Fitchburg Lathe and Becker Horizontal Mill
Close
Login to Your Account
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    McCook, NE
    Posts
    54
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    24

    Default Fitchburg Lathe and Becker Horizontal Mill

    lathe-resized.jpgmill-resized.jpg
    I recently 'fell' into a deal for a lathe and milling machine. I found these machines on Craigslist about 70 miles from my home. I have done a little cleaning and testing on both machines, with the mill working 'right out of the box'. The lathe needs some work, but it will function well enough to build the pieces it needs to be correctly repaired.

    I suspect the mill was built around 1900 or so. I searched the net and found some pictures of the same mill that a guy restored. Sadly, somewhere along the line someone removed the power feed for the table. I am not terribly interested in restoring this machine to factory original--I just want it to be functional.

    The major components of the lathe are in good shape. Due to an error on my part, I will get to teach myself how to make gears. When doing some preliminary oiling, I noticed that the stud gear was missing for the screw drive feed. I finished oiling things and had the machine freed up after sitting idle for 10 years. It turned over nicely by hand. Foolishly, I powered up the electric motor after engaged the transmission in first gear. I had the back gears engaged and I was pleased at how smooth the lathe ran and that there seemed to be no odd noises or vibrations. The chuck just crawled along and I was pleased. I then noticed that the shaft where the stud gear mounts was not turning. I shut off the motor and while the lathe was coasting to a stop, I started turning that shaft. The lower gear had a couple teeth missing and after a terrible crunch the upper drive gear on the headstock now has about 5 teeth destroyed.

    Now for a few questions:

    Where are the serial numbers for the lathe and the mill located? I have looked high and low and cannot find them anywhere. I suspect the S/N for the lathe might be under the base for the motor/transmission mount, but I'd like to be sure before I go to the trouble of removing this heavy assembly just to find the number. I thing the mill is supposed to have a brass tag on the boss that houses the overhanging tube. There are two sheared brass rivets on the boss, but no tag exists there now.

    I have been a mechanic/technician professionally for the last 20 years. I have always wanted to learn to operate a lathe, so now I get a chance. The milling machine is an added bonus.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions/help/advice you can offer

  2. Likes cutting oil Mac, Greg Johnson liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,808
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    334
    Likes (Received)
    264

    Default

    I did not expect any serial number on the Fitchburg. But in fact, mine has a Number 454 as pictured below. I have a 22 inch swing with dual tool holder option. I have mine setup and running off the counter shaft. But; for better or worse I also have a later Monarch gear head beside it which I continue to use. No chips to date.

    You might find a new gear that could be modified to work from a catalog such as McMaster.

    You can post larger images if you wish. I would like to see the drive for the mill and others I think would enjoy seeing the cast iron guard which I find attractive.

    I agree, these two machines that are both plenty old enough and remain useful at the same time. I muffed a chance to save one of these mills 5-10 years back and I always regretted not making the (rather significant) effort. I hope that one made it too. A shame about the feed on yours.

    Playing with Google maps, I can show you the factory building, which still stands on Main Street, Fitchburg MA.

    You mentioned learning to run the machines. I took a night school course at a vocational school. (Actually twice) It was very low cost, learned the basics and had a good time. I had a friend sign up with me just for the free use of the machines. He made the arbor for his No5 Greenard press - lathe turn the shaft and cut the flat and teeth on a mill.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fmw_no454_red.jpg   fitchburg_24inch.jpg   hangingcounter_4.jpg   googlemap.jpg  
    Last edited by peter; 05-30-2013 at 06:07 AM.

  4. Likes cutting oil Mac, Greg Johnson liked this post
  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Davidson NC USA
    Posts
    1,457
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    541
    Likes (Received)
    846

    Default

    Go to abebooks.com and find a used copy of "The Amateur's Lathe" written by L.H. Sparey. It is a well-written and useful source for the beginner. Regards, Clark

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Munster, In. USA
    Posts
    2,462
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    517
    Likes (Received)
    794

    Default

    Great looking lathe Peter. Has the steady AND the follow rest. The lineshaft pulleys are a bonus!
    John

  7. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    McCook, NE
    Posts
    54
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    24

    Default a few more pictures

    mill-resized-531.jpgmill-resized-5312.jpglathe-531.jpg

    Here are a few more pictures of my 'new' toys.

    The day after my original post the seller showed up with some more tooling for the lathe. I now am in possesion of morse taper centers for the head stock and tailstock. I also scored what looks to be a pretty complete set of lathe dogs and a flat faceplate. A few more toolholders also make the trip, including one that I can not figure out, which I will post on a separate thread.

    I also received part of the table feed mechanism for the mill. While this is not the complete set-up needed, there may be enough parts to make something work.

  8. Likes peter, cutting oil Mac liked this post
  9. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    California
    Posts
    5,201
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1141
    Likes (Received)
    1023

    Default

    Looks like a couple nice machines. I kind of agree on the age of the mill, but was thinking like 1890-1900. I know nothing about the age of either machine, just that the ornate cast cover on the rear of the mill reminds me of the cast machinery parts, which had that forged look. After the 1900s there was less of that, and in around 1908 machines started to be created with motors, opposed to line shafts. Those are two very nice examples of machinery of that era. Congrats!

    I think it funny to see a machine with an exposed belt, yet a cast cover right next to it. That motor looks interesting, is that a Louis Allis ? Is that a grease cup near the arbor?

    Cheers,
    Alan

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,808
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    334
    Likes (Received)
    264

    Default

    If you got more than half, it should be easier to repair the mill feed right back to original gearing on the drive than to re-invent a new solution. These are a simple mechanism. You may need a worm gear, shaft & bearing or something. It should really be easier for you and better all around.

    The one I saw years ago had a coolant pump. Do you have one? It might tend to date the machine. Just curious. The one I saw was also missing the ( tail piece or ) arbor end support. You got all that - nice. Then that one did have the feed. So; that's how it goes. It is almost always something with these ancient machines.

    I think it funny to see a machine with an exposed belt, yet a cast cover right next to it
    Indeed. I like the 'look' of the iron guard. I assume they are protecting the spindle bull gear and not worried about the operator. The guard will rotate up/dn with the spindle - just like the classic Lincoln style miller.

  11. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    McCook, NE
    Posts
    54
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    24

    Default

    tooling-motor-results-005.jpgtooling-motor-results-006.jpgtooling-motor-results-007.jpg

    I took a few more pictures. The elecric motor on the mill is a 3/4hp Westinghouse. The pictured worm gear is designed to drive a brass gear that will turn the table feed worm screw. The brass gear is AWOL. The remaining picture is the drive hub, which bolts onto the base of the mill. It is meant to be run with a small flat belt. I now have the two pieces that would be pretty hard to make, so maybe the rest of the pieces will turn up, or maybe I will be able to make them.

    The mill is set up for coolant. I forgot to take a picture of the 1/4" pipe coming out of the base reservoir. I see no evidence of a pump mounted to the mill. It will take a LOT of cleaning to get this machine ready for coolant. I think I got 90% of the mouse nests out of the area beneath the table. At least none of the machined parts were rusty.

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,808
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    334
    Likes (Received)
    264

    Default

    I wonder if you might be better off with a small portable coolant unit rather than deal with the mess of a big base tank breeding god know what. One of those small portable units could do double duty over on the lathe when needed. They got a magnetic or clamp base and flexible hose. I forget how the pump was setup on the other machine. I knida remember a big built in pump unit, maybe yours did not come that way or my memory is so bad, who knows?

    I think you are lucking out on the mill table feed.

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Washington
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Hi I picked up a similar Becker mill this spring. I'm in the process of cleaning it up. Unfortunately the took the main drive gears off mine. I was wondering if you still have that machine could we compare notes?

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX USA
    Posts
    30,752
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Deereahuler last visited forum in September 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Hughsllc View Post
    Hi I picked up a similar Becker mill this spring. I'm in the process of cleaning it up. Unfortunately the took the main drive gears off mine. I was wondering if you still have that machine could we compare notes?
    As to redoing final drive ratio, I'd guess 4 1/2 or 5 to 1 on the large gear set, it seems reasonable for these to be large and small spur gears

    In plain view we have maybe a 1200 motor reduced by about 4 to 1, making the countershaft cone turn 300, and if final gear set is 4.5 to 1, you have a middle spindle speed of about 67, with maybe one above and one below that - unless it is back gear equipped like a lathe

    Looking in my 1901 Manning, Maxwell & Moore catalog at the mills, almost none give spindle speeds. The single one I could find topped out at 114.

    You have to realize in those days, almost all cutters were simple carbon tool steel and were never run "fast"

    A place to start is post a tape measure Center Distance from C/L intermediate cone shaft and C/L that end of spindle
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mill-resized-531.jpg  

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Stratham, Cow Hampshire
    Posts
    4,311
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    464
    Likes (Received)
    1700

    Default

    May be a case for "reverse engineering."

    MANY diametral pitches may fit. If you know the ratio then you can narrow this down considerably knowing the center-center distance of the shafts. It may come down to a "closest fit" DP.

    Look to similar mills of a similar time frame for typical ratios.

    IIRC, Peter of this board (see above) may have an early Becker. He's not posting so much now but I can relay a telephone number if you wish. (Number IS public domain if you know where to look.) Rob Lang perhaps also. He posts occasionally and is a wealth of information. There are others.

    Joe in NH

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Washington
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hughsllc View Post
    Hi I picked up a similar Becker mill this spring. I'm in the process of cleaning it up. Unfortunately the took the main drive gears off mine. I was wondering if you still have that machine could we compare notes?

    Cool another Becker shows up.

    I picked up a Becker around 2 months ago and am about 1/2 way through my restore. As it is mostly all apart right now, I can easily check parts. (# of gear teeth and Dia. )

    You may be interested in a sales brochure Becker Milling Machine Co. - Publication Reprints - Becker Models 7 & 7HS Milling Machines | VintageMachinery.org
    They also have some other info on the company and some other models of mills.

    by measurements my Becker is a No 7H and I have found the # 148 stamped on many parts (Serial #?)

    From the dates the company was in existence by the name on my machine, it is between 96 and 110 years old


    Jeff White

  17. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Washington
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Jeff White, I think mine is also a 7h it's a dead ringer for the info. Spindle speeds are super low too. Identifying the tool taper was super helpful now I just have to make some #10 BS taper holders.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •