(mis) adventures in lathe buying.
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  1. #1
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    Default (mis) adventures in lathe buying.

    Hi all, I have wanted a lathe for years and was finally able to get one just a couple of weeks ago. My money pit of choice? A W&S #3 Electrocycle. The price was right so I moved on it. I had quite the adventure getting it home though. First, I have a 3/4 ton truck and looked at a manual from 1940 that said the lathe weighs 3550 lbs. I figured I could just put it in the back of my truck. Well, the suspension bottomed out and the tires squatted to about 2 inches(how much does this thing weigh? 3550 lbs, I don't think so). If I was going a block or 2 I would have chanced it, but had a 2 hour drive, so told the guy I would be back, as I had to rent a trailer. I rented a trailer the next week and started out again. And wouldn't you know it, I blew a head gasket about half an hour from home. I limped home adding water every 5 miles or so. Well, now I have to replace the head gasket. I tear apart the truck and get everything ready, but have to put it on hold for a week as I work full time and go to school full time. Then, I finally am getting everything together and broke an exhaust manifold. Off to the local pic-n-pull to get another one. I got everything back together with no problems and changed the oil(this is a must when doing a head gasket) I drain out as much coolant as oil, which means I was essentially lubricating my engine with water and coolant. Hmm hopefully all that Lucas I added kept me from killing my engine. I called my local rental place and they informed me they don't rent trailers, I was like, "What?? You just rented my one a week and a half ago?" Then they said that they rent them out during winter hours and not summer because they want to save them for the equipment rentals. Fair enough, after some pleading I was able to get a 16' trailer. I picked it up the next morning and started out. Well, nothing like a 2 hour trip pulling a trailer to test out your mechanical skills and luck on an engine that was water lubricated just a week and a half ago. I got lucky, real lucky. I had no issues on the 2 hour drive to pick it up. img_20200313_103521.jpg Coming home, now that was a different story. It started out about 3 or 4 miles from the shop I bought it from. I was going down a slight hill, hit 50 mph, and suddenly the truck was going down the road sideways. I was able to get it back under control.(how much does this thing weigh again???) Well, maybe the lathe and trailer weigh more than my truck so I should slow down. This means a 2 hour trip at 65 is now a lot longer at 40. Good thing I have all day off. Then the snow starts. That's right it started dumping snow in the mountains, okay, I'm fine, it isn't sticking on the road. Well, another 20 miles or so and now it is sticking. But it's okay as I am only going uphill and don't have a load heavier than me pushing me down hill, but now I can't get traction. Into 4 high I go, still just fishtailing and not climbing. Now it's time for 4 low. There we go, I am able to climb the hill at a blistering 10-15 mph(how much does this thing weigh again???). After about 30 or 40 minutes of that, I reached the summit. At this point I knew if it was snowing going down, I would have to stop and stay the night, because there was no way I was going to try to go down hill with this pushing me and me having no traction. After talking to the nice woman that ran the lodge, I found out it was clear going down. I headed down and got home with no further drama. Once home, I had to unload the trailer. I built a gantry out of lumber and tried unloading it. The top beam was strong enough but the 2x4 legs bent like wet spaghetti noodles. (how much does this thing weigh again???). So I off to the orange store to get some 2x6's. Well, they hold, but they aren't tall enough at 8'. Back to the orange store and I got some 10' 2x6. img_20200313_225446.jpgimg_20200313_225455.jpg Notice the nice saimg_20200320_191739.jpgg in the middle beam, not scary at all. I was able to get the lathe lifted off the trailer and was paying attention to the lathe and put it in the wrong gear. The lathe fell down and landed on the trailer so it was unhurt, but I had to rebuild the gantry. I got it rebuilt and pulled the trailer out and was able to lower it to the ground with no issues. Well, school and work interrupted my quality lathe time, so it sat outside for a week, getting rained and snowed on the whole time. The next week I got some rectangular steel and built a cart. I lifted the beast and set it on the cart. Me and my wife got it pushed into the garage without incident, and there it sits until summer, when I can build a steel gantry with wheels so I can set it where I want it.

    Now I am done with my mis-adventures, here is some info that I was hoping you could help me decode.
    img_20200326_024600.jpg

    Lot 20



    When was this built?

    Did I forget to mention I wanted to know how much this weighs? That way, I can build a gantry strong enough to hold it safely

    any other info that would be of use is appreciated.

    I did luck out and the motor was rewired to 220v 3 phase in 1991. This means I can use my 220v and run it through a VFD to make it 3 phase instead of single phase. If I had to use 480v I would have had to add a transformer in to the supply and that would have gotten extremely expensive. Unless anyone knows of any other component that uses 480 on there?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
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    I was looking at other dating threads and it looks like the serial number is required and not the lot number. Here is the serial number if anyone needs it for dating purposes.
    img_20200326_024552.jpg

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    First, get that thing off that cart, it is way too narrow. Lathes and that one in particular have a high center of gravity with that narrow cart you are just begging that thing to do a face plant. If you are in the way it will squish you like a bug. For sure don't power it up on the cart. Next, why did you buy a turret lathe? Since you clearly have no idea what you are doing I assume this is for hobby use making one or two of this and that. The machine you bought is totally unsuitable for this. No tailstock, compound or thread cutting gearbox and lead screw.What were you thinking? I hope it was cheap.

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    I don't plan on starting it at all on the cart. I just needed to get it out of the weather.The cart is bigger than the base of the lathe, so I feel reasonable certain if the lathes don't tip over sitting on the ground, they won't tip over sitting on a cart, until I can get a gantry built to lift it off. I was hoping to get a weight so I could build a gantry out of steel that is strong enough to lift it. Yes, it is for hobby use, and no I don't know what I am doing compared to some people, but did work as a machinist in a cnc shop for 3 years, so I know enough to be figure out what I need to do. I wasn't just an operator either. I did set ups and did some light g-code programming, as well as being trained in GD&T I am a millwright and occasionally have a chance to run a lathe and mill currently. I really don't know anything about turret lathes though. I wasn't aware they have no lead screw until after I bought it. I figure I could make a compound as I have access to a machine shop. I don't have any forseeable need to thread, other than small diameter od/id and the threading head and taps will take care of that. As for no tail stock, not really sure how it is a hindrance for anything other than long thin work or long tapers. I was under the impression if I was going to need centers I could use the turret. Is that incorrect?

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    [QUOTE=wanna_be;3514723]The cart is bigger than the base of the lathe, so I feel reasonable certain if the lathes don't tip over sitting on the ground, they won't tip over sitting on a cart.


    What is the weight rating on those orange store wheels. If one of them fails that lathe will go over in a heartbeat. be extremely careful moving it. NEVER stand in front or behind it when moving it. be at the ends only. Pack some wood under the cart while it is sitting in case of a wheel failure. I would be surprised if that machine weighs less than 5000 lbs I have 45 years of experience, I know no one is as smart as everyone but I have seen a few things in those years. What you have going there scares the shit out of me. I saw a lathe being moved on skates, one slipped out and 5 seconds later it was face down with massive damage. Dumb ass tried to stop it but jumped out of the way just in time to avoid being crushed.

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    Thank you for looking out for me. It is sitting just inside the garage and is going to sit there until I build a gantry. Putting wood under the cart is a good idea. I will do that today. Thank you. Those wheels are not orange store wheels, they don't have anything that would be remotely strong enough. I did size them for a 4000 lb load but reading in the forum, it looks like 5000 is more accurate for a square head lathe. I did stay at the end while pushing it into the garage, because I realized if the wheels would have failed, it wouldn't have been good. and it would have most likely tipped to the side. I also realize it is heavier on the motor side, so those wheels are seeing a bunch of the load. I pushed it 20 feet to the garage and that's where it sits now. I could probably jack up the cart and put blocks under the cart to take the weight off the wheels, but I don't want to tip the lathe by jacking it up at all because I know that doing so greatly increases my chances of tipping the lathe over. So wood blocks that fit under the cart snug will have to do until summer.

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    Here's one that the seller estimates at 6000 pounds.
    I've seen others for sale estimated at 5200 pounds.No. 3, Warner & Swasey, M4630 Square head, A6 nose, 2 bore, 2262 RPM, threading Machinery Consultants Inc Used Equipment Network

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonlight machine View Post
    What you have going there scares the shit out of me. I saw a lathe being moved on skates, one slipped out and 5 seconds later it was face down with massive damage. Dumb ass tried to stop it but jumped out of the way just in time to avoid being crushed.
    Me. too. People never believe until they see it happen.

    Darwin, I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Me. too. People never believe until they see it happen.

    Darwin, I guess.
    Nothing more dangerous than a little knowledge. And he had his wife helping! Wimmin folk crush pretty easily as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wanna_be View Post
    (Very long and interesting story deleted.)
    You have the lyrics for a Country song here! Good luck with this project and keep us informed.

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    If you can't do it ...Hire it !

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    Serial number book says 1955.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cranium View Post
    Serial number book says 1955.
    Thank you, good to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan Wo View Post
    You have the lyrics for a Country song here! Good luck with this project and keep us informed.
    Love your sense of humor. Unfortunately(fortunately) my dog and wife are too loyal, so I haven't quite reached country song level yet.

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    Yeah, except I never did anything to directly put myself or my wife in harms way. I made sure she knew where to stand, and made sure she stood there at all times. I have been in more dangerous situations at the copper smelter I used to work at. So, not really Darwin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rustytool View Post
    Here's one that the seller estimates at 6000 pounds.
    I've seen others for sale estimated at 5200 pounds.No. 3, Warner & Swasey, M4630 Square head, A6 nose, 2 bore, 2262 RPM, threading Machinery Consultants Inc Used Equipment Network
    The one in the link has extras that mine doesn't. I don't have the threading system and the head stock looks like it is larger than mine. I think that if mine is around 5200 then I could see how this one is heavier. BTW, thanks for the link to the cool pics. I enjoyed seeing some old iron that is well taken care of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rustytool View Post
    Here's one that the seller estimates at 6000 pounds.
    I've seen others for sale estimated at 5200 pounds.No. 3, Warner & Swasey, M4630 Square head, A6 nose, 2 bore, 2262 RPM, threading Machinery Consultants Inc Used Equipment Network
    That is a very cool site. They are located not too far from me. There are no prices, is it an auction format? also are all the machines right there in SLC or do they sell machines from other sites?

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    Once upon a time I have done the same things. But not anymore!.
    I have a friend who is very experienced. He warned me and I heeded his advice, so moved my 2500 # lathe on 1" water pipes with no problems.
    The very next week he moved his own 4000 # lathe on a 4-wheel come-along and of course it tipped over. At least he did not stand in the way, but he smashed a couple of hand wheels.
    Very stupid. Furthermore, he was alone and would not have been able to call for help.

    Good luck! Fusker

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    Quote Originally Posted by wanna_be View Post
    That is a very cool site. They are located not too far from me. There are no prices, is it an auction format? also are all the machines right there in SLC or do they sell machines from other sites?
    They just sell from their website. I believe everything is in their warehouse. They do ask a high price for what they have.Give them a call.


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