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New to me LeBlond Regal 15"

Joe Michaels

Diamond
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Location
Shandaken, NY, USA
Live24wheel:

Thanks for the compliment. Lathe chucks are like anything else, and "you gets what you pays for". I can't comment yea or nay on the quality of the "Import" (Chinese or Indian) chucks. The prices certainly are low enough, but there have been some posts about people finding jaws not square to the spindle or excessive runout when the jaws were clamped on a piece of drill rod or similar. Other people have had no issues with their "Import" chucks.

Looking at this from the perspective of price:
-if you buy a used US, English, or European made chuck online (read: ebay), you are buying something sight unseen and have no way of knowing whether it is in as good a condition as the seller represents it as being. Remember the saying for buyers of used goods: "Caveat Emptor"- let the buyer beware. Or, let the buyer hold no illusions as to the condition of a used chuck.

-If you buy an import chuck and discover the jaws are out of square or have excessive runout, you have two recourses: chase the seller- if they will make good. Making good may be sending you another chuck, which may be as bad or worse than the one you already received. Or, it may be better. The seller does not do any inspections or checks on the imported tooling and half the time has no more idea about how it is checked or used than the man in the moon.

-If you buy a used US, British, or European made chuck, you again are taking a chance as to whether the jaws are still square with the centerline of the spindle, and whether the jaws hold work reasonably true. Remember: a 3 jaw "universal" or "scroll" chuck can NEVER be counted upon to hold work dead true. With a used 3 jaw chuck you are lucky if it holds work within 0.003-0.005" total indicated runout over the range of sizes the chuck can hold- and this has to happen on a good day with the moon in the right house.

-This brings things to the common factor: making a sloppy 3 jaw chuck better on your own. This consists of grinding the jaws in place with the chuck on the spindle of your lathe. It takes a toolpost grinder with an extended spindle for internal grinding, and some sort of ring for the chuck jaws to close against as they need to have all the backlash taken up, and a preload applied. Whether you purchase a used "name" chuck like a Buck, Bison, Pratt, or older Cushman, or whether you purchase a new chuck from Asia and find this sort of problem, the fix is the same.

-Bear in mind that three jaw chucks, even when fitted with an adjustable back plate (such as the "Set Tru" system), will only hold work of one specific size so that it runs true. Move the jaws to chuck another size of work, and that chuck may hold the work so it runs not quite so true.

The market seems to be flooded- at least on ebay and the internet, along with MSC and Enco and Travers- with cheap imported lathe chucks. You can buy a 3 jaw 10" Asian-made lathe chuck for maybe 250 bucks, backplate included. Price that same chuck from Bison (Polish) and you might be bumping 1000 bucks. Find a Buck chuck of that same size/type and you might be up over 1500 dollars.

Your lathe came with two chucks. The 3 jaw chuck is a Buck chuck, and is likely nowhere near as old as the lathe. It appears to have one-piece jaws, so hopefully, you have the set of reverse jaws with it as well. My advice is to live with the Buck chuck unless the jaws are horribly loose in the body of the chuck. Backlash in the scroll is expectable as a chuck is used and wear occurs. I'd chuck a test bar in the 3 jaw chuck and see how bad it really is. I use a piece of heavier diameter drill rod or turned-ground-and polished round stock. I keep a piece of
1 1/4" diameter "Stressproof" (1141 steel, specially forged for minimizing distortion after machining) with centers in each end as a test bar. Nothing fancy. Get something similar and chuck it in the Buck 3 jaw chuck. Put a dial indicator in the toolpost and bring it to bear against the "test bar" by cranking in the cross slide or compound. Start with the indicator as close to the chuck jaws as possible. Mark the starting point (about 9:00 as you face the chuck body and "look into the spindle") on the chuck- Sharpie, soapstone, paint marker- anything to give you a starting point. Lock the carriage to the bed ways. Put the speed selector levers on the headstock "between gears" so the spindle turns freely. Put some preload on the indicator and zero the dial indicator. Roll the spindle thru 360 degrees and see how much runout is present.
Note it, and make a sketch as to where it is at its worst (referencing jaw numbers).

Move the carriage out a few inches from the chuck and repeat the exercise, seeing whether the runout repeats or gets worse.

I would shy from simply traversing the test bar with the indicator in the carriage as you have an old lathe with some bed wear. The indicator may not read as though the bedways are dead parallel to the spindle. And, the lathe is not levelled at this point- not that it is that critical. Simple runout checks at a few locations getting further from the chuck will tell you what you need to know.

Runout that is consistent (or nearly so) along the test bar shows what is expectable in a used 3 jaw chuck. Runout that worsens as the indicator is moved further from the chuck means the chuck jaws are worn and not closing squarely. Sometimes older chucks get "bellmouthed"- where the tips of the jaws are actually wider than the lower portions of the jaws down near the tee slots in the chuck body. I've seen older/worn 3 jaw chucks where I could see a hint of daylight between the jaws and a ground test bar in the neighborhood of the tips of the jaws, while things closed tight and gripped the bar down near the tee slots in the chuck body.

A check of your chuck may tell you a lot, and then we come back to "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know". I.E.- a used chuck off ebay or similar is an unknown, as are the cheap Asian import chucks. If you can regrind the jaws on the Buck chuck, you are ahead of the game. Or, contact Worldwide Chuck Service in Kalamazoo, MI. This is a firm that specializes in lathe chucks- selling new ones, repairing used ones for customers. It is a firm run by people who'd worked for Buck-Forkardt, and they know their business. Not cheap, but able to recondition and repair lathe chucks and restore accuracy.
 

Live24wheel

Plastic
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Awesome! Thank you again for all the information!

I did some digging on this chuck, it appears it is an adjust tru chuck. If I'm reading everything correctly I can use that to take correct for any misalignment in the work piece. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Unfortunately I did not get the reversible jaws and the seller does not have them. I will definitely take your advice and work with this buck chuck. What do I have to lose? I will also start looking for a set of "lost" reversible jaws on ebay, or see if I can get new replacements.
 

JohnEvans

Titanium
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Location
Phoenix,AZ
Ouch! Never mind buying new replacement jaws! Hope I can find a used set.
Just looked at the picture and you do have a "Set True" chuck. A couple of words of advise ,always buy 3 jaw chucks with 2 piece jaws you can mount pie jaws soft jaws etc. then. If you do find a used set of jaws buy a lottery ticket that day also. I have bought from that eBay seller and what I have gotten has decent. YMMV. You in the Phoenix area? If so there are 2 places that might have used jaws. You would need to bring the chuck with the jaws out and the jaws to try to match up.
 

Joe Michaels

Diamond
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Location
Shandaken, NY, USA
Your photos show that you also have a 4 jaw chuck. The 4 jaw chuck's jaws are reversible. The 4 jaw chuck is THE chuck, as the jaws can be adjusted to chuck oddly shaped work, as well as to bring work so it is running true with the spindle. In high school, in junior and senior years, our teachers made sure we rarely, if ever, used the three jaw chucks. We HAD to learn to set up jobs in the 4 jaw chucks, and get the jobs running within about 0.015" or better by eye before the teacher would let us use dial indicators.

I have three jaw and four jaw chucks for my lathes. I will admit the three jaw chuck is handy and quick for some work. But, if I had just one chuck for my lathes, it would be the four jaw chuck. You get greater clamping force on the jaws, particularly when chucking rough work or taking heavy cuts. If you have some off-the-wall job, you can put some of the jaws into a 4 jaw chuck so they are reversed, and run the other jaws in the regular way. I do this sometimes when I have a job on a piece of rectangular plate, or when the geometry of the job requires it.

When I was a young kid working in machine shops during summers and times off from school, the old foreman made some real scornful remarks about people who use three jaw chucks thinking they can run a lathe. He put me on my first job on an engine lathe- I was about 16- and it was a rough casting that had to be setup on a faceplate. That job had bores and outer diameters that all had to be concentric and it was a good sized iron casting with nothing to setup off of initially.

During my years of employment at a powerplant, we had a large air handler blower with a long shaft. This blower continually ate bearings and sometimes broke the shafts. There was always vibration. The shaft had several blower runners on it, and was belt driven. A mechanic would be assigned to make a new shaft, and it would be installed, along with new bearings. In a fairly predictable time, the shaft would fail or the bearings would be destroyed, or both things happened. No one seemed to look any further in the matter. I happened into the plant machine shop one day and saw a mechanic machining a new shaft for this air handler. He had a piece of cold rolled steel shafting chucked in a 3 jaw chuck in the 25" engine lathe and was turning the diameter down for the pulley hub. It was a case of "how many things do you see wrong with this picture". I had a discussion with the mechanic, who was no machinist, and got the usual: "This is how I was told to make the shaft- we alway's make 'em this way..." The supervisor was not up for suggestions either. I went to the department head and said I'd cure the air handler of its problems. I explained that chucking the shaft in a three jaw chuck would not cause the diameter for the pulley to be turned true with the shaft, and the runout would cause vibrations. Add the fact that the mechanics always cut the reduced diameter to a sharp, square shoulder, and add the use of cold rolled steel and failures kept happening. The fact that they milled long keyways into the cold rolled shafting did not help matters as it opened locked-in stresses and the shafts "self relieved" and took off like snakes.

I got asked to take a hand in the matter. It was simple: I ordered in some turned, ground, and polished "Stressproof" steel. This is 1141 grade steel, but is rotary hammer forged to give a refined grain structure so that machining things like keyways will not produce distortion.
It is a much better steel than cold rolled in terms of its chemical composition and physical properties. I then went down to the machine shop and insisted the mechanic assigned to the job set it up in a four jaw chuck and indicate the work so it was running dead true. I also made sure the mechanic used a toolbit with a nice generous radius on the finishing cut to create a fillet where the smaller diameter met the shoulder. This reduced the stress concentration at that point.

The new shaft went in, and things ran smoothly with some remaining vibration. I put this down to balancing of the blower runners, shaft whip as it was a long shaft, and had a multiple vee belt drive. I called in an outside shop to do a dynamic balancing in place with the air handler running. This cured the last of the problems.

I used to insist that the mechanics set jobs up in the 4 jaw chucks and indicate them so the diameter being turned had to be concentric with the outer diameter of the stock being used. We used the 3 jaw chucks for rough work like turning pipe for weld bevels, or "salvaging" pipe flanges- chucking them in the lathe with reversed jaws and machining new weld preps on the flanges that were cut off piping.

In retirement, I do all kinds of jobs in my own shop. Sometimes, I get a chunk of pipe which is so out of round from the mill, or a casting or forging that is approximately round. I wind up using the 4 jaw chuck and kind of averaging things to get it centered. For anything like machine parts,I use 4 jaw chucks. If I need things concentric, or have to pick up an existing centerline, I use the 4 jaw chucks.
 

Live24wheel

Plastic
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Hello everyone. So I have been using my lathe and been having a blast with it. Yesterday I finally did about a 20" shaft and used the live center. I have found that I believe my spindle is bent a bit. I haven't measured it but can seek a tiny bit of wobble in both chucks, and enough it was flexing and making the live center wobble. I found a small crack in my buck 3 jaw beside one of the jaws so I figured it was a good time to grab a new one. Before I realized this (last week) I figured id take my chances with a Chinese 10" 3 jaw since I really don't do high precision stuff, link below. Unfortunately I can't cancel the order... I figured I would just get a blank backplate and machine it to account for whatever runout my spindle has. Since I can't cancel my order, is there any reason I cannot machine the backplate that comes with the chuck true? I don't think it will take much but figured I would ask first. Thanks everyone!

Link to the chuck I ordered: 1�" 3-JAW SELF-CENTERING LATHE CHUCK top&bottom jaws w. L�� back adapt | CME Tools
 

JohnEvans

Titanium
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Location
Phoenix,AZ
ALWAYS machine up the back plate to true it to the lathe it is being used on.Then mount the chuck.I always take a truing cut on any chuck that comes into my hands that uses a separate back plate. Won't hurt a thing to pull any chucks you now have with separate back plates and take a skim truing cut off them.
Also highly doubt you have a bent spindle more likely either a burr/dirt on the taper or as I said back plate needs truing.
 

Live24wheel

Plastic
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Awesome! Glad to hear that. Thank you again for the wise words!

ALWAYS machine up the back plate to true it to the lathe it is being used on.Then mount the chuck.I always take a truing cut on any chuck that comes into my hands that uses a separate back plate. Won't hurt a thing to pull any chucks you now have with separate back plates and take a skim truing cut off them.
Also highly doubt you have a bent spindle more likely either a burr/dirt on the taper or as I said back plate needs truing.
 

RV6

Plastic
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
I just picked up a Leblond 13 lathe the serial number is B8844, i was wondering if anybody has any information as to its age etc.
 

Cobranut

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
To put a different or larger chuck on your 15" LeBlond Roundhead Regal, you need to identify the spindle nose taper. You are lucky in that your Roundhead Regal has what is known as a "long taper" spindle nose, rather than the threaded spindle noses which LeBlond used into the 1940's. The Long Taper spindle is an industry standard, and was made in a variety of sizes L-00, L-0, and more. I have a threaded spindle nose on my own Roundhead Regal, so do not know which series of Long Taper spindle nose your lathe has.

There are several ways to approach putting a different of larger chuck onto your lathe's spindle. First off, you need a "hook spanner" wrench to engage the notches in the collar behind the chuck. This is a threaded locking collar which draws the chuck backplate (or lathe faceplate, etc) onto the spindle taper and holds it there. To remove a chuck with this type of spindle nose, you put the lathe in its lowest speed so the gearing offers some resistance. You then engage the spanner in one of the notches in the locking ring and give the handle of the spanner a shot with a lead hammer or dead blow hammer, so the locking ring will be turned counter-clockwise when you look head-on into the spindle.
As soon as the ring starts to turn, the chuck will want to move off the tapered spindle nose. Make sure to place a board on the bedways in the least case. In the ideal case, make a wood cradle that fits the bedways and the radius of the chuck so the chuck can't drop off the spindle and get away.

There is a key on the spindle nose taper, and that key is quite husky. It enters a keyway in the female taper in the chuck backplate (or lathe faceplate).

To put a different chuck on your lathe, there are a few approaches to the matter:

The common factor is identifying the Long Taper number that the spindle is. Then:
-you can shop for a used chuck with a backplate having the correct taper (ebay, Lost Creek, or other sources of used tooling)

-you can buy a new chuck and new backplate with the correct taper. New backplates with the various long tapers are made by the Chinese,
as well as Bison (Polish, and really good, but pricey).

-you can buy a plain-back used chuck that meets your needs and fit a new backplate to it. Backplates are furnished with extra metal on them.
You mount the backplate right on the spindle of your lathe and machine it on the spindle to fit the chuck. The chuck will typically have a
counterbored recess, and you will need to machine a male "spigot" or "register" on the backplate to snugly fit into that counterbore. After
that, holes are spot-drilled thru chuck mounting bolt holes in the chuck body into the backplate. These holes are then drilled and tapped for
the mounting bolts. On some chucks, the holes are tapped blind into the back of the chuck, so you will have to be able to establish the
bolt circle on the backplate and layout ("index") the hole locations and drill them to match the chuck body's tappings.

I cannot over-emphasize the fact that handling chucks and mounting and dismounting them from a lathe spindle - when the chucks get over about
50 lbs- can be tricky. Some people on this 'board have built jib-cranes mounted at their lathes to handle the chucks, having tapped the bodies of the chucks for eyebolts. My biggest chuck for my 13" Roundhead Regal is a 4 jaw Oneida/Westcott chuck that is just over 10" diameter. I never weighed it, but it is likely around 40 lbs. I made a cradle block to support this chuck when mounting or dismounting it. The cradle block was band-sawed out of a chunk of rough hardwood, nothing fancy. It is notched to match the ways of the lathe, so can't slide around or rock. It is radius'd to about what the chuck body is, and sits maybe 1/8" lower than the chuck body. The cradle block will save your fingers, and a jib or some other kind of hoist will save your back. Even an eye or lug mounted on the framing of the building above the lathe (like spanning a couple of ceiling joists with a doubled 2 x 10, laid flat, and lagged into the joists) will let you hang a light chainfall or even a set of rope blocks (the old "block and tackle", or rope fall). You only get one body, and if you work alone and a chuck gets away from you, you can get hurt and wind up in the ER just that quick. A little work "up front" in making a cradle block or hanging some rigging to hoist the heavier chucks up and down from the lathe is cheap insurance.

Here is my solution to handling heavy chucks. Works like a charm.
I mounted a piece of aluminum channel that runs diagonally over my lathe and mill. Makes handling chucks, rotary tables, etc. much easier, as well as in the event I need to get a heavy workpiece on the mill.

My back ain't what it used to be, and the thought of dropping a 70 lb chuck on my foot isn't pleasant either. LOL 2021-08-08 11.52.56.jpg
 

Thused

Plastic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Thanks for the great info Joe Michaels!

Spent some time cleaning the lathe up today. I also took the chuck off, luckily it came off very easily. The 3 jaw is a Buck, and the 4 jaw is a Cushman. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw the price of a new Buck. So I would like to get about a 10" chuck, do I need to really pony up, wait and look for a used chuck, or would I be okay with something like this? 1" 3-JAW SELF-CENTERING LATHE CHUCK top&bottom jaws w. L back adapter plate | eBay







Nice lathe! I have one too. Sadly mine is missing the gear cover. I can have it cast out of iron here if I can make a mould of it. Would you be willing to wrap that part in plastic and make a spray urethane mould? Thanks,
Greg
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Live, welcome to PM.

You might take/choose a photo of your lathe and put that photo on as your avatar to replace the L

QT Joe Michaels: I personally prefer HSS tool bits as it is what I came up with as a kid when I started in the shops. I like HSS tool bits as I can grind and regrind them many times over.

Agree, for one-ups and few-ups you can't beat HSS>

OH! good to add your location, That may come in handy in the future.

I think it is a good idea to practice being quick to go to between centers I used to run clinker machines to near-zero with doing that.. The quick way is to throw a center in the/any chuck and skim it at 60* , and use your chuck jaw as the dog driver.
Buck

Oh, your chuck lift device would be better if it lifted the chuck upward, instead of to the side ways.
 
Last edited:

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Another handy device is to find a collet holder with a 1" or 1 1/4" (what ever) shank .
Scribe a lineup line on one chuck jaw. line up line a 1 1/2"(what ever) bar stock and bore it to close fit the collet holder OD. This device will often run better than .002 with almost no wobble.
 

ramsay1

Stainless
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Location
port allen, louisiana usa
Your photos show that you also have a 4 jaw chuck. The 4 jaw chuck's jaws are reversible. The 4 jaw chuck is THE chuck, as the jaws can be adjusted to chuck oddly shaped work, as well as to bring work so it is running true with the spindle. In high school, in junior and senior years, our teachers made sure we rarely, if ever, used the three jaw chucks. We HAD to learn to set up jobs in the 4 jaw chucks, and get the jobs running within about 0.015" or better by eye before the teacher would let us use dial indicators.

I have three jaw and four jaw chucks for my lathes. I will admit the three jaw chuck is handy and quick for some work. But, if I had just one chuck for my lathes, it would be the four jaw chuck. You get greater clamping force on the jaws, particularly when chucking rough work or taking heavy cuts. If you have some off-the-wall job, you can put some of the jaws into a 4 jaw chuck so they are reversed, and run the other jaws in the regular way. I do this sometimes when I have a job on a piece of rectangular plate, or when the geometry of the job requires it.

When I was a young kid working in machine shops during summers and times off from school, the old foreman made some real scornful remarks about people who use three jaw chucks thinking they can run a lathe. He put me on my first job on an engine lathe- I was about 16- and it was a rough casting that had to be setup on a faceplate. That job had bores and outer diameters that all had to be concentric and it was a good sized iron casting with nothing to setup off of initially.

During my years of employment at a powerplant, we had a large air handler blower with a long shaft. This blower continually ate bearings and sometimes broke the shafts. There was always vibration. The shaft had several blower runners on it, and was belt driven. A mechanic would be assigned to make a new shaft, and it would be installed, along with new bearings. In a fairly predictable time, the shaft would fail or the bearings would be destroyed, or both things happened. No one seemed to look any further in the matter. I happened into the plant machine shop one day and saw a mechanic machining a new shaft for this air handler. He had a piece of cold rolled steel shafting chucked in a 3 jaw chuck in the 25" engine lathe and was turning the diameter down for the pulley hub. It was a case of "how many things do you see wrong with this picture". I had a discussion with the mechanic, who was no machinist, and got the usual: "This is how I was told to make the shaft- we alway's make 'em this way..." The supervisor was not up for suggestions either. I went to the department head and said I'd cure the air handler of its problems. I explained that chucking the shaft in a three jaw chuck would not cause the diameter for the pulley to be turned true with the shaft, and the runout would cause vibrations. Add the fact that the mechanics always cut the reduced diameter to a sharp, square shoulder, and add the use of cold rolled steel and failures kept happening. The fact that they milled long keyways into the cold rolled shafting did not help matters as it opened locked-in stresses and the shafts "self relieved" and took off like snakes.

I got asked to take a hand in the matter. It was simple: I ordered in some turned, ground, and polished "Stressproof" steel. This is 1141 grade steel, but is rotary hammer forged to give a refined grain structure so that machining things like keyways will not produce distortion.
It is a much better steel than cold rolled in terms of its chemical composition and physical properties. I then went down to the machine shop and insisted the mechanic assigned to the job set it up in a four jaw chuck and indicate the work so it was running dead true. I also made sure the mechanic used a toolbit with a nice generous radius on the finishing cut to create a fillet where the smaller diameter met the shoulder. This reduced the stress concentration at that point.

The new shaft went in, and things ran smoothly with some remaining vibration. I put this down to balancing of the blower runners, shaft whip as it was a long shaft, and had a multiple vee belt drive. I called in an outside shop to do a dynamic balancing in place with the air handler running. This cured the last of the problems.

I used to insist that the mechanics set jobs up in the 4 jaw chucks and indicate them so the diameter being turned had to be concentric with the outer diameter of the stock being used. We used the 3 jaw chucks for rough work like turning pipe for weld bevels, or "salvaging" pipe flanges- chucking them in the lathe with reversed jaws and machining new weld preps on the flanges that were cut off piping.

In retirement, I do all kinds of jobs in my own shop. Sometimes, I get a chunk of pipe which is so out of round from the mill, or a casting or forging that is approximately round. I wind up using the 4 jaw chuck and kind of averaging things to get it centered. For anything like machine parts,I use 4 jaw chucks. If I need things concentric, or have to pick up an existing centerline, I use the 4 jaw chucks.
When I got my first lathe around 1974, I told a dear old machinist friend of mine that it only came with a four jaw chuck... He replied: "If you can only have one chuck,, the four jaw is the one to have"... Cheers from Louisiana Ramsay 1:)
 








 
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