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Mini Lathe Headstock Lube

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Ian B.12/10/2020 14:54:11
90 forum posts
2 photos

I cant find anything at the moment but I am sure that this must have come up before. I am a fan of the mini lathe and had a Clarke cL300M for many years. They all need TLC to some extent or another. Did the whole works with this machine and had loads of fun out of it. Motor and board finally blew and the costs were over what a new machine would cost. Foolishly in a hurry as always with a project bought and new Chester Conquest. Circumstance intervened and two house moves later and the machine was brough out to work on to make it a tractable machine. It required new shears (of laminated shim solid steel variety), three weeks of hard work work hand scraping the saddle to make it sit down even on the bed. Its a long saga as it was out of warranty anyway. You will have heard of the Friday afternoon car, unfortunately I drew the short straw. I drew a line under it and wrote off the money and time. I just gave up and put it at the back of the garden tool shed and bought a Warco WM180. Worked perfectly straight out of the box.

However I now18 months further down the line need to use my Coventry diehead. I already have the original;tailstcok from the Clarke i converted to lever operation which fits the Conquest bed so minor work gives me that problem solved.

The last big job on the Conquest was to change to taper roller bearings in the headstock which had made such a dramatic difference with the Clarke machine. Hauled the machine out of garden shed and started work. I already had pullers and bits made from the first efforts.

From the background we now get to the real meat of the job. Hauled out the mandrel, they come with a real crack once they start to move. It moved like I was pulling it through plasticine. Once out I realised that the headstock was stuffed with a blue coloured grease which is sticky beyond belief, like a very thick glue that does not set. I think Chester machines are sourced from Real Bull and has anyone come across this before. I had hoped to do the job like Dave Fenner and not tear down completely the headstock and gouge all this gunge out. starting again.

Any comments please?

Ian

Howard Lewis12/10/2020 15:15:48
3757 forum posts
3 photos

Being pedantic, I always thought that Chester and Machine Mart (Clark ) mini lathes were produced by SEIG.

My Chester Conquest has 3 mm keys for the changewheels, while, I believe that real Bull machines have 4 mm keys.

If it still available, there was a grease called Marfak ( marketed by Mobil? ) that was reputed to be very sticky.

Now the thread can get back on track

Howard

ega12/10/2020 16:16:35
1850 forum posts
157 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 12/10/2020 15:15:48:

Being pedantic, I always thought that Chester and Machine Mart (Clark ) mini lathes were produced by SEIG.

...

Being equally pedantic, I think they are made by SIEG! This German word hints, I understand, at the origin of the lathe design.

John Baron12/10/2020 16:18:31
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339 forum posts
142 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 12/10/2020 15:15:48:

If it still available, there was a grease called Marfak ( marketed by Mobil? ) that was reputed to be very sticky.

Now the thread can get back on track

Howard

By gum ! That brings back memories of the "Marfak" advert where to show how sticky it was they hit a blob of it with a hammer and it just stuck the hammer down. I used to have a tin of it with the picture on it.

Ian B.12/10/2020 17:45:20
90 forum posts
2 photos

Thanks guys. I had always assumed that Seig were THE makers. However if you look at Seig and Clarke machines the saddle casting is 'H' shaped in plan. These Chester machines the saddle casting is in fact parallel sided yet the fixing bolt centres for the shears are the same. Dave Fenner confirms but the original design was Russian designed with taper roller mandrel bearings. Why they were changed by the Chinese is your guess. If this grease is as you are suggesting then it will mean a complete strip down to clear it out. The change speed lever has always felt like travelling through thick treacle. By the eay be careful when buying a travelling steady. The Seig ones do not fit Thanks again. Ian

Edited By The Oily Rag on 12/10/2020 17:47:09

Ian B.17/10/2020 17:13:47
90 forum posts
2 photos

Complete tear down of lathe to get headstock off. A number of other issues have come to light. Like the connectors on the wiring harness have been added after the machine assembled. Hence you cannot disassemble the motor, power board and housing from the bed until the plastic housing has been cut away. The holes are not big enough. Two circlips have been slid in behind the leadscrew gear because the spacer is not long enough and the gears dont line up. Added to that the shoulder of the leadscrew has not been cut square and the spacer was jammed hard up the resulting taper so no accurate reference point. Have to clean up lead screw shoulder in other lathe, new spacer. Hack away the power board box to let cable connectors through.

Another interesting point. The headstock of any of the mini lathes I have worked on had 3 fixing bolts, 2 through the front vee and one at the rear. This has 4 plus what appear to be 2 redundant jacking screws above the motor through the bed which bear on fresh air. They just poke into headstock void and are locked on the underside with a thin nut. There is nothing for them to bear on.

I have now removed a quarter of a kilo of the sticky blue gloop and yaes the hammer trick as above does work with a 1lb ball pein. Paraffin dissolves it but the paraffin very quickly loses its solvency and thickens like gravy. Physically removing as much as possible is the best way with a 2 stage final clean up of each and every component.

Regards Ian.

Ian B.21/10/2020 08:23:18
90 forum posts
2 photos

The sad saga continues. I should really have junked the beast and just bought another WM180. The headstock has been stripped. Whilst at it thought to replace the input shaft bearings. These are NOT as specified in Chester's parts list and manual. They are are size smaller on OD and thickness, so always check before ordering. The motor is not brushed but brushless with square frame not round cased. The mounts have been botched to accomodate and those two surplus jacking screws well they are supposed to bear on the motor body to take the belt tension loads. Unfortunately the belt is a little short and the motor has to be tilted because the cables running through the bed to control board are too thick to make the jacks of any use. The cables are already crushed. Got around it by using a belt from my old exploits with the Clarke machine which is a few teeth longer.

Also discovered that the motor pulley is bored badly off centre. I have made it work for now but will have to source another timing belt pulley from a proper supplier.

On checking up and having removed the input shaft bearings, I can definitively say this machine was not made by Sieg. Firstly Chesters livery chipped off and the bearings had previously been painted blue. The parts specs equate to Real Bull. Sorry to disillusion.

Regards

Ian.

Ian B.29/10/2020 07:50:36
90 forum posts
2 photos

Well its all back together and running. I dread to think of the hours that have been spent. The alloy motor pulley was bored out, single point boring bar, and the boss removed. It was sleeved with a steel top hat fixed with green Loctite. Had to remove one corner of belt cover to clear belt and fettle the casting flash from the interior. Two machining operations on the shoulders of the lead screw to allow it to sit correctly in its mount and enable the end float adjuster to be used correctly. I have added drillings to both the apron and the headstock casting to enable proper lubrication from now on. Just my spare partially converted tailstock to finish to bring the diehead back into service.

At last I have a tractable machine. I know all mini lathes require some TLC to make them useable but this was a baddie. Its not a silken purse from a sow's ear but it is now a useful addition to the workshop.

Bob Stevenson29/10/2020 08:31:41
440 forum posts
7 photos

I had a Chester 'Conquest' from 2007 to 2017 and did as little as possible by way of improvements etc........I have always been much more interested in what I can make on a lathe rather than spend time making the lathe better....kind of a 'vicous circle' thing to my mind!

My Conquest was definately made by the Real Bull factory and had a test sheet apparently proving this also had 4 bolts holding the headstock to the bed (Seig machines of that period had 3) also distinctive Real Buyll castings of saddle etc. When I started to use it I was warned off by several aquaintances who marked these machines down as pure rubbish but I grew to like my mini-lathe and made some interesting things with it over the 10 years including much of my first clock.

After a couple of years use I thought the headstock was getting a bit warm so peered inside using a fibre optic borescope and discovered that there was basically NO grease there so applied some 'Sovereign' lithium grease originally made up for London buses....after this the headstock did not even get slightly warm in use!

The only other 'improvenments' were to remove the dangerous chuck 'safety cover' which was wired directly to the mains! ...and to remove the rubber feet, replacing them with stainless steel discs about 4 inches diameter...after this the machine no longer rocked about at higher speeds..

I liked my mini-lathe and it got me back into making things but my WM 180 is a vastly better lathe in every way with very minor diskikes on my part..

Ian B.29/10/2020 09:08:22
90 forum posts
2 photos

Thank you Bob. I am quite a fan really of the mini lathe per se. The first Clarke one I had was to supplement my Colchester Bantam. I did the usual mods to that to part off properly and the shears etc and it was not a lot of work. It did a lot of work for me some of it commercially. However I had to downsize on retirement and came to rely on it. Finally the motor and board gave up. Replacement was more expensive than just buying another. So took all the good bits off and bought the Conquest as I could just go and pick it up. I factored in the basic TLC but it all proved to be a gross error of judgement. I gave up at one stage and bought the WM180 which has proved to be excellent for me. However I have some M2 threading to do for special bolts and studs and wanted to bring my Coventry Diehead Back into service. I had the spare Clarke tailstock which fits the Conquest and is basically converted to lever operation so it seemed to make some sense (Really?) to finish the beast off and bring it back into service.

Ah well its no longer a Chester Conquest or Real Bull but an individual hand built special. Its taught me an awful lot about alleged reputable suppliers, Chinese manufacturers and machine tool fitting. I wont even go into the saga of buying spares of which I have definitive photographic evidence.

Regards

Ian

Ian B.11/11/2020 09:17:24
90 forum posts
2 photos

conquest lathe 02.jpg

Well after all the saga I thought to show the finished job. It has been a long process but outwardly much looks the same as a standard machine but as you have seen above it is now far from being a standard mini lathe. It is perhaps closer to a hand built special than an off the shelf item with a few tweaks. However there is no claim to it being a silk purse from a sow's ear but it is now a tractable machine that achieves what I need it to. There has been much blue/ hand scraping to get parts to fit, new shears set up with shims (not the push me pull me set up) diamond hand laps, new bearings thoughout, pulley machining, belt cover mods, a proper belt fitted, lead screw mods and so on.

Visibly you can see the modified tailstock from the old Clarke machine to a lever operated one with camlock to bed also now fitted with a new quill and adaptor for the Coventry Diehead. Its now fitted with a piston/wedge type toolpost and an ER collet chuck. Should provide a useful adjunct to the WM180.

You can also see the homemade 4 way adjustable saddle stop. This was based on the Colchester saddle stop 5 way which I made for the Bantam from the sketches in their parts list at the back of the manual for that machine. This may be useful as an idea for the OP whose thread discusses saddle stops. I claim no originality.

It has been frustrating and annoying that all this has had to be done but I have learned a lot and take postives from it as well as the hard lessons of who can be trusted in our suppliers and those who cannot.

conquest lathe 01.jpg

Edited By Ian B. on 11/11/2020 09:20:23

Howard Lewis11/11/2020 16:29:37
3757 forum posts
3 photos

Looks like good result, of which you can be proud.

Should be capable of turning out some good work!

Bravo!

Howard

Ian B.11/11/2020 16:59:46
90 forum posts
2 photos

Thank you Howard. I can tackle some M2 studs now without the trepidation I was feeling and kept putting off. I don't have a large collection of die sets for the diehead but for those small sizes like M2 and 10BA it removes so much of the uncertainty. It has been sorely missed.

Regards

Ian.

Neil Wyatt11/11/2020 17:42:47
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Posted by ega on 12/10/2020 16:16:35:
Posted by Howard Lewis on 12/10/2020 15:15:48:

Being pedantic, I always thought that Chester and Machine Mart (Clark ) mini lathes were produced by SEIG.

...

Being equally pedantic, I think they are made by SIEG! This German word hints, I understand, at the origin of the lathe design.

You have the spelling right, but I'm afraid the German link is off

The company was founded in 1988, before mini lathes. The original design was Russian.

Neil

Michael Gilligan11/11/2020 18:25:56
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16620 forum posts
723 photos

It’s interesting that, according to JUSTIA :

The wording "SIEG" has no meaning in a foreign language.

**LINK**

https://trademarks.justia.com/790/61/sieg-79061554.html

I wonder what the logic was, in choosing it. dont know

The obvious would be Shanghai Industrial Engineering Group

... but that’s not the Company’s name.

MichaelG.

Nick Clarke 311/11/2020 18:56:07
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935 forum posts
33 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 11/11/2020 18:25:56:

It’s interesting that, according to JUSTIA :

The wording "SIEG" has no meaning in a foreign language.

**LINK**

https://trademarks.justia.com/790/61/sieg-79061554.html

I wonder what the logic was, in choosing it. dont know

The obvious would be Shanghai Industrial Engineering Group

... but that’s not the Company’s name.

MichaelG.

George Eastman chose Kodak for his photographic business just because it meant nothing in any language and he liked words that began with a K, so it might be intentional!

Words with different meanings in other languages can be an issue - there is the probably apocryphal story that Rolls Royce wanted to call a model the Silver Mist until it was pointed out that Mist in German means dung or manure!

Ian B.11/11/2020 19:24:25
90 forum posts
2 photos

Yes Nick. Just have a look at what Pajero is in colloquial Spanish in certain parts of the Iberian peninsula.

As regards the origins of this machine, Neil is correct in that the mini lathe design originated in Russia under the Soviets. Its spec was for taper roller mandrel bearings, confirmed also by Dave Fenner in his mini lathe books in the Workshop Practice series and others. The move came to deep groove radial (not angular contact) ball bearings at the hand over of the design to China.

However I would disagree over the manufacturer. The Chinese government approve a basic design then it is handed to a number of factories to make of it what they will. In the sealed crate of this machine there was no paperwork. However in the photographs you can see the shape of the saddle casting which is parallel sided. Every SIEG machine of this type I have seen badged in a number of liveries and names have an H shaped saddle casting in plan view. Pictures of Real Bull machines show the parallel sided saddle. Further on two points. On the strip down particularly the headstock, the Chester paint finish chipped or peeled away revealing a blue livery not the same as Amadeal's. Closer to someone like Harbour Freight or Grizzly. Secondly a kind gentleman posted earlier on this thread who also had a Conquest. His crate actually contained paperwork which confirmed in writing the Real Bull connection.

Finally what I know for certain is that SIEG travelling steady which fits the Clarke/ArcEuro machines does NOT fit the Chester machine. Its a completely different configuration of mounting for the saddle. Yep I have one loitering uselessly on the workshop shelf.

Regards

Ian

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