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would this vintage machine be a basis for building a great little lathe ?

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Rich250205/07/2013 21:21:30
73 forum posts
2 photos

i fancy buying this old girl, as a project to end up with an accurate little lathe, possibly put a variable speed motor on it, would i end up with a money black hole, or something that will outclass a chinese mini lathe ?$t2ec16fhjg!ffm4fppyzbr0t0rvwkw~~60_14.jpgI

Stub Mandrel05/07/2013 21:38:59
4315 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles

It won't have the capacity or convenience of a 'chinese lathe' but the truth is that either can be made as accurate as the effort you are prepared to put in, within the limits of rigidity. Fitting top grade roller bearings won't be an option for you and you may need another lathe to make really good plain bearings. You may also need to have the bed reground if it is very worn.

Personally i'd take it on, simply because I like old machinery.


Farmer Dave05/07/2013 21:39:14
33 forum posts
7 photos

It could well be worth spending money on it,though the biggest problem I find is the variable speed motor set up. This time yesterday both my Chester mill and Warco lathe were down with faulty PCB's.Best of luck if you go ahead. Farmer Dave

Edited By Farmer Dave on 05/07/2013 21:40:44

Muzzer05/07/2013 21:52:32
2904 forum posts
448 photos

You might outclass a Chinese lathe but it's fairly lightweight. You'll also notice that there are quite a few parts missing like the leadscrew dog clutch and leadscrew gear shaft, back gears etc. And you can't see how worn the headstock spindle and bushes are. They are not easy to repair or replace.

The banjo has no gears and it looks as if there might have been a reverse tumbler which is no longer present? As well as the missing leadscrew gear shaft, the headstock spindle looks suspiciously short - it should protrude past the banjo if you are planning on doing any screw cutting. I wonder if the spindle has been replaced. The rather small faceplate / back plate may also be a modern substitute.

Not sure what's going on with the leadscrew nut. I suspect it's supposed to be permanently engaged on this machine but it's not clear what this example has. Looks like something brass peeking through the slot? If I'm right, you'll also need a handwheel on the RH end of the leadscrew. Is the leadscrew a length of studding? I don't see a course acme thread there.

Looks as if it has a cross slide but the upper assembly doesn't look like a normal top slide and the tool holder looks non-std.

It could end up looking like a nice old beast but it will certainly take a fair bit of time and effort on your part. To do it right you'll need to seek out lots of parts which could be a job in itself. Making them yourself would rather detract from the end result arguably. Depends what you are trying to do - restore antique machines or end up with a useful tool.

Good luck either way!


Nobby05/07/2013 22:56:20
587 forum posts
113 photos

HI Richard & Guys
I think it would be a great project . I see there is a brass lable on it is it a Drummond ? Ive resored a Drummond flat bed And working on a Exe lathe at the moment . My main lathe is a Myford S& Mk 1
Let the forum know how you are gettin on with it ?

Hopper06/07/2013 03:15:04
6393 forum posts
334 photos

I use a Drummond M-Type and it's quite a nice little lathe.

This one in your picture looks like a Drummond B-Type of 1912-21 era.

Here are some pics and info, showing the change gears and possibly end of the spindle that are missing.

Drummond gears come up on eBay UK fairly regularly for five to ten pounds each, so factor that into your equation. To do screwcutting you would need a dozen or more.

Does it have the electric motor and countershaft with pulleys on it?

Will it be a black hole for money??? It's kind of like buying an old car or motorbike, if you chance upon a good 'un with relatively little use, well looked after, all there etc etc, it can be quite good. But if the lathe's bed is worn and needs reground, cross slide ditto, headstock bearings are clapped an you have to pay a machine shop to make you some, leadscrew half nuts are clapped and need new ones makes and so on, yes it can turn into a black hole for money, and when you have spent all that money, the lathe is not worth very much.

I see M-Type Drummond/Myford lathes come up on eBay UK fairly regularly at very cheap prices, with tooling and accessories. You might be better off looking at one of them, if this one is not in very good condition. The M-Types have more features and are a greatly under-rated little lathe.

There is a Drummond owners group on Yahoo that is quite helpful on these old models. It is here

Andyf06/07/2013 05:16:51
392 forum posts

I have found other pictures of it which its vendor has posted. It looks as though the original spindle with a screwed nose to take chucks, faceplates etc has been replaced with one having a flange to which they are bolted. As it would be a big job to make such a spindle, one from a modern Chinese minilathe using 100mm chucks may have been used, somehow.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't bother with it, but look around for something which comes with at least one chuck and a faceplate, and is capable of screwcutting. Kitting this lathe out so it can actually do something useful could get expensive. The more accessories you can get thrown in with a second-hand lathe, the better, and this one seems to come with no such dowry..


Tony Ray06/07/2013 09:51:58
188 forum posts
46 photos


As a restoration project I'm all for it. As a Drummond owner (1908) I'd say the biggest drawback is the lack of a through bore. I would'nt want to have to rely on the Drummond alone although many engineers have built great stuff on very limited machines.

It's all about budget and what you want to do. When asked about 'What do you do with all of those machines?" I reply "

"I make things to make things. When I have made those things I use them to make more things that help me to make things"


Ady106/07/2013 10:11:52
5089 forum posts
736 photos

Whatever old lathe you DO go for, if it's your first one, then you must have everything there to start with

After lathe number 1 you can get all sorts of junk and sort it out to your hearts content, but your first unit must be fully functional so you can learn from it

Lambton06/07/2013 17:00:56
694 forum posts
2 photos


Despite having other modern lathes I have, and sometimes use, a 1902 Drummond B type flatbed lathe. Many years ago this was the only machine tool that I had. I have retained the treadle drive as the head stock is of light construction and only suitable for low power input. I have put resettable index dials on the cross slide. lead screw and the tail stock. I have made a QT tool post for it and It will cut 100% accurate metric threads as I have arranged a final drive to the lead screw with a pair of fine pitch gears; 48 tooth ganged with an appropriate Drummond 14 DP gear driving a 127 tooth on the actual lead screw.

It is a joy to use on small jobs and screw cutting is a doddle. Over the years improving this lathe has bought me much enjoyment and satisfaction. There is a 3/8" hole through the spindle which is not very much but is still very helpful.


Hopper08/07/2013 12:40:15
6393 forum posts
334 photos

You can often get around the lack of spindle through-hole, or the small diameter there-of, by using a fixed steady set between the chuck and the carriage toward the end of the workpiece. Only up to the length of the bed of course, but most often that is enough for model work.

Rich250210/07/2013 11:11:42
73 forum posts
2 photos

Thanks to your help, i think this one would be too much work to rebuild, i'm sure it would end up needing a few hundreds worth of new parts made, and i don't have the time to spend on it.

It's a gorgeous machine though.

It's at £55 now on ebay no.181168206464, ends tommorow morning, probably wont go for below £100.

Lambton10/07/2013 12:45:34
694 forum posts
2 photos


I think you are quite right as far as this particular lathe goes however Drummond flat bed lathes come along quite frequently on eBay. Keep your eye open for one that is complete and if possible with some extras. It should not cost too much to rectify a complete lathe as you can make most parts you may need on the lathe itself. Apart from buying modern chucks I never spent much on bringing my Drummond up to a very usable and acceptable standard.

Best of luck


Ray Lyons10/07/2013 15:33:27
200 forum posts
1 photos

I think you are right to cut your losses and sell this lathe. I recall about 50 years ago, I bought one as my first lathe. The condition was worse than yours, no sprindle or bearings. I made up a temporary head with a sprindle from a motorcycle wheel and over several weeks, turned a sprindle to fit the head. When cutting the thread on the nose, I found that all was not well and cut what appeared to be a double thread. The problem turned out to be a badly worn leadscrew nut. At that stage, I was almost on the point of giving up but eventually managed to make a new nut, sprindle and bearings. Not a perfect machine but for some years it gave good service and I learned a lot about using a small lathe. Especially liked the way the headstock could be adjusted to cut short tapers and the dog clutch was great when cutting shoulders or threading.

I thing you would be better off either buying a new import or a good used British machine. Saves a lot of frustration.

Good luck with the auction


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