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  1. #1
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    Default Smith-Drum Lathe

    I have been offered a Smith-Drum sliding bed lathe. I know they were built in Piladelphia, PA but do not know when. This one looks to be 1930ish as it has an electric motor but still has a flat belt drive the the plain bearing spindle. I think it is about 16" x 30" with the bed closed and about 32" swing with the bed open.
    The were some posts here a few years ago but nothing in the last two years. I am curious if any of the Smith-Drum lathe owners are still active and if so, I would like to hear owner's opinions of the lathes. I have plenty lathes but it is hard to pass up a sliding bed lathe.

    I hope some Smith-Drum owners are still active and will post with their opinions of these lathes.

    Bruce Norton

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    Bruce,
    I would not refuse an "offer" of a Smith-Drum.

    Its certainly not a multispeed, geared head NASA compliant machine, but, it has been my workhorse for a lot of years.
    I still need to find the large geared faceplate and a steady rest. It holds a good tolerance for what I do, and the extra swing has more than earned its keep in the corner.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolnut View Post
    I have been offered a Smith-Drum sliding bed lathe. I know they were built in Piladelphia, PA but do not know when. This one looks to be 1930ish as it has an electric motor but still has a flat belt drive the the plain bearing spindle. I think it is about 16" x 30" with the bed closed and about 32" swing with the bed open.
    The were some posts here a few years ago but nothing in the last two years. I am curious if any of the Smith-Drum lathe owners are still active and if so, I would like to hear owner's opinions of the lathes. I have plenty lathes but it is hard to pass up a sliding bed lathe.

    I hope some Smith-Drum owners are still active and will post with their opinions of these lathes.

    Bruce Norton
    I've still got mine. Don't use it much but I'm not doing big faceplate work and I have more modern machines for chucking stuff. I'd part with mine to another nutcase err machine tool tragic but until the right person comes along, it's got a nice warm dry spot in the shop and gets used every now & again.

    And, Mike - I owe you an email. Just been bloody busy working on the boat.

    Oh yes, if you have the space and the price is right, take it. At worst they're interesting machines and there aren't a lot of them. Mine was missing the entire apron assembly so I made one, but it'd be nice one day to find an original including the outrigger cross slide support.

    There are a few pix on lathes.co.uk, FWIW.

    PDW
    Last edited by PDW; 04-21-2014 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Afterthought

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    I've still got mine. Don't use it much but I'm not doing big faceplate work and I have more modern machines for chucking stuff. I'd part with mine to another nutcase err machine tool tragic but until the right person comes along, it's got a nice warm dry spot in the shop and gets used every now & again.

    And, Mike - I owe you an email. Just been bloody busy working on the boat.

    Oh yes, if you have the space and the price is right, take it. At worst they're interesting machines and there aren't a lot of them. Mine was missing the entire apron assembly so I made one, but it'd be nice one day to find an original including the outrigger cross slide support.

    There are a few pix on lathes.co.uk, FWIW.

    PDW
    Hello I'm a newbie here but and I need some information about this smith drum sliding bed drum, a cousin of mine adquire one a few years back but doesn't have the engine, and is not easy to find information about it anywhere, so if anyone as any kind of information or documentation about it and could help me with it I would appreciate...

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    I owned one many years ago. They are unique and well worth having if you have the space. They are very scarce now. I used mine almost exclusively for faceplate work.

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    by engine, I am assuming you mean motor.
    Here are some pictures of the motor/gearbox and bracketry.
    Do a search on this site.
    There are several threads on the Smith-Drum lathe, including one where someone, and I can't remember who, but, I hope I thanked them!, posted a site, I think a Veteran's organization in Wisconsin, who sent me a copy of the complete Smith-Drum manual for a small fee.

    I still use mine almost daily, and even have done a few jobs with the huge faceplate, thanks to PDW.

    Mike
    smith-drum-motor-gearbox.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-stand-left.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-stand-right.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-tag.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by rustyironism View Post
    by engine, I am assuming you mean motor.
    Here are some pictures of the motor/gearbox and bracketry.
    Do a search on this site.
    There are several threads on the Smith-Drum lathe, including one where someone, and I can't remember who, but, I hope I thanked them!, posted a site, I think a Veteran's organization in Wisconsin, who sent me a copy of the complete Smith-Drum manual for a small fee.

    I still use mine almost daily, and even have done a few jobs with the huge faceplate, thanks to PDW.

    Mike
    smith-drum-motor-gearbox.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-stand-left.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-stand-right.jpg
    smith-drum-motor-tag.jpg
    Thank you for the information, I leave in azores Portugal the lathe that my cousin have is from the time that the USA army was here in the island of Santa Maria, as you can imagine we don't have anyone alive today that knows anything about this Smith drum lathe, I hope to find the link that you talk about it but to have the motor info is already a big help. Thank you once more.

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    it was forum member Bobnothecat who posted that his father once had a manual and suggested searching for "couse type B".

    I did, and found a veteran's organization in Wisconsin, who charged a small fee for the reprint.
    It is buried here somewhere, so I can't easily get that info for you, but, it looks like someone posted on the Vintage site here..

    Smith, Drum & Co. - Publication Reprints - Smith Drum sections of TM 5-9127, couse, type "B" Maintenance Instructions | VintageMachinery.org

    Mike

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    Rustyironism I wonder if we can talk in private about it send me a e-mail. [email protected] this is my mail

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    Not difficult to find a geared motor ,speed seems to be 144rpm?,IE ,ratio 10 to 1 reduction,and,and affix it to a slide on the machine,thereby providing a clutch action as well......One thing to be careful with geared motors ,a big reduction on a very small motor will still wind you up if you get clothing etc tangled in it.

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    found the address of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, who printed out a copy of the Smith Drum lathe manual for me.
    Here is their website.

    Wisconsin Veterans Museum – Every Veteran is a Story

    Mike

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    Smith-Drum lathe on ebay.

    Smith Drum & Co Antique Lathe | eBay

    Rob
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails smith-drum-lathe.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Lang View Post
    Smith-Drum lathe on ebay.

    Smith Drum & Co Antique Lathe | eBay

    Rob
    Wow, that's a deal. i would grab that if I was anywhere near. It looks very complete as well.

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    At least one picture for future ref
    s-l1600.jpg
    Harold

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    Wow, that's a deal. i would grab that if I was anywhere near. It looks very complete as well.
    I'm not seeing the faceplate, but it might be buried on the floor somewhere.......the faceplate has in internal ring gear, might not be the easiest part to find.

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    I contacted her to look for the face plate, and the broken off end of the change gear lever and the missing half nut to engage the bed travel lead screw, to help her sell it.

    The face plate does not have an internal gear, but simply a spur gear attached at the center.
    Mine came with a 23 inch faceplate, with no gear, that screws on the spindle thread.
    The original face plate is 29 inch.

    It looks rough, but, at the asking price, I would call it a steal for someone who occasionally needed that large capacity in a small foot print.


    Mike

    29 inch faceplate
    56.jpg
    58.jpg

    23 inch face plate
    head-wood-faceplate-throughbolt.jpg

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    I think it is important to note here that these lathes, although very useful, are not good at being a general purpose machine. These are designed to do large diameter face work in a small foot print.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I think it is important to note here that these lathes, although very useful, are not good at being a general purpose machine. These are designed to do large diameter face work in a small foot print.
    Maybe, but, I wouldn't say that.
    I've used mine almost daily for over 30 years and it has done all I ask of it.
    With a 3 or 4 jaw chuck, it is simply a 16" lathe, with capacity to increase bed length for longer shafts and provide room for very large jobs in the gap.
    Taper attachment, quick change gear box, with sliding lever for feed/threading selection, even a chart for metric threads.
    Power feed and cross feed, and a half nut for threading.
    Two speed back gear, and a third position to engage the auxiliary gear to operate the huge faceplate.

    Sure, it has a flat belt, with only three pulleys, 72 spots that you have to oil and plain bearings.
    But, Fay-Scott made the same machine and when Smith-Drum made them, the USA Military bought a lot of them, as evidenced by their world-wide presence connected to military use.

    Since it seems that Smith-Drum is no longer in business, and can't pay me for my testimonials, I'd better get turning...…..

    Mike

    48.jpg
    110.jpg
    z24.jpg
    z34.jpg
    z35.jpg

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  23. #19
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    I eventually sold mine to a friend. I simply wasn't using it enough to justify the floor space it took up, and with the Monarch CY lathe plus a Kearns OA HBM I had the turning including big diameter stuff covered anyway.

    I did keep the 29" face plate though. You can't find them every day. Might make a mount for the Kearns borer one day. Meanwhile it makes a nice wall ornament....

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Lang View Post
    Smith-Drum lathe on ebay.

    Smith Drum & Co Antique Lathe | eBay

    Rob
    Sold for $330, anyone here get it?


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