My Speedway 7x12 Bench Lathe

Update: 2003.04.30

Note Well!
I am not a professional machinist, nor have I ever been one.  Prior to purchasing this lathe, I had used a metal cutting lathe precisely once in my life, for about two hours; that was in 1980, and the lathe I used then was a monster compared to this small, inexpensive machine tool.  Don't take anything written here as a recommendation -- in a machine shop, I'm not qualified to recommend anything other than following the manufacturer's instructions and seeking competent advice.

Over the past few days I've been working, a bit at a time, on getting the packing grease cleaned off the lathe and verifying that everything is properly adjusted.  I'm gratified to report that the gibs on both cross slide and compound, and the guide plates under the saddle (to keep the carriage from lifting off the ways, as for instance when using a back side cutoff setup) all appear to be adjusted more or less correctly straight out of the box.  There is considerable backlash in the compound lead screw; I think this is due to the screw being threaded directly into the slide block rather than using a brass nut arrangement similar to that of the cross slide.  I have the tailstock, cross slide, compound, carriage gears and lead screw cleaned and greased -- I'll be going back tomorrow to clean the white lithium grease off the lead screw, as I've realized that grease there is asking to capture swarf that can lead to excessive wear on the screw and half nuts or cause intermittent inaccuracies in the lead advance.  The ways are clean as well, and I have the chuck off the lathe, but haven't yet disassembled it for cleaning.  I need to get the chuck cleaned up, clean and lubricate the gear train (and clean up the other change gears and accessories in their plastic bags), and check the belt alignment before I'm ready to turn, but I have plugged in the lathe and verified that the hi-low gear selector, F-N-R tumbler, and power feed to the lead screw work.  There is some noise with the power feed in the neutral position; most likely, I'll have to do as others have reported and either fill and redrill one or more of the F-N-R detents, or apply a cover plate over the factory detents to allow setting (especially) the neutral to be truly disengaged.

I've also found and fixed a couple very minor problems -- see the fixes page.

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