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Thread: 1950s Adcock and Shipley Universal Machine Tool - photos

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    Jon
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    1950s Adcock and Shipley Universal Machine Tool - photos

    The Adcock and Shipley Universal Machine Tool. Built in the 1950s, it was available in a small and large configuration, and included a screwcutting and power feed lathe, a cylindrical/universal grinder, a vertical/horizontal miller, and a drill. It was designed primarily for shipboard use, apparently used by at least both the British and New Zealand navies.

    Here's the larger configuration:




    And, a photo of the smaller configuration



    More: Adcock & Shipley Combination Machine

    Previously:

    WWII hand-powered lathe from Liberty Ship - photo
    Homemade high precision air bearing CNC lathe and grinder
    Lathe whipping accident - video and image

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    A buffet of machining capability, serve six comfortably, or

    Quintessential man cave edition of "The Beverly Hillbillies' fancy eatin' table

    I've always respected the British knack for intricate but useful design, (minus Joe Lucas). By anyone else, this would be an assembled basket case, parts hung on wherever it 'looked' like they belonged. You can see logic and very little compromise in the result, a lot of potential in far smaller foot print than equivalent machinery. Hard to imagine backstory on this; concept, patterns, castings, lube system, machining, fit & scrape work, tooling catalog...
    Last edited by Toolmaker51; 11-04-2017 at 11:41 AM. Reason: A poke at Joe
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    Rancher's Avatar
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    Am I the only one that wishes this machine was a common find at the farm auction?

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    How do you move a thing like this? I mean like if you don't have a serious shipyard crane to make the lift?

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    Now that is what I call a work of art. I wonder if there are still any of them around or even in use? (They sure didn't need to put boulders in the keels of those ships as ballast).

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    While I do like the concept of the machine there are several points that I find would be a poor compromise to having such a conglomeration of machines on a single foot print. Don't get me wrong if one were available as a barn find I'd be right there trying to talk the guy out of it. The Horizontal mill feature appears to be the main feature of the whole machine because it is the only machine in the works which has unobstructed use. as a vertical mill you have only the Knee rise of the table for the Z axis so any angular milling would have to be done via sine or adjustable angle plate milling of compound angled surfaces or holes would require an elaborate set up fixture.
    Having a surface grinder ona machine which possibly could have other functions running at the same time would be disastrous. The drill press in a claustrophobic location boxed in on 3 sides and 0.75" spindle hole in the lathe, Seriously? and I thought the less than 1.5" in all 3 of La-blond's is bad Lastly comes swarf clean up I'm quite sure my wife would divorce me if I asked her to help me clean that thing after a day's use.
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    Reference British creativity in machine design --- Years ago I worked with a bright metallurgist who was into old Jaguars. A favorite yarn of his was: "If you ask your average engineer to grab his right earlobe he will reach up with his right hand. But if you ask the same of a British automotive engineer he will reach over the top of his head with his left hand to make the grab." (Best demonstrated in person rather than explained in print.).
    Another observation of British engineering from a century past ........ I still don't understand why all their steam locomotives had the cylinders inside the frame rails under the boiler. And then we cannot fail to mention the Arcs and Sparks department and Lucas, the Prince of Darkness.
    I think I can get away with such ignobilities being able to trace my lineage back to one of Henry XIII's head chefs (or whatever they were called in the 17th century.)
    But there are many things British I admire. I once had access to a Myford Super7 lathe. What a jewel! And back to the category of things automotive my vote for the triumph automotive accomplishment per unit of engineering input, the hill climb racer "Bloody Mary" with its twin JAP motorcycle engines and wood frame, is unmatched. And I can't fail to mention the category of absurd English mechanical contrivances that actually worked, the Frazer-Nash chain-gang transmission, which included a reverse "gear".

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    Yes, there is still one around. It lives in my workshop, and is still used on a regular basis.

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    I'd love to know how you transported it into your workshop. And if in pieces, how it came apart for transport.

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    Judging by responses, we seem centered on what transport and rigging issue were encountered, and what it's like to run.
    Don't recall ever seeing an 'all-in-one' machine that was other than a bench-top sized configuration. Can simultaneous work remain in place while running another function? It appears so and probably the biggest selling point. I'm certain to market them, a special order versus mass production, made speculation an ordeal. An equivalent to immense radial drills, limited market, and dependent on tremendous amount of capital investment. Hate to think how many unappreciated examples went to scrap or otherwise lost.
    While not ideal, so few solutions are; I admire the condensed element. Would like to have been the 'fly on wall' to see design evolve, and certainly the process of manufacture. That alone indicates serious product dedication, certainly an endeavor of not so compact small scale.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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