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  1. #1
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    Default So I bought a lathe....

    I bought this oldtimer lathe and have come here seeking wisdom, inspiration and information.
    Basically I need to find out if its worth the effort and money to try and get it going again.
    But first I like to find out it's make and model.











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    I think you have placed the cart in front of the horse. How do you expect to repair the lathe without having another well equipped lathe and milling machine? Parts will most likely not be available leaving the only possible repair being to make your own. Newbies need to buy plug and play machines first before taking on restorations like this, even if you know how to do it. Please also note that you did not show any accessories or tooling, which is where the majority of acquisition cost lies. So I have to assume that what is shown is all you have. Since that old guy does not have a QC gearbox, you will not be able to cut threads without a complete set of change gears. FWIW, scrap this, save your money and then buy a working machine that matches your needs.

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    Hallo Prutser...goeie naam. ;-)
    Waar in Nederland zit je ?

    If you intend to have a lathe you can use for fixing that Porsche I have to concur with Steve-I.
    However, if you`re looking for a very steep learningcurve and no actual turning for a long time and a machine that severely limits your possibilities when restored : this is the lathe for you.

    Last edited by Lambert; 03-19-2016 at 08:59 AM. Reason: spelling

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    You need to ask Charles to move this over to the Antique forum. Those readers restore machines like this and are experts and can help you answer your question. Rich

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    That lathe looks like an Erlich ,if you just want a lathe to play around with I would just set up a motor to drive it and then have a bit of fun and use it ,If you are planning any serious work I would move it on and get something else.

    I certainly would not spend hundreds of hours scraping and rebuilding it which is what this forum is all about.

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    I agree with Richard. I don't agree with the others. That machine doesn't look that bad. First understand the lubrication and get oil where it needs to be. Clean the bed and slide surfaces of rust. There is a razor blade method that will be enough temporarily. Power it in any way that works and start making or repairing critical parts.

    Make some friends. When you do need a another machine to make parts for yours those friends can be indispensable. Read everything In the forum archives as you can. Most of the questions have already been asked.

    Also go to [email protected] for the machine tool reference archives for lots of brand info.

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    its not he best candidate for the full monty, but if his intention was to learn reconditioning, its not a bad one to learn on.

    overall though I agree with sable and mach.....it looks fairly complete and cleaned up and lubed it might be a great first lathe to get going with

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    The old timers that taught my Tool and Die courses used to say: "The difference between a blacksmith and a machinist, a blacksmith can operate an old machine, a machinist can make precision parts on an old machine"

    I've seen worse.......just take what you have and make the most of it.

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    An interesting machine from the standpoint of a possible restoration project. Whether to go ahead with it depends in part, as I see it, on several factors. Is this your first restoration attempt? Is this lathe your only shop machine ? If the lathe were to be restored to good running condition, would it meet your needs? Just what are your needs and your plans for the machine? Do things turn, or are they locked up with rust and corrosion that might be very hard to clean up? In one of your photographs there is a hint of lubrication on some of the threads of the leadscrew.
    -Marty-

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    Quote Originally Posted by sable View Post
    That lathe looks like an Erlich
    Headstock and tailstock details confirm Ehrlich: http://www.lathes.co.uk/ehrlich/

    Clean it up, make the minimum of fixes, oil and use it.

    allan

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    V ways, cast iron bed, certainly a better candidate for doing actual work than any of low end hobbyist lathes by the likes of At*** or Cra******.

    Please don't be put off by the opinions above. Many of those fine folks are into high end precision machinery that has to make parts FAST.

    This old lathe is capable of making parts, just at a slower rate of speed.

    And some of us (me) really enjoy cleaning up rusty old tools and making them run again.

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    Yeah, I'm running an old shaper today that came out of a grove of trees. Still breaking it back in. It really didn't take all that long to get it back running again. Had to make a couple of parts, nothing big.

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    OP: From what I can see, your lathe is probably better than my first one was...............and I used it for twenty years, everything was a challenge. I finally had an opportunity to get my money back and used it as a good excuse to get a better one, much better.

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    I do not know what kind of work you plan on doing with that lathe. In the condition it is in, with nothing missing, it is usable with some cleaning and adjustments. I am "old school" and know that with some care, good work can be gotten out of older and somewhat worn machine tools- if the person running them knows what they are doing. My own Southbend Heavy 10" lathe has a bad ridge worn on the bed-way for a few inches at the headstock end of the bed. Despite this, I get work out on that lathe within 0.001" or better.

    The lathe you show in your pictures has mostly surface rust on it. It has adjustable headstock spindle bearings (using a hooked spanner wrench on the slotted adjusting and locking nuts). It has this same system to adjust the end-play or thrust in the leadscrew/feed shaft.

    The lathe is complete, and unless you are planning on doing highly accurate or very small and fine work, it should be good for most jobs. I'd clean it up by carefully scraping the rust off the machined surfaces with the edge of a single-edge razor blade, and use some steel wool and diesel fuel or similar.

    Adjustments and checks: 1. Flush the headstock bearings with diesel fuel or kerosene. Then, check the radial play in the bearings using a dial indicator and a
    stick of hardwood to provide leverage. Make sure to back off the spindle thrust adjustment when doing this check. If the bearings
    have somewhere between 0.0015"-0.002" on the larger bearing and 0.001"-0.0015" on the smaller bearing, you should be good to go.

    2. clean the dovetail sliding surfaces on the cross slide and compound (top slide), and see how tight or loose they feel when you crank
    the cross slide and top slide. Adjust the gibs but do not be surprised if the cross slide and top slide feel tight at some portions
    of their travel and loose at other portions of their travel. Surfaces wear unevenly depending on where the most use occurred.
    I "average" the adjustment out when dealing with this kind of wear, but leave things set a little on the tighter side.

    3. Flush the apron with kerosene or diesel fuel and make sure the feed clutches for cross and long power feeds, as well as the half
    nuts work properly and freely.

    4. Find the lubrication point on the headstock cone pulley. This is often a set screw that is in the center of one of the steps of the
    pulley. It puts oil into the bearing between the hub of the headstock cone pulley and the spindle when running with the back gears
    engaged. Shoot a little automotive brake cleaner in this hole, then some kerosene or diesel fuel. You want to make sure the oil
    can get where it needs to go.

    5. The feed/threading reverse gearing (tumbler gearing) is inside the headstock casting on this lathe, so getting to it will be a little
    more difficult.
    Inspect for damaged teeth, clean and lubricate. You may find the reverse gears are a bit loose on their pins. For the immediate,
    it should be OK if no other damage is found, but in time, you may want to bore/bush these gears and make new pins.

    You do not say whether you got the set of change gears with the lathe. If you intend to cut threads, you will need this set of change gears, as well as to get
    different feed rates. The threading chart is missing from the lathe, and this would tell you what combination of gears is needed for different thread pitches.
    Without the change gears, this lathe becomes a lot more limited in its use. OK for turning and boring, but not able to cut screw threads except for the one
    which the gearing is on the lathe for. You will also need to get the pitch of the lead screw and work the math to determine what combinations of gearing cut what pitches of threads if you intend to cut threads.

    A drive for the lathe is not so much of a problem. Even without the matching cone pulley for a countershaft, a drive can be built. Some pillow block bearings (Plummer blocks in British terminology, I think), and some angle iron and a motor and you can buyild a good drive for the lathe. Some people have successfully made the step-cone pulleys from wood, turning them in-place on the countershafts. Or, you can make one single flat belt pulley about the size of the step on the lathe's headstock pulley. A combination of step-cone vee belt pulleys (one on the motor, one on the countershaft) will then give you your speed changes. I tend to go simple or old school on this kind of drive. For an older lathe which may not have all the change gears, it does not pay to invest in a VFD, in my opinion.
    A simple countershaft for the least amount of work and money is my suggestion. Get the lathe running and put it to use.

    The lathe has a threaded spindle nose, so unless you have a four jaw chuck as well as a faceplate, the work you can do on the lathe is also limited. Unless you can get chuck plates machined and threaded to fit the spindle nose, you are really limited by that 3 jaw chuck. If I had one chuck to choose for my lathes, it would be the four jaw "independent" chuck. I can adjust the jaws to chuck odd shaped work and I can adjust the jaws so any job runs dead true. A three jaw chuck, particularly an older one, is really an inaccurate and limited proposition. The chuck shown on the lathe has solid jaws, so to chuck larger work you have to have the "reverse jaws" for that particular chuck. The jaws are machined by the chuck manufacturer to mate up to that chuck. If they are lost, no way to replace them as a rule.

    Other unknowns are the type of tapers in the headstock and tailstock spindles. This is important for using centers and for using a drill chuck on an arbor in the tailstock. There are no guarantees as to what taper the lathe's manufacturer used- most likely Morse, but you never know. There are a lot of unknowns with this old lathe, nothing that would stop the lathe from seeing some limited use. You seem to have the lathe in your garage, so you already own it. I'd say set it up, clean and adjust it and start using it. In the worst case, it is not up to what you need and you can perhaps re-sell it as a lathe in better condition than you got it and move on up to some other lathe. Good luck !

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    So, I bought a Oscar Ehrlich lathe. That's one mystery solved. Thanks.
    To bad there is not much info to be found on the internet.
    I was hoping to get some pointers on how to determine if this piece of pre war vintage is still usable.

    Had a look today and this is what I found so far.

    - There is about 1-2 mm endplay in the spindle axle. Probably adjustable but I need to get some hook spanners
    - There in no noticeable play in the spindle bearings.
    - About 0.02 mm wobble in the spindle nose (about 0.15mm on the chuck).
    - About 1/2 turn slack in the crossfeed.
    - The change gears work but there is a lot of play on the axles. The two big gears can touch if you force them and the biggest has been repaired/braced.
    - Tailstock seems fine, smooth and no noticeable play. (looks to be mk2)
    - Compound seems fine, little slack.
    - Both auto feeds are working and the leadscrew looks ok.
    - Apron and crossfeed drag a little when you move them out of their main work zone.
    - The headstock pulley are a bit lose and there is splay in the spring loaded pin that mounts it to the big gear. (Question why would you want to be able to disengage the headstock pulleys?)

    If this thing is viable, I'm thinking of installing two motor drives. One for the spindle and one for the leadscrew. I've got two 0.75 Kw drives laying around so I only need to find some suitable motors and make some pulleys and mounting brackets. I'm ok with not being able to cut threads. Sounds like a plan?

    To answer some questions.
    - The only thing that I got that's not in the photos is about a dozen toolbits. Al least I would need a boring chuck and a live centre
    - I'm close to Drachten (FR) and the only lathe work we ever needed on the Porsche were the rear brake disks. It runs fine and it's a track day toy.
    - I've got access to a Emco Compact 8 so I should be able to make some pulleys.

    Thanks for the feedback so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I think you have placed the cart in front of the horse. How do you expect to repair the lathe without having another well equipped lathe and milling machine? Parts will most likely not be available leaving the only possible repair being to make your own. Newbies need to buy plug and play machines first before taking on restorations like this, even if you know how to do it. Please also note that you did not show any accessories or tooling, which is where the majority of acquisition cost lies. So I have to assume that what is shown is all you have. Since that old guy does not have a QC gearbox, you will not be able to cut threads without a complete set of change gears. FWIW, scrap this, save your money and then buy a working machine that matches your needs.


    what a way to burst this guys bubble , horrible attitude. ofcoarse it can be restored with improvising and a bit of assistance anything is possible . persistance is key . its a neat looking machine i would be proud to own it . cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by boprotary View Post
    what a way to burst this guys bubble , horrible attitude. ofcoarse it can be restored with improvising and a bit of assistance anything is possible . persistance is key . its a neat looking machine i would be proud to own it . cheers
    Just about anything can be restored, that's not the issue. The issue is, if one spent the hours needed to restore it, would one have a machine that was capable of doing the work that the restorer wanted to accomplish?

    *That*, my friend, is a much more subtle issue than your blithe 'of course it can be restored' comment.

    I had a lathe similar to that, I restored it, I outgrew it and bought a better one. Right now I'm wondering about restoring quite a big lathe from a highly respected manufacturer. Problem is, it only has a 1.5" spindle bore so even if I restore it to factory new condition, it still won't serve some of my important needs.

    So - where is the sense in my doing the restoration, hmmm?

    FWIW I don't give a damn about 'neat looking machines' I care about fitness for purpose.

    PDW

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    Hi,

    Another Dutchman here. Your lathe's brother is on eBay in the UK: VINTAGE METALWORKING GAP BED LATHE UNKNOWN MAKE -5 INCH CHUCK SUIT RESTORATION | eBay

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    I agree that the machine does not seem too bad. Some things are rusty, but ways look much less rusty, which is good as a start. Worn, very likely, rusty, not so much.

    Did you get the legs and pedestal? That machine has the pedestal mount at ta different height than the legs. so it is not as easy to mount on a bench.

    Without oil, most plain bearing machines SHOULD be loose up to about perhaps 0.038mm on a spindle of around 40mm to 50mm. That space is for oil. The spec is quoted from a 13" Southbend lathe manual. What Joe michaels said is a little looser, but also good. You put the stick he mentioned into the spindle and lift up, measuring the movement. Not too much force, enough to lift about 20 kg.

    From the number of adjustment nuts on the bearings, I believe the diameter is adjustable not by the removable caps, but by the adjustments on each side of the bearings. With the clearance you mentioned, I would not adjust those now. But there should be one adjustment at the left end of the spindle to set the "end shake", the amount the spindle moves axially. I'd set that to be maybe the same or a little more than the bearing clearance. When the spindle warms up it will expand and be looser.

    It looks like you can make it work pretty well if you do what Joe Michaels said. Old "plain bearing" lathes are usually smooth and steady if oiled. Nothing wrong with them, other than not typically running fast.

    if the spindle threads are an odd size, you can (if you have change gears) make adapters for chucks, or thread faceplate to fit, even though you just have the one chuck. There are ways to do that accurately.

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    JST:

    Thanks for validating my post. Without knowing the diameters of the spindle journals in the headstock, I took a WAG ( this is a US engineering term, and means a "Wild Ass Guess)as to bearing clearances. My tendency is to set things up loose, see how the bearings run, and if they run cool, take up a little more clearance.

    Uber Prutser:

    The bearings in the headstock of the lathe are likely once-piece bronze bearings. They are most likely machined with a taper on the outer diameter of the bearings, and a single slit or cut running axially. Each end of each bearing is threaded. The bearings fit into tapered bores in the headstock casting. As the slotted nuts are made up or let off, the bearings move axially within the headstock, and the tapered outer fit adjust the clearance. It was a fairly common design.

    I'd guess your lathe is from the 'teens to the 'thirties.

    For oil, I'd suggest ISO 46. Plain mineral based straight-weight oil such as a turbine oil, or a tractor hydraulic oil will be fine.

    Plan on using High Speed Steel toolbits as this lathe will not be turning fast enough, nor is it likely to be rigid enough, for using carbide cutting tools.

    It is a good, basic lathe. Someone cared about it enough to patch the "screw gear" (the larger gear on the end of the lead screw) using steel plates and what look like rivets. That speaks of a real old-time mechanic. It also speaks of a fine repair job done in a shop, or in a time when welding or brazing was unavailable and getting a replacement gear was not possible.

    Set the lathe up, start using it, and work on the restoration as you care to do it. A "spit and polish" full on restoration is not a necessity. My own belief with machine tools, and mine vary in age from about 1917 to 1972, is: "Use them- they are not museum pieces". I keep them cleaned and oiled and properly adjusted, but hot chips and use has taken off a lot of the paint on some areas of them. Old machine tools in a shop are for use, not necessarily for winning prizes like a finely restored antique car or motorcycle at a show. That's just my opinion, and I am sure others may differ.

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