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Install & commission of a Chester Cub 630 (Warco GH750)

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Calum Galleitch22/05/2021 15:03:23
194 forum posts
65 photos

After more hours poring over machinery adverts than I would care to admit, I have finally purchased one of these machines via Warco's used machines sales. It comes with very little equipment, sadly, but it is big enough to be bigger than I can imagine needing for my purposes - and so with any luck hopefully big enough! It has come from a school and has I am told sat pretty much untouched for most of its life so far. Little of the standard equipment - steadies, chucks, etc, seem to have migrated with it. There may not even be a chuck key.

I'll have in the fullness of time lots of questions to ask, beginning with getting it in place, but first, some useful info/links. The machine is a Chester Cub 630; I am not sure how old it is, but Chester deny all knowledge of it, from what Google tells me. Apparently Warco sold a GH750 which was essentially the same machine - at the moment, I don't know what "essentially" means. The lathe was manufactured in three sizes, 500, 750, and 1000mm between centres. Note that it's a quite different machine to the present Warco GH600.

TPH have a copy of the specifications here:

300mm swing, 750mm between centres, 38mm spindle bore, D1-5(!) camlock, MT3 tailstock, overall length 1650mm, width 680mm, height 1200mm. Overall weight: 500kg. Three phase.

I have a copy of the GH750 manual (thanks Gavin!) which is not hugely helpful, particularly in regard to particulars of oiling and maintenance, but the wiring diagrams and so forth are worth having.

And here is how it looks: 2355.jpg

So that's the lathe itself - I'll do a separate post about planning the move.

Nicholas Farr22/05/2021 15:48:55
3414 forum posts
1590 photos

Hi Calum, the scan below is from Chester Machine Tools catalogue 2012, hope this helps.

cub lathe.jpg

Regards Nick.

Calum Galleitch22/05/2021 15:52:41
194 forum posts
65 photos

So my first problem is getting it in place. It is being delivered by Palletline, so there's no telling how helpful the driver will (be able to) be. This is the entrance to my workshop:


and this is the view from the road:


There is a large area of hard standing to the left, not pictured. Palletline normally only guarantee a pallet jack on delivery, and while it is possible to get over the ground to the door - it's concrete underneath the moss, and we've done it before - I'm a bit leary about doing so with a 500 kilo lathe balanced on a Euro pallet. At the same time, I really don't fancy rolling it on scaffold poles over that ground.

Then the next problem is getting it through the door. I've measured: the gap in the door is 690mm with the door on; if I took it off, it's about 740mm. I don't want to take it off, but, 5mm clearance (width is 680mm) is hardly generous! Finally, once I am inside, I have a space that looks like this:


The external door is at the top left hand corner and the lathe is to go in front of the window (the 1830 dimension is for a previous lathe I didn't go ahead with). The rectangle at the top right is a concrete shelf, the 3000mm is my bench and the smaller rectangle is my wood lathe:



At the moment, I am thinking: I need to get it on wheels to cover the ground outside, BUT ideally those wheels don't protrude out the sides to make it possible to get through the door. In addition, my turning space inside the workshop is limited.

Would it be sensible therefore to consider getting the lathe up on some dollies:


I am thinking that something like that, though higher weight capacity than this! Is it safe/feasible to do something like this? Would it be wise to bolt the lathe to the platform? Amazon have a 400kg dolly L590 x W290 x H140mm

Then, getting it off the pallet onto the dollies: Presumably I can get the lathe lifted up with blocks, wedges and a pry bar enough to get a round bar under it to roll it onto a dolly. Is there anything I should be careful about here?

Any and all other thoughts and suggestions very welcome!

Calum Galleitch22/05/2021 15:57:14
194 forum posts
65 photos

Thanks for the scan Nick, the list of accessories is interesting to see - that milling slide would certainly come in handy. I am hoping that the machine will take fairly standard sized accessories - though mind you, the D1-5 camlock seems to be relatively uncommon, so I suspect my first machining project is going to be an adapter plate for a 4-jaw chuck!

Andrew Johnston22/05/2021 16:23:00
6668 forum posts
701 photos

Some points to note:

1. Lathes are top heavy, and if they fall off a pallet truck or trolley you're not going to stop them. If the driver can't, or won't, deliver to the door then there are a couple of choices. One, use scaffold poles and plenty of them. Two, looks like a farming area so can you borrow a JCB or similar? My comparable size lathe has a threaded hole in one of the bed cross members for a screw in eye for lifting.

2. Can you take the splashback off to get through the door without needing major surgery?

3. Once in the workshop you can inch it round using a pry bar and then small rollers to move into place. I've moved a 2 ton mill around in my workshop with a pry bar and short lengths of 3/4" aluminium rod.


Nicholas Farr22/05/2021 16:28:44
3414 forum posts
1590 photos

Hi Calum, I've also found it in a 2002 catalogue same spec's but no DRO fitted, but it came with a faceplate as well as all the other standard accessories, but the cabinet is shown as been painted white and the chuck guard doesn't show any windows and was also painted white but the lamp is shown as the same style as the one in your photo, so it may give you a clue on it's age. Oh, and another difference is the leadscrew doesn't have the same guards, it just has one folded steel one fixed onto the tailstock side of the saddle, by the looks of it.

Regards Nick.

P.S. looking through some other catalogues,  the DRO was first fitted in 2008, which should narrow down the date of yours, and the cabinet is painted the same colour as yours in the catalogue previous to 2008.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 22/05/2021 16:59:24

Pete.22/05/2021 17:06:00
815 forum posts
245 photos

When my similar size lathe arrived, I welded some pre made plates of 6mm steel with castors to bottom, and used some 40mm steel bar tapped m12 each end, to make four feet with adjustable swivel soles which bolt to the original reinforced area of the frame, I think the wheels are 100mm, solves the problem permanently, it can be moved around with similar effort to pushing a shopping trolley.

Boxford 11.30 feet

Calum Galleitch22/05/2021 18:27:39
194 forum posts
65 photos

> One, use scaffold poles and plenty of them.

One of the problems I have is I don't have a chance to see this thing before it turns up, or get much more information about it. Scaffold poles is definitely one option but my worry is what's going on underneath the footbrake - I can see there's a bar of some sort but I'm not sure if it's there on both sides or how much weight it can handle should it accidentally end up supporting half the weight of the lathe.

> borrow a JCB

I did think about this, and yes, I don't think it would be a problem, but they can still only get me as far as the door, I think - that space in front of the workshop is big enough to get a vehicle reversed into but not for a JCB to do anything but drop the pallet in front of the door - which would still be a bonus, for sure! And I need a plan B anyway as there's any number of reasons I might not be able to get help for a day or three - apart from anything else it's still lambing up here.

In terms of lifting, it has holes to run lifting poles through (the small covers at the top of the legs of the stand), though helpfully the manual doesn't recommend a size.

> Can you take the splashback off

I hope so, and will if I can, but I don't know!

> Once in the workshop

Yes, this is the bit that's worrying me least at the moment - it's fairly level concrete and while it's tight it's manageable.

> I've also found it in a 2002 it may give you a clue on it's age

Thanks Nicholas - that's in line with what I thought. I suspect it was sold by both the hobby and professional sides of Chester, perhaps with different paint jobs - I can't find much on it on the net (and actually, I can't find anything of the alleged Warcop GH750). One thing I'm hoping is that the school that bought it originally didn't specify a smaller motor than spec, which sometimes happens.

> used some 40mm steel bar tapped m12 each end, to make four feet with adjustable swivel soles

I like the look of that, it makes a lot of sense. I'll have quite a bit of time once it arrives and I get it in, as I need an electrician to run a 3 phase spur (I'm lucky enough to have three phase on site, which came as a pleasant surprise) and replace the wiring in the rest of the workshop.

Peter Cook 622/05/2021 19:05:58
307 forum posts
88 photos
Posted by Calum Galleitch on 22/05/2021 18:27:39:

In terms of lifting, it has holes to run lifting poles through (the small covers at the top of the legs of the stand), though helpfully the manual doesn't recommend a size.

Calum. Just an off the wall idea.

Could you run steel cables through the holes for the lifting poles ( or through poles fitted in the holes to give the lathe a bit of protection) and hoist it that way.

Side on lift gets you to the door with the lathe pointing the right way for entry. Beg/borrow/rent something like an engine crane and lift from the end to slip it through the door. The lifting cables should not add too much width for that bit.

Howard Lewis22/05/2021 19:42:07
6301 forum posts
15 photos

Welcome Callum.

FWIW, this is my advice. Interrupted by tea time! )

First, strap the lathe to the pallet. so that is less likely to fall off.

Gently lever it up onto some short lengths of scaffold poles. A you will need at least three.

If you use dollies, make sure that they can take the load, Two may be a good idea, rather than trying to balance everything on a dolly that is shorter than the pallet.

Roll the pallet and machine forward, replacing each roller with a spare just before the pallet comes off. You can steer things by gentle slewing on the rollers.

To go over soft ground, it would make make life MUCH easier to be able to roll over boards or steel plates, even if you can manage only two and have to keep "stepping" up the one just left behind. At least the rollers won't sink into the grass!

Once on hard standing, a pry bar can be used to adjust the direction of travel and position.

%mm clearance each side w through the door will be tight.

Any chance you could rig a block and tackle so that everything can be slowly winched through the door way?

Once inside, the prybar can be used to steer things to where you want them.


Ideally, the cabinet should be bolted to the floor. but it may be better to make / fit adjustable feet to bring the lathe l somewhere near level. The first job may be using the lathe to make the adjustable feet!

Once in place, it will be worth adjusting the feet to take nay twist out of the bed.

This will mean that the lathe should cut parallel and not tapered.

You can either use a very sensitive level, or use the method that Myford and Ian Bradley advocate in his book "The Amateur's Workshop" , turning a test piece, and adjusting at the Tailstock end until the bed is free from twist.. Unless you you intend to use flood coolant the level from Headstock to Tailstock is less important, but twist across the bed is a No No if you want be sure of turning parallel..

Once set up you can start making accessories to aid its use, and finding accessories to expand it's abilities.

I would suggest making a Centre Height Gauge, as a useful tool, and then a Mandrel Handle , and possibly a liitle later,,a Saddle stop..

All these will make you more familiar with the machine and be useful items




Edited By Howard Lewis on 22/05/2021 19:43:34

not done it yet22/05/2021 20:25:59
6876 forum posts
20 photos

Safest approach would be to separate the lathe from the stand and move the lathe more safely at almost ground level. It would need a fair engine crane to just lift the lathe. A big one for 500kg.

A local farmer with a teleporter would be good, if that surface is not both flat and level - if moving as-is.

Ratchet straps to secure it to that pallet and ratchet straps to pull (and control) the pallet gently using pipes/round bar would be considered.

No problem, with appropriate care/precautions, once at the doorway.

If you are not confident, don’t try to do it yourself.

John P22/05/2021 20:38:37
415 forum posts
265 photos

Hi ,
I have a Warco GH1000 lathe they are the same as the Chester cub range there are some differences
mostly the layout and position of the apron handwheel and auto feed lever ,i would have thought that it
would fit through the gap of the existing door frame with the door on at the sizes you have indicated.
There would be little to be gained in removing the splashback as the electrical box mounted behind the
headstock protrudes 2 inches further out and the splashback follows the same line as the
stands and tray ,if you need to reduce the width both the apron handwheel and the crosslide
handwheel can easily be removed ,the crosslide bracket fits with two cap bolts and can then be
unscrewed from the crosslide as a complete assembly . Both of these project out most of all and
make up the width of 680 mm with them removed it would be about 580 mm .




Andrew Johnston22/05/2021 22:07:19
6668 forum posts
701 photos
Posted by Calum Galleitch on 22/05/2021 18:27:39:
Scaffold poles is definitely one option but my worry is what's going on underneath the footbrake

I wouldn't even think about using scaffold poles under the footbrake. Instead I'd use at least two poles under each end. It will be time consuming moving them frequently. But a darn sight less time than that wasted if the lathe is damaged because a shortcut was tried.

The very first thing I'd do is move the lathe off the pallet. The pallet just gets in the way and makes things less stable, and they have a habit of breaking at an awkward time.


JasonB23/05/2021 07:28:47
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

If you are worried about the foot brake then get two half sheets of ply laid ontop of your rollers and get the lathe onto that then the ply will bridge the gap, 3/4" "gas Barrel" also makes handy rollers. I could push my lathe about with a couple of finger swhen setup like this


Alternative is to put the poles in the direction you want the lathe to move and it will skid across the tops of the poles quite easily, they don't have to be used as rollers

Take the tailstock, topslide and chuck off and wind the carriage to the tailstock end before you start moving it as it will help reduce the top heavy nature a bit. Plus remove handles from the handwheels so they don't get snapped off


Edited By JasonB on 23/05/2021 07:33:41

Raymond Anderson23/05/2021 08:14:04
785 forum posts
152 photos

Calum one of me 2 lathes is the GH750, Bought new circa 2001 superb machine only thing that has ever failed was the worklight bulb [ and even that was after quite a few years ] Did convert it to 3 phase using a Eurotherm drive [ Now made by Parker drives ] and a new Siemens 3kw motor . Still accurate to this day and very reliable, Normal lathe maintenance is all that is ever needed ie bedways well oiled and cleaned, gearboxes new oil approx every 6 months [ depending on usage ] All my lubricants are Castrol as is the cutting fluid. You can be very pleased with your purchase. As an aside, Yes the spindle nose is a fairly rare beast Camlok D1-5. I bought 2 part finished ones from Bison Bail and 1 raw one from Rohm. [ also got 1 from Chester ] Enjoy your purchaseyes.

Calum Galleitch23/05/2021 17:11:22
194 forum posts
65 photos

Thanks all for your replies, some really helpful ideas, and my apologies for not responding to them all individually. I've just a couple of quick questions arising:

John, Raymond: can you tell me roughly what size tube/rod the lifting holes can take? Scaffold tube is a smidge under 50mm, which to me looks awfully tight from the photos. Also, can you get at the inside of the stand from the sides?

I've been out and walked the ground again and the more I look at it, the less keen I am on trying to roll it on poles; the ground is uneven enough than I can see the poles getting stuck very easily, and there is the odd dip/pothole, in particular a gutter runs in front of the door. While I hope to have some useful bodies on hand to assist, it may potentially be just me.

I am thinking back to my plan A. These dollies:

look like the two cabinet feet should sit on them pretty solidly, and handily, they are just under the pallet size, so it should be easy enough to block, wedge and prybar them onto the dollies, pull out the pallet, then put one end up on blocks to get most of the dolly under it, and repeat at the other end. Then bolt or clamp them to the lathe, and then very carefully steer it to its new home. And as Jason and John say, getting the tailstock and other gubbins off will hopefully make it a little less easy to tip. I did ride horses for many years which have similar problems, so the issue isn't entirely new to me...

JasonB23/05/2021 17:25:23
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

The casters on those dollies are more likely to dig in than a tube, if the ground is that bad lay two sheets of ply and move the lathe 8ft at a time swapping boards as you get to the end of one. Or two long scaffold poles as rails and shorter ones on top as rollers.

Stuart Smith 523/05/2021 17:51:01
282 forum posts
43 photos

Those dollies are only any use on a flat and solid surface. They may be ok once you get the lathe into the workshop but not on the ground outside.

This is what I would do:

I would strap the lathe to the pallet , lay some boards or planks on the ground and use some round bars as rollers to sit the pallet onto. If the delivery is via palletways the driver should be able to lift the pallet up so you can get boards and rollers under it and then lower it onto them. Probably put some strengthening timbers between the top and bottom boards of the pallet. Then you should be able to easily roll the lathe on its pallet, moving the boards in front of it as required.

When you get it to the workshop use a bar to pry it round through 90 degrees still on the pallet on top of a board level with the workshop floor . Jack up each end the lathe in turn and put some blocks under each end of the lathe. Remove the pallet and jack the lathe down onto rollers and push it into the workshop making sure to keep the rollers under each part of the stand.

When I was at work, we moved transformers weighing a few tons and switchgear using this method.


Nicholas Farr23/05/2021 18:21:29
3414 forum posts
1590 photos

Hi Calum, personally I would not use those dollies because the castors are not far enough apart, the centre of the wheels when pointed towards each other, should be at the very minimum the same width as your lathe and would be much safer and stable if they were completely outside the width. Believe me I've seen it happen where someone has put a similar size object on a similar trolley and with castors turning inwards, over the whole thing goes with the slightest push. You would be better to get a decent size board and castors and set them as far apart as possible. If you remove the lathe from the cabinet, it would be more reasonable as the centre of gravity would be very much lower.

Regards Nick.

Lathejack23/05/2021 20:47:05
312 forum posts
329 photos

Well it looks like a very nice lathe you've got there Callum, still in its original unmarked paint by the looks of it. The crosslide and apron hand wheels are not the type that were usually fitted I think, which were delicate looking black cast items, those two hand wheels on yours look to be the chrome plated cast type that were fitted to the old Chester Champion mill and also sold as spares by Chester in different diameters. It's interesting that Chester deny all knowledge of their Cub lathes, but not really surprising.

I do remember when Warco and Chester sold these machines new. Excel machine tools also sold them as the XL1230, and I remember once reading in their spec that the crosslide had a Stainless steel feedscrew running in an oil bath, don't know if that was ever true. The crosslide itself looks like a nice long slab of iron ground all over, but on one I examined I found that the dovetails on the underside of the crosslide did not continue all the way to the far end, with the top and sides being just a thinner walled shell acting like a cover. So any temptation to mill in a useful tee slot or two is best avoided.

Many a time I fiddled with these lathes at various engineering shows and at Warco's premises when I was trying to decide which new Chinese lathe to buy around 20 years ago. Some early versions had a small thread dial indicator rather crudely secured to the side of the apron with just a very thin strip of bent steel and a screw, later ones were improved which looks to be the type fitted to yours.

I can recall when Warco discontinued them and Roger Warren telling me that they wanted a lathe with a screwcutting gearbox with more selectable feedrates built in, i think the Cub box has just nine quickly selectable feedrates, which is fine most of the time especially for home workshop use, chaingewheels are used for more feedrates. The D1-5 spindle nose is a little unusual, most imported geared head lathes of this size use the more common D1-4 fitting, but the rubber wiper on the crosslide dovetails and the tang slot on the tailstock quill are a nice feature on the Chester Cub and Warco's version of it.


Edited By Lathejack on 23/05/2021 20:48:30

Edited By Lathejack on 23/05/2021 20:56:02

Edited By Lathejack on 23/05/2021 21:14:10

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