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At what point is a lathe bed too far gone?

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CarlosA

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I have discovered that my Clausing 111 lathe bed is severely worn, the tailstock and the carriage also have a groove. At what point is it too far gone? I don`t know if this is a machine that is worth learning scraping and all of that, or if it just makes more sense to part it out to those in need. Beyond that the screws & nuts are worn, the groove that drives the carriage is worn severely, the leadscrew & half nuts are quite worn as well.

This is my first "real" lathe - as in something bigger and more capable than a hobby lathe. Aside form chatter and turning a taper I really like the selection of feeds that it has (all the way up to 224 tpi) and the ultra fine power cross feed as well. If it were a cabinet lathe and not a bench mount I wouldn`t even be asking if its worth it, i`d be joining a Richard King scraping class in 2019...
 

Ulma Doctor

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more than .005" bed wear is too far gone :(
as nice as the Clausing lathes are, the time and money invested in trying to scrape more than that is not worth the effort for the lathe in question.
you would be better off finding another candidate, if you are looking for an excuse to learn scraping.
 

middle.road

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I have discovered that my Clausing 111 lathe bed is severely worn, the tailstock and the carriage also have a groove. At what point is it too far gone? I don`t know if this is a machine that is worth learning scraping and all of that, or if it just makes more sense to part it out to those in need. Beyond that the screws & nuts are worn, the groove that drives the carriage is worn severely, the leadscrew & half nuts are quite worn as well.

This is my first "real" lathe - as in something bigger and more capable than a hobby lathe. Aside form chatter and turning a taper I really like the selection of feeds that it has (all the way up to 224 tpi) and the ultra fine power cross feed as well. If it were a cabinet lathe and not a bench mount I wouldn`t even be asking if its worth it, i`d be joining a Richard King scraping class in 2019...
Can you post some picts?
How are the gibs?
 

CarlosA

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I`ll post some more pics later today, as well as take some more measurements once I remove these: :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

IMG_20181128_160649928.jpg

IMG_20181128_162143618.jpg
 

projectnut

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more than .005" bed wear is too far gone :(
as nice as the Clausing lathes are, the time and money invested in trying to scrape more than that is not worth the effort for the lathe in question.
you would be better off finding another candidate, if you are looking for an excuse to learn scraping.
I have a difference of opinion on this subject. I have a 1916 Seneca Falls Star #20 lathe that is worn .015" for the first 12" near the headstock. It's still capable of turning out parts accurately to within .0005". The only drawback is it's difficult to make a long part without a taper. It can be done but often times is not worth the effort. I use the machine on a regular basis to make parts less than 12" long, and often times to work on shafting up to 4" long.

I have spoken to a company out of Chicago by the name of American Grinding about regrinding the ways:
https://www.americangrinding.com/grinding-services.html

They have assured me that they have done machines in far worse condition and have been able to achieve excellent results.

Back in 2001 they did the ways on my Sheldon MW-56-P lathe for $400.00. It's a slightly shorter machine, but much heavier and more difficult to deal with. The enclosed inspection sheet shows they were able to bring the machine back to .0003" in both the transverse and longitudinal directions. I would expect the cost to grind the ways on the Seneca Falls to be more expensive in that it's more worn and their rates have undoubtedly increased in 17 years.
Should the time come that I can no longer live with the situation I will disassemble the machine and take the bed and carriage assembly to them for regrinding.
 

Ulma Doctor

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I have a difference of opinion on this subject. I have a 1916 Seneca Falls Star #20 lathe that is worn .015" for the first 12" near the headstock. It's still capable of turning out parts accurately to within .0005". The only drawback is it's difficult to make a long part without a taper. It can be done but often times is not worth the effort. I use the machine on a regular basis to make parts less than 12" long, and often times to work on shafting up to 4" long.

I have spoken to a company out of Chicago by the name of American Grinding about regrinding the ways:
https://www.americangrinding.com/grinding-services.html

They have assured me that they have done machines in far worse condition and have been able to achieve excellent results.

Back in 2001 they did the ways on my Sheldon MW-56-P lathe for $400.00. It's a slightly shorter machine, but much heavier and more difficult to deal with. The enclosed inspection sheet shows they were able to bring the machine back to .0003" in both the transverse and longitudinal directions. I would expect the cost to grind the ways on the Seneca Falls to be more expensive in that it's more worn and their rates have undoubtedly increased in 17 years.
Should the time come that I can no longer live with the situation I will disassemble the machine and take the bed and carriage assembly to them for regrinding.
That’s nice but The op’s question was in regards to scraping the ways
 

CarlosA

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I have a difference of opinion on this subject.
I`m going to remove that poor repair job and see if the machine still works alright... and i tend to agree with you, my issue is whether I want to spend time and money fixing the machine, and if it is the right machine. If I could get it ground for $400 tomorrow i`d do that for sure, round trip to chicago might make that impossible though.
 

projectnut

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That’s nice but The op’s question was in regards to scraping the ways
My point is that the lathe may be able to be resurrected depending on how much the OP is willing to spend. While scraping may be limited to .005" there are other methods to bring it back to factory specs.

In my case I would not spend the money on the Seneca Falls machine had I not inherited it from my wife's grandfather. Since it was a machine he used in his workplace for over 40 years, and was given to him as a retirement present it has considerable sentimental value. It may not be the most economical or practical decision to bring it back to factory specs, but given its history I am considering it.

I would think sending the bed from Oregon to Chicago might be cost prohibitive. However if you have the interest and means of restoring it I would still contact American Grinding. I would explain the situation and ask if they could recommend anyone in your area that would be able to perform the same service.
 
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Dabbler

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Carlos. If you love the lathe, and you have a rebuilder near you - have the ways ground. Don't bother with scraping - this is not a 'first-timer' project. You'd have to take multiple classes and lots - lots - of practice to create the correct geometry.

Second: even if you have .050 wear, you can have the ways ground and get a great machine out of it. Grinding in Canada is quite expensive, but I understand that it is commonly much cheaper in many areas of the U.S. The cost varies wildly in different areas.

Third, you can always use the machine as it is, by documenting the taper for when you are doing longer work.
 

Downwindtracker2

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Seattle might have a firm that does way grinding. I know we not the mid west but there was a fair bit of industry on the coast at one time.
 

CarlosA

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Yeah i`ll check around and see what I can find - $500 budget wouldnt be too bad.

As someone above said, the machine is still useable ... if i snug up the gib on the front side it has a range of about 4-5 " before it tightens up too much to be useable ... so I was able to make a 2 collar test at about .0005"

We shall see how bad it is once I remove those shims that someone added ...
 

middle.road

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Replaceable wear strips on the saddle? Am I see that right?
Have you indicated the bed ways?
I wonder if the slop is in the carriage/saddle...
 

CarlosA

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Replaceable wear strips on the saddle? Am I see that right?
Have you indicated the bed ways?
I wonder if the slop is in the carriage/saddle...

Those strips are not factory, someone added them to try to deal with wear - there is wear both in the bed and the carriage.

The rear bed way thickness varies by .010" and I have not fully measured the front V way yet but it seems to drop about .015" overall.

The strips you see there are about 1 /16th thick and are just standard mild steel.
 

CarlosA

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After removing those strips from the saddle and shimming down the rack so it would engage again, the wear on the bed is about .018" in in the 18" or so closest to the headstock.

I also found that the rear "gib" has been replaced with a plain steel bar, and the front gib/tightening bar only has one working bolt hole.

Is it acceptable to replace the rear bar with brass until I can find some cast iron?

I basically just want to get things working normally so I can take some test cuts and see if this is all livable or not.
 

wa5cab

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For what you need to do, sure. Be certain that you have the adjusting screws properly seated in their holes or slots, then tighten the screws so as to lock up the crriage, loosen and repeat. Then loosen and adjust properly. Do this up in the worn area of course.
 

CarlosA

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Alright got it all adjusted, had to take .030 off the front gib and was able to get it to lock down pretty good with about 6-8" of travel. Chatters like crazy now of course but see the next pic where the carriage is riding in the groove, lol. I can likely mock that thing up on the mill and get it closer, the v groove on the carriage is also quite worn, wider on the headstock end of course.

IMG_20181129_115421343.jpg

IMG_20181129_115432589.jpg

IMG_20181129_162055647.jpg
 

CarlosA

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Ultimately I think I need to decide if its too far gone ... even if I were to Turcite and get the carriage in good shape, is .018" of drop in the bed too much to live with?

I did call around and noone in the pacific northwest knows of a surface grinder larger than 36".

If I can find another machine for my day to day use I may bring this one home and work on it over time ... unless there is a big demand for parts, then away it goes.
 

Bob Korves

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We hobby machinists often have a hard time letting go of machines. Me, too. When the reality is that the machine is worn out without time and effort well above what the machine could ever repay, we need to find a way to find a new hot date, get excited about it, and then move the old one on to a new sucker, er, I mean someone who will "love it just like it is." There are real sentimental reasons to keep some machines, but most of the time it is just stubbornness. We need to learn to happily be rid of the albatross around our neck...
 

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Your lathe may be too far gone for a simple rebuild. but... It is fairly common to grind the ways in 2 setups, and blending them on a 24" grinder for a 36" bed - but it doubles the setup time, which is 70% of the cost. Your carriage would have to be reground and Turcite applied. It also means that at the tailstock the ways will be out a little (in the order of single digit thous).

Send a PM to Richard Smith here in the forum for his professional opinion. He is the real expert on this sort of restoration.
 

Asm109

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It is too far gone when it will not make parts that meet your specifications.
If the wear makes tapered or barrel shaped parts you can't live with, then get rid of it.
If you can make parts that work for you, USE IT.
 

CarlosA

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Here is a video showing the movement of the front v way from the tailstock end to the headstock end. This is using the tailstock as a sled with an indicator on it - apparently that is in nice shape still.


I also measured a bunch of other things and the read bed thickness varies about .005" in the bad section.

I have not disassembled the carriage yet to see how it is but I believe it is far more worn even than the bed - without any shims in the rack the pinion gear does not engage it at all!

Anyone here vote for trying extreme measures to save this thing since it is worn out anyway? I saw this video & was intrigued since the tailstock as a sled does seem to be in good shape as far as I can tell. I ran it along various surfaces and there are some where it does not deflect at all.


As for the carriage, currently thinking about a build up of either Turcite or cast iron strips epoxied in place then machined back out til its in usable condition.
 

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I wish I were closer. I couldn't see in your video what you were attached to and what you were indicating on. It does make a difference.

I would like to take this offline, as it created a huge spitting match about how you measure ways for wear. I have been taught a way that is reliable, but I'm tired of defending it. Please PM me if you want to go down that road.
[edit] I have now viewed the video (my browser needed updating). What you measure is just as important as how you measure.
 

Bob Korves

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Using the tailstock as a sled can tell you something or nearly nothing, depending on how it was done. It is not the best method for measuring ways for wear. Using worn ways to test for worn ways is fraught with potential problems.
 

CarlosA

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I wish I were closer. I couldn't see in your video what you were attached to and what you were indicating on. It does make a difference.

I would like to take this offline, as it created a huge spitting match about how you measure ways for wear. I have been taught a way that is reliable, but I'm tired of defending it. Please PM me if you want to go down that road.
Sounds good, thank you.

Sorry for the video, I realized after I uploaded it that there is no perspective.

So my lathe is setup in this way: (see attached illustration for more detail)

There is a front V way
Then a flat
Then the gap between the rails
Then a smaller V way
Then a flat

The front V way is used *only* by the carriage/saddle
The front flat is used by the tailstock, and the head stock
The rear V way locates the head stock and the tailstock
The rear flat is used only by the carriage/saddle

The gap does not locate anything & is used only for clamps (tailstock, steady rest)

bedway-illustration.png
 
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Sblack

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There are tons (literally) of big lathes out there going for very little money as we in North America de-industrialize. You can likely find something for $1k or less. I have seen some big name brand lathes go for half that, but they were large. So if your shop is in a garage at ground level it is a no brainer. If you have to lug it into the basement it probably won't work. So for the price of regrinding you can get another lathe that has years left on it (if you chose carefully). Don't buy something that you have not inspected. Messing with something that is that worn will bring only frustration where as getting a large, rigid machine that has been well maintained will bring you nothing but joy.
 

astjp2

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A good, reconditioned old lathe is worth 3 times what a new chicom lathe is worth IMHO, I have a rockwell that had the bed worn .008, I contacted Dick Treimstra and he didnt have one but the guy in Vermont did. So now I have had a bed that is worn .0008 sitting next to the lathe for the last 3 years. I started scraping in the saddle, but life has gotten in the way. Someday I will get it finished. That amount of wear can be fixed, good machines are hard to come by in the southwest...so if you have lots of options, then go with a new one. Good luck Tim
 

Sblack

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It all depends on what it is, how much it is worn, and what else is out there available to you and how much time and confidence you have in your sklls. Anything with 8 thou of bed wear is going to have a LOT of wear everywhere else too. So a rebuild (a real one, not the fancy paint jobs you see on youtube) will be a hell of a lot of work. But if it is a monarch 10ee or a hardinge it might be worth it and you will learn a ton in the process. Or if you enjoy that sort of thing and wantto learn scraping then have at it. Even if you have the be ground there will still be other parts to scrape. So it does all depend on your situation. There is no single righ answer for everyone.
 

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At one shop I used a SB 9A with more wear to produce accurate parts. We mapped the ways and made allowances for wear. On small parts, it worked very well.
 

mmcmdl

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At one shop I used a SB 9A with more wear to produce accurate parts. We mapped the wauys and made allowances for wear. On small parts, it worked very well.
Dabbler . I am staring at a SB 10 heavy right now . The ways are badly badly worn . They used this thing for polishing aluminum rollers and never got the grit off the bed . I got it free . I could care less how it cuts myself , as I may use it for small change parts only , but you think the thing could be ground and scraped reasonably well ?
 

Dabbler

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If it is *really* bad, you need to take it to someone with a surface grinder and straighten it first. Scraping can do a small amount, but if it is that bad, you might need to have it done mechanically.

Fortunately you have an Iron bed, which is not induction hardened. Makes the job go faster.

Up here, ginding the 2 Vs and both flatways on a 60" bed is about 2K$ CDN - single provider has a monopoly. It does take about 2 days of time, with setups and proper measuring - so I guess it is close to fair.

BTW - sblack has it right. Even if it is SG, it will need to be scraped to provide oil paths and hold the oil. See "Moore Pattern Scraping on Youtube. An old lathe isn't worth a professional rebuild unless it's a Monarch or Hardinge (again thanls sblack!).
 
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