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Thread: Starter lathe -50's/ 60's Delta 12"? Lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    North Idaho
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    22

    Starter lathe -50's/ 60's Delta 12"? Lathe

    I purchase a Delta lathe today. I haven't measured yet but it looks like it could turn a 12" dia. piece. It says Delta Rockwell on the badge. Delta Rockwell Homecraft on another badge. I dont have an immediate need for a lathe but have wanted one for a while. I came across this for $75 and couldn't pass it up as I have several other old Delta tools I love. It may be a minute tell I get a full set of turning tools, but I am excited to have it and learn about turning! If any one knows anything about this I would appreciate haring it. It needs a little clean up but it works.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    8,472
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Widmyer View Post
    I purchase a Delta lathe today. I haven't measured yet but it looks like it could turn a 12" dia. piece. It says Delta Rockwell on the badge. Delta Rockwell Homecraft on another badge. I dont have an immediate need for a lathe but have wanted one for a while. I came across this for $75 and couldn't pass it up as I have several other old Delta tools I love. It may be a minute tell I get a full set of turning tools, but I am excited to have it and learn about turning! If any one knows anything about this I would appreciate haring it. It needs a little clean up but it works.

    20191112_180110[1].jpg20191112_180118[1].jpg
    I know a guy with one similar and has turned a great deal on it. If you have all the parts you can do a lot for your tiny investment.

    JKJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    North Idaho
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    I know a guy with one similar and has turned a great deal on it. If you have all the parts you can do a lot for your tiny investment.

    JKJ
    As far as I can tell everything is there and in working order. I would like a larger tool rest down the road once I need it. All in all it has me pretty excited to learn about turning. Any decent brands to look for on the used turning tool market? Also if someone could give me a quick run down of the need to have tools for lathe work I would appreciate it.

    Thank you
    Aaron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
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    1,246
    My first lathe was a Craftsman 9" lathe for $75. Its slowest speed was 950 rpms. It was fine for turning spindles, goblets and smaller things. When I mounted a larger diameter piece on it, especially when it was not yet balanced, I learned to stand to the side when I turned it on because it shook the bench so badly. It was scary until things got balanced. Also, power sanding at 950 rpms is on the high side.

    So, that is the primary limitation of a "belt-changer" lathe. But I see that you have plenty of space between your motor and headstock and could fairly easily add an intermediate jack shaft (basically a pulley and a couple of bearings). But perhaps first learn to turn spindles, practice tool control and sharpening. Then if you find the lowest speed is too high, consider adding a jack-shaft.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    North Idaho
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    22
    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    My first lathe was a Craftsman 9" lathe for $75. Its slowest speed was 950 rpms. It was fine for turning spindles, goblets and smaller things. When I mounted a larger diameter piece on it, especially when it was not yet balanced, I learned to stand to the side when I turned it on because it shook the bench so badly. It was scary until things got balanced. Also, power sanding at 950 rpms is on the high side.

    So, that is the primary limitation of a "belt-changer" lathe. But I see that you have plenty of space between your motor and headstock and could fairly easily add an intermediate jack shaft (basically a pulley and a couple of bearings). But perhaps first learn to turn spindles, practice tool control and sharpening. Then if you find the lowest speed is too high, consider adding a jack-shaft.
    Ya I will most likely use it as it is for now but I am considering modifying a treadmill motor and controller then wiring a tach on the lathe so I know what rpm I am at. I figure I can do this for very cheap and It kills two birds with one stone. The motor currently on the lathe is only 1/3HP. I have found a treadmill I can get for free with a 2.5CHP motor. I should be able to modify the controller to change the RPMs with a potentiometer. Then the tach shold tell me my RPMs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    North Idaho
    Posts
    22
    I contacted Delta an they informed me I have a 1957 Homecraft 46-111 Lathe. They are super nice and helpful. even sent me the manual.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    918
    Not sure what a treadmill motor is but I'd consider an 1800 rpm motor, preferably TEFC and with a VFD. And if you have a long tailed dog, a belt guard might keep you out of the animal emergency room at midnight on a Sunday.

    Nice score.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    1,553
    That's a nice lathe, especially for the money. Much like my first Delta.

    In terms of tools you probably want to stick with high speed steel as it's hard to sharpen carbon steel without overheating the edge-- if you can though there's nothing wrong with the older tools and they will be very cheap. One of your first projects can be making new handles for them as they are invariably the wrong length or uncomfortable. A basic tool set that will allow you to make almost anything would include:

    roughing gouge (3/4-2")
    detail (aka spindle) gouge (3/8", then smaller or larger as you need them)
    parting tool
    3/4 to 1-1/4" scraper (preferably ~3/8" thick) that you can grind a half curved profile on
    skew chisel (1"-1/4 to 1-1/2") (not an oval)
    bowl gouge (for that size lathe a 1/2" would be plenty, 5/8" is the most common size)

    You will need a grinder, almost anything will do, with a good platform for sharpening. The Wolverine jig platform is the most solid one I know. You will also want a diamond hone to maintain sharp edges. A good live center for the tailstock is very useful, though not essential, and most folks end up wanting a four-jaw chuck of some kind, though they are mostly about efficiency and convenience, not a necessity.

    I wouldn't mess with the current fad of replaceable carbide tip scrapers, for most applications they don't leave as good a surface as the traditional tools and will cause you to develop bad habits you'll work hard to unlearn later on.

    For between-centers work I'd suggest using an old dead center in the headstock as a small ring drive; it makes it easy to re-center work as you take it off the lathe and put it back on and it makes catches much less exciting.

    Oh-- and a good impact-rated face shield and quality dust mask.

    Joining your local club for some hands-on help in learning is invaluable.

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