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Springfield lathe opinions

KTMer

Plastic
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Have always wanted a lathe and plan to put one in the shop I'm currently building
My dream is a LeBlond Regal 15 x 36 with variable speed but I'm open to other options
My plan was to find a reasonably priced lathe in good condition with a lot of tooling once my shop was built
Money is not a huge factor
A guy in town has this old Springfield lathe which has been rusting away and which he would probably give me for free
Is this a good lathe that is worth the effort of restoring or should I wait and keep looking?
 

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dalmatiangirl61

Diamond
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
BFE Nevada/San Marcos Tx
I have only owned 1 Springfield, newer than this one, but it was a good lathe, regret selling it. If you can get that lathe for free, that is a great price! I think the only downside would be they were not terribly common, so if it needs parts they may be difficult to find used, but you can always make them if you have access to another lathe and/or mill. Take care moving it, looks awful top heavy with that overhead drive.
 

bentwrench

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Location
North Dakota
I used a 1950's Springfield 280 for while. Very competent machine, I have seen only one other Springfield in person since. They are exceptionally well built and quite nice to run. The later series had some neat ergonomics on the controls, the spindle gear selector and even the tailstock handwheel were turned in towards the center so operator had all the major controls surrounding him.

Parts simply do not exist for any of the Springfield machines. While they were excellent lathes they are not very common anymore. You will have to fabricate anything you need to replace for a machine like you posted. That machine is an earlier machine maybe from the 1930's and dose not appear to have been stored well. I would avoid it unless it is dirt cheap and you are looking for an interesting project.
 

99Panhard

Stainless
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Location
Smithfield, Rhode Island
It doesn't look all that bad to me, certainly better than the Sidney I run every day (when it came into the shop). It was a lot of work to get it up and running but if you are new to this and not trying to meet a deadline, nothing will better prepare you for using the lathe than understanding how everything on it works. It's probably a much better machine than a Leblond Regal.
Do a search on "Doc's Machine" thread "Saving a Springfield". Doc's work is top notch and I'm not presuming many of us could match it but it will give you a good idea of the quality of the machine. As far as "parts" are concerned...(quoting John Oder) "we're machinists...we make parts." You are not going to find a ready supply of parts for any early lathe, except perhaps a South Bend and those parts will almost certainly be taken from a machine that was scrapped because it was worn out.
 

johnoder

Diamond
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Location
Houston, TX USA
A bird in hand is always way better than two in the brush -assuming similar usefulness. Its a "cone head" which is antique as you can get. There will be ZERO spares - except on a duplicate donor - which means you get to MAKE any parts needed. Only one I ran was a a 32" swing all metric and it was capable as all get out, but was way "newer" than your handy candidate.

Here are a few pubs but all later than your "cone" head


have fun
 
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M.B. Naegle

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Location
Conroe, TX USA
IMO It's worth saving. If it's the right lathe for you really just depends on if it will do the work you need, and if you can live without it running long enough to go through it, clean, de-rust, minor repairs, etc. Any used lathe will have a little down time at the beginning. How much of a project you get is up to you, but these are nice lathes IMO. Looks like it's already paired with a nice overhead gearbox or reeves-drive set-up, which kinda negates any drawbacks to it being a cone head. Old cone head lathes often tend to take up less room than a more modern gear head lathe of same capacity, while not sacrificing rigidity. The most common drawback of a lathe this old is they have a low top-end speed. If you don't plan of turning really high finish hardened steels, you can work around it.
 

KTMer

Plastic
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
A bird in hand is always way better than two in the brush -assuming similar usefulness. Its a "cone head" which is antique as you can get. There will be ZERO spares - except on a duplicate donor - which means you get to MAKE any parts needed. Only one I ran was a a 32" swing all metric and it was capable as all get out, but was way "newer" than your handy candidate.

Here are a few pubs but all later than your "cone" head


have fun
Thank you John
 








 
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