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Thread: Always wanted one under the Christmas tree

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Westfield, Indiana
    Posts
    88

    Always wanted one under the Christmas tree

    As primarily a wood turner and cabinet maker I don't really need a metal lathe and don't know much about them, but I've always been fascinated by metal turning and dreamed of owning a real tool room lathe. Not that I really need one, but that has never stopped me before. Several years ago I bought a small Chinese metal turning lathe to use to make jigs and tools for my woodworking. Now I'm not saying the Chinese lathe is junk, but I found it unsatisfying to use due to flimsy construction and sloppy fit. So the other day this old lathe dropped into the bed of my truck and followed me home, much to the surprise of my wife. Now I need to rent the forklift to get it back into my workshop.
    The ways don't look badly worn and the gears in the headstock seem crisp with no broken or badly worn teeth. Everything turns smoothly. The carriage, cross slide and compound all travel with the silky smoothness that is sadly missing in my Chinese lathe. The motor is 460v 3 phase so I've sourced a new Baldor 220v single phase motor which should fit. There is a film of dark oil and grime on most of the machine and I think most of the paint will look really good with just some cleaning up. I think the headstock is the only piece which could use stripping and repainting. I'll give the bright parts a good polishing and I'll be ready to start it up.
    My new lathe is a LeBlond Regal 13" swing x 18" between centers, too small for a lot of you guys but just right for my needs. I wonder if these old LeBlonds are popular among home machinists? They seem much sturdier than the Atlas lathes that so many home turners have, much more like a real lathe. I'd be interested in hearing from others who own or have used a vintage LeBlond. Also, can anyone tell me the best QCTP to put on my machine? I'd much prefer one to the tool post that's on it now.
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  2. #2
    Merry Christmas!

    I waited until I was 70 years old to finally get a metal lathe (and mill). That looks like a really nice one. Mine's a 12" x 35" Logan.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    Posts
    14,469
    It’s an oldie but goodie. One of the first shops I worked at had nothing but LeBlond & Okuma lathes. I preferred the Okuma because they were newer but both were great lathes. Just about any quick change tool holder would be an improvement over the old tool post set up. I have an Aloris clone on my Logan 14x40. Grizzly sells several and you can find some good deals on eBay.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Westfield, Indiana
    Posts
    88
    Andy, I'm glad you didn't give in to the temptation to get a junky lathe and mill just because they are cheap. There's nothing like the smooth sturdy feel of a real vintage American lathe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
    3,025
    I have used Phase II QC setups on my lathes they work great. Frankly I would leave the 3 phase motor on, and rewire for 230 volts with a VFD installed or a phase convertor. The single phase reversing can get tough to wire up at times. Plenty of info online for a phase convertor. I made one and used for years on my EMCO Super 10.

    Beautiful old lathe, great find.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Westfield, Indiana
    Posts
    88
    I hadn't thought of doing it that way, Bill, I didn't know there was a way to make the 460v motor run on 220. I was going to just get a new drum switch and wire that according to the Baldor wiring diagram which should come with the motor. In any case I'll order a Phase II QCTP and put it on as soon as I get the lathe polished up and ready to go.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
    3,025
    Sure any three phase motor, is or should be 460/230 with wiring instructions on the label but I can almost do it from memory. The single phase motor should be able to be reversed with the rotary switch but not all. Wiring is a little complicated, good luck.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Berkshire County in Western Ma
    Posts
    110
    We had at least one leblond lathe in trade school. It was a good machine

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    southeast Michigan
    Posts
    209
    Glenn, nice find. I'm sure you'll enjoy using it. I picked up an 11" Logan last year that I refurbished. Since I can see the scrapings on the ways of your LeBlond it seems that it didn't get much use. I used my fork attachment on my tractor to get my 800 lb Logan off a trailer and into my pole barn workshop. But you will likely want to take much, if not all, of your lathe apart and go through it. Doing so would mean you can move the pieces by yourself. Tubalcain, also known as Mr. Pete, is a retired school shop teacher that has hundreds of good YouTube videos. One of them goes into detail about how he takes apart a lathe like this to move into his basement.

    I second Bill's comments about rewiring the 3 phase motor for 220v and using a VFD. A VFD has more advantages than just variable speed control, like faster braking and reversing without the need for the drum switch (my drum switch was broken anyways). And a VFD would be cheaper than a new motor anyways (I paid $152 for a 1 HP unit).

    You definitely need a QCTP and there are a lot if inexpensive ones out there. I would get a wedge type, as opposed to the piston type. And I also agree with Bill and spend a little more and get a Phase II kit.

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