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Lever operated tailstock for Clarke CL430/500M

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john halfpenny04/05/2022 09:47:43
236 forum posts
24 photos

The recent thread by Hopper encouraged me to make this mod based on a mini lathe conversion I found via google photos. It works well and smoothly, and retains hand wheel operation by locking the barrel extension in the rearward position.



Neil Wyatt04/05/2022 09:56:55
19032 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Nice job, John.


Mike Hurley04/05/2022 10:16:42
311 forum posts
87 photos

John, please don't think I'm being negative here, but its not immediately apparent to me what the purpose of this mod is - nice job that it is. I'm more than willing to learn something new if I'm missing the point!

Apart from using as a support for between centres work occasionaly, I mainly use the tailstock for drilling. Simply using the handwheel gives me a very fine degree of feedback on drill progress so never had one break. If using this long handle is for drilling, then surely the mechanical advantage could result in to much pressure applied to a drill, or a lack of 'feel' if starting to clog up with swarf? If being used for producing 100's of identical parts on rapid piecework, perhaps yes - but for hobby machining?

Again - please do not think I am critisising someone else's work, absolutley not. Just want to understand the thinking behind it.


ega04/05/2022 11:01:40
2538 forum posts
201 photos

The late John Stevenson showed a design which combined lever feed with the original screw feed.

Mike Hurley:

Have you tried lever feed?

john halfpenny04/05/2022 11:15:27
236 forum posts
24 photos

I did it because I can Mike. Scrap materials mostly - I bought two oilite bushes and two proprietary adjustable locking handles to finish the job. On the contrary, I expect it will give me more 'feel' for some drilling jobs, and allow rapid withdrawal for clearing swarf when drilling long holes. I think it's been worth my time to make (and an enjoyable project), and time will tell on utility.

Hopper04/05/2022 11:59:48
6388 forum posts
334 photos

John, I'm glad my thread was an inspiration to somebody. It looks good -- and much less work than the hand-carved look!

Mike, I have been getting to know mine as I use it more. And I like it. Drilling a 1/16" hole is much easier than winding handwheel in and out. Much more "feel". The long lever gives surprisingly delicate touch. And it takes the trepidation out of centre drilling as you can whip it out very quickly to clear swarf and and oil. I was using it to drill a 3/4" hole yesterday and thinking how much easier that was. Well worth having, i reckon.

Edited By Hopper on 04/05/2022 12:01:00

Anthony Knights04/05/2022 12:04:10
622 forum posts
243 photos

I made something similar for my Clarke CL300 some time ago. This was based on a article in "Mike's Workshop" site.

This has the advantage of a lever feed or lock it and wind the handle as before. It makes "pecking" while drilling easier and I find it very useful if using tailstock held taps or dies. Also of course, an interesting construction project, which is what this hobby is all about, whether one is making some simple tooling or constructing a model railway engine.

lever taistock.jpg

john halfpenny04/05/2022 12:50:44
236 forum posts
24 photos

I suppose the sliding tailstock will also allow a tap to advance in a workpiece held in the chuck -the chuck being turned by a crank like this one I made earlier. I have not tried this yet.


The wheel on the crank is a cheap 24 hole indexer intended for a wood lathe, and used with the spring loaded plunger shown in the second photo.



Edited By john halfpenny on 04/05/2022 12:51:34

old mart04/05/2022 20:36:12
3771 forum posts
233 photos

I couldn't resist a NOS tailstock on ebay some time back, it is of Chinese origin, MT2 with a 3" stroke and with a suitable base section made, could fit the Smart & Brown model A at the museum. Seeing this thread, I can imagine it modified for lever operation for those delicate small drilling jobs.

bernard towers04/05/2022 20:58:02
612 forum posts
109 photos

sorry Mike but you have missed the point. The lever gives you sensitivity and power if needed. On the point of clogging drill flutes they tend to get clogged when the swarf is fine not when the drill is cutting at its optimum where the swarf tends to be stiff and strong so follows the flutes more readily and and has been stated is easy to peck drill .

Mike Hurley05/05/2022 09:05:35
311 forum posts
87 photos

As I said, I just wanted to understand the thinking behind it, and I think the comments have done that admirably! Think I shall be looking into similar for my trusty old lathe as & when time permits.

Over the years, I've occasionaly spent time making things that appeared as a 'good idea' on the face of it, but often failed to deliver (bit like politicians) , so it's really useful to hear from people who have used something like this and give positive feedback.

John H : Have you tried one of those spring loaded centres that you can use with taps? - they work great generally and allow a straight start to threading a piece in the chuck. Use with your 'crank' (often referred to as a mandrel handle)

All the best, Mike

john halfpenny05/05/2022 10:26:16
236 forum posts
24 photos

Yes Mike. I make a lot of kit, but no models yet. This one has a brass sleeve for my small taps with pointed ends. The crank may be better for larger threads where it is difficult to get a big tap wrench to turn in front of the chuck, and of course you have to stop the chuck from turning with the tap.


Edited By john halfpenny on 05/05/2022 10:29:53

Edited By john halfpenny on 05/05/2022 10:31:29

Ian B.08/05/2022 08:04:31
169 forum posts
5 photos

Full marks for a good job. However in answer to usage questions I would fall on the side of a very useful. I am lucky enough to have a 5/16" Coventry Die Head left over from days of having a capstan attachment for a Colchester Bantam. I made my lever operated tailstock from a scrapped mini lathe I had worn out. 10BA, M2, M2.5 threads brilliant no problem.

Biggest problem is cost of dies but would not be without this item now.

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