Monday, 29 November 2010

Peeling away the Peel-Away

I dashed over to the workshop before work and removed the peel-away from the parts I’d covered the night before. Almost all of the paint had come away (yay!) and there were only a few small areas that would need some manual attention. I didn’t have any more time to do anything on the lathe so just uncovered and scraped off as much gunk as I could and left it at that.

Later in the day I received an email from Newton Tesla to say that my motor had been re-wired and in the process they had also found a boatload of sawdust inside the motor casing so had cleaned that out too. The cost for this was £60 which I don’t think is unreasonable – and certainly cheaper than a new motor, plus I don’t have the bother of finding one that fits, or finding a new pulley. I’m away with work for a few days so can’t pick the motor up this week, but I have plenty to do before I wish to reassemble the lathe so that’s not a problem.

In the evening I spoke to my Uncle and discussed the lathe with him, and he happened to mention that my cousins hubby and him had recently cut down a Yew, and whilst some may have been chopped and burnt for firewood (gasp!) there may well be some more left over. Needless to say I asked him to put any he had aside for me. It may be some time before I can pick it up, as I’m in Manchester and it’s in Cornwall, but that won’t matter.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Dismantling and initial cleanup

Today I took a bunch of photos in order to record the changes as I make them to the lathe. I then started removal of all electrical parts of the lathe as these are being removed.

There was a large emergency stop button which looked to have been attached to the floor at some time which I thought would be useful to reuse so I carefully took this apart and removed all the existing wires.

I then removed the base plate on the lathe that holds the no-volt release switch, and given that this would no longer be used I dismantled the switch and removed all other wires from the lathe. There appeared to be no cable clips holding any of the wires inside the lathe which I was a little surprised about – and when I refit the electrics I’ve made a mental note to add some clips in just in case.

There was an angle-poise lamp screwed to the rear of the lathe, together with a 240v to 12/20v step down transformer. As I wished to return the lathe as much as possible to its original condition I removed this and the transformer. A few screws later these were off.

I then set about the alloy lid of the lathe. This had been modified to add a bracket that was pop-riveted to the lid, and which was then attached to the main body of the lathe with a large allen-headed bolt. The purpose of this was to tie down the lid, and I pondered over keeping this for a short while but decided it had to go. I drilled out the pop rivets and (of course) managed to break a drill bit in the process. The bracket soon gave way, and I then unscrewed the lid as I had plans for this.

I won’t be keeping the switch as it’ll be replaced with a fancy new one from Newton Tesla, so I decided that I’d try to sell this plus any other surplus parts as I recondition the lathe. Mine was covered with some rather nasty blue paint (which some dimwit had decided to liberally paint many parts of the lathe with, but also left a good half of it in its original grey. This paint had to go.

From some work I did on our house a few years back I still have some ‘Peel-Away’ which is fantastic at removing paint. I liberally covered the switch cover (after removing the innards), the NVR housing cover and also the alloy lid with Peel Away, and then covered this with the covering paper which is used to aid the stripping process, and also assists in removing the stuff once it’s worked its magic. See for details – I have the Peel Away 1 product, which I now see on the website is not appropriate for aluminium. Oops. I hope my alloy lid is OK, I’ll have to dash over there in the morning as it’s a bit late now.

Lastly for today I got busy with the angle grinder and some wire brushes I have. First off I tackled the main bed of the lathe, and removed all of the paint from this that I could get at. Half of the bed was grey (the back), the other half was blue. Now it’s just bare metal – it’s way too cold at the moment for me to paint it in the workshop as I’ll swear it’s colder in there than outside. I may have to bring the bed and leg unit home and paint it in the warmth of our cellar – however there’s no way I’ll move the main body of the lathe any further than I need to, so I may have to wait for some warmer weather until I tackle that.

After tea and some jobs at home I went back to work on the lathe and cleaned up most of the leg unit. It’s really dirty work this, I came home plastered in dust from my grinding exploits.

I also found out my lathe is 13 years older than me, built in 1953 (from the resources on this page). That makes it 57 years old this year, and it needs a bit of TLC!

Now it's all stripped back the main body of the lathe looks much better...

I now have a *lot* of stripping and painting to do!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Motor Drop-Off

Today I dropped the motor off at Newton Tesla and had a chat to the proprietor about how the motor could be reconfigured. He mentioned that older motors didn’t have the regular 3 phase Delta and Star configurations exposed externally, but internally they most probably do. So, I dropped off the motor for him to look at and will pick it up again as soon as it’s been rewired.

I also borrowed a switch blank from Newton Tesla to check if it would fit the switch on my lathe (as it was made for the Graduate) and luckily it fitted a treat. I’ll return the blank when I go to pickup the motor as I’ll be purchasing a three phase inverter and switchgear at the same time.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Motor Removal

This evening I removed the motor from the machine as I’d found a company in Warrington who could rewire the motor to 240v three phase from 400v three phase. They also sell inverters and various other bits, and I plan to purchase an inverter so I can run the lathe from my 240v single phase supply.

For anyone who doesn't know, an inverter can convert single phase domestic 240v to three phase 240v, so rather than buying a new motor you can instead buy an inverter. That said, inverters tend to be more expensive than new motors, but one of the benefits is that with an inverter you're also able to run the motor at any speed you wish, which for a lathe is a real plus.

Tomorrow I'm dropping off the motor in Warrington to have it converted.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

My first lathe

I've been working with wood on and off for well over thirty years, and have collected tools since I was a nipper. My 10th Birthday was amazing - I received a wonderful plane, soon followed that Christmas by a Black & Decker electric drill. My passion for tools hasn't subsided and I was lucky enough to buy a small workshop recently so now I have a space to tinker in.

After a fair bit of work (which is ongoing) it was time for a large tool purchase, and the first of these had to be a lathe. I've been lusting after one for years, I nearly bought one 4 years back but other events put paid to that, however now the time was right and so I bought a Union Jubilee lathe from eBay.

This blog goes through my preparation of the lathe and then (hopefully!) will show some finished articles.

The lathe was fairly complete when I picked it up today (21st November 2010) but as you can see from the above image there's a lamp attached to the rear plus a stonking great transformer & switch, and a large Stop button connected to the motor too. I'm planning to remove all of this stuff and return the lathe to something like original condition.