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Not A Colchester Lathe

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  • Not A Colchester Lathe

    Here is a question for you lathe experts. I was recently given this vintage piece of kit, a round bed lathe, missing some parts. I have never used a lathe in my life before, but have set it up in rudimentary form, with the motor bolted to the wall, as it did not come with any type of overhead line shaft. It is in many ways similar to a Drummond long-bed lathe, with the lead screw running through the bed; but there are differences compared with any photos of Drummonds I have seen. There is no evidence of a maker's nameplate, sadly. It is 4' long overall.

    The Drummonds appear to have been driven by flat belt. This has a V belt, with 3 pulleys at the headstock end. This means that to tension the belt on any given pulley, the lathe has to be slid back and forth on the bench; not ideal! The lead screw has no means of being connected via the clutch to the driven shaft, as the gears which connect top to bottom are missing. The clutch is operated by the lever with wooden handle one can see at the bottom of the headstock assembly. Thus, at present the leadscrew has to be operated manually by the wheel at the end of the bed.

    It is fitted with a 4-jaw chuck. Apparently it did have a 3-jaw chuck, but that is with the PO's son in Sheffield; a long way from Cornwall!

    There is a test-piece in it, and it does work, although the cut isn't the cleanest I have seen. I put a dti gauge on it, and the accuracy appears to be in the region of +-0.001" or thereabouts at present, so good enough to turn up the odd spacer, but that's about it.

    Do any of you learned gents know anything about it, or can point me in the direction of where I might source the parts to set it up properly; etc etc? Or should I clean it up, paint it and put it under a glass-topped coffee table in the lounge?

    Ian C. Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I think it probably is a Drummond as its very similar to the one pictured below which has flat belt pulleys (these could have been replaced with V pulleys at some point, or maybe were an alternative), yours has additional reduction (back) gears gears for headstock. The lead screw gear wheels (which are missing on yours) are clearly shown in the one below. This type of lathe would have been used in factories to do secondary operations to parts. More on Drummond lathes here http://www.lathes.co.uk/drummond/
    Attached Files
    Last edited by John Wakefield; 25/10/2020, 04:41 PM.

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    • #3
      This is probably the best site for questions about lathes.
      https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/for...test_posts.asp

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      • #4
        That looks just like my first lathe, on my fourth now ( Harrison L6) never had a proper lesson but seem to manage well enough. Simply, find out what it can do and use it for that- one of the most usefull things is a tailstock dieholder for putting screw threads on studs etc, go on square not all wiggly like in the vice. Keep an eye on fleabay for laathe tools etc, quite often come up for next to nothing. Best od

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        • #5
          Thanks for your contributions gents. That website looks interesting Colin. It may be worth me posting up the question, along with a couple of pics.

          It didn't come to me with too much, Peter, but a 1" die holder is amongst them. That will sort my 1" dies then! Not the bigger ones unfortunately, but better than nothing. Attached is a pic of what did come with it; all a bit rusty and​neglected...

          John. I got the idea that it may be a Drummond from that site when I first got it. However, there are so many differences from any pics of Drummonds I have seen there and elsewhere that I am not sure; hence me posting on here. The headstock castings are different, bearing housings, clutch operation, much more, all different. No maker's plate and no evidence of where there ever was one. I was rather hoping that someone might recognise it, and know what it is! Unfortunately, until I can identify the make and model I can't hope to track down any parts, particularly to do with driving the lead screw.

          That one you posted a picture of is treadle-operated!

          Ian C.

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          • #6
            No pic Ian, dont think the Drummond in my pic is treadle operated, its driven via the flat pulleys via overhead line shaft. I have never come across a treadle operated metal working lathe although wood working ones were quite common in early days, worked by a rope around the work piece and springy pole.

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            • #7
              The one in your picture is treadle-operated, John, although the belt is not present. It is a small picture, but if you enlarge it, you can clearly see below the bench the heavy flywheel incorporating 3 pulley wheels, next to which is the pedal. Here is a better picture of one :- Click image for larger version

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ID:	84670 Not that it is relevant to my lathe, or my questions about it; but out of interest, and to put the record straight.

              Ian C.

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              • #8
                Interesting, I suppose it would be for places where there was no electricity or other form of power. A mobile workshop maybe, there were a lot of these in WW1 but most has a petrol engined generator to provide electricity.

                I have just found details of another round bed lathe by George Adams, again not the same as yours but same basic round bed design http://www.lathes.co.uk/georgeadamsroundbed/
                Last edited by John Wakefield; 27/10/2020, 11:53 AM.

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                • #9
                  It seems there were a few round bed lathe manufacturers, another being Pittler. I can't spot mine though! The Russians also made them, and quite possibly other countries too, so it may be a foreigner. I'll keep digging.

                  Ian C.

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                  • #10
                    Have forwarded your pics to Tony Griffiths (lathes.co.uk) to see if he can identify it.

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                    • #11
                      John. I emailed him weeks ago, asking the same question, and sending him the photos. I have not had a reply. Can I just say, please do not act on my behalf without clearing it with me first? You have no idea what has gone before. Leave it to me. I asked on here for info from anyone who may know something; not expecting 'assistance' from those who don't. I am perfectly capable of making my own enquires.

                      Ian C.

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                      • #12
                        No need to take that attitude Ian, only trying to help.

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