Herbert No.4 Senior non-preoptive / general capstan lathe advice
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    Default Herbert No.4 Senior non-preoptive / general capstan lathe advice

    I'm back working part-time for a manufacturing company as a machine shop operative - mostly manual turning with a gradual progression to learning CNC.. I've worked at the company a few times with a few redundancies but keep going back because I like working there and it presently fits with my other life goals.

    Previously I was getting to grips with a Herbert Senior No.4 just before becoming redundant, now I'm back and the last of the old machinists there has passed away. The new machine shop foreman is great but not really interested or experienced with capstan lathes, so the lathe was looking to possibly be scrapped prior to me running off a few bits this past week.. I'm not sure he wants to include the machine in future production but I'm into vintage machines, and for the sort of work/ quantities we do it's just up my street/ fun without being too repetitive.

    Being about 10 years since last using it, there are a few things I'm still trying to remember.. like how the capstan is unlocked to move along the bed.. and the grease/oil nipples on the headstock, are they for oil? - presently holding off buying a manual as it's possibly in one of the disused areas.. and not my lathe.

    It's a Herbert No.4 Senior non-Preoptive, there's a rotating 4 pronged selector for speeds and a lever to choose between the high/low speed at each setting.

    In order to try and give it a good showing are there some youtube videos to search for? - I've set and used the Coventry die heads but not some of the other turret-specific fancy stuff.

    Thank you,

    Jonathan

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Grainger View Post
    I'm back working part-time for a manufacturing company as a machine shop operative - mostly manual turning with a gradual progression to learning CNC.. I've worked at the company a few times with a few redundancies but keep going back because I like working there and it presently fits with my other life goals.

    Previously I was getting to grips with a Herbert Senior No.4 just before becoming redundant, now I'm back and the last of the old machinists there has passed away. The new machine shop foreman is great but not really interested or experienced with capstan lathes, so the lathe was looking to possibly be scrapped prior to me running off a few bits this past week.. I'm not sure he wants to include the machine in future production but I'm into vintage machines, and for the sort of work/ quantities we do it's just up my street/ fun without being too repetitive.

    Being about 10 years since last using it, there are a few things I'm still trying to remember.. like how the capstan is unlocked to move along the bed.. and the grease/oil nipples on the headstock, are they for oil? - presently holding off buying a manual as it's possibly in one of the disused areas.. and not my lathe.

    It's a Herbert No.4 Senior non-Preoptive, there's a rotating 4 pronged selector for speeds and a lever to choose between the high/low speed at each setting.

    In order to try and give it a good showing are there some youtube videos to search for? - I've set and used the Coventry die heads but not some of the other turret-specific fancy stuff.

    Thank you,

    Jonathan
    If it's the same style as the ones I worked on you move the turret saddle by releasing two bolts, one at the front of the saddle and one at the back. They are low down on the saddle. You can then push or pull the saddle along the bed. If it hasn't been moved for years it may take a fair bit of effort to move it. Unless it specifically says so ( electric motors etc ) all the nipples are for oil.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Thank you, that's great. It probably hasn't been moved since last time I moved it but that's probably 10 years ago.
    It definitely takes a lot of oil, with the 2 fill until overflowing points and everything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Grainger View Post
    Thank you, that's great. It probably hasn't been moved since last time I moved it but that's probably 10 years ago.
    It definitely takes a lot of oil, with the 2 fill until overflowing points and everything else.
    I've worked on both styles of " Herbert " No 4 machines in the past from a maintenance and repair point of view. The " Pre-ops " were a fantastic lathe. Anything " Herberts " built was made to last a mans lifetime. Design, build quality, materials - all were first class. The styling became a bit dated over the years but they were still a top capstan lathe.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    You talked of set up and using

    Although this is for Warner & Swasey, the principles are exactly the same and well worth a good read.

    140 odd pages of turret lathe lore. http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/2261/20768.pdf enjoy

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    The machines are certainly well made.. though I wish some of the controls were a little higher.. there's less backlash in the cross slide on the Herbert at work than on a more recent large German brand of Chinese center lathe near it.

    Thank you Sammy for the link, a large part of difficulty seems to be in the imagination/ way of thinking, in order to make the most of the machine.. for example, it seems we've got one of the 3 cutter tool holders.. coming from conventional turning it takes a bit of thought to realise the maximum potential or complexity of parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Grainger View Post
    Thank you Sammy for the link, a large part of difficulty seems to be in the imagination/ way of thinking, in order to make the most of the machine.. for example, it seems we've got one of the 3 cutter tool holders.. coming from conventional turning it takes a bit of thought to realise the maximum potential or complexity of parts.
    Oh yes ................and that's before you go to your mate in the welding shop with 3 bits of scrap, a bent 6'' nail and a toolbit asking him to stick em together ................because you've run out of tool stations - AGAIN

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    In case not available as a similar pub in the UK, there is also W&S's Turret Lathe Operators Manual - mine is from 1940. Hard bound and over 200 pages

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    I found this as well - lot's of pictures which really help http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/2261/22884.pdf

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    Thank you Sammi,

    That's quite a book.. have started having a read through it and there are some impressive setups - the roughing and finishing passes for everything on only 2 turret stations (along with 4-way)


    Does anyone know whether the turret stops disengage the power feed as on the carriage (on the No.4)? - I'm a bit nervous about testing something I can't visually see happening until something may be too late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Grainger View Post
    Thank you Sammi,

    That's quite a book.. have started having a read through it and there are some impressive setups - the roughing and finishing passes for everything on only 2 turret stations (along with 4-way)


    Does anyone know whether the turret stops disengage the power feed as on the carriage (on the No.4)? - I'm a bit nervous about testing something I can't visually see happening until something may be too late.
    Although I was never much of a Herbert driver (IIRC only ran a 2D once, it was almost all Wards on my old manor) but I'm sure the turret stops trip the feeds, ..........given that ''many'' capstan operators could just about walk upright and didn't give a 4X either, a lack of auto trip would be asking for trouble.

    If yours doesn't I would suggest something's either broken, .or more like stuck / jammed etc from lack of use and/or accumulated muck and swarf in the works.


    The safe way to test is get close to the stop position on the clutch, then turn the chuck by hand and see if it trips.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Grainger View Post
    Thank you Sammi,

    That's quite a book.. have started having a read through it and there are some impressive setups - the roughing and finishing passes for everything on only 2 turret stations (along with 4-way)


    Does anyone know whether the turret stops disengage the power feed as on the carriage (on the No.4)? - I'm a bit nervous about testing something I can't visually see happening until something may be too late.
    I'd follow Sami's advice regarding turning the chuck over by hand to see if the stop mechanism works. Having said that in my experience if the feed lever trips out easily by hand it'll work with the stop bar.

    In the past I've found one of the issues with " Herbert " machines that have seen a lot of use is that the feed lever drops out too easily and that needs attention.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    I'd follow Sami's advice regarding turning the chuck over by hand to see if the stop mechanism works. Having said that in my experience if the feed lever trips out easily by hand it'll work with the stop bar.

    In the past I've found one of the issues with " Herbert " machines that have seen a lot of use is that the feed lever drops out too easily and that needs attention.

    Regards Tyrone.

    IIRC there's a cam in the turret apron that operates the feed gears etc etc, and said cam wears, .............ISTR them being built up with weld ????

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    IIRC there's a cam in the turret apron that operates the feed gears etc etc, and said cam wears, .............ISTR them being built up with weld ????
    I think that's the story Sami. I've repaired a few over the years, mainly on the 9C-30's, and I seem to recall that removing the apron wasn't as straight forward as on a centre lathe.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    I think that's the story Sami. I've repaired a few over the years, mainly on the 9C-30's, and I seem to recall that removing the apron wasn't as straight forward as on a centre lathe.

    Regards Tyrone.
    I've never done one - only seen Big Jim repair them for other shops / machines he traded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    I've never done one - only seen Big Jim repair them for other shops / machines he traded.
    It comes back to me now. I had to repair a 9C-30 once were I needed to remove the saddle. There was a keeper strip at the front behind the apron holding the saddle in place. I could get at the bolts at either end but not the ones in the middle. Normally you'd remove the feed shaft and drop the apron out of the way. On this lathe the feed shaft that runs through the saddle apron also runs through the turret apron. No problem usually but this lathe was end on to a wall and there wasn't room to withdraw the shaft completely.

    I had to drop both aprons at the same time very carefully to get at the bolts. It would have been easier to move the bloody lathe. That's the thing about " Herberts " they were well built but a bit complicated.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    The feed trips out quite easily by hand but I'll check it by turning the spindle.. pretty sure the last manual machinist at work was mildly interested in lathes and adamant about filling the turret apron reservoir until it overflowed.. but that's quite a while ago.

    If it doesn't work that isn't too bad but it would be much handier if trying to use the cross slide at the same time.

    The repair of the 9C sounds a bit of an adventure, not lathes but I've serviced a couple of old cameras which have been a bit awkward.

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    It probably wouldn't hurt to drain those aprons and refill with fresh oil, ......some were very good at getting coolant in them, which is not a good lubricant.'

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    I am 79 years old and remember these types of machines.They make me cringe,like when I see an old movie of men hand digging a ditch I dont know anything about your company or you products. If you want to keep your job and help your company prosper,apply your talents to cnc machines.If you have room at home ,you could indulge your hobby there. In St Luois Mo ,you can find these machines for scrap value..Edwin Dirnbeck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    It probably wouldn't hurt to drain those aprons and refill with fresh oil, ......some were very good at getting coolant in them, which is not a good lubricant.'
    Yes definitely. You've jogged my memory again Sami, some of the jobs I did on the " Herbert's " were to repair damage caused by coolant ingress into the aprons , mainly the apron on the turning saddle.
    I don't know about the smaller lathes but on the aprons on the big ones they had an oil seal on the feed shaft that had a pip that was supposed to prevent coolant travelling up the keyway in the feed shaft and into the apron. After a period of time this seal became in-effective and coolant entered the apron causing a lot of damage.

    Regards Tyrone.

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