Grinding removable Leblond lathe ways
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  1. #1
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    Have any of you pulled off the removable ways of a leblond and had them ground? I'm wondering if they are meant to be ground off the lathe or were they ground bolted to the lathe. It sure would be cheaper and easier to take them off and take them in.
    Treven.

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    'Figured the point was to replace with new material of the same original dimensions, instead of regrinding, so that you don't have to mess with carriage height, shimming etc. But I have no idea what is right.

    The ways are rectangular bars and they wear on two surfaces. With the funny angle that the front way sits at, you'd have to do some math to grind down the front & back ways and keep the carriage level. Something to be said for replacing with new.

    Bob

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    Sure new would be nice but since this lathe is from 1948 and swings 26" and cost me $1000 with all the tooling I think I can forget about new - at least from Leblond.
    The .0025 that needs to be ground off isn't going to lower the carrage enough to matter. Good points about the geometry though.

    So back to my question about grinding them off the lathe?

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    I would leave them on. That way if the bed that they attach to has any imperfection, you will grind that out if you understand what I mean. I hear that once the ways come off, they are a real bitch to get back to perfect again. But thats just what I hear, never actually done it myself.
    In theory it should work perfect, but I do not know what is so hard about it. I have just been warned by many not to do it.

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    Been down this road. Bought a 17" regal a few yrs back and was told this was possible. It isn't, at least if you want anything useable at the end. Also, it does nothing for the soft cast iron tailstock ways. Forget about new parts from Leblond, RK Leblond was absorbed by Makino in 1981.

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    At one time I was lookng at a rather big used LeBlond lathe. I called the LeBlond guys in Cincinati about the replaceable ways.

    When hew, the ways are case hardened and not very deep. They are soft underneath.

    Adding the wear and the amount needed for grinding and then subtracting that from the surface of the way puts you at or below the depth of the case.

    oops.

    I wouldn't know how to through-harden a skinny strip of steel like that and not have it end up twisted like a pretzel.

    Through-harden or case harden, it would always be best to finish grind the lathe ways in place on the lathe bed.

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    machinery solutions in lexington ,SC grinds
    and scrapes ways ....i've seen their work...
    very impressive indeed. they have a huge
    blanchard grinder and an old timer who does the
    scraping. probably costs more than you paid for the
    machine though.

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    It's better to think of leBlond's "removable ways" as way inserts best ground in place. I've seen perhaps 7 attempts and once cleaned up the mess when leBlonde "replaceable" ways were removed and re-ground.

    No matter how careful you are, no matter how accurate and sophisticated the grinding set-up is, no matter what the intent of LeBlond was back when, those "re-grindable way" inserts don't go back on as accurately as you'd like them too. They're always a little low where-ever there's a fastener and you have to be obsessively careful and clean in reassembly if you're to be remotely successful.

    Regrinding the ways is only part of the problem. The saddle has to be re-fitted re-ground ways. The apron will be lower than the feed rack, lead screw, and the power shaft. All have to be lowered to bring them back into proper mesh/alignment. The tailstock has to be overhauled to fit it to the ways and bring it back into alignment with the spindle axis in the vertical plane.

    Then there's the cross slide and the compound to re-scrape/rebuild, lead screw and nut refurb/replace, headstock bearings and gearing to check/fix and etc. "Regrindable ways" is mis-leading as hell. Regrinding the bedways is only about 5% of a lathe rebuild. Once they're removed and re-ground you might wind up with only 105% remaining work to do.

    [ 03-25-2005, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: Forrest Addy ]

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    Treven, you'll do well to listen to Forrest on this one.....I've seen that exact situation first-hand.

    Some years ago, we knew a local gentleman who was a small-shop owner, and did truly excellent turning work on his 'Dual-Drive' LeBlond, which, after many many hours, developed some wear in the ways.

    As good as he was at operating a lathe, tho, he hadn't been around machine rebuild work, and so didn't really understand that machine fitting was not like, say, automotive repair work, where one could be a 'parts changer'

    He sent back to LeBlond, and bought new steel way strips for his lathe at a staggering cost figure, and fitted them to the bed, after which he just couldn't understand why the machine was farther out than with the original worn ways...

    He lost a good bit of time fooling with the machine, then re-fitted the original steel ways, and sold the lathe....and, presumably, the machine's new owner had the option of fitting the new way strips, having them ground in place, and fitting the saddle to the ways.

    Now, in this instance, that particular lathe had been used carefully, and was in generally quite nice condition, with the 'normal' wear which is to be expected over a great many hours of operation.

    It would have been, probably, reasonably cost-effective to have sent the machine out for proper rebuilding. As circumstances were, tho, he had no real choice other than to replace the machine, as he couldn't afford to be without that capability even briefly, given his work-load.

    (I will say this...Monarch owners may not think the LeBlond Dual Drive to be all that much of a lathe, as lathes go....but I was quite impressed with the productivity of that lathe, with a really good operator)

    cheers

    Carla

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    Are the mounts for the ways not accurate? Other wise they should go on exactly the same as they came off. Obviously they would have to be spotlessly clean.
    I called Shafer Grinding in Los Angeles and they would only charge me $200 to grind both ways and only take off about .003 which shouldn't go through the case hardening and won't make any differnce to the lead screws etc.

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    There are millions of machines out there with replacable hardened ways that can be replaced to original accuracy and very close tollerences.
    The first that comes to mind is Diesel engines with replacable cylinder liners and bearing inserts and they are very accurate.

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    Hello! I actually live in Cincinnati. I know people who worked at Leblond and the topic of to remove and grind or leave attached and grind has come up at times. I have been told that the hard bars on Leblonds were ground and then installed. I worked at Cincinnati Milacron. The cutter grinders had the ways bolted in place and then ground. We are talking about two different animals here. The cutter grinders had balls that would rattle across high spots that would transfer to te tool finish but the lathe carriage would bridge across minute humps created by attachment screw pressure and would not effect finish. Knowing the people I know, I would remove the bars grind and then reattach.

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    I once attended a mechanical maintenance school at Giddings and Lewis in Fondulac Wisconsin. There they scraped the areas where the ways were to be bolted and then bolted the finished ways to the prepared surfaces. I have worked on a good many G&L's and when we would look at a high hour machine you could see a ghost of every screw tension point. They would form a scalloped effect but the precision would not be effected in the least. I have a great deal of respect for G&L's

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    I would look at regrinding the removable ways like getting new hip joints, wait until thay are so bad that you have nothing to loose. I have a 24X270 inch lodge and shiply that I should redo the ways (it was used for honing long cly.s befor I bought it cheap and the grit got the front ways real bad) but I can still stear the old gal to cut stright so so far I have left it be.....Phil in Mt

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    P.S. I'm used to dealling with actual grinders capaple of actual finish work. I am not looking at your lathe and I must caution you to pay attention to sharp angle readings where applicable. When I am not gazing at the actual situation I will sometimes take a lot of things for granted. If the surfaces are all paralell and on the same plane it should not be to difficult. If they are at different angles to on another care should be taken as angles fall at a greater rate to flats.

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    I had some experience with HES NC lathes with a very similiar way configuration. They were long bed, but had extensive usage as chuckers, with melted lube lines. (HES used plastic lines for the waylube. Pretty bad on a 25 hp NC.) The GE 550 only had .0002 move on the radius, so program windage didn't work very well.

    I loosened the ways next to the chuck, and shimmed at the bolts. I set the shims with a precision level. It wasn't great, but reduced about .005 taper to about .002.

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    Thanks for the good info traytopjohnny! The ways are just rectangular so they are easy to grind.

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    gbent sounds as though he has had real time experience. Sometimes necessary repair aint real pretty but if it works your back in action.

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    I know they are rectangular but are they on the same plane. Are they flat and paralell to one another? Can you put a straight edge across them and will it bear all the way across?

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    Before you start. Have you put a lining bar in your spindle and rotated it to know it to be true and then actually measured the drop as your carriage approaches the headsstock? There are many things you can do to improve if not totally remove your problems.


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