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Boxford lathe advice


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Lucas Trihey05/06/2020 05:53:41
4 forum posts

first post, thanks for accepting me. I just acquired a BoxFord lathe, I'm in Australia. It came from the grand-daughter of an older man who passed away. The lathe looks to be in great condition and well looked after except that is doesn't have a motor or drive belts.

Can anyone point me at a resource to work out the motor specs? how many HP etc, revolution speed and the length of the drive belts required?

I'm going to a machinery shop Monday and am hoping to find out a bit of info from any Boxford experts before I go.


Thor05/06/2020 07:05:47
1229 forum posts
37 photos

Hi Lucas,

Welcome to the forum. The VSL version of Boxford lathes had a 1hp motor IIRC, I assume you have checked out the site? A new motor - preferably 3-phase with inverter - shouldn't be too expensive. A tape measure should give you an indication of the belt length. V-belt dimensions can be found here.


Lucas Trihey05/06/2020 07:28:41
4 forum posts

thanks Thor. on the ways it has stamped "B5930" could that be the serial number? does it indicate the model "B"? I've had a look at pics online and it might be a B Model?

I only have single phase so am thinking 1hp - but what RPM should I get?


Hopper05/06/2020 07:32:19
4527 forum posts
94 photos

Depending on what model Boxford you have but most are derived from the US South Bend 9" lathe. As is the Aussie made Hercus lathe. Should be plenty of info online for those two variants. I would go for 1hp although a 3/4 would do the job. But definitely worth looking into a VFD or inverter set up if you are starting from scratch. The 3ph motors run so much smoother.

Niels Abildgaard05/06/2020 08:01:23
303 forum posts
116 photos

If You have the space do like this.


Motor was a 1.1kW 6 pole and the inverter had fallen of a lorry.

Sell the backgear parts (You do not need them anymore) and You end up with a usefull lathe and cash in hand.

Lucas Trihey05/06/2020 08:05:24
4 forum posts

this is my lathe - it might be a B Model, but I'm not sure:

Lucas Trihey05/06/2020 08:06:22
4 forum posts

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Hopper05/06/2020 09:22:11
4527 forum posts
94 photos
Posted by Lucas Trihey on 05/06/2020 08:05:24:

this is my lathe - it might be a B Model, but I'm not sure:

Yes it looks like a B model without the gearbox but I'm no Boxford expert. They are a pretty rare beast here in Australia. Have you checked out

Looks like a pretty nice example you have there. If it's as good as the Hercus South Bend clones, which I believe is the case, you will have a good machine.

Hopper05/06/2020 09:29:46
4527 forum posts
94 photos
Posted by Lucas Trihey on 05/06/2020 07:28:41:

thanks Thor. on the ways it has stamped "B5930" could that be the serial number? does it indicate the model "B"? I've had a look at pics online and it might be a B Model?

I only have single phase so am thinking 1hp - but what RPM should I get?


The rpm is standard on most 240 volt motors in Oz. 1425rpm or so from memory. You can run the three phase motor on single phase supply with use of an inverter or VFD . Final speed of the lathe with a fixed speed motor is dependent on the size pulley you fit. Can be tailored to suit high speed for small diameter jobs or lower speed for screwcutting in back geart.

For some reason the 1hp single phase motors are often cheaper than the smaller fractional horsepower motors such as 3/4hp from many Australian suppliers. Not sure why. Supply and demand in a small market I presume.

But then the 3 phase motors can be cheaper again but require the expense of the inverter/VFD unit. has a listing of serial numbers by years.

Edited By Hopper on 05/06/2020 09:31:41

Speedy Builder505/06/2020 10:35:35
2006 forum posts
140 photos

Lucas, my AUD which I have used for 30 yrs or more has a 3/4 hp single phase motor. Seems enough to me. Can't comment on belt sizes for a model B, but I use a Linked Belt for the headstock drive. Buy a quality belt as cheaper ones stretch and you have to remove links on a regular basis.

Download this manual. Know your Boxford Lathe

Seems a strange link, but it works and is a good free reference.

Thor05/06/2020 11:46:06
1229 forum posts
37 photos

Hi Lucas,

As Hopper says, go for a 4-pole motor (just under 1500 rpm). Even if you only have single phase supply in your workshop, even a cheap inverter can deliver 3-phase 240V to the motor from a single phase supply. Your Boxford looks very nice.


PS. I see you tried to post the image of your lathe on this forum, it should work if you save the photo as a jpg in imgur.

Edited By Thor on 05/06/2020 11:58:26

Bazyle05/06/2020 12:37:20
5215 forum posts
201 photos

You have a very capable lathe that will work very well with 3/4HP and back gear is better for giving higher torque. If you work out how the search facility works on here you will find lots of previous threads on the Boxford where I have given useful advice on things that aren't immediately obvious. One final point is that Southbend backplates do not fit as they are UNC and the Boxford thread is Whitworth.

Clive Brown 105/06/2020 13:05:30
426 forum posts
12 photos

Yes, looks like a good example. A "B" model with power cross-feed. A couple of points:-

The pivot for the change-wheel cover is obviously home-made. The original fitting is a banana-shaped arm that clamps to the rear "Vee" of the bed behind the headstock. It seems to be missing.

Can't see in the photo, but there should be a motor mounting plate behind the headstock, pivoting on the uprights that hold the countershaft. A spring and a thumb-screw enable tensioning of the primary drive-belt by moving this plate.

A 4-pole, ~1500 rpm motor will give the speeds shown on the maker's plate.


Edited By Clive Brown 1 on 05/06/2020 13:07:00

old mart05/06/2020 16:07:46
1751 forum posts
138 photos

As for belts, just get some link type belting and custom make your length. The width of the vee in the pulleys in MM will give you the size of belt. Usually the belt comes in metre lengths.

A 0.75Kw (1hp) would be plenty in three phase with an inverter, or a single phase one would be ok.

Edited By old mart on 05/06/2020 16:12:28

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