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Thread: Happy Birthday to my Beauty!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Harvey, Michigan

    Happy Birthday to my Beauty!!

    It was one year ago today that I got my Robust American Beauty home and setup! I had the story all ready to post but circumstances prevented me from posting the whole story. So, in honor of her birthday… here is the rest of the story.

    It all started on a Thursday morning (Oct 6, 2011) at 4 a.m., when I hit the road and headed south! Figured that by leaving early, I could take my time and still miss all that U.P. traffic! What I didn’t count on was fog and it started just a couple of miles from my house and lasted all the way down into the Appleton, Wisconsin area, which normally is about a 4 hour drive. Makes for a long drive when there are areas you can’t see 50’ in front of you!

    Photo #1 - shows the beautiful sunrise over Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

    Photo #2 – Arrival at the Robust Factory

    I arrived at the Robust factory, located in Mt. Horeb, WI, a little past 10 a.m. (my time) and was happy to get out and stretch my legs a bit! Brent English, the owner of Robust, welcomed me and promptly gave me the grand tour of the facility. First thing he did was point out the fully assembled American Beauty lathe in the center of the shop and said “That’s your lathe!”

    3_New_Lathe_Front_View.jpg 4_New_Lathe_Rear_View.jpg
    Photos # 3 – lathe front view & 4 – lathe rear view

    I have to admit, I was thrilled to finally being able to take her home! Brent then walked me through the different areas in the factory and explained many of the steps they take to go from raw metal stock to a finished lathe.

    Photo # 5 – Brent showing me the raw steel they use to form headstocks

    Photo #6 – Brent showed me the steel used for the body of the different lathes

    He also introduced me to each of his obviously skilled employees! I’ve always appreciated precision metal work and really admire the quality of product these guys produce!

    Photo # 7 – Wayne setting up the mill

    Photo #8 – Rich building a long bed Beauty

    Last edited by Steve Schlumpf; 10-07-2012 at 7:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Harvey, Michigan
    My new Robust American Beauty lathe was all setup and waiting for me to check out… which is what we did next. Brent walked me through the features and explained a lot of the fine details that help distinguish his lathe; such as bronze inserts in all metal to metal moving joints, a unique clamping system to hold the tool rest that I had never seen before and the gas-assist tailstock tilt-away feature that I already loved because I would no longer have to lift a heavy tailstock!

    Photo # 9 – Balanced Tilt-Away

    Photo # 10 – Tool Rest clamping system

    Photo #11 – Brent demos how to change speed ranges

    Photo #12 – the programmable controller

    He also showed me the spindle lock and alerted me to the fact that, when activated, an interlock switch prevents the lathe from being turned on! Just one of those safety features that you don’t usually think about until too late!

    I am also very thrilled to say that I got the very first of a new version of the American Beauty headstock – one modified to accept the new ultra high efficient 3 hp motor from Leeson! The redesign moved the motor closer to the spindle, added an additional 25 pounds to the headstock and also changed from a 3 pulley to a 2 pulley belt system while at the same time dramatically increased the rpm capabilities per range! I can tell you already – the 2 pulley system works great!

    Well, after Show & Tell, we broke the lathe down into ‘manageable’ sections and loaded it into my Chevy S-10 for the trip home!

    Photo #13 – Rich disassembling the lathe

    Brent knew that it was going to be up to me to haul everything down to my basement shop and had no qualms about tearing the lathe down. He made sure that I understood how the lathe went together so I would have no problems once home!

    Photo #14 – the Robust crew, left to right: Wayne, Jim, Rich and Brent English, owner

    Made the trip home in record time (6 pm my time) and everything arrived without a scratch!

    Photo #15 – Upper Peninsula highway heading home

    Photo #16 – about 25 minutes from home

    Last edited by Steve Schlumpf; 10-07-2012 at 7:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Harvey, Michigan
    Well, because of not being used to the long road hours, I decided to wait until Friday before hauling the lathe to my basement shop and setting it up! Good decision on my part because I was beat!

    On Friday I managed to haul everything except the lathe bed to my basement shop.

    Photo #17 – portions of the lathe awaiting reassembly

    The bed weighs somewhere around 250 pounds and I knew I didn’t want to damage it or myself … so made a call and my nephew and a couple of his friends showed up to give me a hand. With 4 of us, we managed to grab the bed and carry it to the shop with no problem but I have to admit… even with 4 of us, the bed was seriously heavy! Once the bed was in the shop, I bolted on the legs and then started putting the lathe back together one piece at a time; headstock, motor, tailstock, etc.
    Photo #18 – legs bolted onto body of the Beauty

    Once it was wired and fully operational, I jacked up the height so that the spindle was at 46”, which is the height I am used to turning at. Once at the proper height, and while I still had my truck jack, I made sure the lathe was level and balanced.

    Photo #19 – the lathe reassembled and ready for action

    Soon as everything was done… I cleaned up the Beauty from all the road dust and added a light coat of wax to the bed. Sure is pretty!!!

    So, for all of you dreaming about upgrading to a Robust… all I can say is that if I can do it, then so can you! If you have any questions about the different Robust lathes or accessories, you can always email Brent English or give him a call. His contact info is on his website:

    If you have any questions for me, please ask! For some reason, I love talking about turning, lathes and especially about my new Beauty!!

    Photo #20 – my first turning, a very old & dry maple bowl

    Well, it has been a year and I must admit… I love the Beauty more than ever!

    As always, your comments, opinions and questions are welcome!

    Thanks for looking!!
    Last edited by Steve Schlumpf; 10-07-2012 at 7:43 PM.

    “You never know what you got til it's gone!”
    Please don’t let that happen!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Sandia Park, NM
    What a wonderful and moving tribute Steve. Glad to hear you are happy with her.
    When you approach the lathe you have "the plan", after your first catch you have "the intent".- P. Harbeck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    sLower Delaware

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Brillion WI
    Steve, Happy Birthday to your American Beauty! I enjoyed your story... I live close to Appleton and hope some day I can take the ride to Mt Horeb and pick up a new Robust!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    The local turning shop (Artistic Wood/Woodchuckers) here close to Toronto just got a new Beauty. They sell Oneway and now Beauty but I have to tell ya I sure was salavating when I saw her. (it is diffenatly a "her") I can only dream what with the cost of young kids and a wife that would surely not see it as a "must have tool". Someday, until then keep posting pictures of yours from time to time so I remember what it is I need to work harder for.

    Oh ya, happy birthday Beauty
    Darren in Oshawa

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Congratulations Steve!

    BTW....I hope your wife doesn't see this post as she might get jealous! You have never bought and brought home flowers to your American Beauty have you?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Spring City, TN
    Happy Birthday Beauty!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Mason Michigan
    Happy Birthday!

    I bet it looks as good today as it did on day one.
    A few hours south of Steve Schlumpf

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanks for sharing, Steve. Great story and a great machine.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Prosper, Texas
    That's a gorgeous young lady you have there, Steve!


    Woodworking: It's a joinery.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Northern Utah
    Enjoyed the story and the tour, thanks for posting. That American Beauty is sure nice.
    "Dear God, my prayer for 2018 is a fat bank account and a thin body. Please don't mix these up like you did the last four years."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Rapid City, SD
    Happy Birthday to the Beauty. Congratulations, Steve!

    "Never believe everything you think"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Western Maryland
    Well, Steve, I've turned on one Beauty, and will soon have the opportunity to turn on another (Tony's!). I'm not sure my budget for a lathe will ever reach that pinnicle, but if it does, that girl will be welcome...

    On the note of respecting metal workers, besides Jeff getting a HUGE shout out, I've recently found a SERIOUS respect for them. Putting together the lathe that am right now, I'm realizing that there are about 10 gazillion axiseseses (axies?), that you have to deal with when mounting the headstock to the ways that all have to be PERFECT...something you take for granted when you buy a lathe...Ugh! I can be UBER frustrating!

    Anyway, I fully understand, seeing how you got the first of the new model, that you had to keep things under wraps a bit. Thanks for sharing the experience.
    I drink, therefore I am.

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