Acquired my first lathe. Leblond 15" - Page 6
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  1. #101
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    This is the paint that I am thinking about using. It is very durable and high gloss to boot.

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    $35 a quart

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    You're making great progress, Jamie but (tongue firmly planted in my cheek) I did wonder why you're spending time cleaning-up the lathe instead of learning how to use it!! Of course the answer is to find out exactly what machine you have and its condition. At this stage, I suggest you use the lathe as it is and learn as much as you can from it about machining. I am particularly impressed with your correspondence with Joe Michaels; damn it man, he needs to be living next door to you so you can get personal attention and all the benefits that come from someone who was properly trained in his trade. Fellahs like Joe are worth their weight in gold; oh and 66 isn't old!! Re the cross-slide feed screw and nut which is 5/8 x 8 tpi left hand Acme, if its badly worn then at this early stage of your learning experience, just mount a dial gauge behind the compound slide and use the gauge to adjust depth of cut. You've done well with your books; I rely on Machinery's Handbook (20th edition, 1975) because it covers just about everything after WW2. I look forward to reports of further progress. Tony

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    Thanks Tony, Believe Me! Not using this lathe right now is just about killing me. But as you saw, I was not able to move the lathe into my basement completely assembled. So while I have it apart I am going to do a quick clean and lubricate to most of the parts. Figure I'll try for a quick coat of paint while I'm at it.
    This machine is in great mechanical condition by my assessment. However the previous owner ran a boat building shop / Volvo Garage out of his immense home shop. That said he passed away about 10 years ago now and there are other family and friends who are still using the shop for various uses. The shop was unheated and the lathe was covered with years worth of swarth, oil, dust, paint over spray and a little surface rust. I have done restorations on various antique and vintage, wood working machines, automobiles, tractors, even an airplane. Not always belonging to me. I don't want this to turn into an extensive project, that drags on forever. I am picking up each part, degreasing it. Maybe give it a pass over the wire wheel, for the shiny bits, check it for damage or excessive wear and reassemble it.

    I have been very busy over the last few months, with work at the Shipyard and will be busy through the first of the year with delivering the newest Destroyer to the Navy. After that we are in the throws of a New England winter and I should have some time to play with the lathe properly. I hope to have it Cleaned up and reassembled by December 1st.

    You are so right about Joe Michaels and guys cut from that same cloth. If I hadn't joined the Navy fresh out of high school, I had intended to go to college to become a mechanical engineer. I would love to find a guy like Joe in my own area, but since I haven't, I would seriously consider driving down to New York renting a Motel room for a week and spending some time Soaking up every bit of knowledge and wisdom I could handle if he were so inclined to have me.

    In 2017, I intend to locate a Vintage, American made, Mid size mill to add to my stable. I don't think I have the ability or the space to get a Bridgeport down there, but I would like to find something that would be usable. Any recommendations for a mid size mill that would fit the bill would be much appreciated, as it will help me narrow my search in a very broad area.

    I hope that I don't overload this thread with too many postings or pictures, but I am having fun and learning a lot along the way. I do have a Machinery's 29th Edition, but I think I will pick up an older version off eBay to give me some of the stuff that has been weeded out over time as modern machines have taken over industry.

    I just ordered a couple of back issues of projects in metal magazine off eBay. One of which from the first year has an article on making your own collet closer Chuck. Which I think would be a welcome addition.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamiethesquid View Post
    I would love to find a guy like Joe in my own area, but since I haven't, I would seriously consider driving down to New York renting a Motel room for a week and spending some time Soaking up every bit of knowledge and wisdom I could handle if he were so inclined to have me.
    I'm in a very similar 'place' where, although I've successfully worked on all sorts of mechanical and electronic devices, I don't have anyone to 'study under' to really soak up the 'hows and whys' of skilled precision machine work that you can only learn by doing, guided by an experienced master of the skills. I would jump at the chance to spend a big chunk of time to be tutored by someone like Joe. So you have a potential 'fellow clasmate' and splitter of costs (like a hotel, etc). I'd have to coordinate it with my job and with the fact that I need to be present to assist my elderly parents with winter conditions once we get into serious winter [if I planned carefully I could probably get some other folks to pinch hit for me while away].

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    Jamie:

    You are doing the restoration on your LeBlond that many of us have thought about. It will be a classic machine tool and really photogenic when you are done.
    Problem- at least in my own experience- with having a nice glossy enamel paint job on a machine tool like a lathe is the hot chips, oil, and oily hands tend to quickly take the "new" off the paint work. I am guilty as hell of this. My own LeBlond came to me with a good repaint job done by the previous owner. He had apparently stripped the lathe and done a careful repaint with off-white enamel. This was a lathe that had been in a shop which made filters for the pharmaceutical industry, and then in the hands of a car restorer/mechanic who had a hoard of machine tools you could not walk through. Once I started really using my LeBlond roundhead lathe, the pain started to wear here and there. I wipe the lathe down to get rid of the blackish handprints, but turning heavier jobs with hogging cuts does make heavy and hot chips. I keep a paintbrush with shortened bristles at hand as a chip brush to clear chips off the bedways, carriage wings, and cross slide. I wipe the lathe down, but the paint is showing signs of use. I tend to say: "machine tools are meant to be used, not pickled".
    Hopefully, the enamel paint you have chosen will be a much more durable product than what the previous owner painted my lathe with.

    As for a milling machine, there are a couple of options out there. One is to look for a Bridgeport with the smaller table if you have the headroom but not the floor space. Another is to look for an older "round ram" Bridgeport. I believe these machines are not so tall as the "J" head machines. A Bridgeport, like most any other machine tool, can be completely dismantled. The mainframe, minus the turret, ram, knee, and head, is something that can be moved and handled down stairs (speaking from experience with a friend's Bridgeport). We got that machine apart outside his house in winter weather. We then took the pieces into his basement via a set of steps in an old outside basement entry, then down some wooden steps, down a very narrow stone corridor, and into his shop room. Headroom was so limited that he drilled through two adjacent joists and slid a bar in to hang a chain comealong. He used this means to set the knee, table, turret and ram. I fabricated a jacking fixture for the head which bolts to the table- saw it on a website from a Bridgeport parts dealer. We had the table as low as it could go, and we picked the head off a hand truck with the comealong. We then landed the head on the "spud" sticking up on the jacking fixture and locked it there with a 1" collet. With the head plumbed and solidly tied to the table, we then raise the knee until the head met the fitup to the end of the ram.
    The headroom in my friend's basement shop is so low that the motor on the 2J head sticks up between the joists.

    Before ruling out the ubiquitous Bridgeport, measure carefully. Some Bridgeports were ordered with shorter tables, used for manual profiling work in tool and die shops. I suggest the Bridgeport simply because they are as common as dirt and parts and tooling are all over the place for reasonable prices.

    Another suggestion is a small van Norman mill. These are wonderful machine tools, combining vertical and horizontal mills in one machine tool. The only downside is they have fixed quills, so drilling means raising the knee. I've used van Norman mills in various shops and always regret passing up an opportunity to bring one home. Not sure of the models, but the smaller sized ones are quite husky and capable machine tools. A lot more rigidity than a Bridgeport, and a lot more versatile in terms of having the horizontal and vertical capability as a "real" horizontal mill, not like a Bridgeport with a right-angle head.

    Some people would fit a Bridgeport head onto a van Norman milling machine or other horizontal mill. This was a common modification, and when a shop had little or no need of a smaller horizontal mill, they converted it into a vertical mill. The older horizontal milling machines were a good deal more massive than the basic Bridgeport, so this usually made a very good conversion. It offered the option of going back to a horizontal mill if needed. Jobs like milling a spline or cutting an occasional gear, or running a heavy slab mill cutter, or a face mill on the horizontal spindle were still possible. Every so often, a job where both the vertical and horizontal spindles were needed would come along, and it was handy to have a machine where you did not have to break the setup.

    If you want a basic knee type vertical mill that is similar to a Bridgeport but not quite so big, Southbend had offered one, built in England, in 50's and 60's. Nice machine tools, not sure of the taper in the spindle. Another recommendation would be to hunt up a Clausing or Rockwell vertical mill. These are knee-type vertical mills, and sit upon low pedestal type bases. The Rockwell mill is a bit lighter duty, while the Clausing has (if I recall correctly), a dovetailed ram.
    Both of these mills could be ordered with R-8 spindle tapers (if not standard).

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  8. #107
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    I do realize that the paint job may be a fool's errand, but I have not let that stop me on so many other projects. What really started this is the Grandson of the Deceased owner, Decided to Paint a power boat in the garage and not cover the Lathe. Luckily there was such a patina of grime on the lathe the over spray has come off pretty easily.

    This particular paint was introduced to me by a mechanic friend that specialized in auto restoration. At the time I was restoring a 68' Datsun 2000 roadster. I was in the habit of using POR 15 for a chassis paint and he told me this stuff was hands down a better product. There is a Hardener that can be mixed in, however not required, that significantly increases the durability of the paint and increases the gloss. Once I tried that technique, I have always added the hardener.

    I actually bought the paint to use on my pick up truck frame. Though I probably won't get to it this season. As I had said this stuff is about $35 a quart and the Hardener is another $18 or so. It goes a long way and when applied with a brush really levels out and makes a nice finish.

    I am sure that over time the finish will take some abuse. I am pretty diligent about keeping my tools cleaned, oiled and protected. If I want or need to touch it up down the road it will be easy to do. I have seen some pictures over the years of lathes and mills painted black and I like the contrast to the shiny bits. Plus it is the color I have on hand.

    Being that I work for the Navy as a Sonar/Anti Submarine Warfare type. I have spent a lot of time learning about vibration dampening / sound isolation and such. This leads me to my next thought. When working on autos and other machines, we have spent the time to coat the back sides of body panels, floor boards, motor mounts and the like with a rubber coating. I just so happen to have an unopened gallon of Herculiner, truck bed liner. After priming the legs and painting the outside of the casting. I will brush on a couple coats of bed liner to the rougher insides of the castings. I also intend to apply the bed liner to the inside of the belt guards. The underside of the motor mount, and possibly the hollow undersides of the bed casting. This stuff is impervious to all solvents, gasoline, and abuse that I have ever thrown at it. Adding this dampening, in my experience should deaden vibration, noise and harmonics, making the lathe quieter and possibly reducing some chatter. This will only be applied to the back sides and undersides of certain parts and should not be readily noticeable. It will also conserve some of the expensive paint.

    I have been thinking that a Bridgeport would probably be the way I will go.

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    Cleaned up the Belt Guards today. They were very grimey I scraped off the loose stuff with a putty knife. Took them outside in the 40 deg afternoon. Sprayed them with the Easy Off. Waited 5 minutes while sipping a beer. Went over the surface with a plastic bristle brush and rinsed. This stuff is fantastic. I repeated twice on each side and I am done. [IMG]

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    More cleaning today.

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    So the weather has been against me lately, winter is coming quick and I have had some family obligations. But I have been pressing onward. Cleaning, soaking, scrubbing.

    Tonight I think I will take the saddle outside if it is not raining and give it a good scrub. Also or instead I might clean up the apron. I have some kerosene and I will probably put it in a squeeze bottle and take a toothbrush to rinse away the majority of the grime. I am not sure that I want to disassemble the gear box. That may be a big risk. I would however like to remove the handwheel and operating levers though if they don't budge easily. I will polish them up in place.

    I bought a gallon can of carburator and parts cleaner and I am cycling the hardware and small parts through there for a soak. I may give some parts a wash in my 9 liter Heated Ultrasonic.

    On a different topic I would like to add a drip/chip pan to the lathe to reduce the mess in my basement. I am ready if needed to construct one from sheet steel or aluminum but I am looking around to find a store bought pan that might fill the bill. I don't want to attach it to the lathe permanently, I think I will build a cart with locking casters to go under the lathe. The pan will be hinged on the narrow end to assist in dumping the chips. I will use a short section of aluminum gutter to act as catch pan. That way I can elevate the pan dump the chips into the gutter and bring the gutter to the swarf bucket and dump it. In the bottom of the cart there will be a box to hold the 3 and 4 jaw Chuck, collet closer, steady and follow rests and faceplates. I will put in a couple desicant canisters and keep the stuff oiled and this should keep them safe. Also since the top will lift up or off. I will be able to use a overhead hoist or chain fall to handle the heavy chucks for install and removal.

    I recently purchased 26 issues of Projects in Metal magazine and I have been tearing through them, making notes as to which projects I want to build down the road. Lots of great Ideas for tooling.

    Due to the weather I have not been able to paint, but I am building a high volume exhaust fan so I may be able to do some painting in the basement, alternately I will put a non combustible heat source in my shed and paint out there.

    I am anxious as all get out to get this lathe back together and running. Stay tuned.

    As always all feedback is very welcome.

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    Another thought. I am still very concerned about removing the 3 jaw Chuck. I was not able to provide sufficient motivation to get it off when the lathe was assembled, so it is still attached to the headstock making it that much heavier to handle. Mr Pete aka Tubalcain on YouTube shows a method of locking the spindle with a threaded shaft put through the spindle with bushings on each end and a right hand threaded nut on the Chuck end and a left hand threaded nut on the outboard end. That way a large wrench can be braced against a stop and hold the spindle while turning the chuck off. I would love to remove and clean the chuck before assembly but I don't have the means to create that particular shaft. I may try other methods first.

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    Primed the headstock leg and sanded the tailstock leg for body filler.

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    Using my go to rustoleum automotive etching primer. Honestly the best I have ever used. It has yet to fail me in any application. After a few days of curing it is hard as nails and sands superbly

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    Not a wheel lot of chatter on this topic. The snow is coming. I may not get to paint any more than the legs for now. In which case I will clean and reassemble the lathe as it is and start making some parts. What say you.

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    Yeah, we got the same forecast for snow here in the Catskills. Yesterday, I made the annual "spud run". I go to the farm where I had done engineering for their potato vodka distillery, and pick up my winter potato order. I get 10 bushels of winter keeping potatoes, which is about 500-600 lbs. I've been getting my winter potatoes from this same farm for over 20 years, so when they needed an engineer to design parts of their distillery, I was called. I give my friends and neighbors sacks of spuds to help carry them through winter. I put 100 lbs of spuds in our cold room, and this signifies that we are hunkering down for winter.

    At the distillery yesterday, they were running full bore. I saw parts I'd made on my own LeBlond Roundhead lathe in use there. The vodka (1857 Spirits) is apparently selling well, clear down to NYC. I made a number of parts for the distillery using the Roundhead lathe, and some required machining through welded joints and taking some heavy hogging cuts. Other parts were machined from austenitic stainless steel (316), and got a high polish as they are parts of the charcoal filtration columns.

    Once you start using your Roundhead Regal Lathe, I suspect you will wonder how you lived without it, and you will not be able to "take it out of service" for the rest of the paint job as it will be a busy machine tool. I won't deny that I enjoy running my own Roundhead Regal lathe. I've been around countless lathes over the past 50 years of my life, but having my own "Baby LeBlond" is still special, The other day, I had an interesting little job. It was to take about 0.250" off the ends of the mounting bushings on some Koni shock absorbers for a railroad passenger coach. These are essentially larger version of basic Koni shock absorbers as used on cars or trucks. The original shocks had mushed out, and had a 3/4" diameter mounting bolt, and the bushings in each eye-end were 0.250" narrower on each side. The bushings which had to be made narrower were vulcanized or similarly bonded into (probably) urethane, which was then vulcanized to the actual steel eye (a piece of tubing).

    The trick was how to hold those shock absorbers to that the bushing could be milled down lengthwise. Holding by the actual eye end was out, since the load of machining would be transferred through the urethane. I made what is known as a "split arbor" using my roundhead Regal lathe. The split arbor was turned from a piece of 1 5/8" diameter A-36 hot rolled bar. I machined a shank to a good close fit in the bores of the shock bushings. I then drilled into it and then taper-bored the hole at 20 degrees included angle. Just a gut hunch as to what kind of taper would work. I drilled and tapped the tapered hole 3/8-16 UNC at the base of the female taper. I then made a mating male cone out of A-36 hot rolled. I drilled holes at 90 degrees radially, and slit the arbor from the mouth of the female taper to the holes.

    The arbor needed a mounting, so I drilled and reamed a 3/4" hole in a piece of 1/2" plate. I stuck the arbor (shoulder at the bottom turned to a good drive fit) into the hole, and fillet welded it. When it cooled, I chucked the arbor in the LeBlond lathe, put a center in the shouldered end (in that 3/4" reamed hole), and proceeded to face off the plate. This insured the plate was square to the arbor. The lathe had no problem with facing off a piece of 1/2" A-36 plate and some weld with it (I had chamfered the 3/4" hole and the 3/4" boss on the arbor, and run a good hot weld in with E 6010). The lathe put a fine surface finish on with good flatness using just a HSS toolbit.

    The fixture worked well for holding the ends of the shock absorbers on my Bridgeport. The expanding arbor was made about 1/8" shorter than the finished end-to-end dimension on the shock bushings, and the male expanding cone was machined about 1/8" smaller in diameter than the diameter of the expanding arbor. This allowed for run-off of the end mill.

    I then had to make (8) bushings for the shocks, since the original mounting bolts are 3/4" and the new shocks have 1" bore. I had a piece of 416 stainless (Martensitic) 1 3/8" diameter, a cooling fan shaft from a diesel locomotive which had spun a bearing. I made the bushings quickly, using a series of drills to open the hole and then a 3/4" taper shank drill. Hogging off the OD was a piece of cake with the roundhead, taking 0.100" off at a rip with a HSS toolbit. I did invest in a Phase II BXA series toolpost set. It's a Chinese knockoff of an Aloris or Dorian toolpost. So far, I have no complaints about the toolholders, other than the knurl wheels not being concentric with their centerlines. I use a basic cutting oil, probably containing lard and sulphur, and bought by the gallon at the plumbing supply. Cheap at the price and is a time-tested cutting oil. The old lathe does a fine job for me, and while I baby it, knowing it is a light duty geared head lathe, it is more than adequate for what I do in my home shop. Some jobs are for pay, some are done as favors, and some are just jobs that crop up and suggest themselves to me. Stuff for in the house is a regular occurance. Having a wife who appreciates my work and being able to envision, sketch, and make things helps. Using aluminum bronze and turning parts from it and polishing them also helps set off a job like a handle for a door dead bolt lock.

    Once the snow flies, I hope you can "den up" and get some time in using that Roundhead Regal lathe. Not having the paint complete reminds me of a story my buddy Ron tells. He had two uncles back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Both lived on small farms. It was getting into the fall of one year, and uncle Jack noticed the chimney on his farm house was about ready to come down in a good wind. It was an old brick chimney, no flue tile, and was used for the wood burning stove that heated the house. Uncle Jack got on the roof, took down the chimney, and cleaned the bricks of old mortar. He mixed up some mortar and relaid the chimney.

    After the chimney was back in service, his brother Russell came out for some reason or other. Uncle Russell looked at the chimney and remarked the thing had quite a lean to it, and was some sloppy brickwork. Uncle Jack had a perpetual lip full of Copenhagen (aka "Snoose") and always wore bib overalls. As the story goes, Uncle Jack sucked on his cud of snoose and hooked his thumbs in the suspenders (braces) of his overalls. Uncle Russell kept ragging Uncle Jack about the crooked chimney and sloppy job he'd done. Uncle Jack finally spit a little tobacco juice and made the famous remark: "Russell: I'm a farmer, not a bricklayer.... besides, the chimney draws good and the smoke comes out the top, so who gives a ------ whether it is plumb or not ?"

    Admittedly, a nicely refinished lathe is a sight to behold in a person's shop, but if time and weather conspire against it, the lathe will work just as well without the restoration. It may be a visual affront, as Uncle Jack's crooked chimney was to Uncle Russ, but it will still work just as well. Making chips while the snow flies and the wind howls outside is always a good thing.

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    Thanks for the wonderful reply Joe. I am going to keep pushing until mother nature closes the window. I would really like to get the lathe cleaned up and reassembled by Christmas. I look forward to learning a lot on this lathe and turning a ton of good metal into chips over the long Northeast Winter.

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    Jamie -

    I won't be as eloquent as my fellow engineer Joe, but echo his comments. Some of my old machines I have done the cosmetic bit on when I refurbished (not rebuild). As long as all the lubrication is taken care of and they function properly, they were meant to use - unless you're running a museum. So I think it is pretty much a personal choice - sometimes I like fixing them up pretty, but I always enjoying putting them to work. My only trouble is too many projects.

    And I'm guessing the snow we started getting last evening (and is still spitting a bit) that moved on to Joe a couple hours after me is probably knocking on your door now.

    Dale

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    Yes sir it is, we had a coating of wet stuff on the ground this morning and it has been spitting on and off all day.

    I fully agree. If I hadn't had to disassemble the lathe completely, to rig it down my basement stairs it wouldn't have even been a consideration. Regardless I wanted to clean and inspect the lathe to the extent possible. I figured that while I was at it I would put a new paint job on it. I have been wanting a classic old lathe like this for a bunch of years and now that I have one, I am looking to preserve it for many years to come.


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