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TOPIC: Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe

Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55930

I’ve been looking into the possibilities for a bigger capacity upgrade/addition to the Unimat – It was looking like a new, Chinese made 7x14” was the best value path for me, but this came up locally & where some people might see an (in)complete. mismatched pile of greasy, rusty junk that had been in bits and unused for 40 years, but I saw distinct possibilities…

It’s a 1950-something Denfords Engineering “Boxford” 4.5” Precision Plain Lathe. It’s a rear drive, bench model (as opposed to the motor being underneath, in a cabinet).


There is tailstock that needs ungumming & repainting, a collet drawbar tube (I’ve never used collets at the headstock end myself, but then I don’t have a whole lot of lathe experience), an MT1 tailstock drill chuck (missing it’s key, and that’s an issue – I think the 9/32” pilot hole means a “KK” key is needed, but number of teeth? I haven’t got there yet…), some rusty spanners, some of which fit some nuts & bolts on the lathe), a top slide assembly that “needs some work” :whistle: & a quite rusty toolpost that only takes 1/4" bits – the same as the Unimat.


The countershaft unit has been lost sometime ago I geuss, but the motor is a monster & fairly slow so I suspect that won’t be a problem. The correct parts to lock the slide to the bed are also gone, and someone has bodged up a replacement from a bit of studding, some waste plastic & some badly filed nuts. I should be able to make up some sort of T-nut/shaft/spacer/handle arrangement to keep the top slide in place in a more functional (if a bit ugly) way.


The Burnerd 30A chuck is not original, it’s covered in thick, sticky grease so doesn’t have any rust, but will need thorough cleaning inside and out. It does have what I think is the 2 nd set of jaws in a bag & they look unused.







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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55931

I don’t think the Brook Compton 750W, 240v/60hz AC, 930rpm motor is original to the lathe, the DIY stand and plain steel plate certainly aren’t.

I wasn’t going to run it with that bog knows what colour coded, stiff as you like cable, but after some basic checks I wired on a new bit of 3 core flex & domestic plug & it starts and runs fine. Nominally it draws 2.9A, but needs a 13A fuse as it draws a lot more at first due to having additional “start” coils that are turned off by a centrifugal switch once up to speed (you can hear it clicking back to the “on” position when it’s running down when the power is turned off). It’s pretty smooth and quiet, but the pulley has some vibration , which I think can be sorted with a bit of careful refitting and/or shimming.

My plan for the motor is to remove the plastic end shroud & fan & clean, remove any paint, then polish, ditto for the obviously aluminium alloy pulley & end cap. The plastic junction box cap needs stripping and repainting, same for the legs. That nasty bit of steel will be replaced with plywood, and I’ll prep the surface of the steel main body as well as I can without too much further dismantling, prior to painting – I plan to use “Boxford Smoke Grey” as I believe it’s the correct colour for the period & is available freshly mixed :)

Obviously it also needs wiring in properly with a proper on/stop switch/button & heavy duty cable.



So far all I’ve done is put some Plusgas on the rustiest threads & removed the big top nut off the toolpost, measured a lot of things & got quite frustrated :whistle:





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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55934

Love, it! Love the machine, love your guts to get one and get it running, love the fact that you will get it running!
Keep us posted!
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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55942

If it had me I would not have a clue where to start.
The only time I have use a lathe was at vocatinal school back in the 90s
I remember they where very big and norwegian made.

Looking forward to see what you can do with this :)
Maybe you are going to make some wheels, like the centerline drag style wheels??

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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55950

caprinut wrote: If it had me I would not have a clue where to start.
The only time I have use a lathe was at vocatinal school back in the 90s
I remember they where very big and norwegian made.

Looking forward to see what you can do with this :)
Maybe you are going to make some wheels, like the centerline drag style wheels??


You mean start with putting the lathe back together, or turning stuff? Chances are you've had way more instruction than me, I had less than 10 minutes of "teaching" on how to use a lathe and less than an hour "supervised" (in reality, not at all :whistle:) use aged 11, the year after that it was decided I should go into the "academic" stream so I didn't get to do any fun/hands on stuff like metalwork, woodwork, art, pottery, textiles, cooking etc :(

Other lathe use I've had was doing really trivial winding on a Colchester "Bantam" (less than 20 hours) before the company decided it was "too dangerous" & outsourcing the work (& dumping the lathe), then probably about 10 minutes on the new Chinese lathe they bought after deciding the outsourcing was "too expensive".

I don't know how much time I had on the garbage Hobbyking micro lathe I had before the Unimat, but most of that was constantly fixing it, so I'm not sure it counts. On the Unimat itself, probably more that 100 hours, but less than 200.


If you mean putting the lathe back together, it's probably the same level of complexity as a well used Tamiya SRB - it's also old, heavy & has a lot of metal parts - so I'm starting with identifying what's there, how I'll fix/source what's not, and start dismantling & cleaning one area at a time.


I don't have any immediate plans to do anything too advanced when I do get this working, the first few things will be things that would have been too awkward on the Unimat - like making a 3-speed motor pulley to fit the "new" motor & maybe a couple more large winch drums.

:)

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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55951

I started on the motor today, the only bit that's "fineshed" is the pulley, I've left the inexplicable red paint on the inside.

The fan has blue spraydrift on it that I want to try & get off, the same blue paint is on the motor shroud, which was utterly pointless as it's already moulded in plastic the same colour. Rear end housing won't be seen so will only get a light clean.








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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55952

External junction box body is alloy so will get stripped & polished, internal coverplate will just get de-rusted & painted black.

Capacitor cover needs some panel beating (you can't see the dents for the dirt) before derusting & repainting.

I can't say getting the front housing off was easy, but once I'd found the technique (correct size drift, correct way of supporting it) it came off with two thwacks of a nylon mallet :) I will strip the painf off & polish this end.





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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55953

Not the best background - but this brushless rotor & body is a lot bigger than an RS-540 - my fist only just touches the sides of the bore.

Note springs and sliding ring for the centrifual switch - that pushes on the small nylon square, opening a set of contacts. I'm not going to dismantle the motor anymore than this (though the plate/stand will come off soon), de-rusting, prep & painting will have to be done in situ.

:)



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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55955

More dismantling ...

The toolpost was the area I was most worried about, but after Plusgas + time it looks ok:



Upper slide components:




Rust on bed - this is the worst area, but it's hidden under the headstock:




This lash up is what was holding the compound slide on - note the filed nut on the left, 2 little points were all that was holding a critical & very heavy part on :blink:

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Boxford 4.5” x 17” Precision Plain Lathe 4 months 3 weeks ago #55956

Found the serial number - it dates the older parts of the lathe to late 1952.

Most of yesterday was spent measuring things & buying stuff off t'internet (TANSTAAFL - there ain't no such thing as a free lathe), including a new front bearing for the motor.

There's some play in it, probably not helped by dismantling. I believe it's a 17x40x12mm, #6203. These are widely available & start at less than 3GBP, the problem is that I really wanted a decent quality one, unshielded, and a C2 (tighter than standard clearance, low noise) rating - most were rubber or metal shielded & C3 rating, if they had one at all ... I really would have preferred to get one at a local bearing distributor, but the nearest one is now over an hour away (which is a lot in this country ;) ) so got an SKF one mail order for just over 10 GBP :)

Something else I learned - the tailstock is Morse Taper #2, not MT1.

Also changed my mind about the paint - it would have been nice to repaint in the correct Smoke Grey enamel, but I don't think I could live with the stink, so will use aerosols instead. I know they still stink, but not for so long ... I've settled on Sky blue for the motor & support, plus satin "Rustic Rosemary" - a pale, dull green, which is not unreasonable for the period for everything else.

:)

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