Identifying a Lathe I just saved from the Scrap Heap
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    Default Identifying a Lathe I just saved from the Scrap Heap

    First of all, Hello PM people I have spent most of the morning hunting to this forum trying to identify my lathe and ended up reading so many posts from you guys. It is a fantastic resource. Right to the problem at hand. I am from Dublin Ireland and recently got wind of the word that a Lovely old Lathe was heading to the scrap heap so I made it my business to save it. My self and my Father rescued it yesterday and got it back to our homestead. I have attached some pictures which I'm hoping you guys might recognise and point me in the right direction. There is simply no manufactures name to be found anywhere on the machine. there is a few letters cast into the top of the gearbox housing but they're completely eligible. Thanks guys
    Paul From Ireland.
    img_1970.jpg
    img_6577.jpg
    img_7417.jpg
    img_7417.jpg
    img_8398.jpg

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    You might try lathes.co.uk. Tony has much information and pictures of lathes on his site. There is so much that it will take a long time to search through it all. Hopefully, someone will recognize your lathe immediately. Looks as if it could be quite useful for large diameter stuff.

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    Something about that says it's a " Colchester " to me. The feed box is very " Colchester ". Could be an old " Master ". I once worked at a place were we had to grind off any manufacturers names cast on the machine. If it was too big to grind it had to be covered over with a sheet metal plate.

    What happened to the apron ?

    Regards Tyrone.

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    HI Lads Thanks so much. I probably should have said it in my earlier post. I have banged an email to Tony with the pictures and am currently trawling through his sight trying to figure it. Tyrone I think you could be well on to something, it looks very similar to some of the 1930's Colchester but its has some features that don't match any pictures I can fine from lathes of that ere. I should have also said in my previous post. The last owner bastardised it and put a single phase conversion and removed the leed screw drives

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    Its a Colchester roundtop Triumph of the 1950s.....if its got roller bearing spindle its post war....prewar had plain bearings.......the whole apron is missing,so IMHO ,its a manual feed if you are keen........If the gears in the QC box are OK ,there is value there.

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    As already noted, it is incomplete - the surviving cross with its tee slotted feature was probably all the PO needed for some specific but rather limited fab or rebuild task, 'coz the MANUAL longitudinal traverse went away with the apron and its handwheel, not just threading and power feed. Or it may have been a planned restore that just never happened.

    Taps, dies, and store-bought, I can live OK without threading, but long-axis feed AND power surfacing I do need ....ELSE go find some other lathe.



    Scout around where it came from for the apron if there's any chance it can still be found , even if casting and/or handwheel damaged and guts are worn out or bustid.

    Not impossible to source what is missing for small money if you scout the UK for a year or so, but I'm not the one to class it worth the effort. It's a "white bread average" lathe once made in fair-decent volume. EG: Not at all "rare".

    Parting out, putting the money toward a lathe in better useful order - better-yet a mill - makes more sense for learning new skills and doing a bit of repair work along the way.

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    Wow Thanks for all the help guys and I think we are getting some where. you guys are most correct the Apron is gone which is a massive shame but here is hoping when I can finally identify exactly what the lathe is I can source one. I went looking further and I found this picture in Tonys website
    screenshot-2020-01-24-15.45.54.jpg
    now while this dose not match my lathe exactly it is very close this makes me think my lathe might be older than a Colchester Triumph from the 50s. If you look in the area I have marked in red in this picture you can see a portion of the slide way V is up near the head stock which seems to be in keeping with the above picture
    img_65771.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDH View Post
    I found this picture in Tonys website
    screenshot-2020-01-24-15.45.54.jpg
    now while this dose not match my lathe exactly it is very close this makes me think my lathe might be older
    Tony doesn't have ALL the fotos on a line as long-lived and varied and "optionable" as Colchester.

    AFAIK, it was a pervasive enough line of goods, there is PLENTY more info in Blighty.

    Even so, the parts, used, bring a fair price 'coz there are so many still in use and seeking. New you might not want to even ASK (600 Group, is it?).

    Seems DUMB to CNC an old beat-up Colchester, but... there is SO very much CNC salvage and NON servo gearmotors about, that could be cheaper than a whole apron full of parts, handwheels, levers, and such?

    That could end up a "learning" project that helped with acquiring a more marketable 'modern' skill along the way? I was even only FIFTY years younger I'd be tempted.

    As it is, I'm messing with Bodine and Bison gearmotors bought cheap just to not have to crank table-positioning handles as much! Other stuff came powered from the fac'try.

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    ya for sure it might well be an option to convert it to CnC, I already have an old EMCO CNC from aus that I have restored and working well. This old girl is more of a project to keep me busy in the shop. Plus there is something about getting an old hunk of iron like this you produce accurate parts again that is really appealing to me.

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    The big deal with Colchesters was /is the hardened bed......pre hardened bed ,they are just a very ordinary light duty lathe.

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    I don't like to rain on anybodies parade but if you can't source another apron that lathe isn't a great deal of use as it stands unless you can't part it out for spares.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDH View Post
    ya for sure it might well be an option to convert it to CnC, I already have an old EMCO CNC from aus that I have restored and working well. This old girl is more of a project to keep me busy in the shop. Plus there is something about getting an old hunk of iron like this you produce accurate parts again that is really appealing to me.
    Umh, yeah.. .as long as you have a "real job" - or a retirement check - that pays the bills and leaves a few Euro for playing around! Face it - it IS kinda "masturbatory".

    Don't tell a blanket-sharer "it keeps me out of pubs and brothels", either.

    Wuddn' yah know it, she's au fait with the pubs, but comes back asking when and where you were INTO brothels to begin with!


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    I went looking for one just like that to make a rifling machine....all I needed was a head/spindle,and a long bed with a toothed rack to gear onto the cutter rotation.....I went to look at some bits ,and ended up with a complete roundtop with a few bits missing.The lathe was at the sons place ,and part way thru looking ,her indoors comes down and says...."get that * * * * * piece of crap out of my house today.....and all the other bits too ...I want it all gone"....Couldnt risk a truck on the concrete beside the house ,so I used the portable gantry........all loaded ,and taking the gantry down ,Ron lets go of the side part ,and it falls down missing the wifes car by millimeters.....Was she angry?...Yep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    I went looking for one just like that to make a rifling machine....all I needed was a head/spindle,and a long bed with a toothed rack to gear onto the cutter rotation.....I went to look at some bits ,and ended up with a complete roundtop with a few bits missing.The lathe was at the sons place ,and part way thru looking ,her indoors comes down and says...."get that * * * * * piece of crap out of my house today.....and all the other bits too ...I want it all gone"....Couldnt risk a truck on the concrete beside the house ,so I used the portable gantry........all loaded ,and taking the gantry down ,Ron lets go of the side part ,and it falls down missing the wifes car by millimeters.....Was she angry?...Yep.
    I had a wife like that once. Haven't a klew where she lives. Nor even IF, more than 32 years already.

    Good uns that just fit "ever gentle on my mind..", more than yer body, are rare.
    Now I have one, coming up 30 years, and am the better, for it.

    Otherwise? Not as if wimmin' were made in small quantities - as scarce as machine-tools, is it?

    Average ones are like light-bulbs, standard fit, "Edison base".

    One fails? Simply unscrew it, screw in a replacement. It'll fit. Designed from the outset with flexible specifications, as they were.

    Yah KNOW there's going to be "screwing" inolved, ever yah been thru courtship or divorce... either one.

    Just F*****g DEAL with that. Literally.

    She stays TF out of my shop. I stay TF out of her kitchen.

    To each their own..


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    Assuming home use, I'd look into getting electronic lead screw parts from ebay and solve the problem that way. It could be a fun project and easier than finding the parts. A relatively short ball screw could cover the area near the chuck and make it very useful. And there would be no English/metric/thread dial issues with threading either.

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    The dragon act did me a favour.....price went from wanting a "couple of hundred",to "get it gone before midday,FCS".....chucks too,dedicated Burnerd with inbuilt long taper mounts...But after putting it together ,I still need an old lathe bed for a rifling machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    I once worked at a place were we had to grind off any manufacturers names cast on the machine. If it was too big to grind it had to be covered over with a sheet metal plate.
    Tyrone, I've got to ask. Why did you have to dename them?
    (I'm thinking MI6, Q branch)

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    Quote Originally Posted by maynah View Post
    Tyrone, I've got to ask. Why did you have to dename them?
    (I'm thinking MI6, Q branch)
    Rather ordinary officious clerks and procurement contract buroc-rats the more likely.

    Could was simply a Gummint-funded agency not meant to "advantage" a maker by free advertising, nor even PAID exploitation. As-in "The Royal stem-pessary factory Turns on Colchester Lathes".

    War Two, Stalin quit wasting metal and labour on re-badging, simply had his propaganda machine convince his minions that lend-lease "Studebaker" trucks hadn't come off US cargo ships, but had been built in a Russian factory "somewhere East of the Urals".. same as heavy-lifter "Mesta" machine-tools!

    Wasn't entirely a lie. South Bend, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ARE "East of the Urals" after all.


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    Quote Originally Posted by maynah View Post
    Tyrone, I've got to ask. Why did you have to dename them?
    (I'm thinking MI6, Q branch)
    The story was that they didn't want visitors to the factory to be able to identify the makers of the machinery and therefore set up their own production lines in competition. Obviously this was all before camera phones etc.

    It was a very large factory so visitors/customers from all over the globe were being shown around the place regularly.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    The story was that they didn't want visitors to the factory to be able to identify the makers of the machinery and therefore set up their own production lines in competition. Obviously this was all before camera phones etc.

    It was a very large factory so visitors/customers from all over the globe were being shown around the place regularly.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Klewless "clerical" mindset, Wankers at werke as think all brains on-planet are less clever than their ones or in a coma.

    Anyone actually scouting wudda sent in a pair of Mark-One eyeballs attached to a brain with decent memory as could grok staff loading, skill levels, machine count, set-up, incoming QC, stock handling and WIP transfer scheme, inspection methodology, general and customized machine capability, and for-damned-sure "brand immaterial".

    Then usually plan to IMPROVE upon the methods of the place being snooped. Or, in the case of Titmus Optical, prove it wasn't worth the bother, and should be sold-off. As it was, same year.

    One of life's more interesting "additional duties", actually.



    It ain't exactly remote-control gene-splicing from a lab in Mars orbit if a common Colchester can manage it, is it?


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