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Thread: Putting a Motor on my Vintage Mini Lathe

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    engineer steve's Tools

    Red face Putting a Motor on my Vintage Mini Lathe



    In this video I am installing a motor onto my 1960's mini lathe, which I just restored. Future additions will be: a leadscrew (for slow feed and power feed), a solid tool post and a housing for the lathe to keep the chips from flying all around the shed.

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    Thanks engineer steve! We've added your Mini Lathe Motor to our Lathes category,
    as well as to your builder page: engineer steve's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    wizard69's Tools
    Nice work! You had me laughing and crying within minutes. Laughing due to forgetting the belt, can't even count the number of times I've had to disassemble something to replace a forgotten item. Crying due to taking a grinder to that Beautiful casting.

    Not that I don't understand the need to modify, I'm currently in the process of rebuilding a Atlas horizontal mini mill and I know some things will need to change. It is a bit frustrating of course, do you keep the old or take a more modern approach. For example I'm thinking of replacing the mechanical table drive with a stepper motor solution. The idea being to be able to hit proper feed rates with modern cutters in aluminum. The other idea is a VFC and 3 phase motor for a wider range of spindle speeds. The question becomes when and how to give up on original equipment.

    In any event waiting on your next video.

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    Frank S's Tools
    When to keep vintage equipment in its original form or when to upgrade to more user friendly productivity. has been a question many have asked themselves. What it really boils down to is, is the machine part of some historical significant event? Can documentation be traced to the actual machine in question? Will the machine have more value in an estate sale after your passing by retaining originality? If the answer is no to any of those then it becomes a matter of personal preferences. Do you like all aspects and functions of the machine as is, or would a few upgraded enhancements make it worth more to you in daily usage. Can any of the mods be reversed back to original should you decide to sell it and the buyer wanted an as factory built machine. Lastly will any mods be worth the expense and effort if the machine is just used occasionally.
    I have a 1916 LaBlond 16inch lathe which falls into the category of someone has already modified it more than once. Converted from flat belt to cog belt 2inch risers under the head stock and a homemade tail stock. The modes were done well enough for the most part but I am looking at changing out the already modified head stock which has been machined out to accept ball bearings instead of the Babbit or bronze saddle bearings originally on the spindle. To a head stock of my own making with a spindle having at least a 3.5" bore with a chuck on both ends, and since it has a heavy duty carriage with long T slotted wings I think the mod will greatly enhance the old lathe and ultimately make worth a lot more than it is now, which is probably so much a pound in scrap even though it works fine
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    engineer steve's Tools
    Thanks for your support! It sure was a difficult step to choose between preserving the original casting or modifying this beautiful piece. I ended up going the last route, unfortunately some parts seem te be missing and the value of similar machines from the same brand is not significant. I will keep the part I cut off, just in case . The way I see it, the historical value is maintained by using the machine for the intended purpose: turning metal and extending the capabilities of a workshop. I would like to fit it with a gear drivetrain for powerfeed (and perhaps thread cutting?) For the size this machine is just incredible, showing the quality that used to be the standard back in time.

    Here is some documentation on this lathe: Zyto lathes revised models



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