Long 3 Legged Lathe (Whitcomb Blaisdell) Questions
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    Default Long 3 Legged Lathe (Whitcomb Blaisdell) Questions

    (Kind of a toss up to post this here, or in the general forum, or in the reconditioning forum)

    So I'm in some negotiations horse-trading machinery again. I have an opportunity to pick up another lathe, a Whitcomb Blaisdell, which there is not a lot of info about out there. The only issue would be getting it from Mass. to Texas without breaking the bank.

    (on that note: if anyone has specs. on a 12"x144" (overall bed length)Whitcomb Blaisdell from the late teens or early 20's, I'd really appreciate it! All the data I've found so far was for bigger swings and shorter beds)

    While I contemplate it, I have some questions about the bed. This lathe has a 12" swing and is 12 feet overall long with 3 legs under it. I've never leveled or dialed in a lathe with a bed long enough to have 3 legs so how would you go about it? My first thought is to use a precision level, but would you still do so considering it has some degree of wear? Level the ends and then touch off the middle? I think I have a good grasp of how to set a lathe that sits on the ends, but the 3rd leg and the droop it is supposed to eliminate has me scratching my head.

    Similarly, I'd be interested in how I would go about inspecting it for wear. Normally after the bed is leveled, I would consider each surface of the bed as one plain set on 2 points and any drop between those 2 points is worn. Is there something like the 2 collar test for such an application?

    The current owner found the lathe face down half buried in mud and it looks like he did a great job bring it back, but he hasn't done anything with the ways. IMO a lathe this long is meant to turn long accurate work, so If I were to get it, I'd want to set it up as true as possible. Otherwise the added length is just dead iron.

    img_0264.jpg

  2. #2
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    Smallest in my 1920 catalog is a 14"

    Thumbnail is a 16 heavy I scanned long ago - there are also Medium Duty versions

    On the 3rd leg (leveling) - like my 102" Monarch, I work on the third or middle leg first - get it a smidgen high and done cross wise and then make the ends point at that bench mark while also being level. When I installed the Monarch 20 odd years ago, I had to leave right rear corner in the air. I suppose by now it has fixed itself. I guess some of those nearly 70 years at HL&P that it was indifferently leveled for way too long
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails specshta.jpg   specshtb.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Smallest in my 1920 catalog is a 14"

    Thumbnail is a 16 heavy I scanned long ago - there are also Medium Duty versions

    On the 3rd leg (leveling) - like my 102" Monarch, I work on the third or middle leg first - get it a smidgen high and done cross wise and then make the ends point at that bench mark while also being level. When I installed the Monarch 20 odd years ago, I had to leave right rear corner in the air. I suppose by now it has fixed itself. I guess some of those nearly 70 years at HL&P that it was indifferently leveled for way too long
    The owner said it measured 12.5", but perhaps he was measuring over the saddle.

    So you would level the 2 legs on the head stock side like a normal lathe (via test bar, level, 2 collar test, ect.), then level the tail leg with a precision level to match the center leg? That makes sense. I guess the tail side shouldn't have as much wear as the head side if it follows the same trend as a typical 2 legged lathe.

    Perhaps it varies between makers, but does the center leg actually support the beds weight, or just carry load when the cut is close to it (or both)? I ask because if it is primarily static load bearing, when mapping wear on the bare bed casting I might just touch it off and level the outside legs so as to see how the wear shows without any twisting between the sides. Then if I were to re-scrape the ways, it would go back to factory alignment.

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    but does the center leg actually support the beds weight
    Its share I would say.

    The engineering texts tell us that cast iron has huge compressive strength but only so-so STIFFNESS (as a beam) - so the center leg takes away the possibility of SAG

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Its share I would say.

    The engineering texts tell us that cast iron has huge compressive strength but only so-so STIFFNESS (as a beam) - so the center leg takes away the possibility of SAG
    Stiffness. The numbers I have been carrying around in my head for decades are Steel-30, cast iron-25 and aluminum-10. Higher is stiffer. These are the easy to remember, non-technical numbers that can help with everyday estimates of relative stiffness if only the material is changed, not the geometry. They will vary with alloy, so you need to look up a table if you are actually doing math.

    You can look up "Young's modulus" if you want to see the numbers for other materials or if you want to get deeper into what engineers are taught.

    Larry

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    Ok, another question:

    I'm not yet sure if the lathe has any steady rests, but I've seen (not yet done) where people will use multiple steadies on shorter lathes. How do you figure how many to use, and how many should a lathe of this size have? Is there anything special about dialing them in? I'd think after dialing in your chuck and outer steady, then just set any inside supports to hold the shaft from sagging or whipping around?

    I don't yet have work lined up for the lathe (but I never considered it a possibility either) so I'm trying to figure what a complete package would entail to utilize the bed length. Plus, if I need to find or make steadies, It would be easier to make them all at once than wait until I'm in a bind and hack it. I had a friend ask me about small diameter pipe work (3/4"-2" diameter), so that might be a starting point.

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    I'm not yet sure if the lathe has any steady rests
    Making some

    Here is a "go-by" if you so choose

    Alter details and dimensions to suit
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails assy.jpg   base.jpg   top.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Making some

    Here is a "go-by" if you so choose

    Alter details and dimensions to suit
    Thanks, that gives some good references. I'd imagine the ID would be at least the swing over the cross-slide. Might be best to make them suit the full 12" diameter and have longer/shorter fingers as needed.

    Once I have dimensions, I'd draw it up in CAD and have the top and bottom halves burned out of some 1/2" plate, then machine and weld the other ribs and boss's in place.

    The lathe is supposed to have 10' between centers, but that seems a bit much considering the whole bed is 12' (head stock and tail stock have to be more than 24" together...). I'm going to guess that It's closer to 8' between centers and leaving room to operate the tail stock, I'm guessing 3 steadies would be enough for most work?

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    I'm guessing 3 steadies would be enough for most work?
    This long hefty L&S Model X apparently gets by with a pair - one factory, one shop built
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails nice-fabbed-steady-ls-22.jpg  

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    M.B.

    I have a CAD drawing of a steady rest I'm in the process of building for my 15" Sheldon lathe if you're interested. IF so, send me your email address and Ill be glad to send a copy.

    Ken

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    This deal is still in the works.

    What HP of motor would be appropriate for a lathe of this size? 1HP? I'm thinking about possibility of replacing the current owners motor/gearbox drive with an overhead jackshaft like the original. I would need to reproduce the upper cone pulley, but I'm thinking I could make it out of maple blocks glued together and turned to size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    This deal is still in the works.

    What HP of motor would be appropriate for a lathe of this size? 1HP? I'm thinking about possibility of replacing the current owners motor/gearbox drive with an overhead jackshaft like the original. I would need to reproduce the upper cone pulley, but I'm thinking I could make it out of maple blocks glued together and turned to size.
    I had a 15" Flather which came with a drive-all gearbox and 3hp 3 phase motor. The motor got replaced with a 1.5 hp motor and that did EVERYTHING I needed on that lathe. If you're driving a cone pulley through a v-belt rather than a gearbox/v-belt then 1 hp should do it pretty fine.

    A "built up" maple pulley would be the best way to go here. IIRC, the Drive-Alls are typically fitted with a small diameter wood pulley which drives the largest step on the headstock. I would make the wooden cone an inch or so larger in all diameters than your headstock pulley "just for adhesion." (Which wood/leather is much better than iron/leather by definition.)

    Joe in NH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe in NH View Post
    I had a 15" Flather which came with a drive-all gearbox and 3hp 3 phase motor. The motor got replaced with a 1.5 hp motor and that did EVERYTHING I needed on that lathe. If you're driving a cone pulley through a v-belt rather than a gearbox/v-belt then 1 hp should do it pretty fine.

    A "built up" maple pulley would be the best way to go here. IIRC, the Drive-Alls are typically fitted with a small diameter wood pulley which drives the largest step on the headstock. I would make the wooden cone an inch or so larger in all diameters than your headstock pulley "just for adhesion." (Which wood/leather is much better than iron/leather by definition.)

    Joe in NH
    Making the pulley slightly larger would also enable me to possibly use it as a foundry pattern later on too, but that's all dependent on if low volume iron casting ever becomes easier to source.

    I found in a publication that on the 14" Whitcomb Blaisdell lathes, the largest headstock pulley was 9" round and the smallest was 5 1/4", which looks about right for this 12" lathe judging by pictures, so I don't think it will take a whole lot of maple to make a pulley.

    In the same 14" publication (If I'm understanding it correctly) the weight of a 6' bed lathe is 1825 lbs., with an additional 110 lbs. for each additional foot, so a 12' long 14" swing lathe would be a little less than 2500 lbs. I'm not sure if that includes the weight of the third leg, but we've estimated the bare bed casting to be 1500 lbs. and the other parts together to be around 1500lbs. so I think we'll be safe quoting shipping on the high side. We're planing on disassembling the lathe and shipping it in pieces via LTL carrier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    This deal is still in the works.

    What HP of motor would be appropriate for a lathe of this size? 1HP? I'm thinking about possibility of replacing the current owners motor/gearbox drive with an overhead jackshaft like the original. I would need to reproduce the upper cone pulley, but I'm thinking I could make it out of maple blocks glued together and turned to size.
    At least 2, no more than 5 - not like it was going to tear anything up with flapping belt drive

    Counter shaft cones are seldom duplicates, but would certainly work - maybe with less than perfect steps between speeds

    L&S 1916 say 2-3 HP at 900 for their 14". Top speed on gear head 400, on cone head 335

    Thumbnail is page
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails l-spg21.jpg  

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    I'm not sure what the OEM speed range was on this lathe, but I imagine it's similar to my 16" Hendey and somewhere around 600 RPM was the top speed. The original Jack-shaft of a 14" W-B lathe required 225 RPM to be supplied to a 12" diameter pulley, 3 1/4" wide. I think I have a pulley that size as well as a pair of hangers in our stockpile of old overhead drive components salvaged from textile machinery. If I use a 1725 RPM motor, I would need a 1 1/2" pulley on it to get that RPM, so I might be looking at a secondary jack-shaft to drop down the motor RPM.

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    This lathe might be double back geared. The one vee-belt drive shown in the photograph would not be right, except maybe for the wood turning that it appears to have been set up for.

    I liked the Drive-All on my heavy older double back-geared lathe, there were plenty enough speeds with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernsinger View Post
    This lathe might be double back geared. The one vee-belt drive shown in the photograph would not be right, except maybe for the wood turning that it appears to have been set up for.

    I liked the Drive-All on my heavy older double back-geared lathe, there were plenty enough speeds with it.
    Yes I believe it is a double back gear. I could probably make the drive all work better by running a wider flat belt between it and the headstock, but my plans are to remove the drive-all unit and utilize the 3 step cone pulley. The literature I've seen states that they should have 9 speeds, but that doesn't make sense to me. With 3 step pulleys and 2 back gears, there should be 12 speeds (?).

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    Even the literature says 9 speeds - 3 open belt, 3 low back gear, 3 high back gear. Or if a person sprung for a two speed counter shaft, 18

    With 3 step pulleys and 2 back gears, there should be 12 speeds (?).
    Drive all changes all this - assuming you are no longer moving the belt, you do in fact have twelve

    Four not in BG, 4 in low BG and 4 in high back gear - but only because the Drive All is four speed

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Making some

    Here is a "go-by" if you so choose

    Alter details and dimensions to suit
    Interesting-the 3rd print in that set shows it spelled "Taft-Peirce", which is what I've always seen.

    But the first 2 prints say "Taft-Pierce"

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    Quote Originally Posted by awander View Post
    Interesting-the 3rd print in that set shows it spelled "Taft-Peirce", which is what I've always seen.

    But the first 2 prints say "Taft-Pierce"

    Maybe the draftsman had not been there long enough to know how it was spelled


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