Saturday, 25 February 2012

New lathe

I could have sworn I'd posted about my impulse buy of a mystery lathe, but apparently not. About a month ago, I spotted said lathe on ebay. It was only ten miles away, so I had a look, and bid. It does make sort-of sense: it is three phase, and unknown, so not as much interest, plus it was close enough to take a look. The next weekend I roped in a few mates and my hobbling Dad (silly bugger fell off his bike, turns out he broke his leg :( he's OK apart from that though.) to go and fetch it. This was my usual organisational shambles, we wound up an hour late, Dad got lost and the chap in whose shed it was got a bit cross. Luckily his son (the seller) turned up, so we did a rapid demolition job to get it in the trailer, and buggered off quick!
So I've spent some of the last month stripping and cleaning most of it. Plan is to store it in big, cleaned and repaired chunks until the bottom shed is rebuilt to house it. Overall, it doesn't seem bad for what I paid. A model engineers forum ID'd it as a Denham Junior Mk2, and produced a photocopied manual-a rare luxury for me.

Sadly, it hasn't been too well looked after. The feed gearbox was devoid of oil, with some pretty worn teeth-still useable, but it'll rattle. It was also full of swarf, after the genius designers decided to leave a huge gap right under the chuck. I'll be using a lot of silicone sealant to prevent that.

The apron had lots of oil holes for the various bearings, all of which were full of grease, swarf and that rather sickly shade of green someone got a bit carried away with. I put grease nipples on, mostly to keep the crap out.

Other than that, most of it was a straighforward clean up. It is quite incredible how much grime and swarf can get where it shouldn't, I'd recommend anyone buying a second hand machine to do this. I'm not bothering with a repaint, it'll add weeks onto an already long job and won't do anything for the worn bits. Here is the swarf that was under the headstock, in the bed casting:

But talking of paint-if you must slap some on your old lathe, please either do a full strip or don't bother. It gets in all manner of places, gumming things up and only looks like you're trying to tart up a shonky old pile of scrap.
One upgrade I do want is coolant. My IXL has been much easier to use after aquiring a botle of dormer tapping fluid, but using it on turning won't do my lungs any good. The Denham already has a chip tray, so I'll fit a drain and a splashback and (hopefully), job done.
For the drain, I had a good idea, Hopefully it is an actual good idea, and not the sort that ends in disaster either. Using a sink plug kit I bought in error ages ago, I can fit a bottle waste trap, as found under sinks to catch bits of food/murder victims etc. In this instance, it will catch any swarf that gets past the mesh.
Now, if I fitted the plug hole thingy as per a sink, it would be proud of the tray and I'd have 1/8" of coolant always there. Since the one I had was steel, I welded it underneath:

In my minds eye, I imagined a perfect bead of weld both on the putside of the flange and round the inside of the hole. In reality, I'm shit at welding so I stuck a load of silicone round the inside and prayed to Myfordius, the roman god of machining. Wish me luck!