My Speedway 7x12 Bench Lathe

Update: 2003.05.01

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.

I finished the important cleaning of the lathe, though I didn't disassemble the chuck beyond removing the jaws.  I also didn't go into detail adjusting the drive belt; to do that, I'd have to remove all the gears (including the ring and locking nuts on the end of the spindle) and the cover under them, take the controller box off the front, remove the motor cover from the back, disconnect the power cord from the controller, and dismount the lead screw (which would also require removing the carriage again).  Fortunately, the belt appears to be reasonably well aligned as is; the belt doesn't rub against any part of the machine and runs smoothly and  quietly.  In fact, when the gear train is disengaged, the machine sounds rather like a well adjusted sewing machine -- the whir of the motor and the faint noise of either bearings or chuck jaws, and nothing else.  The gear train adds a very faint rumble, but it's hardly discernible, certainly not if you're making a cut.  I was incorrect in reporting the F-N-R gears failing to completely clear when in Neutral -- I think the problem was that the detent area on the headstock casting is rough, and it's easy to get the tumbler not quite in the correct location.  When the tumbler is fully engaged in the Neutral detent, however, the tumbler gears are completely unmeshed from the spindle stud  and the gear train is silent.

And I have made a couple cuts; I installed one of the 1/4" brazed carbide bits I had on hand (with .070" of shims to bring it up to center), chucked the shank portion of a hole cutter that's never run true, and faced the end, first, just to get a feel, then took a truing cut on the shank.  The shank is now concentric, but unfortunately not very cylindrical; it appears I need to tighten the gib on the compound, as I could see it moving as it cut the eccentric (and apparently fairly hard) steel.  Still, the lathe works, with nothing significant done out of the box other than cleaning and lubrication.  I can instantly see, however, that one of the first things I need to build for this lathe will be a quick change tool post, both for additional rigidity and to allow setting tool height without all this messing about with shims.

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