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Urgent - opinions of lathe I am going to view/buy

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Andy Thompson 302/09/2021 15:34:10
50 forum posts
57 photos

Hi y'all. Sorry if this is the wrong place or type of question. I am an inexperienced newbie although I have been working to restore an old little lathe as per other thread.

This Boxford has come up and there is something peculiar about it. I was going to view/buy for £750. Am I wasting money and getting into trouble?

Seller is not forthcoming about model etc, just says his Dad used it until recently. It is some form of CUD but not clear what. He says 14" centres so may be a school model. No plate for spindle speeds - will this be full range? There appear to be two new boxed chucks - not sure if they even fit.

Is this a suitable for newbie. What should I check when I view. Appreciate any comments and pointing me in the right direction

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Mick B102/09/2021 15:46:44
2018 forum posts
116 photos

This is just me, but I use machine tools to make other bits I want. Boxfords can be good, but this one looks like it's had a hard life. To me, it looks like a forbidding project with uncertain outcome - but others may think differently.

Andy Thompson 302/09/2021 16:08:24
50 forum posts
57 photos

Thanks for quick reply. If it is a school model was hoping it had less wear. Can't tell if that is original paint or a bodge. It is 3hr drive further north so not easy to nip up and assess.

Howard Lewis02/09/2021 16:19:54
5299 forum posts
13 photos

Before you go, studyb the Lathes UK site, to become more familiar with the machine.

It may look scruffy, but what counts is the mechanical condition.

If you are unsure, find someone knowledgeable to take with you to check the machine.

A member of your local M E Club may be willing to help.

Definitely see and hear it run.

Look for wear, (excessive backlash ) in the Leadscrews for the Cross and Top Slides.

Wind the Saddle to and fro, Any tight spots? Or is it sloppy all the way along?

Can you shake the saddle across the ways? If YES, the gibs will need adjusting.

Take a good 12" steel rule, to use as a straight edge to check the bed for wear.t

It has a Quick Change Toolpost. Are there any extra holders?

How many? If just the one, extras might prove expensive to buy, and / or difficult to find.

Any extra lathe tools with the machine?

There seem to be extra chucks, Catchplates, and a Faceplate.

Any Fixed or Travelling steadies? in case you should ever feel the need for one?

If it still looks promising, is any measuring equipment, or tooling such as Taps and Dies, or Drills, included the deal?

HTH

Howard

Paul M02/09/2021 16:33:51
69 forum posts
4 photos

Boxfords are good lathes, I used them in schools all my career. If they are maintained and looked after they can be a good buy. I prefer them to Myford lathes. However, I don't like the look of the one in your picture, especially at £750. The electrics look as though it has been converted to single phase but worth checking and the spindle lock seems to be missing from the headstock. I would expect all the change wheels and plenty of accessories for that price. If you factor in the cost of travelling to view the lathe and then transporting it plus the cost of any improvements it may turn out to be pricey.

It depends on your budget. For a few hundred more there are Boxfords around with quick change gearboxes and seemingly in better condition.

Ady102/09/2021 16:34:23
avatar
4728 forum posts
714 photos

Not a Boxford man but it looks like a bit of a dog for 700 notes

Plenty of bits with it though and the gears don't look chipped, one of those ones where you really need to be familiar with them to know if it's worth the effort

Looks like a collet drawbar on the far right in front of his right toe... so any collet stuff?

If I was a newbie I would pass on this one

Andrew Johnston02/09/2021 16:44:06
avatar
6266 forum posts
677 photos

Posted by Andy Thompson 3 on 02/09/2021 15:34:10:

This Boxford has come up and there is something peculiar about it. I was going to view/buy for £750. Am I wasting money and getting into trouble?

Yes!

Whatever model it is, it's a basic version with no power cross feed or quick change gearbox. There seem to be some controls missing from the headstock and elsewhere. No evidence of a set of change wheels or quick change tool holders.

It might be restorable, but at the moment it's a basket case. In addition the seller being evasive is always a deal breaker for me. It's possible that his father used it, in the same way that a little old lady used the sports car for sale just for trips to the shops. More likely the seller knows exactly what it is and is looking to palm it off onto an un-suspecting buyer. Personally i wouldn't go to look - it's a powerful pull thinking that if I don't buy I've wasted six hours driving and fuel.

Andrew

Andy Thompson 302/09/2021 16:49:29
50 forum posts
57 photos

Thanks guys,

He has replied to say there is fair bit of tooling and some dickson tool holders but no list or pictures. Asked about changewheels etc. Those new chucks must be expensive.

Yes it is single phase which would suit me at the minute. I see the spindle lock and spindle speed nameplate is missing. Not sure what that implies.

I would spend more for a B or A model but not so common up here and appear to be £1800 range. There are more lathes down south but often collection only! What is chance of getting spare gearbox/leadscrew/apron.

O dear - I am all a swither!

vic newey02/09/2021 17:36:51
avatar
102 forum posts
59 photos

Boxford school lathes have T for training such as TUD, the U is for under drive. They don't have screwcutting capabilities so the lathe in question is not a school one

Speedy Builder502/09/2021 17:52:21
2408 forum posts
191 photos

Odd things, looks like there is a collet drawbar, the gear setup is strange and it looks like a 100 / 127 gear set (but not in the right combination) with allows an imperial leadscrew to cut metric threads, but you need some more gears (probably 5 more at £40 each), no reverse on the motor, the half nut lever is 180degrees out of position ?? are the external 3 jaw chuck jaws available otherwise the value of the chuck is reduced. Are the Dixon tool holders there ??

For a beginner I think this would be too risky. Agree with Andrew on this one

Boxford UD owner

Dave Halford02/09/2021 17:53:59
1729 forum posts
19 photos

Not for £750 with parts missing, it'll want to chase cars and keep you up at night barking.

Clive Brown 102/09/2021 17:58:06
706 forum posts
33 photos

Hi Andy,

Boxford did make a 16" between centres model, but I don't think that was specifically for schools. The paint is not original IMO. The short bed and CUD spec. both detract from the desirability. Also it doesn't look as if it's had "one careful owner". One very common problem with old Boxfords is broken back-gear teeth, otherwise they are robust machines. If I were at all interested I'd put in an offer considerably below the asking price.

It's not impossible to find spare gearboxes etc, but they come up very infrequently and can be pricey. I wouldn't see that as a practical option.

If you bought it, what about transport? Two fit people could detach the lathe from the cabinet and load it into a car boot but the cabinet itself is heavy and awkward. You'd really need a van or trailer.

Try to download Boxford's manual. This will give more details of the bits and pieces that should be with the machine.

Oldiron02/09/2021 18:37:19
850 forum posts
23 photos

This one hs been messed about with quite a bit. I would give it a miss. As said the missing lever on the headstock front is used in conjunction with the back gear so that is probably tattered or even been removed. All the parts are available but pricey. I would not give more than £350 for this one even if it has little wear.

regards

Bob Worsley02/09/2021 18:59:27
103 forum posts

Wow, what do you expect for £750, brand new!

Look at it. Got the 127 tooth metric gear, that is expensive. Look at the tumbler reverse gears, are the teeth still as wide as the gaps, so not worn. Screw the two chucks on, not tight, but enough to be able to pull on them to see if headstock wear. Rotate the chucks slowly and feel for any graunching, and in back gear.

Move the cross slide, press a finger tip against the slide whilst rocking the feedscrew, as you increase the amount of movement then wait until your finger tip can feel the slide moving. Finger tips are extremelty sensitive for this. Repeat on top slide, but it would normally be much less worn. Rock the carriage with the handwheel, there will be at least 10 or 20 degrees of slop, it is a gear into a rack, but feel if it is graunchy up near the headstock compared with the other end.

Power it up if possible, how noisy is it in all speeds, but just one in high gear and one in backgear will tell you most of what you want. Are you familiar with the noise a lathe makes at 700rpm? Pretty noisy, but not ear muff noisy. Put the feeds in and out, forward and reverse, noisy?

Does the tailstock barrel move smoothly?

Look at the bed in front of the headstock, how many times has the chuck been dropped on it. The bed uses raised Vee ways, look at the state of them. Look for signs that they have hacksawed stuff off in the chuck and overshot and hit the bed. Hopefully hardened so any wear in the saddle which can be scraped out.

Just stand back and look at it, is it twisted, are the cabinet panels all straight and undented.

In the end you have got most of a lathe, two new chucks but probably not Burnerd, the cabinet is a lot of money, and making a good bench isn't so easy.

If you can run it and sounds ok then easily worth that money. If you can't run it then have to look at the pulleys and motor, have a good sniff, if burnt out then the smell lingers for ages. My guess is that it was used for turning down commutators or something like that, certainly not model engineering, hence the grubby look. Boxfords are like South Bends, good basic lathes.

Gavlar02/09/2021 19:06:48
79 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by vic newey on 02/09/2021 17:36:51:

Boxford school lathes have T for training such as TUD, the U is for under drive. They don't have screwcutting capabilities so the lathe in question is not a school one

T is the basic, training model with no power feed or screw cutting ability but in my experience, most school Boxfords are As, Bs and Cs.

Clive Hartland02/09/2021 19:15:38
avatar
2724 forum posts
40 photos

It looks a bit abused, parts missing all dubious for £700.

Personally I would walk away.

Tony Pratt 102/09/2021 19:32:05
1692 forum posts
8 photos

Condition is key in any second hand machine & if you haven't got the knowledge to judge such things you may well end up with a lemon, I well know the excitement of getting your first lathe but I had a few years of using them before I got my first Myford.

Tony

Oldiron02/09/2021 19:35:00
850 forum posts
23 photos
Posted by Bob Worsley on 02/09/2021 18:59:27:

Wow, what do you expect for £750, brand new!

Look at it. Got the 127 tooth metric gear, that is expensive. Look at the tumbler reverse gears, are the teeth still as wide as the gaps, so not worn. Screw the two chucks on, not tight, but enough to be able to pull on them to see if headstock wear. Rotate the chucks slowly and feel for any graunching, and in back gear.

Move the cross slide, press a finger tip against the slide whilst rocking the feedscrew, as you increase the amount of movement then wait until your finger tip can feel the slide moving. Finger tips are extremelty sensitive for this. Repeat on top slide, but it would normally be much less worn. Rock the carriage with the handwheel, there will be at least 10 or 20 degrees of slop, it is a gear into a rack, but feel if it is graunchy up near the headstock compared with the other end.

Power it up if possible, how noisy is it in all speeds, but just one in high gear and one in backgear will tell you most of what you want. Are you familiar with the noise a lathe makes at 700rpm? Pretty noisy, but not ear muff noisy. Put the feeds in and out, forward and reverse, noisy?

Does the tailstock barrel move smoothly?

Look at the bed in front of the headstock, how many times has the chuck been dropped on it. The bed uses raised Vee ways, look at the state of them. Look for signs that they have hacksawed stuff off in the chuck and overshot and hit the bed. Hopefully hardened so any wear in the saddle which can be scraped out.

Just stand back and look at it, is it twisted, are the cabinet panels all straight and undented.

In the end you have got most of a lathe, two new chucks but probably not Burnerd, the cabinet is a lot of money, and making a good bench isn't so easy.

If you can run it and sounds ok then easily worth that money. If you can't run it then have to look at the pulleys and motor, have a good sniff, if burnt out then the smell lingers for ages. My guess is that it was used for turning down commutators or something like that, certainly not model engineering, hence the grubby look. Boxfords are like South Bends, good basic lathes.

 

You cannot get this lathe into back gear as the lever/button is missing. Also the halfnut lever is on the wrong way round. I have refurbed' many Boxfords and this one is about as bad as I have seen.

regards

Edited By Oldiron on 02/09/2021 19:44:47

Oldiron02/09/2021 19:38:25
850 forum posts
23 photos
Posted by Andy Thompson 3 on 02/09/2021 16:08:24:

Thanks for quick reply. If it is a school model was hoping it had less wear. Can't tell if that is original paint or a bodge. It is 3hr drive further north so not easy to nip up and assess.

If it were a schools model "T" it would not have a leadscrew. Only the A B & C models were equiped with a lead screw.

regards

mgnbuk02/09/2021 19:49:02
1032 forum posts
69 photos

Boxford school lathes have T for training such as TUD, the U is for under drive. They don't have screwcutting capabilities so the lathe in question is not a school one

While TUD plain lathes were indeed "Training" lathes, schools did use other models. My old CUD was ex-school, as was a late friend's AUD.

One way of spotting an ex-school machine is to look at the cross and top slide dials & checking the leadscrew pitch. With metrication, schools had their Imperial machines converted to metric by swapping the screws, nuts & dials on the cross and top slides for metric items. To save costs the Imperial leadscrew was not changed, but a 100/127 changewheel set was provided to cut metric threads.

Looks like it has been re-painted with a chewed stick. You would want to check that the back gears are present and have all their teeth - particularly with the spindle lock missing. Trying to remove a stuck chuck by locking the back gear = broken teeth.

Could be a basis for a good machine - could equally be a money pit. Difficult to determine which without more pics. Seems a bit pricey to me for the apparant condition, but prices do seem to be going up.

Nigel B.

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