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Britain Capstan Lathe

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Andrew Rose 425/01/2022 14:27:29
6 forum posts
3 photos

Hi,

I've just taken on a bit of a project, a Britan Capstan Lathe in a pile of bits. I think most of it is there apart from the spindle nut that holds the collets in place. Does anyone have one of these lathes and the dimensions so I could turn a new part, by any chance?

It seems to be 20guage, 1-21/32" diameter but I'm not sure of the dimensions for the shoulder that would sit on the collet .. or if it has any locking screws.

best regards

Andrew

Brian H25/01/2022 17:42:23
avatar
2312 forum posts
112 photos

Hello Andrew and welcome.

I cannot help much but this may be of interest to you:

**LINK**

Brian

Dave Halford25/01/2022 18:12:29
2100 forum posts
23 photos

A member has one.

Baz25/01/2022 18:51:52
757 forum posts
2 photos

Andrew which size Britan do you have, they made 3/4 and 1 1/4 capacity machines.

Andrew Rose 425/01/2022 19:05:31
6 forum posts
3 photos

Posted by Baz on 25/01/2022 18:51:52:

Andrew which size Britan do you have, they made 3/4 and 1 1/4 capacity machines.

Good question, the biggest collet is a 3/4" and I can't see how it would take any bigger collects so must be a 3/4" machine.

websnail25/01/2022 19:31:24
60 forum posts

Hi Andrew, you do seem to have a 3/4" machine then.

I'd love to see a picture or two.

There is a thread on here which might help you sort it out.

Good luck, any questions (even simple ones) just ask

Baz25/01/2022 20:25:17
757 forum posts
2 photos

Sorry Andrew I cannot help with any dimensions as my machine is the 1 1/4 capacity.

Andrew Rose 425/01/2022 20:34:22
6 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Baz on 25/01/2022 20:25:17:

Sorry Andrew I cannot help with any dimensions as my machine is the 1 1/4 capacity.

Thanks all the same!

Andrew Rose 426/01/2022 08:13:54
6 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by websnail on 25/01/2022 19:31:24:

Hi Andrew, you do seem to have a 3/4" machine then.

I'd love to see a picture or two.

There is a thread on here which might help you sort it out.

Good luck, any questions (even simple ones) just ask

I've managed to upload a few pictures - please excuse the mess, I'm currently having a reshuffle whilst trying to build the cabinets etc for my kitchen fit out.

img_20220125_203742.jpg

img_20220125_203752.jpg

img_20220125_203911.jpg

Andrew Rose 427/01/2022 10:50:59
6 forum posts
3 photos

I've noticed that the machine only has 2 original main spindle collets. The rest are branded Marlco and don't fit correctly. Options I'm thinking:

1, Machining a new sleeve/nut attempting to adapt it for ER collets

2, Make original style collets out of mild steel - I can harden but don't really have the ability to grind them.

I'll try option 2 for now but if there is any interest in an ER adaptor sleeve and nut let me know and I'll put a bit more planning in and would sell them at cost. The clamping range of ER collets might make it a non starter however so if anyone knows of an easy to acquire cheap dead length style collet please let me know. It's also a big step in my machining abilities so likely to take me a considerable amount of time to accomplish.

Andrew Johnston27/01/2022 12:17:56
avatar
6678 forum posts
701 photos

Unfortunately I no longer have any 3/4" collets. The style of dead length collet used by Britan comes under the DIN6343 standard. The 1-1/4" collet does not appear to a standard size, and I expect the 3/4" collet is the same. The following company claims to cover Britan collets, although I have no personal experience:

Collets

Changing to an ER collet would cripple the machine in terms of use. If I needed a special size collet I'd make one to match the existing design. I have the means to grind collets, but wouldn't bother for home use.

In general capstan lathes are not much better than a boat anchor without tooling. Before I did anything else I'd make darn sure I had all the parts to make a functional machine. All the switch gear on the headstock is missing. As is the lever for high and low speed, if the machine is so equipped. It looks like the machine has an autolock on the cross slide. The toolrest seems to be missing. More importantly in the righthand end of the machine is there a pull out plate with an auxiliary motor that runs coolant, hydraulic and pneumatic pumps?

A picture of all the parts spread out would help identification.

Andrew

Andrew Rose 427/01/2022 12:38:02
6 forum posts
3 photos

The parts are all there (and then some - I have a whole other bed and slides) except the spindle nut and motor bracket / wiring and switches. The pneumatic pump is there and the hydraulic pump is hanging down with no obvious sign of what would power it. I can run the machine by hand so not to worried about these aspects right now. I have the motor that can be put into reverse immediately (so I'm told) and creating a switch panel / bracket wouldn't be that taxing.

The work I have planned uses simple round bar stock so at least I'd have some ability if I manage to create an ER adaptor for it rather than it just being an anchor .. at least until I can source original collets.

Thanks for the link I've emailed them to see if they have anything in stock.

I'll get some better pictures over the weekend of everything laid out.

Andrew Johnston27/01/2022 14:15:17
avatar
6678 forum posts
701 photos

The pullout plate should have the coolant pump, hydraulic pump, air compressor and a 1/3hp motor all mounted together.

The headstock has two co-axial lever switches, one for forward/reverse and the other pole switches for fast and low speed ranges. They can be operated seperately, or together, irrespective of whether the motor is running or stationary. I think the switches were proprietary, as Britan list silver replacement contacts in the manual. The the direction control switch needs to be break before make. This may be of some help:

britan lathe - annotated me.jpg

Andrew

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