My $20 lathe (well, sort of...)

One Saturday a few months ago I stopped by a garage sale in my neighborhood. Amid the various pieces of junk I spied a very rusty old Delta lathe. Although there were pieces missing, I asked "how much? and was told $35. I thought about the missing parts, as well as all of my other uncompleted projects, and took a pass. The owner said, however, that he was putting out a few more things on Sunday. Early Sunday afternoon I happened to be near the sale, so I thought that I would stop by and see if there was anything worthwhile. I looked over at the lathe again and noticed that the various missing parts (tool rests, etc.) were now there. Again I asked "How much?" This time the answer was $25. I couldn't help myself -- I had to say, "Would you take twenty?"
As soon as I got the lathe home I wrote down the model number and serial number. On Monday I called Delta gave them the numbers, and they told me they would send what information they had on this lathe. I also asked when it was built and I was told 1944, making the lathe two years older than I am. A few days later I received a copy of a 5 page manual and a parts breakdown.
I completely disassembled the lathe and began cleaning it up and removing the rust from the machined surfaces. I thought the wooden stand was a home-built unit until I noticed the Delta name tags on the two front legs.
To make a long story a little shorter, I completely disassembled and rebuilt the lathe. I de-rusted all machined surfaces, then masked them and the identification tags. I then removed as much surface rust as possible and applied Rustoleum Rust Converter to all unmasked surfaces. I then primed and painted everything that needed painting. I then reassembled the lathe. I replaced the bearings, setting the preload by feel.
I replaced the motor, an old Challenge 1725 rpm, 1/4 hp unit sold by Sears, with a Dayton 1725 rpm 1/2 hp TEFC motor that I picked up at another garage sale for $20. The original switch was a standard household light switch mounted between two small blocks of wood under the top of the bench. I replaced this with a new switch mounted in a metal outlet box. I added a modified switch guard that was designed to make it hard to turn a switch on or off. My modified version makes it nearly impossible to accidently turn the switch on, but very easy to turn it off.
The lathe came with two face plates but no spur drive, so I added one. I also replaced the original dead center with a live center.
I also disassembed and cleaned the countershaft assembly. There is some wear on the shaft and bushings, so someday I may rebuild this unit as well. The shaft is a standard 18" x 3/4" unit that can be purchased for about $20. I will need to find press-fit 15/16" OD x 3/4" ID bronze bushings (and a suitable reamer), however.
So far, my $20 lathe has cost approximately the following:
Lathe $20 bearings 26 paint, rust converter, etc. 20 used motor (in new condition) 20 one new belt 7 4-position pulley (sheath) for motor 13 new 15', 14 guage power cord 8 switch, box, cover and guard 5 misc. hardware 5 live center 15 4-spur drive center 20 ---- Total $159
There is a certain sense of satisfaction in having taken a piece of machinery that was likely destined for the scrap heap and returning it to nearly-new condition. In the process of rebuilding this unit I have learned how every part functions and have thus gained a level of knowledge I would not have with a new machine. I also have an excellent lathe at a very reasonable price.
I have posted a couple of pictures on alt.binaries.pictures.furniture.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snip

Great job! Amazing what can surface at garage sales :)
-- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Bosch 3912 (GCM12) 12" Compound Miter Saw - Dowelmax Doweling System - Ryobi CDL1802D Pro Series 18v Cordless Drill - Eze-Lap Diamond Sharpening Stones - Incra TS-III Table Saw Fence ------------------------------------------------------------
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<snip>

<snip>
This officially qualifies as a gloat, and gloats within the NG deserve the obligatory "you suck." (C;
My tongue is firmly embedded in my cheek here--seriously, congrats on a good find and best wishes for many happy years of turning...
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK...I admit it...I'm jealous.
--
Be sure to check out Joe's and Betty's webpages...
http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/kb8qlrjoe/index.html
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It's official "You suck" I am jealous and I don't even know how to use a lathe. Larry

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.