Sheldon Lathe questions
I apologize if this is the wrong forum, I couldn't find one of the specific machine forums that would fit.
So I have a few questions about a lathe that I've appropriated from my Uncle, it's a Sheldon Machine Co. Lathe, no idea when it was made, and I haven't had much luck finding a serial number on it either. So I'm looking for possibly a little information on them if anyone knows, pics are attached.
Second, I am having a horrible time getting the thing to stay/cut true. I have leveled it up, trued up the chuck (8" 6 jaw scroll Buck Chuck) yet it always seems to be out at least .010 to .020. I suspect that it's been a little abused over the years and may just need a little TLC and rebuilding. It seems to me that the carriage is a little loose on the bed, you can grab the tool post by hand and move it back and forth down the bed, I would think there would be a little more friction there.
Also the tailstock is pretty much toast. Someone got a chuck stuck pretty good in the taper, to the point that they tried pushing it out with the screw on the tailstock and only succeeded in bending the screw. Which may or may not account for why I can't really drill a center hole without a serious amount of wandering and wobbling
Anyway, I've been putting off just tearing the thing apart, and am looking for suggestions on what to clean/replace/look for. Thanks for any help you guys can supply
Go to the South Bend section of this site, do a search on lathe testing & lathe repair.
The Sheldon appears to be about the size of a SB Heavy 10.
Sheldon book, Care and Operation of a Lathe:
Care and Operation of a Lathe by Sheldon Machine Co. Inc. - Powell's Books
Get South Bend "How to Run A Lathe" available as a reprint, as a download, and on Ebay. Google.
Unless the tailstock center is centered to the headstock spindle and runs parallel to the bed, no good work will be done.
Chuck a soft round in your chuck 1 inch give or take, sticking out of the chuck around an inch and a half, machine a point on the end. Scoot your tailstock and center up to the point. The centers should exactly meet.
Either of the books above are full of information and will get you started.
Edit: See - http://www.lindsaybks.com/bks/lathebk/index.html
Last edited by paul39; 01-24-2011 at 10:37 AM.
Sheldon machine tools were well made and some what sturdier than the same size South Bend and Logan offerings. Your machine appears to be 1950's vintage.
Six jaw chucks are somewhat unusual for hobby lathes. The new price of the chuck probably exceeded that of the lathe. Six jaw chucks are often used for thin walled(tubing) work pieces. From your questions I'm assuming that your lathe experience is limited. If I'm wrong please forgive me. Can you tell me what truing up the chuck entailed? Your six jaw appears to be of the Set-Tru type. I can see two holes on the diameter of the chuck. The hole nearest the jaws appears to be for loosening and tightening all six jaws at once. The hole further back is one of four that are used to make the chuck run concentrically. Is the chuck running true?
Usually, the barrel of the tail stock can be removed by turning the hand wheel counter clock wise. A rod can be inserted in the threaded hole and a hammer employed to drive out the live center.
If we are to help you more information will be required so that a methodical solution to your problems can be found.
If you are not adverse to joining a Yahoo group, there is this:
Sheldonlathe : Sheldon Lathe
It is a Sheldon lathe group, and is full of great info on these lathes. It is also home to Mr. John Knox, who worked for many years for Sheldon machine and is a treasure trove of information about them.
You should be able to find the serial number, it is generally stamped on the top of the bed ways at the tailstock end. It will be on the front way in the flat area between the "triangular" way and the flat one. Look carefully down from above and clean the area, it is usually covered in crud.
See the red arrow in your photo (sorry for the crummy artwork...).
Nice machine, I have one very much like it.
Thanks for the info once again guys, always love how courteous everyone is here with handing out info.
No offense at the lathe experience, which is rather light at the moment, lots of mechanical knowledge but I'm learning on the machining side of things. For truing up the chuck I went and found the procedure from the Buck Chuck website. You are correct about the screws, there are four on the sides of the body for truing up, and then six on the face of the chuck for loosening things up to adjust. The body of the chuck is running true but I suspect that the jaws themselves may be worn. What baffles me tho is since this is a run true chuck, shouldn't that mean that if I have everything trued up and chuck up a piece of round stock, turn it down to a certain diameter, and pull it out and chuck up the other side to turn down as well, shouldn't it still be true? Or is that a no no as far as machining and maintaining true?
There is also a 4 jaw independent, and a 3 jaw scroll chuck as well. The machine, along with a Bridgeport model J and tons of tooling came from a local machinist that was retiring, my uncle picked up his whole shop for a song and a dance. It has since been sitting where just about anyone could walk through and use (abuse) things. So me along with a couple friends commandeered things, put up a few walls, and a door with a lock and have been expanding our knowledge of machining. Its just been taking a little work to get things back to clean usable condition
That's the theory, but it rarely works closer than a few thousandths, even with a new-ish chuck. Collets or soft jaws are what are typically used for repeatable chucking with a thousandth.
Originally Posted by Maddyn
Now, with an older chuck, the sliding surfaces on the jaws and more so in the chuck body itself may be worn, so the jaws can flop around a bit. This will obviously complicate repeat chucking.
Tailstock screws can be readily remade from bar stock. You should take the tailstock apart carefully and take some notes on how it came apart. Once you get the screw out you can do triage. The nut may be shot as well. Also check the fit of the barrel in the bore, and the Morse taper in the barrel. All these things can contribute to wonky tailstock performance.
Originally Posted by Maddyn
Where in WA are you? If you're inclined, and not too far from Duvall, feel free to bring the tailstock by my shop and I can poke around at it and see what I see.
I second the recommendation to join the Sheldon Group on Yahoo. John Knox has helped me on several occasions to get my Sheldon 13" lathe in tip top shape. He may be able to suggest sources of repair parts for your machine.
Definitely go to the Sheldon Group at Yahoo. You're likely to find the serial and model numbers stamped into the bed towards the tailstock end. Looks like mine, an EXL56B. Some good info here: Page Title