Questions on an American lathe
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  1. #1
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    Default Questions on an American lathe

    I recently looked at a 1967 14x54 American lathe and have a few questions. To be able to lift it the manual calls for 1-3/8" heat treated rods to be put through the holes in the bed. Is there a specific alloy that these rods need to be or would a hot or cold rolled rod be sufficient?

    The next question is on the spindle drive. It has a 27 speed gear box but it also appears to have a variable speed DC motor and drive on it with a speed control knob with the rest of the switches on the head stock. I did not have a flashlight with me to look at the tag on the motor but the electrical schematics show the spindle drive as DC. It was not under power so I was not able to hear it run or play with it.

    Overall it appears to be well taken care of and is in good condition.

    Thanks!

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    You could do as they suggest and get some 4140 pre hard - which will likely be "hot rolled"

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliG View Post
    Is there a specific alloy that these rods need to be or would a hot or cold rolled rod be sufficient?
    Steel is all the same strength up to the bending point. (Within reason.)

    No need.

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    Here is as late as it gets at Vintage Machinery - but no mention of preselect or vari speed. The poster of this pub supposed it was about 1961 vintage

    http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1004/7211.pdf

    ph

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    So I did some digging and have figured out that the lathe is equipped with a 20 HP Louis Allis eddy current drive. So on top of the 27 gears it also has variable speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliG View Post
    So I did some digging and have figured out that the lathe is equipped with a 20 HP Louis Allis eddy current drive. So on top of the 27 gears it also has variable speed.
    If it's the variable frequency drive, oh-oh. The KT 180's had those. I can tell you long sad stories about that drive.

    You won't, but if it was mine I'd pull that thing off and run it like the rest of them, just the 27 speed gearbox. Those Louis-Allis things are very poorly designed and they literally explode.

    If you do run it, don't ever turn the power off. They explode on power-up because the power curcuitry can come up before the control circuitry. If two pheses turn on at the same time on power-up, it's a dead short.

    And I do mean dead. The Darlingtons are $100 apiece and there's six of them. Also, two phases connected across each other creates a noteworthy flash of noise and light. Immediately after that it lets out all the magic smoke in an impressive fashion.

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    Thanks for the heads up on the drive. More than likely I will change the motor out with a 7.5 HP 3 phase motor that I have. I doubt that I would need the full 20 HP that it has and my rotary phase converter is only 15 HP and I really don't want to upsize it right now.

    My biggest challenge is finding a rigging company that does not want an insane amount of money to remove it from the building it is in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliG View Post
    I recently looked at a 1967 14x54 American lathe and have a few questions. To be able to lift it the manual calls for 1-3/8" heat treated rods to be put through the holes in the bed. Is there a specific alloy that these rods need to be or would a hot or cold rolled rod be sufficient?
    A 1020 cold rolled 1 3/8 bar will also work with 7000 pound basket load rated polyester lifting straps. The lathe weighs 8600 pounds. The eye hooks on the straps rest against the lathe bed. The bars do not bend significantly as long as the straps or chains rest against the bed. You may also need one or two wood 2X4 blocks to prevent the straps from resting against the lead screw. The spin on oil filter on the headstock may get crushed by the strap depending on how far apart the forks on the lift truck are when holding the straps.

    The reason for using the straps and bar arrangement rather than using forks placed under the bed is to avoid damage to the lathe apron. The majority of the weight on a short bed lathe is on the headstock end. The center of gravity may be too far to one side to allow a safe lift. The lathe will slide on the forks if it leans to one side.

    Verify that the 10 leveling bolts are retracted before placing the lathe on the truck bed.

    When doing the lift make sure that the motor is supported by the 5 V-belts. Otherwise it will flop down on the hinged plate it is bolted to.

    The straps are used for loading only. They are useless for transporting within a building or in a parking lot.

    I replaced the original 20 HP U frame motor with a 10 HP motor to avoid the large current draw during motor startup and to avoid having to supply 460 volts to the 460 volt only wound motor. A soft start contactor was also installed to futher reduce the current draw. The soft start initialy starts the motor using the 460 volt motor winding connection with a 240 volt supply. Once the motor gets up to speed, in about 3 seconds, the motor leads are switched to the 240 volt connection for normal operation.
    Last edited by Robert R; 03-21-2020 at 01:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R View Post
    A 1020 cold rolled 1 3/8 bar will also work with 7000 pound basket load rated polyester lifting straps. The lathe weighs 8600 pounds. The eye hooks on the straps rest against the lathe bed. The bars do not bend significantly as long as the straps or chains rest against the bed. You may also need one or two wood 2X4 blocks to prevent the straps from resting against the lead screw. The spin on oil filter on the headstock may get crushed by the strap depending on how far apart the forks on the lift truck are when holding the straps.

    The reason for using the straps and bar arrangement rather than using forks placed under the bed is to avoid damage to the lathe apron. The majority of the weight on a short bed lathe is on the headstock end. The center of gravity may be too far to one side to allow a safe lift. The lathe will slide on the forks if it leans to one side.

    Verify that the 10 leveling bolts are retracted before placing the lathe on the truck bed.

    When doing the lift make sure that the motor is supported by the 5 V-belts. Otherwise it will flop down on the hinged plate it is bolted to.

    The straps are used for loading only. They are useless for transporting within a building or in a parking lot.

    I replaced the original 20 HP U frame motor with a 10 HP motor to avoid the large current draw during motor startup and to avoid having to supply 460 volts to the 460 volt only wound motor. A soft start contactor was also installed to futher reduce the current draw. The soft start initialy starts the motor using the 460 volt motor winding connection with a 240 volt supply. Once the motor gets up to speed, in about 3 seconds, the motor leads are switched to the 240 volt connection for normal operation.
    Can I just add to the very comprehensive post above that if there's any coolant in the tray/sump it's best to pump it out before you disconnect the power. People sometimes forget about the coolant until the first time the truck has to stop suddenly.

    Regards Tyrone.

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  12. #10
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    The earlier reply about rigging the 14X54 and longer Pacemaker lathes does NOT apply to the 14X30 lathe. The headstock end lifting bar hole for this lathe is located at the lathe's center of gravity. If you try to lift it with the slings and lifting bars as described in the manual the tailstock end sling will have no load on it.

    Moving the tailstock to the far end helps a little but not enough to insure a safe lift. My proposed solution of adding ballast weights to the tailstock was rejected by the forklift operator. His solution was to remove the headstock sling from the lifting bar and place it underneath the headstock pedestal. Moving the headstock sling 12 inches to the left provided enough load on the tailstock sling to permit a safe lift. The suspended lathe was still stable in the front-back direction even though it was being lifted from the bottom of the pedestal. The tailstock sling and lifting bar kept the lathe upright.
    Last edited by Robert R; 03-23-2020 at 12:38 AM.


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