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Unknown Lathe

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Craig Charlton19/09/2020 21:01:24
5 forum posts
14 photos

Hi all. Joined the site as I was given an old lathe and it inspired mt to get into modeling . Not sure which area yet.

However the lathe is old and in need of some mew or remanufacture parts due to wear.

Can anyone idenitfy the lathe is the attached photos?

It also has an attached milling aperatus but there seems to be parts missing.

I need to know if this is worth restoring or is it scrap?

Craig Charlton20/09/2020 08:36:51
5 forum posts
14 photos

Seems I forgot to attach the images in my post. Here they are





Ady120/09/2020 08:48:49
3871 forum posts
522 photos

Might be an old Britannia, looks like its been set up for serious woodworking or light metalwork

The headstock may not be original, a handy looking support running along the top, the cross slide at the back could be for milling type jobs with an attachment behind the headstock

an interesting setup, the only weakness is the swarf drops directly onto the motor on the floor, so the motor innards should tell you what was being done with this lathe

Edited By Ady1 on 20/09/2020 09:01:34

Craig Charlton20/09/2020 09:01:16
5 forum posts
14 photos

Thanks Ady1, gives me a starting point to start researching.

Bo'sun20/09/2020 09:13:43
211 forum posts

Hi Craig, it looks like it might have been a "maintenance" lathe on a ship or something. Single support to save a little space.

Craig Charlton20/09/2020 09:23:42
5 forum posts
14 photos

Thanks Bo'sun

All of the brass leadscrew nuts are worn and at this stage I have no idea where to source new ones. Does it look like it it worth salvaging?

Ady120/09/2020 09:41:39
3871 forum posts
522 photos

If you don't want it, it has a good chance of a new home

Deffo a salvageable unit to the right buyer

Woodworking guys would be interested in it


Hopper20/09/2020 09:48:28
4823 forum posts
105 photos

That thing is so crude it almost looks homemade. Could be worth tidying up as a curiosity piece. But I would not spend much time or money on it with a view to being a useable piece of workshop equipment. You would be better off starting with a better lathe with more capability.

Craig Charlton20/09/2020 10:12:53
5 forum posts
14 photos

Thanks for all the replies. I agree its a bit of a pig but I can see how it may be useful for wood turning. I may keep it for wood turning myself.

Ady120/09/2020 10:29:58
3871 forum posts
522 photos

If you've got the space and you are going to have a workshop then hang onto it

I thought I was mad hanging onto an old safe years ago, should have got rid of it

...and now I have a fabby steel workbench with a big vice

SillyOldDuffer20/09/2020 11:34:41
6346 forum posts
1395 photos

Looks like a 'bitsa', a machine assembled from parts. Maybe a hobbyist was smart enough to realise a combination mill-lathe can be counter-balanced on top of a slim pillar to save space in a small workshop. Or it could be a special for a small production purpose, like turning a multitude of small axles to diameter, and then milling a flat or key-way on them. It has a whiff of professionalism about it, and I doubt it was intended for woodwork.

The lathe bed is from something pre-war like a Britannia and I think the headstock is home-made (not necessarily a bad thing!). The spindle is adapted to drive a now missing horizontal mill attachment over the table. The milling table is from yet another machine. The support beam is an addition and the pillar with belt and motor is probably home-brewed. Not sure what the top bar on the headstock is for. Might be part of the missing mill rather than the lathe.

Possibly the milling head is missing because it didn't work well in practice due to lack of rigidity. (Still a big problem with commercially made combination machines!) But the lathe is probably OK, and the milling table was kept to retain balance. Handy as a shelf too!

It's a plain lathe - no leadscrew or change gears. There may not be a spindle bore (for passing rod through the headstock.)

Whether it's worth fixing depends on the nature of the wear and what it will be used for. I suppose at least half of what I do is plain turning, but I couldn't do without threading or power traverse. My feeling is she'd get you started but you'd soon want something more general-purpose.

Unlikely to be worth regrinding a badly worn bed, but knackered bearings could be replaced. They're probably a standard size, or could be made from scratch. Beyond interest, there's not much practical value in identifying the long gone makers of the various parts. As the machine is simple, no need to source original spares, even if they exist. Any motor would do, belts are generic, and there's a good chance measuring the bearings will reveal modern equivalents. Getting the mill to work would need design and build skills!

Personally I wouldn't want to take it on, but plenty of members enjoy refurbishing old machines - almost a hobby in itself, and you would learn lots doing it! If you have a go, make sure the electrics are safe. All the metalwork must be earthed, and perished or damaged wiring replaced. Our forefathers were often electrically naive and time takes it's toll on the best quality work. May originally have been controlled with a domestic on/off switch; these days we all fit NVR switches and big red emergency stop buttons. Not expensive or difficult.


Bazyle20/09/2020 11:48:35
5492 forum posts
207 photos

The top arm is for horizontal milling (it has the drop arm on the end) so it is just possible that part was scrounged off a small mill of the same vintage. The slide at the slide at the rear might have been cobbled on to do the odd large diameter item, like brake discs but otherwise looks like a wood bowlturning set up.
would have needed some wetal working facilities if the headstock was home made so perhaps a machinist wanting to cobble somethign together for home use.

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