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Service Manual for Octogenarian W&S 3-A, 4-A

30yearoldjunk

New member
I'm about to get my 3-A and 4-A powered up.
I've been told these were built in 1934. There are a couple of manuals on eBay, printed in 1940~1941, will these be good for my machines?
Or am I overthinking this, just pour oil in the headstock, oil and grease everything else that looks like it needs it, and start making parts?
I usually get a manual for anything I'm fooling with.
I have a little machine shop experience, though not enough to have any confidence in this.
Thank y'all, and Happy New Year!
 

Aejgx6

New member
There is a general flyer on vintagemachinery.org
Mostly make sure she has some oil, and the motor is spinning the right way. Then have some fun. They are pretty self explanatory. Kinda a big toy. Whatcha planning on doing with it?
 

30yearoldjunk

New member
Thank you Aejgx6! Those on vintagemachinery.org will help tremendously, and with no chance of buyers remorse.
Right now, I have some 31' drillpipe to shorten to 20'. Maybe bore the cylinders on a Minneapolis-Moline irrigation engine. I hope to learn how to thread cable tool drilling tool joints, rotary connections, etc.
I just see me doing repairs on stuff we can't buy, or afford to buy. I have no desire to stand in front of it cranking out long runs of parts. I have a hard time getting the local machine shops to do much, in a reasonably timely manner.
 

johnoder

Moderator
1934 machines will have threaded spindle noses - the standardized A type was off somewhere in the future.

Have the '34 1A, 2A and 3A brochure - 40 odd pages

I'll suppose you could say they are pre carbide - top speed on 3A is 367

No threading capabilities mentioned
 

30yearoldjunk

New member
Thank you johnoder! The 4A has a taper attachment, and the previous owners (all deceased) were threading 8V pipe threads. The 4A doesn't have a threading gearbox though. Wish me luck figuring that out. I'm pretty sure these lathes were updated prior to showing up here in ~1950, as both have v-belt drives instead of flat belt drives. The 4A still has the "Hamilton Huster Machinery" tag on it.
 

Aejgx6

New member
I have been tempted to go look at it. I think the price was cheaper a few months ago. I dont think I have enough juice to spin it up though.
 

johnoder

Moderator
Scanned the M-550 3A spec page for you - from the 1934 Brochure

It can be emailed as a more resolution file if you want to share that address via private message

When PMing, do put something in the subject line to give me a clue what is wanted:D
 

Attachments

  • 3A Spec Sheet 1934.jpg
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30yearoldjunk

New member
Aejgx6, ~$200/ton, it oughta be worth that.
The gentleman that helped me move mine has lots of experience dealing with Asian manufacturing interests. He said 30 years ago everyone junked the old U.S. machines for newer technology Chinese lathes. Now that Asian stuff is worn smooth out, and they are looking for ancient American iron, because they know a 60 year old U.S. machine will still be productive 60 years from now. He thinks these old machines will continue to appreciate. He thinks I have a retirement savings account in my shop.
This gentleman has been very successful, so I have to believe he's right on this.
In the meantime I can piddle with it, and it'll earn its keep.
 

Aejgx6

New member
I wish you to be right but I suspect I will be the last owner of my pile. The value of yours will follow the price of oil. The bigger girls can always be put to work fixing down hole stuff. I watched an auction last yr where a 5a with a big throat (11"?) Brought >$40k. At the time I had space for it and I intended to buy it.l I was hoping to be the lone bidder and take it for the cost of rigging. It just reminded me my notions rarly align with reality..
 

30yearoldjunk

New member
I figure my heirs will get scrap price for all this. I spent 40 years on a West Texas cotton farm, my community tends to be irrationally optimistic.
 

johnoder

Moderator
You are welcome. If someone comes up with an elderly 5A, that brochure (dated September 1929) can be scanned

22,000 Lbs of iron
 

30yearoldjunk

New member
Mr. John, I've been fooling with the 4A, it has the Leader and Follower attachment for threading, the L & F both read "Will Cut 2-8 TPI." I hope to find a set that'll cut 7 T.P.I., as most cable tool joints are that pitch. The 2-8 is beat up, maybe I should replace those also.
The 3A has a gear box for threading, it says it'll cut 8, 10, 11-1/2, 12.
I'm having trouble figuring out how to turn the cross slide square turrets, and the taper attachment on the 4A will take some study.
 

johnoder

Moderator
I'm having trouble figuring out how to turn the cross slide square turrets, and the taper attachment on the 4A will take some study.

Probably not exactly like the later superb McCrosky, but in general - bump the handle to loosen, this allows square post to rotate to next (or one desired) detent, at which time you sock the handle tight again - all in the blink of an eye

If these sat around forever I can imagine they are STUCK and need some encouragement with a dead blow

I see this one must be made out of gold or something:D

McCrosky Square Tool Post (Inv.39872) | eBay

Made at least to 8" square, which is one serious tool post

As to Threading and front mounted T/A, there are photos and discussion at about page 30 - 31 in the scan I emailed you. To do 7 TPI, I'll guess the leader will say "does 1 3/4 and 7"
 

30yearoldjunk

New member
John, that manual you graciously sent me is a great resource.
I hope that McCrosky is worth that! If so I can update my balance sheet.
I'm probably about to take the square turret apart. It feels stuck.
I'm missing the Taper Attachment Control Rod, shown on page 30. Perhaps I can fabricate something if I don't find the original.
A big surprise (I'm plastic after all) found in a W&S reprint I bought on eBay, there's a chart for the 1A and 2A, "Angles that can be cut by combining Cross Feeds and Hexagon Turret Longitudinal Feeds..." Maybe I can find such for the 3A and 4A.
 

4GSR

Active member
Can't help you much on threading other than, those threading boxes were set up to do most of your oilfield threading except for 7 t.p.i.. Most of the down hole completion tools I deal with have all sorts of 8, 10, 12 pitch threads used on the parts where they were made on turret lathes way back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. After that, they are all made on CNC today, same parts, too.

The taper bar on the 4A's came in two different versions, "short bar" and " long bar". The long bar would do tapers up to around 1-1/2" TPF and the short bar would do tapers up to around 4" TPF. I don't remember the tapers on the cable tool threads, but for most rotary shouldered connections, you need to cut 3" TPF. Of course, your threading box could cut 4 and 5 t.p.i., too.

I'm no expert to these old machines, just know a few things about them from exposer to them over the years.

Ken
 








 
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