- Dec 26, 2015
It’s been several months since I took delivery of, and posted about my PM1340 lathe. It's time for an update since I’m nearing completion of what started as a straight forward VFD conversion project, and then took on a life of it’s own and led to a substantial customization of the stock PM1340 lathe.
I’m forever grateful to Mark Jacobs in particular for his thoughtful advice, council and helpful suggestions, and especially for the new electronics control package he developed to my specifications. Without Mark’s fine contribution, this project would never have taken off. I’m also grateful to this Hobby-Machinist group – I’ve received - even stolen or copied - some very interesting and useful upgrades described by other users here. Great inspiration.
In a nutshell, I started out wanting to do a VFD conversion and needed help with that aspect. I also did not like the stand offered by QMT for the 1340 because it did not offer drawer storage below the lathe. I also wanted a lathe with a chip/coolant pan that could be easily removed for cleaning. I decided to design and build my own stand, and the project evolved from there – first learning to weld, acquiring welding equipment, making a welding table, and on and on. Turns out, the stand building part of this project was one of the least time consuming aspects.
As the project evolved, I harkened back to the mid-1960’s when I did a customization of a 1957 Chevy, and the more I got into this, the deeper I dug the customization hole.
For those who are inclined, the full saga of the customization, including photos and selected videos of the machine under power is documented at this link: http://tinyurl.com/m2zavnl
Here’s a summary of some of the elements that went into the Best & Jacobs Full Custom Edition:
- Designed and fabricated a welded steel stand for the lathe that provided drawer storage below, and a removable chip/coolant pan under the lathe.
- Upgrade of the motor to a vector-rated Baldor unit capable of high torque and HP throughout a wide speed range.
- Working with Mark Jacobs who designed and fabricated a new control system, all the electronics in the factory-supplied lathe were replaced.
- I like this lathe a lot, and appreciate the refinement of a Taiwanese made machine to that of mainland China. That said, one thing they haven’t mastered in Asia (to my satisfaction) is how to paint the machines with a durable finish. So I said to myself “as long as you’re replacing the electronics, might as well repaint the thing.” Wow – what a path-setting decision that was.
- And then “as long as you’re taking it apart to paint . . .” came the decision to replace every fastener on the machine with hardened stainless steel equivalents (thank you McMaster).
- I decided to upgrade other basic elements of the machine including incorporation of real glass and metal oil level sights, a quick and easy oil drain system for the headstock, all new front panels, new stainless steel knobs and levers, a single-point oil pumping system for the quick change gearbox, new carriage stop with micro-adjust and proximity sensor mounting, and many other minor improvements and embellishments.
- Installed DRO-Pro’s magnetic scale system with customized mounting and drag chain to organize the cables, and a Mitutoyo scale on the tailstock. Also built a MachTach kit for the machine, came up with custom case and panel for it as well as incorporating the mounting into the structure to support the DRO display.
- After the stand was built and the lathe installed on it, I decided to build a tool racking system and for the BXA tooling collection I was accumulating, and that evolved into a second support bracket system for the light (which I converted to LED), and a jumbo dial indicator setup for indicating-in 4 jaw fixturing, swivel tool trays for the stand, etc.
- Added an MQL coolant delivery system from FogBuster.
Here are a few photographs that chronicle the evolution and where things stand today. Enjoy, and thanks for the inspiration and for viewing, with special thanks to Mark Jacobs for his consistent and thoughtful support throughout the project, and to Matt at QMT for his helpful and timely support throughout.
The custom lathe stand - "what do you mean, I have to learn to weld too?"
The removable chip tray:
Tear-down and preparation for stripping and painting:
Replacing all the fasteners with hardened Stainless Steel:
New controls and front panel:
Electronic control package from Mark Jacobs:
New Baldor motor, pulley and belt system:
New oil level sights:
Dorian BXA tool post:
Single Bijur oil pump for quick change gearbox:
New quick change gearbox oil distribution platform:
Spider and tachometer sensor mount:
ER40 collet chuck with D1-4 mounting:
All new stainless steel levers and knobs:
Spindle-aligned chuck saddles:
Quick, no mess oil change system for headstock:
Cross slide DRO:
Carriage position DRO with drag chain for cable and coolant/compressed air plumbing:
FogBuster coolant system:
Flexbar LatheGuard safety shield:
Custom mounting for DRO and MachTach display:
Quick change gearbox oil drip pan:
New, tool-less re-positioning and removable carriage stop with proximity sensor mounting:
Spider run-out adjustment indicator system:
Extensive tool rack:
As she sits tonight:
And there's much more here for those who are interested, including several videos in addition to four pages of photos: http://tinyurl.com/m2zavnl
Thanks for viewing, sorry for the long post, and much appreciation to you all for inspiration.