By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Smart & Brown Questions

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
John Holmes 1226/10/2021 18:57:05
3 forum posts

Hello I am John and have just joined today - I am a mechanic in Glasgow and have just bought a Smart and Brown lathe model A (Mk1) - I have a few questions about it, such as:

1. obtaining original used parts.

2. Wiring schematic for it (3 phase motor and switch controls)

My experience with forums is minimal; but I know there are specific rules to posting; perhaps someone could keep me right, so that i learn the accepted ways.

I am sure there is a wealth of information here, and I have also been drawn to forum participation because I see people with like interests really helping each other.

Cheers, John

Edited By JasonB on 26/10/2021 20:58:40

Rod Renshaw26/10/2021 20:50:37
347 forum posts
2 photos

Welcome John

What are your interests and what do you plan to use your lathe for?

Don't worry too much about rules on here. Just be polite and not abusive, (goes without saying really) and make half a dozen postings before you try to buy or sell anything and you won't go far wrong. Oh, and don't try to post links to things for sale from eBay or the Far East.


Edited By Rod Renshaw on 26/10/2021 20:52:02

Edited By JasonB on 26/10/2021 20:59:03

Rod Renshaw26/10/2021 21:02:22
347 forum posts
2 photos

Thanks Jason, what did I leave out or get wrong?


John Holmes 1227/10/2021 00:09:54
3 forum posts

Thanks Rod,

I am an 'old school' mechanic, and love things built to last - old tricks of the trade - general engineering - but i've been a motor mechanic most of my life. I also have a hobby of making electronic circuits. I want to use the lathe mostly for making sleeves to press out bushes and bearings - and also to have fun making any special tool I need for automotive repair.

At the moment my lathe has a 3 phase cable going into what i think is called a 'drum' switch of the lathe (for forward and reverse) - and the original on/off latching push-button switches has its internals missing. I only have single phase in my garage, but the seller aso supplied me with an inverter which i will also be wiring up in due course. my preference would be to fit an original on/off switch (3 phase) if i can source cheaply enough - but failing that would consider fitting an emergency off switch integrated with on/off switch unit.

So that's the reason for wanting:

1. Sources for original used parts (on/off switch)

2. Wiring schematic (to know how drum switch as well as on/off switch was originally wired up)

So will appreciate any help - thanks again,


JasonB27/10/2021 07:34:33
21632 forum posts
2493 photos
1 articles
Posted by Rod Renshaw on 26/10/2021 21:02:22:

Thanks Jason, what did I leave out or get wrong?


I moved both posts to a new thread as they were tacked onto the end of one about classified access

not done it yet27/10/2021 07:45:53
6438 forum posts
20 photos


Welcome. There are lots of experts on the forum. I’m not one of them.

Supplying your lathe motor with a 3 phase supply can be achieved in a several ways - have a three phase supply from the grid, a static (or rotary) converter or a variable frequency drive (VFD). There are other options.

The better way, IMO, is to fit a VFD. They plug into the usual single phase socket, provide lots of programming options, do not use (much) leccy while idle, are generally reliable - and reasonably inexpensive.

The one thing that most VFD installations do not like is switching between the VFD and motor. That may be why the 3 phase starter has been removed. Soft start, current protection, etc can be set, as desired, by the user. Even the forward reverse should not be used while the motor is running (ie only selected when the VFD is not supplying power to the motor. The VFD would have a directional selection, anyway.

Oldiron27/10/2021 08:25:14
864 forum posts
23 photos
Posted by Rod Renshaw on 26/10/2021 20:50:37:

Welcome John

. Oh, and don't try to post links to things for sale from eBay or the Far East.


Edited By Rod Renshaw on 26/10/2021 20:52:02

Edited By JasonB on 26/10/2021 20:59:03

I would be really miffed is someone was stopped from linking to one of my British made items on Ebay if they thought it would help out others on the forum. I do not think there is an overall ban on links to Ebay items (or is there) Only links to far eastern items, items that encroach on sponsers territory or items that may not conform to EU/UK standards are banned as far as I know. But I stand to be corrected if I am wrong.


Rod Renshaw27/10/2021 10:26:30
347 forum posts
2 photos

Jason,- thanks for that I was trying to spot the changes your edit had made and didn't think to look at the heading.

Oldiron - Yes, your explanation is clearer than my brief note.

John - I agree with NDIY about VFDs being the most useful drive for machine tools. Worth investigating. Usual advice with VFDs is "no switches between VFD and motor" because any switches might cause spikes which may cause the VFD to fail. This usually means one VFD per machine.

As NDIY says the VFD will be able to control the motor, which makes the old switchgear redundant. Some workers wire up the VFD low voltage control cables to the original switches to give the appearance of using the old switchgear, in which case you don't need the internals of the switchgear, only the actual switches.

There are experts on here who will advise on any specific aspect of your wiring but I think they will ask for more detail of the switchgear, VFD and motor.


Andrew Johnston27/10/2021 11:37:50
6316 forum posts
677 photos

Putting a switch between VFD output and motor is fine, if the switch is never operated while the VFD is running.

The output 3-phase bridge in a VFD will use MOSFETs or IGBTs as the switches. These transistors are pretty robust, with the exception of over-voltage. Voltage spikes are the quickest way to destroy the devices. The issue arising from switching the output while the VFD is running boils down to the law of induction:

v = -L(di/dt)

The voltage across an inductance is the self-inductance, L, times the rate of change of current. The minus sign indicates that the generated voltage is such that it tends to oppose the change in current. The coils in an induction motor have inductance. So if a VFD output is disconnected while running the coils in the motor are suddenly open circuit, with a current flowing. The voltage (back EMF) across the coils will rise rapidly as the current decreases in an attempt to counter the change in current. it is quite likely that the generated voltage will jump across the switch contacts and into the VFD bridge.

A secondary problem is that the motor currents are also flowing in the 3-phase bridge. The VFD busbars have inductance, so when the output is disconnected from the load the same problem of back EMF generated by the busbar inductance and change of current may also be enough to over-voltage the output switches. Never mind what the control algorithm may do when it sees the output currents decreasing.

It's best not to court disaster by wiring the VFD output direct to the motor. Direct wiring also makes it simpler to control radiated emissions from the output cables. The only controversial issue then becomes ground the output cable shield at one end, or both ends.


martin haysom27/10/2021 12:48:08
56 forum posts

i too have a smart and brown lathe a model m. best of luck finding parts there is not a lot out there. there is a smart and brown forum which might help i was on to but i have lost my link. some stuff turns up in the bay of thieves. i have been looking for a 95 tooth change gear for some time now and have decided the only i will get one is to make it which will be fun as i have no idea where to start yet

John Holmes 1227/10/2021 13:47:25
3 forum posts

Thanks all for your help and advice: now I need more than my lunch break to think things over!

Cheers, john

Martin Connelly27/10/2021 15:20:21
1935 forum posts
207 photos

I made a 127 tooth gear out of aluminium plate as a hobby machine will probably not wear an aluminium gear out in a hurry. A 95 tooth gear should be relatively easy as the 127 was about as large a disk as I could easily turn in the lathe. Since then I have converted my model m to CNC so I have the gears but never use them. However I have kept all the parts removed and all the gears to stay with the lathe when it moves on.

I still have the cutter and I have a suitable disk of 10mm steel plate so I will have a go at the 95 tooth and if it looks ok I will let you have it, It would just need a few washers either side to space it nicely. Then you can cut the 19tpi and 38tpi threads it is for.

Martin C

old mart27/10/2021 17:08:13
3411 forum posts
210 photos

Welcome, John, there are a few of us using S & B model A lathes, I use the Mk 1.5 at the Helicopter Museum at Weston Super Mare. There are very few spares available, but Lathes UK do a useful set of manuals and parts lists. I always keep an eye out for listings on ebay, but most of the sellers want an arm and a leg for old parts. I gave up on getting changewheels and have made new ones out of metric mod 1 blanks which are similar in size to the originals.

If I remember, I will take a photo of the wiring schematic and post it on the forum for you.

old mart28/10/2021 17:03:08
3411 forum posts
210 photos

_igp2840.jpgHere are the wiring diagrams, I hope you can make them out.


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
rapid Direct
walker midge
JD Metals
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest