Rebuilding an Old Craftsman Lathe
Continuing on the theme of "machinery rebuilding" that I started with the minor overhaul of a vise yesterday, I decided it was high time to do something with an old (1940's or 50's maybe?) Craftsman model 109 lathe. I purchased it along with two wood lathes from a guy somewhere in Colorado Springs about 10 years ago. I knew it wasn't the greatest of metal working machines, but I hoped it would be good enough for small hobby jobs that did not require the ultimate in precision.
Just like the vise I rebuilt yesterday, this machine tool had been in storage in a musty shed for years and was covered with a thin but damaging coat of fine rust. I decided to take apart everything but the spindle, remove the rust, hone the mating surfaces, lubricate it and put it back together. I spent several hours a day on it for three days (again with the help of less than thrilled offspring).
|Figure 1. Craftsman Model 109 lathe, cleaned up and ready for action|
Using the 4-jaw chuck that it came with I was able to machine a brass test button to within about .005 inches of an arbitrary target diameter. I assume I could do a little better with practice.
I even used the lathe to turn a body blank for a scratch built rocket made out of a willow branch. I still don't have a good way to make large enough, accurately centered holes in the ends of the body for creating spaces for motor mounting and to pack a parachute, so that project is on hold until I invent some appropriate method or get access to a different machine.
I have entertained the idea of buying a 3-jaw self-centering chuck for this lathe, but I think I might just sell it and use the money to buy a Sherline or something.