Leblond Regal opinions
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  1. #1
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    I'm looking at a 13" Leblond Regal, early 1960's vintage. What kind of reputation do these machines have? Are there any specific 'trouble spots' that I should watch out for?

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    I have ran Regal Leblond's for 35 years including some 60's machines. I rate them as one of the best.

    Worst problems: neglect, lack of care. The place I work is famous for running machines with "NO" oil in the sumps. First thing I do before running a machine is fill everything with oil. The other guys just run em.

    After 30 or 40 years of that kind of care, who really wants them.
    Jim

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    A Leblond regal lathe was the standard manual lathe made buy a company that was world famous for their lathes. Like anything else, If you get one before it has been abused you are ahead of the game. Now, just check it out and be certain the lube system is in good repair and think about who you are going to leave it to in your will. It will be around long after you arn't. John

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    In the early 80's I spent some time on a 1964 13" Regal with Servo Shift. It was a really good lathe in my opinion, the only thing I didn't like was the 1200 RPM top speed. The Servo Shift was sorta neat but probably not worth the extra complexity.

    Mike

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    Oh, to live in Scotland! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

    http://tinyurl.com/bpel6

    Jimbo

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    Hello! I bought a new 15"x54" Servo Shift LeBlond 25 years ago and it has been and still is the best! Of course I have taken care of it, but it works like brand new and has helped me produce a lot of work. I have also had good luck with a Clausing 13 x 36 Vari-speed 1300 series, new in 1978. Care of any shop equipment is the key.

  7. #7
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    I have always liked the Leblond Regal lathes, as they seem to fit me perfectly. I can reach down for a handle, and there it is, without looking. I have run Monarchs, Clausing Colchesters, Logans, South Bends, Sheffields, and a few others I can't remember, but I like the Leblond Regal the best. I think the Monarch is a little more machine ( heavier built), and I had the choice of that or the Regal. I bought the Regal. As for Servoshift, when they are good, they're good. When they go bad, they're horrible. I bought one without it, and I love it. Mine is a '65, and has seen some
    use. It has some evidence of a few boo boos and some careless handling, but still turns out good work. Check to make sure the spindle nose has not been too abused. Clamping chucks on and off without cleaning ALL the chips out of the chuck can cause the spindle to get marked up by trapped chips, a common form of abuse/neglect on this type of spindle. Hope you enjoy your Regal as much as I do mine!-JM

  8. #8
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    while there are those that might deny leblond as being the rolls royce of lathes, i would argue they certainly are the cadillac of lathes at the very least.

    parts support is very good for these machines too, i looked into a 1913 model, and after calling leblond limited found that all the parts are available for every lathe they ever built since day one!

    albeit while not in stock they are willing to produce any part for any of their machines. not cheap, but for a hard to locate or impossible to find part it is nice to know they will come up with the needed part.

    to me that makes them very desirable, as long as the bed is in good shape and the machine doesnt need alot of expensive reconditioning.

    i like em

    bob g

  9. #9
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    I once worked at RK LeBlond and they built exceptionally fine turning equipment; shipping over 100,000 lathes during the company's 99 year production run from 1887 to 1986.

    Their best equipment (IMHO) was produced from post WWII era into the 1970s. Their Heavy Duty lathes were well engineered, well built, high quality turning machines.

    The Regal lathes are equally fine, but since they were a lighter, lower cost machine tool, they were frequently used in situations that may have been more appropriate for a heavier lathe. Common sense says to look, listen and choose wisely!

    A good, used Regal lathe is a wonderful unit for a home shop. LeBlond used hardened and shaved gears in that headstock, hardened & ground steel bedways, large diameter dials, etc. I always appreciated that the length feed and cross feed was controlled by one lever, rather than two as on some other lathes.

    The Servo Shift unit gets some bad press from time to time, but it truly is a simple hydraulic/mechanical system that's easy to diagnose and repair. If you are considering a manually shifed Regal, pull the headstock cover and inspect the gear teeth. It was VERY common practice to jog or pulse the spindle under power while forcing the gears to mesh: R-R-R-R-CLUNK-Clunk-clunk... You will rarely find any chipped or dinged up gear teeth in a Servo Shift headstock.

    Mike

  10. #10
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    I really like my 15" Regal. I've always found it comfortable, accurate, and durable. Not the heaviest lathe, but that's largely in the work you need to do with it.

    I'd recommend a Regal, but do remove the cover and inspect the gears for abuse.

    Richard

  11. #11
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    I have a 15x30 Regal, non-servoshift. I really like it, it's a great machine.

    I like the L0 spindle, but it's getting a little harder to find chucks and backplates than it used to. I got a NOS 4 jaw English made chuck on a clearance sale a few years ago and I haven't seen anything like that show up lately.

    Run it under power in all gears. Ideally, it should sound the same in forward and reverse, but it probably won't, the forward speeds will likely be louder. Listen for a clicking. If you hear something that shows up in only one gear, it probably indicates a gear repair. Headstock gear clusters are VERY expensive (like over $600 last time I looked, I wouldn't be surprised if it's over $1K by now)

    See if you can look at the oil in the bottom of the headstock. Ideally, the oil should be clear, but you can get a lot of sludge in the bottom if it was never changed. Drop a magnet in it and see if you come up with any pieces.

    See if they ran coolant on it. My quick change box was all gummed up and rusted from coolant infiltration. Wasn't that big a deal to fix and the parts were relatively cheap, but you won't know until you open it up.

    The top couple of speeds are belt driven to isolate the motor from the spindle for a better surface finish. That's a neat feature.

    Look for wear rigdges on the ways, particularly the front one. Because of the geometry, you can tolerate a little wear without sacrificing too much accuracy. I figured it out once, I htink a couple thou on the way drops the tool point a tenth or so. Still, no wear is better. LeBlond used to say they were good for the life of the lathe, so if they're shot that should tell you something. They're replacable, but only if you're doing a total rebuild,

    Paul

  12. #12
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    I have a 15x30 servo-shift 1982 modle at work and it is a fine machine.

  13. #13
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    Wehave two LeBlond engine lathes in the powerplant shop. One is a 25" x 96" NK 2510. It is a very heavy duty engine lathe. At another shop I helped set up, I bought a wide-bed heavy duty LeBlond which swings work 60" over the cross slide x 24 ft between centers.

    The other lathe in our powerplant shop is a LeBlond Regal 15" x 30" Servoshift. It is a great little lathe. It replaced a 1972 Southbend Heavy 10" lathe. It is about a 1978 machine we bought used, thanks to a referral by Ray French. This little LeBlond had been a USAF machine. The government rebuilt it at Chambersburg Army Depot some few years ago. Between it being a USAF machine (lighter use than a Navy lathe) and the government rebuild, it is a dandy little lathe. It runs smoothly and quietly, even at top spindle rpm (1200 rpm). Cuts and threads nice and true and tight.

    I first set eyes and hands on a LeBlond Regal engine lathe at Brooklyn Tech HS in 1965. These were manual gearshift headstocks. We kids were turned loose on the regal lathes and foudn them to be a very user friendly machine. As HS students, we ran all the traditional US built lathes from the 1920's-1940's- the geared head Hendeys, Lodge and Shipleys, Sidneys, Crawfords, and Reed and Prentices. Working part time as a machinist thru college and out in the field as an engineer, over the past 35 years or so, I have used other LeBlond lathes. The Regal series will not have the beef of other equivalent capcity US engine lathes such as Reed & Prentice , Lodge & Shipley, Monarch or Hendey. OTOH, a Regal lathe is certainly a great deal more rigid and lot more lathe than the Chinese imports of the same capacity. For most work, the Regal is more than enough lathe. It is well built, well designed, and supported by a great parts and service company (leBlond, Ltd).

    The problem with a used Regal is simply that many used Regals are beat. In the days when Regals were sold, they were probably at the low end of the price scales for a geared head US Built engine lathe. If a person were shopping for a lathe and looking for the lower cost, they would likely have gone for a Regal vs. say a L & S or similar. The problem was that a lot of Regal lathes wund up handling heavier jobs than they really should have, simply because they had the nominal capacity to do it. The end result is a lot of used Regals have been worked hard and are kind of worn or worse.

    I second the suggestion to open the headstock when buying a used lathe. When we were shopping for the 15" LeBlond, we made the trek out to Michigan from NY State to look at a used LeBlond Regal. From 20 ft away, it was obvious this lathe had been worked hard. I had asked, as a term of sale, that the headstock be opened for our inspection. Rolling the headstock gearing over by hand, I saw bluing and file or emery marks on the bull gear teeth. Considering this was a used lathe, seeing the bluing and file/emery marks was suspicious. Some more slow-rolling of the gears and up came a couple of gears with some partially busted teeth. More clos einspection showed pieces of the teeth had run thru the gearing and put a few dings ont he flanks of some of the other gear teeth. The people selling the lathe pleaded ignorance, claiming they had bught the lathe at a sale and as far as they knew, it was "running fine". I had the headstock closed up and tried the lathe under power. You could hear the "snick" of the damaged teeth aside from the racket of gear lash on worn spur gears running with no load on them. I have a hearing loss, but it was something I could hear. Needless to say, we did not buy that lathe. Thanks to this Bulletin Baord and Ray French's help, we got our 15" x 30" Regal lathe and it is a nice tight little lathe that does whatever we need in the way of small lathe work.

    My other suggestion is to look carefuly at the LeBlond Regal you want to buy and have LeBlond, Ltd run the serial number. At some point in the late 1970's or early 1980's, LeBlond stopped all lathe production in the USA and began having them built in Singapore. The first Singapore built LeBlonds were supposedly made by having the castings poured in Singapore and finishing/Assembly done in the USA. We have one of those Singapore/USA LeBlond Regals at another of our plants. Not a bad little lathe and virtually indistinguishable from the earlier US Built LeBlond Regals. Later on, the entire lathes were being built in Singapore. While I have never seen one of these Singapore built LeBlond Regals, the word is the quality and finish were not up to what a US Built Regal had been. For that reason, I would take the serial number and ask LeBlond, Ltd to check it out as to year and place of MFR and who the first owner was.

    On balance, I think LeBlond built a very good light-to-medium duty engine lathe in the Regal series.

  14. #14
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    Hi guys - thanks for all the great info, but it turns out that I'm going to pass on this machine. The lathe in question is currently listed on eBay and is in a shop only about ten miles away. I contacted the seller (a local auctioneer who's selling some surplus stuff for the shop owner) to see if I could have a look at the lathe. He responded that my inspection would be too much of an inconvenience for his client, the shop owner. The guy couldn't even tell me the HP rating of the motor. Even though the lathe might be nice, I really don't have any interest in bidding on a pig in a poke. Oh well, guess I'll just keep looking - I really wanted a 15" machine anyway.

  15. #15
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    I don't blame you, I wouldn't bid either. They have something to hide. As that deal fell through, I would like to mention if you run into a LeBlond Dual Drive don't hesitate to give it a look. I have a 15" that is in great shape and I really love the girl. 26 to 1800 rpm.
    Michael

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    Hey Guys,
    I am looking at a LeBlond 19" x 54" 1975 lathe that I may be able to pick up real cheap. It has the servo shift headstock with a 7.5 HP motor. I contacted LeBlond LTD. and parts are available. It is not running and has a lot of surface rust. All of the typical moving parts like spindle, tailstock, carriage do move. I am just wondering if your opinion is that the resurrection of this may or may not be worth the effort. I have no clue what I would be getting into with the servo shift mechanisms. I have just a couple of days to decide. Any advice would be appreciative.
    Russell

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    It all comes down to $$$.

    How much is the owner asking vs what you are willing to spend?

    Pull the headstock cover and inspect ALL the gears. The gears are very dear through LeBlond LTD.

    Mike

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    Default LeBlond Regal motor

    Quote Originally Posted by JMackessy View Post
    I have always liked the Leblond Regal lathes, as they seem to fit me perfectly. I can reach down for a handle, and there it is, without looking. I have run Monarchs, Clausing Colchesters, Logans, South Bends, Sheffields, and a few others I can't remember, but I like the Leblond Regal the best. I think the Monarch is a little more machine ( heavier built), and I had the choice of that or the Regal. I bought the Regal. As for Servoshift, when they are good, they're good. When they go bad, they're horrible. I bought one without it, and I love it. Mine is a '65, and has seen some
    use. It has some evidence of a few boo boos and some careless handling, but still turns out good work. Check to make sure the spindle nose has not been too abused. Clamping chucks on and off without cleaning ALL the chips out of the chuck can cause the spindle to get marked up by trapped chips, a common form of abuse/neglect on this type of spindle. Hope you enjoy your Regal as much as I do mine!-JM
    Hello I know this is a very old thread but I recently bought a 13" Regal and someone removed motor tag ? I was hoping you could help with who made the 3hp motor for the lathe and if possible mabye a pic of your tag with the wiring hi low layout ? If it's not to much trouble . Thankyou in advance, Mick in Ca.

  19. #19
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    Mick you will get better results if you go directly to the LeBlond user site you will have to join but its free

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by onecut View Post
    Mick you will get better results if you go directly to the LeBlond user site you will have to join but its free

    Can you provide a link? I know this is an old thread, but I just bought a 19x54 Regal Servo Shift.


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