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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default Advance Melbourne Lathe

    Hi everyone,
    I recently got an old Advance lathe from my father.
    It come from a men's shed, who had no need for it, as they had better / newer lathes.

    As the title says, it is an Advance lathe, I'm guessing it is a pre 1962 model, as it appears to have the original manufacturer's initials stamped with the serial.

    It is missing the gears (and bracket) for the leadscrew, and by the looks of it, the dog clutch system to engage the leadscrew, so I guess that is not so handy for threadcutting, and will be hard to replace.

    It has a 3 jaw chuck, but not a 4 jaw one, so I'm going to need to try and find a back plate that will allow me to fit a 4 jaw to it, as I understand it takes a 1 inch BSF thread which is fairly uncommon.

    Apparently it was set up in the welding bay of the men's shed, so the first order of business will be to try and clean things up as much as i can. Also, it appears to have at least one arc strike on the lathe bed. It's fairly small down towards the tailstock end, but I'll need try and smooth that out without causing more damage.

    Is there any advice that can be offered regarding cleaning it up as best I can, while causing as little damage as possible to it? The first thing I did when I got it was cover it in WD40, as there was a fair bit of rust all over it (and it got wet during transportation)

    I've come across a few sites (like the lathes.co.uk site) with a little info, and there are a few threads on here that mention the brand of lathes, so I know there are some of these lathes out there. I'm hoping I'll be able to find some people that can provide some helpful info on the lathe, and getting it cleaned and operational again.

    Anyway, I'll post some pictures of the lathe for reference probably tomorrow, as it's late right now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    So, some photos:



    I've pulled the slides off, and cleaned a fair bit of gunk out of them.

    It appears this lathe has done a fair bit of work, as the leadscrew, and the bed seem worn at the chuck end. There seems to be a fair bit of back and forth play here:


    There is also a fair bit of bed damage from careless hacksaw parting:


    The arc strike I've managed to reduce it's severity with some 800 grit wet & dry sandpaper, gently sanding it until I couldn't feel the raised part.
    Here is a photo before I did anything to the damage(I don't have an after photo yet):


    So I don't think this lathe is going to be a highly accurate machine, but that's ok I guess. This is my first lathe, so it will be something to get started with hopefully, and give me some experience until I can justify upgrading to something better. I'll post more when I do more with it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Murray Bridge S Aust.
    Age
    68
    Posts
    4,604

    Default

    You might be surprised at the quality of work that can come off a worn machine.
    You could give 2 blokes a lathe each, 1 person who knows what they're doing, a clapped out machine, the other who's never used a lathe, a brand new machine. Both turn an identical item, there'd be a good chance that the worn machine operator will do a first class job, while the other a mediocre job. It's just a matter of knowing the limitations and working around the machine.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Yea, and considering I haven't used a lathe since I was in highschool 20 years ago, I suspect I have a lot of work to do before I find the limit of what this machine can do.

    and I thought I'd add a couple more photos.

    You can see how much grime was hidden in the machine. I cleaned it up as best as I could, and covered everything in oil and it's running much smoother now.




    And while I had everything pulled apart, I noticed there appeared to be no sign of the dog clutch in it's housing, or on the leadscrew. It makes me wonder if this leadscrew is original, or if it has been re made at some point (or at least modified?)




    And speaking of the leadscrew, the full nut is pretty worn, It slops around a lot. That might be something I'll want to try and improve. The leadscrew is also fairly worn, but I feel the full nut is absolutely annihilated. I can't make one on this lathe, but If I can work out the size of the thread, and with some practice, I have access to my dad's lathe occasionally as well (he lives 3 hours away), which could be of much more assistance with that.

    For now it feels like it's running smooth, I haven't had a chance to actually run some metal in it yet, but hopefully I'll get the chance soon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wentworth Falls NSW 2782
    Age
    73
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Looks like yours is an earlier version with plain headstock bearings. The drive arrangement also looks home-brew.
    My son has one of the later ones with taper roller bearings.

    Not sure if you have seen this page;

    Advance Metalworking Lathe

    Findlay

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MacPuddock View Post
    Looks like yours is an earlier version with plain headstock bearings. The drive arrangement also looks home-brew.
    My son has one of the later ones with taper roller bearings.

    Not sure if you have seen this page;

    Advance Metalworking Lathe

    Findlay
    Yea, it's definitely running on plain bearings, and the drive system is a lot newer. I'm not sure if that was done at the mens shed, it might have been, as it's a pretty thorough safety system on it.
    The motor itself is pretty old, but it works, so that is good enough for now.

    I had come across that website, but cheers for the info.

    Now it's time to play with it and learn how to use it when i get a chance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    So, I guess I'll make this a little bit of a progress thread.

    This morning, I finally had a chance to dig up some scrap, and have a play with the lathe.

    Below you can see my first attempt at using a lathe since Highschool 20 years or so ago.
    Left is my very first go, right is my secont attempt. I'm getting better already


    After a little bit of nonsensical playing around, I figured it was worth trying to make something, so I had a go at turning some knobs for my drill press. It's missing two of the three plastic ones.
    My first crack, I made the mistake of cutting it close to the needed length, and that made it a bit tricky. also I was playing around with the compound slide to get the angle correct. The second one looks much better.
    I think I'll re-make the first one.

    The finish isn't perfect, but it's something

    I plan on simply superglueing them into place. We'll see how that works



    There is a fair amount of backlash in both directions on the lathe, which is a bit of a pain, but hopefully I can work around it.

    It's all new for me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    551

    Default

    these early Advance lathes have the longitudinal feed driven by the handwheel at the end of the lead screw (which you have probably worked out) just need to practice on carefully feeding it along. The later production lathes had half nuts, but this one looks like it just has a full nut thats in constant engagement.

    the dog clutch is used if you want power feed or if you want to cut a thread, and shouldn't be too hard to make parts to get it working. I think by memory that the Myford ML7 change gears work on these lathes, and the Lathes.uk site has some good info on them.

    The lead screw on mine when I had it was in good condition, for yours possibly you might be able to remove turn it around and remount if the wear is a problem, but I'd maybe make a new nut and see how much backlash is there still. Though backlash is not really that big a deal, its just something you work with if its there and generally its not a problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zsteve View Post
    these early Advance lathes have the longitudinal feed driven by the handwheel at the end of the lead screw (which you have probably worked out) just need to practice on carefully feeding it along. The later production lathes had half nuts, but this one looks like it just has a full nut thats in constant engagement.

    the dog clutch is used if you want power feed or if you want to cut a thread, and shouldn't be too hard to make parts to get it working. I think by memory that the Myford ML7 change gears work on these lathes, and the Lathes.uk site has some good info on them.

    The lead screw on mine when I had it was in good condition, for yours possibly you might be able to remove turn it around and remount if the wear is a problem, but I'd maybe make a new nut and see how much backlash is there still. Though backlash is not really that big a deal, its just something you work with if its there and generally its not a problem.
    Yea, I think I have a lot of practice and learning to do with the lathe. I don't think I'll do anything too drastic with it. It works for me now. Maybe when I have some more experience, I'll look into working out the powerfeed gearing out. I'm sure it could be handy, but it looks like it will require machining the mechanism from scratch, and sourcing appropriate gearing.

    It's been too hot the last couple of days to play too much, but I look forward to having a proper go at turning some steel.
    I just need to find a source of some metal to play with. lol

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    I've been playing around with the lathe a bit. I'm currently working on a little wobbler engine from the steves-workshop website. It's coming along OK so far.

    I'm currently trying to work out the best / easiest / most cost effective way of making backing plates for chucks.

    I want to get a 4 jaw chuck for the lathe, but I'm going to need a backing plate to suite the 1 inch spindle.

    Little machine shop in the USA sells blanks ready to machine and tap for the spindle, but to pull that off, I'm going to have to buy a 1" BSF tap, and somehow tap it straight, as I can't cut threads with this lathe. Plus, a tap that size is pretty pricey.

    Or I could try to make one from scratch out of a chunk cast iron.

    I guess the threading is something that I'm going to have to work out no matter what, as it's such an uncommon thread for a lathe.

    Lastly, I've read of people welding a nut to a steel disk. This seems the easiest, but most bodged way of doing it.

    Does anyone have a suggestion on the best way to proceed with this?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Melbourne
    Age
    31
    Posts
    1,161

    Default

    Does the spindle thread have a register (shoulder behind the thread, usually this provides the actual location) and a thread or just a thread? If there is no shoulder i can maybe see the welded nut or tapped hole working okay (you wont have good repeat-ability but without a shoulder you'll have no way to get that even with a good backplate) Youll just have to face the plate after mouting to get low runout. Threading isnt hard just takes some practice (use plastic first and then make a guage thread from something like aluminium.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by caskwarrior View Post
    Does the spindle thread have a register (shoulder behind the thread, usually this provides the actual location) and a thread or just a thread? If there is no shoulder i can maybe see the welded nut or tapped hole working okay (you wont have good repeat-ability but without a shoulder you'll have no way to get that even with a good backplate) Youll just have to face the plate after mouting to get low runout. Threading isnt hard just takes some practice (use plastic first and then make a guage thread from something like aluminium.
    Good point about the register, I think it does have one, but I'll double check that.

    The threading on this lathe is a No-Go, as it is missing the leadscrew drive gearing and gear unfortunately.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    551

    Default

    what size chuck ?

    I happen to have a 1" BSF tap, maybe give me a PM and maybe I can machine something for you - or at least put the thread through and you can finish it on your lathe, which would be best for fitting the chuck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    canberra
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    43

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zsteve View Post
    what size chuck ?

    I happen to have a 1" BSF tap, maybe give me a PM and maybe I can machine something for you - or at least put the thread through and you can finish it on your lathe, which would be best for fitting the chuck.
    The 3 jaw that is on it now is around 85mm, but I'm thinking of going for a 100mm / 4 inch 4 jaw

    Thanks for the offer, I'll keep it in mind but another forum member has been kind enough to help me out with a backing plate which will hopefully do the job.

    I look forward to getting a new chuck on the lathe, as the 3 jaw on it is quite worn I think, and while I realise they aren't the most accurate at the best of times, this one seems fairly beat up and inaccurate.

    I'm also thinking of taking a crack at grinding the 3 jaw to improve it, but before I do that, I need to work out a tool post grinder of some description.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Murray Bridge S Aust.
    Age
    68
    Posts
    4,604

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    If you decide that the chuck is tooo far gone, I wouldn't mind buying it for a welding rotator I want to make. Don't want/need anything fancy. Is the bore about 22mm?
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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