LeBlonde Regal Servo Shift reliabilty?
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    Default LeBlonde Regal Servo Shift reliabilty?

    I'm watching a couple very clean 15X56 lathes at auction this week. They're LeBlonde Regal Servo Shift. How reliable are these? What kind of problems/costs could I incur if the drive system develops problems? This is for a home shop, so light usage, but I know nothing about the ins and outs of the servo shift. They'll probably bring big money, but you never know.

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    I doubt they are thought sought after. Hydraulic Lathes are consider complicated and unreliable. The servo shift can be hard to get going if you know nothing about them. I know most people consider the Regal lathes to be light for old American iron.

    I worked hard to get my non-operational 14" T&D servo shift going but, it ended up being normal stuff i.e mis- wired on several levels. I love mine and it has proven reliable for my home shop. I wish mine wasn't so just worn out.

    If you get all the goodies and they were actually working, I'd say go for it. Lots of parts still available from LeBlonde. If your good at electrical, shouldn't be that hard to figure out problems. The biggest problem I'd say would be the Zero Speed Switch, the clutch or the hydraulic system.

    Basically the ZSS ensures the spindle is stopped if you demand a speed change the hydraulic pump moves cylinder in the head stock while rocking the spindle to change speeds. It takes about 5 seconds to change speeds. Little different to get used to but it's fast.

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    The auction house posted videos of the lathe in operation. It looks like they operate like the should, with the spindle rocking back and forth several times while it shifts. I just don't want to wind up with a money pit if it develops problems down the road. I prefer old iron, but I want a more modern spindle nose, ie L0 or D1 or something like that. I'm not a big fan of the old threaded spindles. It's getting harder to find chucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    The auction house posted videos of the lathe in operation. It looks like they operate like the should, with the spindle rocking back and forth several times while it shifts. I just don't want to wind up with a money pit if it develops problems down the road. I prefer old iron, but I want a more modern spindle nose, ie L0 or D1 or something like that. I'm not a big fan of the old threaded spindles. It's getting harder to find chucks.
    I have been using my Servo Shift LeBlond daily for over 10 years with no shifter troubles at all. Seems to me that most people going on and on about troubles with LeBlond servo shifts have never used one. Mine is the same as the one you are looking at. They have tool steel ways that last forever. People go on about it being a light weight machine, It won't do what my Lodge & Shipley can do but it will easily do a .5 depth of cut on 6" diameter 6061, do you need more than that? One other thing, it has a lead screw reverse lever on the carriage, once you get used to this feature no lathe without it will ever measure up,

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonlight machine View Post
    I have been using my Servo Shift LeBlond daily for over 10 years with no shifter troubles at all. Seems to me that most people going on and on about troubles with LeBlond servo shifts have never used one. Mine is the same as the one you are looking at. They have tool steel ways that last forever. People go on about it being a light weight machine, It won't do what my Lodge & Shipley can do but it will easily do a .5 depth of cut on 6" diameter 6061, do you need more than that? One other thing, it has a lead screw reverse lever on the carriage, once you get used to this feature no lathe without it will ever measure up,
    Oh boy do I agree with you John. I've got two friends that have them. Their sentiments exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Behner View Post
    Oh boy do I agree with you John. I've got two friends that have them. Their sentiments exactly.
    Thanks Ray! People over look the Regals but they are really great lathes. I love the Servo Shift, So you are turning an OD at 900 rpm, next op is a 1 1/2 drill. while you are turning shift it to 285 rpm, stop the spindle it rocks a bit, start the spindle and it is running 285 rpm. All in less time than it takes to read this.

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    Right now, I'm using an 11" Summit, so the LeBlond would be a big step up in terms of power and mass. I don't do much big stuff; in fact, I don't do much lathe work. But, when you need one, you need one, and I want to get something better than my Summit. The Summit would be fine, but it has an oddball 56 x 3 mm spindle thread, and an oddball integral tool post. It's missing some of the change gears, and they're not standard, either.

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    As long as the rest of the lathe checks out, buy with confidence. I yanked the hydraulic servo shift unit out of my lathe and converted to manual shift with stuff I had lying around the shop. If you're in a home shop on single phase and plan to run a VFD, you'll want to do this anyways so that you can power only the spindle motor off the VFD.

    My servo shift was working, I just got annoyed waiting for it. I love my leblond.

    Edit: don't know why the photo is sideways. Tried to rotate and resave but no dice.

    img_4498.jpg

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    We've had a LeBlond regal 19 x 150 servo in the shop since I was an apprentice. We've kept it up, and it's never given us problems.

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    Are you sure it's a threaded spindle mount. Standard for the Regals was L with quite a few D1 mounts. They did make versions of the servo-shifts that were not Regals. Basically there are three speed ranges (gear sets) in the head, so a quick check at a low speed, mid, and high speed should tell you what you need to know. The servo shift set up is phase sensitive, and if you don't have it in phase it won't shift, just rock back and forth. If that's the case swap two incoming leads and it should work fine. Sometimes if they've sat for a while, the shift can be a little sluggish at first but regular use usually sorts itself out.

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    No, MY lathe has a threaded spindle. The LeBlonds have a D1. After further consideration, those lathes are a bit too big for my shop. At 100" long, they wouldn't fit where my little Summit lives.

    Anyhow, too rich for my blood, bringing $4300 before the 18% 'buyer's premium' and sales tax. I don't get that buyer's premium BS. For years, auction houses were content to make a decent profit off of the commission. Now, they make the commission PLUS the buyer's premium. How greedy can they get? They charge to load you up now, too.

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    Depending on the condition, accessories & attachments, $5000 isn't bad at all for a leblond. Obviously if it's a junker that's another story.

    I paid $8600 for mine, but came with 5C collet chuck, 10 & 12" chucks, and was in phenomenal, unrestored condition.


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