311 forum posts
124 photos

Hi Jake,

I add oil before starting up and try to keep the cups topped up each time I stop the lathe to check, measure etc. My lathe does get through a fair bit of oil like this and it all ends up collecting under the headstock. I don't worry too much if the cups are empty at the end of a cut because the bearings will retain some oil but I do try to keep them topped up... without getting overly obsessed with it.

With some chucks and speeds the oil can dribble down the back of the chuck when the lathe is stopped and will then be thrown around the room when you start up again unless you wipe it off.

Some people fit drip feed oilers but like I said, don't drill or tap the holes in the headstock casting.

I've seen someone suggesting shimming the caps but I don't think this is correct for simple split cast iron bearing housings. I think the advice is correct for at least some Myfords but they have a different design.

The usual procedure for adjusting the bearings is to oil them and then tighten until you feel some drag when turning the spindle, thne just back off a little. Be cautious if you suspect a lot of wear because if you push the bearing housings too far then you can break them. Sorry it's pretty un-knowable how far you can push this - I'd be cautious - you can always tighten them more another day.

I've put some tape on the heads of my bearing bolts with arrows drawn on so that I can see how much I have moved them and also tighten them to the same spot again if I ever take the spindle out. I see that one of yours has been replaced by a socket headed screw. Mine are both hex headed bolts.

Oe final point about bearing drag - the whole headstock is secured to the bed by one bolt from underneath. If I loosen this bolt the spindle binds up so clearly the headstock flexes a little as this bolt is tightened... so tighten this bolt before doing anything with the bearing bolts.

Jacob Leonidou12/05/2020 12:52:15
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62 forum posts
35 photos

Someone must have replaced an old bolt with the socket head at some point. The cups on my machine are tiny and would only take a few drops. I found some oil, ISO22 but was told it would be too thin for the application and run out. I have been recommended ISO68 instead but i really have no idea what's what. I'm actually curious as to why engine oil is so bad for bronze bearings if anyone knows. Does it degrade the bronze?

I noticed that there is actually a LOT of backlash on this machine. For starters the entire carriage moves back by about an inch when pushed. The lead screw has a lot of end-play, but when i hold it all the way in, the carriage wont move. That's issue #1.

Issue #2 is that the cross slides, particularly the compound slide, have a bit of backlash. Ill have to adjust these and tighten the gibs.

I actually managed some nice cutting after locking the compound slide in place. Might not be useless after all. Strangely my machine had brass shims in the casting gap for the bearings. They match the profile of the headstock casting. I dont know if this is factory or just attention to detail. I removed them in favour of tightening the caps a bit more, but now i might take it back as this 'breaking the headstock' business is quite frightening.

Andy Carlson12/05/2020 17:28:37
311 forum posts
124 photos

Hi Jake,

Sorry, didn't mean to frighten you! I think that if you have tightened your headstock to a particular point without any bad effects then it should be OK to leave it there. That's why I have arrows on my bolts - so that I can go back to the same point if I ever loosen them to take the spindle out.

Glad to hear that locking the compound improved your finish. Sounds like you are making good progress.

The movement on your leadscrew sounds huge so there is something very odd going on there. I assume from what you have written that the leadscrew itself moves by an inch when you push the saddle. If the leadscrew does not move then the issue probably lies in the half nut or its attachment to the saddle.

The lead screw end float is one part of the backlash (the others are wear in the nut and leadscrew threads). It should be possible to adjust almost all of the end float out - you just need enough play so that the handle will still turn.

Here is how it SHOULD work... it's adjusted by slackening the screw on the side of the leadscrew handle boss and then using the screw in the centre of the wheel to get more or less end float. Once you are happy, tighten up the screw on the boss again to lock it in place.

Having said all of that, an inch is enormous so there must be something else going on, like perhaps a part missing or the wrong part used... although I can't see anything obviously wrong in your photos.

I've posted a photo of the bits at the handwheel end of my leadscrew so that you can see how it works. The wheel can be removed without taking the whole leadscrew out BTW. If you do want to take your handwheel off and it needs any 'persuading' then be careful to use a soft faced mallet.

ISO 68 oil is thicker than ISO22. ISO 100 thicker still. I think that either 68 or 100 should be fine.

Motor oil is not necessarily majorly harmful but all oils contain additives. Motor oil additives are for shifting muck out of car engines (i.e. detergent type things) and are probably counterproductive in the long term for lathe use. Hydraulic and DTE oils have different additives that are helpful to prolonging the life of your lathe. However... I did use one hydraulic oil briefly that I suspected was softening the paint on one of my lathes so I switched to the Mobil DTE stuff.

If you want I can do a sketch of my oil cups. Having thought a bit more I can't be sure they are the original ones - again no two photos of Faircuts seem to show the same thing. Basically you need something that is either a push fit or a gravity fit in the headstock holes and has some sort of lid to keep muck out. I started off with tin foil for lids on my cups. The holes in the bottom of my cups are very small BTW.

Regards, Andy

p1060919.jpg

Edited By Andy Carlson on 12/05/2020 17:30:50

Jacob Leonidou13/05/2020 07:50:42
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62 forum posts
35 photos

Hi Andy,

You probably feel like my technician by now, but i do appreciate the advice. The fact that i get to talk to someone about this stuff is fantastic, my partner shows zero interest (i think she's a woodworker at heart).

I've sorted out some oil, very hard to find in small quantities, but there is a single supplier on ebay that was able to help. He said the iso22 was probably too thin despite it being recommended for southbend lathes (perhaps a different system) and suggested i use the iso68 machine oil for the spindle, as well as the open gears for screw cutting. This is not really an issue but i do prefer things to specifically state their use on the label. I've included the description below if you're interested.

As for the leadscrew, you are correct. I suspected that the wheel could be moved inwards to take up the end-play. How much so, i was not sure, but now i am. I know it seems excessive but when i hold it in place, i cannot move the carriage at all. The slide wheels wind in and out, which appears to be an adjustment issue in the brass nut underneath (from what ive read).

This is the lock but i'm not sure if it's factory. Also pay close attention to the tooling. It is 1/4", yet still a few mm too tall. I'm at a complete loss as to what tooling was used in this tool post if 1/4 is too small. This is why i was so confused in the first place.

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The bearing casting is frightening as i can honestly see it happening. It's cast iron and its old, who's to know how much it will take. I might put the shims back in as i took them out before addressing the backlash issues. Surely they could not have been like this from factory, it would be fascinating to know for sure.

96267181_1377672025898195_1977105074211520512_n.jpg

The oilers are tiny and one is missing its hinged cap. The other one is the perfect size for a brake nipple cover. Although having seen your foil solution, i'm tempted! I'll try out the different grades for oil and see what needs to be done, excluding modification, of course. Maybe i can add oilers with the same size thread (if they exist). I'm more worried about whether or not i should remove the spindle to clean all the motor oil out. The motor spindle, however, has an interesting setup. Obviously not factory, it uses a bearing cap i'm not familiar with. I'm not sure if i'm supposed to squeeze oil in there with a sauce bottle or not.

Once again, thanks for looking!

Jacob Leonidou13/05/2020 07:52:51
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62 forum posts
35 photos

Iso 22 Spindle Oil. ISO 22 spindle oil is also suitable for inclosed gear applications where anti wear and EP properties are not requires for example apron reservoirs on lathes.Equivalent to South Bend Lathe "A" type oil, which is Mobile Velocite #10 spindle lubricant. This is used in the headstock spindle bearings.

Iso 68 Machine Oil. Iso 68 machine oil is recommended for recirculating systems and industrial applications requiring a rust and oxidation inhabiting oil such as spindles electric motors compressors and machine tools. ISO 68 machine oil is also suitable for inclosed gear applications where anti wear and EP properties are not required.Equivalent to South Bend Lathe "C" type oil, which is Mobil DTE Heavy/Medium ISO 68 this oil is be used to lubricate everything else screws external gears & tailstock

Iso 68 Slideway oil. A high quality mineral oil, specially formulated to eliminate stick slip. Excellent metal wetting ability and adhesiveness. Will not squeeze out of the ways or wipe off the slides. Suitable for the sliding surfaces of most lathes milling machines and guide columns. Also can be used in central lube and one shot systems. Equivalent to South Bend Way Oil, which is Mobil Vactra #2 Way Oil this oil is used to lubricate the sliding Way surfaces of the lathe compound and cross slide.

Andy Carlson13/05/2020 08:39:00
311 forum posts
124 photos

Jake,

I'm very happy to offer you what advice I can... or at least share my own experience since I am by no means any kind of 'expert'. I've had plenty of advice from others on this forum.

I think your are on the right track with the ISO 68 oil. If you can bear it you will find threads on here about Myford oil and you will find plenty of varying opinions on the subject. I honestly don't think that a fairly low speed, smallish lathe used for hobby activity is going to be very demanding in terms of oil properties... except (here in the UK at least) corrosion protection during periods of inactivity. The screw cutting gears are light duty and need nothing more than a light coating of oil. The backgears take a good deal more load when in use. I tend to give mine a bit more oil (same stuff though) when I engage backgear... which is not all that often.

I wouldn't pull the spindle out just to remove your motor oil. It's really not necessary.

I suspect that your toolpost is intended for a different lathe. The original Faircut ones of this era definitely lack the 'shelf'. Sourcing something like that will probably be difficult so your best bet will probably be to modify one or mill a new one from a lump of steel.

Your compound locking screw and probably that second 'in between' hole dont appear on my compound and I suspect they are user mods.

If your oilers are threaded then they are probably not original so you will need to find something to fit the same threads. The thread will increase the risk of breakage I'm afraid but it's not something you can undo so all you can do is be cautious. When thinking about replacing them do remember that you now own a lathe and can make or modify things

I'm not sure I fully follow what you are saying about the handwheel(s) but if you are still having problems them maybe post some close up photos. My cross slide screw end float is adjusted in the same way as the main leadscrew. The compound simply has a nut and a lock nut. Both your cross slide and compound screws have dials so the adjustement arrangement may be different from mine.

Regards, Andy

Brian Morehen13/05/2020 11:33:16
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127 forum posts
11 photos

Hi Jacob

Looking at your pics the tool post holder appears to have a base on it , On my Faircut the cutting tools sit on top off the slide 3/8 tools line up great with the chuck centre, Another thought has your top slide been altered resulting in the height being raised diffecult to tell from pics., Cross slide slackness the small cylider thats fits on your leadscrew is the grub screw engageing in the leadscrew thread and fitting tight up to leadscrew holder at the end , your hand wheel should then fit tight onto the other side of your leadscrew holder , Any slackeness here before your cross slide moves must then be a slackness in the leadscrew nut, My lathe had this problem worn Phosfor Bronze nut. Leadscrew and nut replacement had made, Over the years lot of mods keep being made .

Regards Brian

Brian Morehen13/05/2020 11:48:34
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127 forum posts
11 photos

I wonder how many more Faircut owners there are around ,

Regards to all Brian

Andy Carlson13/05/2020 13:08:18
311 forum posts
124 photos
Posted by Brian Morehen on 13/05/2020 11:48:34:

I wonder how many more Faircut owners there are around ,

Regards to all Brian

At least three active on here

I've been in touch with a small number others via other forum sites, eBay, Facebook etc. and have sent messages to a few others that have not replied. No doubt there are many others 'under the radar'.

It's always going to be rather a niche though I suspect.

Pete.14/05/2020 00:30:00
253 forum posts
43 photos
Posted by Jacob Leonidou on 06/05/2020 10:02:26:

Posted by Pete. on 05/05/2020 14:33:04:

That looks like a nicely made little lathe, I'd like to see more of it as you resurrect it.

I might have pick your brains on the knife making, it's something I've been meaning to try for a while.

Where abouts are you located?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it) i'm in Australia, but I'm happy to answer questions on knife making. I love talking about it. Here's one i prepared earlier:
img_6684.jpg img_6663.jpg

That handle is a work of art, very nicely done.

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