Older Clausing-Colchester vs similar size LeBlonde or Cincinnati? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Price quoted is astronomical for a roundhead Colchester ......yes,they have a hardened bed,but ,no ,they are not a good lathe....and Ive bought sold ,fixed ,dozens.....the one I have now ,I got free.....which at this point in time (50 years after the last was made) is about what they are worth.....Forget it,and if you must have a Colchester get the later squareline model .....very greatly improved over the roundhead.
    Thanks very much John. I'll gratefully take your advice, which pretty much puts the sledgehammer to this experiment.

    Thanks also to RobF and lucky7 and the other guys for their input - it's been a valuable bit of education.

    --Shaggy

  2. #22
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    I have a 17" Colchester round head.
    The bed was in very good shape and so were the slideways.
    But when I got into it, the powerfeed in the apron was really messed up.
    I ended up buying a $1200 gear for it, but that was just the small part.
    I don't think these aprons came with bushings for the feed and lead
    screws, but I believe someone in the past set the apron up on an HBM and
    bored every hole for bronze bushings. Anyways, there are 5 bushings, and
    everyone was worn almost completely in half. The banjo casting for the
    power feed selector lever had cracked from being bored thin in the bushing
    area, and I had to braze that up and re-bore it also.
    Making 5 new bushings from aluminum-bronze was the easy part.
    The new gear was the easy part.
    Problem was there was a design reason that this machine wore out the bushings.
    The banjo is like the selector in a Norton style QC box. It is retained in
    its slide selector position by a handle that has a detent at the front of the
    apron wall. Trouble comes because the banjo is not retained in position at
    the rear of the casting, where the feed shaft comes through. This lack of
    retaining causes the whole banjo casting to try and rotate for and aft, and
    in doing so, puts a huge bind on its bushings. Apparently so much that it
    wipes out the bushings in short order. Also another data point, if you try
    and turn the long feed rod by hand, you can see the rear of the banjo casting
    move for and aft and bind to the feedrod in its bushings. I also believe this
    binding overloaded one of the feed gears and broke some teeth.
    So I took it upon myself to make a slide-lock mechanism to retain the rear
    of the power feed selector banjo casting to prevent this binding movement.
    I posted a series of videos on my DOOZER'S SHOP youtube channel dealing with
    this. I made 12 parts that I used to modify the lathe's apron to fix this
    engineering shortcoming of this lathe.
    It works well now, a very successful repair.
    I also did a deep dive into improving the lubrication system of the apron,
    especially the lube to the half nut lifting mechanism. But that is another
    story all together.
    But I still have a lathe that has a very LOUD headstock from the gearing.
    They look fine, I guess that is just the nature of the beast.
    Now looking back, I put way too much work into this lathe.
    Not sure if the smaller swing Colchester round head lathes suffer from bad
    engineering in the power feed area of the apron, but please beware when
    buying one of these lathes.

    --Doozer

  3. #23
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    Thanks for the warning, and the story.

    Sadly, also a reminder that many very old machines, having suffered decades more wear than they were ever meant to in commercial use, and various makeshift 'repairs' one on top of another, meant merely to keep them running another day.
    And no surprise that their weak points had long since showed up in ever-increasing wear and even actual damage from abuse and said makeshift 'repairs', to the point they become (if we're honest) scrap-worthy.

    At which point we might honestly ask whether the machine is not actually 'scrap', and move on to the next old machine - one perhaps more deserving of our efforts.

    All dependant of course on ones' ability to minimise the sentimental instinct to 'rescue' the machine (in my case, this being less an issue now than in my youth, when I felt that time had no end, and no meaning but to tinker!)
    Last edited by shaggy; 11-17-2020 at 02:50 PM.

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