Walcott 18 x 62 belt lathe.
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  1. #1
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    Default Walcott 18 x 62 belt lathe.

    img6.jpg I just agreed to buy this machine. there is no drive unit. So i will need to construct one. But. Even though it was sold to Ford in 1917, and worked 24 hrs a day 7 days a week in WW2, this machine is in surprisingly good shape. I pried up and down on the chuck with a 2x4. then i climbed up on it, and tried to move the chuck. i t has no play i can find, so while I expect to shim and adjust it, you cannot visually see any movement at the bearing collar. It has a lighthouse holder in the compound slide, Which seems to have almost no play either. there is a 16 in 4 jaw independent chuck mounted, and there is an 18 in faceplate, , with a which has a drive dog bracket bolted down, with a small taper in the dead center, no idea what thats about. it has a full length drain pan, and in it has 2 steady rests, one may be just a safety, as its not adjustable. big handfull of hss bits, some 1 in plus reamers and a few giant drills. a dozen misc items i havent identified yet. there is a box under the tailstock, and in it are about 10 different gears, some taper peices, a dead center, and a live center and a few more drills. Whats also cool, is it has a complete and functional taper attachment. Heres the funny part. Its 100 percent original paint. and in excellent shape. i cant find a mark in any of the ways. every thing on it is smooth and tight. apparently its been in a barn basement for over 50 years. I got it cheap, and one reason is that, at the auction this machine oil pan was full to the ways with tools, attachments, and parts. He went and paid for it, and when he got back to it, almost everything was gone. the line shaft, pulleys, drive, and 90 percent of the tools were gone. apparently everyone there just helped themselves to his tools, in broad daylight. I am going to lube, and polish the shiny things, and build a drive unit. i am torn between finding a 3 belt drive and makeing a jack shaft, and putting a single 5 n pulley on the back of a 5 speed datsun transmission, with a pulley on the front, going to a 3 speed 1 hp 220v 1 ph motor i have.

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    I am a believer of hanging a countershaft from the ceiling, you can then put a motor on the floor to drive the countershaft.

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    i am positive the engineers that made this had calculated the belt tension from the top for a good reason, wear being one. i am sure it floats on oil, normally, and the weight of the entire shaft, pulleys, chuck and stock were never intended to set solely on the base bearings. however, my location on this machine is not permanent at this point, so i am thinking about using a 5 speed OD trans from a small pickup or car fairly level with the center of the shaft, and then run a shaft overhead, so it is driven from the top. i have found a 1 hp 3 speed 220v 1 ph motor. with a 1.2 overdrive and using all 3 final belt pulleys, i should be able to get a very wide assortment of rpms from 33-1380, and i am not adverse to mounting a small oil pump somewhere in the game and plumbing all into one slow feed.

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    Nice lathe-that it ran 24/7 at Fords speaks volumes! It will have been treated properly,mind. Too bad about the all the thieving of its counter and tooling �� No one at the sale took any notice? In Saudi the thieves would get their just desserts!

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    Walcott is a great lathe, I had one just like it. It has 2 speed back gears. Very strong powerful and accurate lathe. I owned quite a few flat belt lathes when I was younger and couldn't afford gear driven since it was a hobby at the time. That Walcott served me well! Your 4 jaw chuck might be similar to mine. Mine was independent/universal there was a lever in the back that shifted it between independent and universal, when in universal all the independent jaw screws turned when any one jaw screw was turned.

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    the chuck has 2 seperate drives. 4 screws adjust it independant, and one seperate device runs all 4 at once, from a key or a 3/4 wrench, it looks like this vice will open a LOONNNGG way as well, havent looked real close img_20190329_183240.jpg

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    covers off for inspection, no damaged gears. img_20190329_183231.jpgimg_20190329_183227.jpgimg_20190329_183252.jpg

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    You cannot see the taper attachment in these picsimg_20190329_183300.jpgimg_20190329_183300.jpg

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    Gary:

    The Wolcott lathe is a classic "cone drive" or "cone head" engine lathe. You are lucky to find a lathe of this age and type intact and unmolested. It is a real old workhorse.

    As for it being used on any production work at Ford, whether for automotive or defense work, I kind of doubt it. The lathe is not a production machine tool. Production machine tools are typically built to do one or several types of operations repetively and are built to "run 24/7". An example of a production lathe would be a turret lathe, rather than the engine lathe that you have. With plain bearings (such as your Wolcott lathe has) and no features for repetitive/production machining, your lathe was most likely used at Ford in a different way. Namely, it could have been in a maintenance shop in some place like the powerplant or one of the auto plants. The automotive plants required vast amounts of support in the form of toolrooms to make/maintain the tooling (jigs, fixtures, dies, specialized cutting tools, etc) used in the production of the automobiles or defense work. The toolroom machine tools were usually highly precise machine tools, sometimes made to a higher standard of accuracy than the regular machine tools. Then, with the sheer volume of machinery and physical plant in the automotive industry, there had to have been maintenance shops. Ford ran miles of railroad in their plants (such as the Rouge), had their own blast furnaces, steel mills, ore boats, ore unloading facilities, and on it went. With countless pieces of machinery, equipment, and plant systems to be maintained, my thinking is your lathe likely came out of one of the in-plant maintenance shops.

    If it WERE ever used in production, you would not be finding it in the condition you did. It would likely have gone to the razor blades long ago as it would have been so worn and beat that it was beyond any recall. Even in the Model T days, Ford was investing in production machine tools, and I recall reading how Bullard built some semi-automatic vertical turret lathes for machining the flywheels. Ford was quite please when they found that the Bullards could machine a flywheel in a matter of maybe a minute and a half, if that long. Similarly, any production lathes on the "line" would have been turret lathes or some other variant such as LeBlond made- usually with no lead screw, a clutch/brake on the spindle so the operator could get jobs in and out quickly, and means for setting a bunch of "stops" for repetitive operations. Any machine tools used in regular production in the automotive and defense plants had to earn their keep, and it meant some "time study guys" with stop watches and clip boards were watching every move the operators made and trying to shave even a few seconds off each production machining job. No one would "make the time" on a manual engine lathe like your Wolcott lathe. On the other hand, it DID play its own part in keeping Ford going, by supporting the plant in either a toolroom or maintenance shop.

    Another location the old Wolcott lathe could have been located in might have been the Henry Ford technical/trade school. Henry Ford was a great believer in teaching young men (sorry if not PC, but those were the times) the machinist trade. He saw to it a fine and well equipped school or schools were set up within the Ford Motor Company to train young men to become machinists, toolmakers, and other technical professions such as draftsmen and tool designers. Since your Wolcott lathe is not "beat on" as many lathes of that same era would be, and seems to have seen some use but well cared for, my guess is it might have even come out of the Ford trade schools.

    It was likely tucked away in some quieter area of the Ford plants, well cared for, and not used long enough or hard enough to show hard wear and damage. It is also unmodified. Many old lathes of this era would have had some sort of brackets or supports cobbed onto them for a motor drive. Many lathes of this era, having been pushed aside when the move from lineshaft driven machine tools occurred would have been through a few moves and a few owners. In the process, it was not uncommon for the old lathes to sustain damage and wind up with some of the handwheels and levers broken and brazed back together. It is also not uncommon to see old lathes of this era covered in umpteen coats of paint slathered on with a wide brush. Your lathe looks like it may well be in its original paint. Again, a production machine tool would have the paint worn off in areas from coolant and chips. Look at the LH corner of the compound (top slide) where the toolpost is mounted. If it is chewed up, it means the lathe was used by indifferent operators who had occasional minor "crashes"- running the compound into the chuck jaws. Students did this to some degree as they learned to run lathes. A few nicks on the corner of the compound are common, but if it looks like someone fed the corner of the compound into the chuck jaws and really took off some meat, that tells the tale of a lathe that was not well cared for.

    The bed of the lathe is some type of cast iron or "semi steel" (cast iron mixed with scrap steel). Not a hardened bed, so would have been hand scraped when the lathe was built. If you can see the "fish scale" or "frosting" from the finish scraping along the bedways over the run of the bed, the lathe would be in incredibly good condition, or had been rescraped and seen little service afterwards.

    Ford had what approached an infinite number of possible non-production applications for your lathe, and it would have supported anything from basic plant maintenance to toolroom work or training. Your lathe did its part, but not in the way you might have first imagined. BTW: I'd move the tailstock in so it is sitting fully on the bedways before it lands on your foot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Main View Post
    the chuck has 2 seperate drives. 4 screws adjust it independant, and one seperate device runs all 4 at once, from a key or a 3/4 wrench, it looks like this vice will open a LOONNNGG way as well, havent looked real close img_20190329_183240.jpg
    Oh OK you have the other style, I still have one of those, have one of the other type in 3 jaws but without the lever. Only 4 jaw I seen with the lever was the one on my Walcot.

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    Henery Ford was credited for many thing, but he was also cheap! Quite a few documented actions of his not wanting to spend the required money sometime lead to failure. I read the Ford trained his tool makers and machinist to avoid paying the higher wages these men got at the time.

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    I believe you 100 percent. there seems to not be any damage on the carriage, cross slide, or compound, but i will inspect next time i am near it closer. It has scraping visible from one end of the ways to the other, as well as the taper assy. In the advertising for this lathe its claimed that the ways are far larger then industry standard. As for the condition... tool room or student lathe seems to fit better then production. i love the original paint. I passed up on a lot of lathes before this one, and after i saw it in person, this is the one for me. thanks for the wise description.

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    I went and looked it over real good. one tiny mark in the protruding corner of the compound, the carriage is untouched. scrubbed the ways with ether, and oil and a rag. scraping is visible on all 4 way surfaces. I lubed the sliding journals of all the gear changing slides. i tried the double back gear, and all 3 selections, locked, 2nd and 1st, all in good shape. i soaked the whole machine, every moving part in spray oil. I am happy as hell with it. I cant wait to power it up.

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    well i finally got a chance to put a big heavy round thingy into my big heavy round thing holder and rotary inspection stand. The first and most expensive {i hope} obstacle has been found, a 4 step pulley. My twisting thingie uses 3 belts, and they are the same size as the new heavy thing outer 3, and I will use the 4th for a brake. the excess long thingie i will use to power some other device, yet discovered, maybe a belt driven shaper... Note to future explorers, do not use a .030 dial indicator with .001 to center work in the clamping thingie. its just too fine to get within close. my other measuring thingamabobs were so cold they didnt want to return well.img_20190404_222614.jpg

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    with my 2 hp motor, running at 1725, i need a 20 in pulley to get a jackshaft rpm of 301 rpm. This, the gear reduction in the drive step pulley and my back gears give me a chuck speed range of 18 speeds. 501, 301, 250, 180, 166, 150, 167, 100, 90, 83, 60, 50, 36, 31, 30, 21, 18, 11, and 10.

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    no 20 in pulley around i can afford, so i went with a 12 in pulley, and dropped motor to a 2 in. Lathe Drive project is img_20190417_183700.jpgnearing completion, pictures of the shaft assembly. Building final frame and shimming the bearing caps remains. The button in the picture engages an internal deep reduction.img_20190417_183705.jpgimg_20190418_184701.jpg
    Last edited by Gary Main; 04-18-2019 at 09:01 PM.

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    For large diameter pulleys, a farm store has cheaper stamped/welded pulleys that don't kill the bank. Or making them out of plywood is an option..............doesn't take long to knock one out.


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