View Full Version : Know anything about big lathes.

16th Jul 2010, 07:15 AM
this kind of big.

HUGE metal working MACSON lathe 10ft bed, 18in chuck - eBay, Equipment, Machinery, Metalworking, Industrial. (end time 25-Jul-10 19:38:19 AEST) (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/HUGE-metal-working-MACSON-lathe-10ft-bed-18in-chuck-/290454481585?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item43a06faab1)

my experience with lathes is really with just toys compared to this sort of size.

In being a metal lathe are there some problems with it being used for wood ?

and ,,,,, any ideas what I could use it for ? turn veranda posts ? totum poles ? big pencils ? I don't know. is it worth getting if I've got the room.

16th Jul 2010, 07:40 AM
Drooooool!!!!! Both as a lathe and as scrap metal.:q:q

Should be cnvertable for woodturning, but that may cost a few bob. Check out what speeds it will run at.

Manuka Jock
16th Jul 2010, 07:47 AM
Yep , get it .
Fit it with variable speed and go for it .
It even comes with a center steady for those veranda posts :U

16th Jul 2010, 09:36 AM
As Arthur said it can be converted.

The biggest problem is that you have to make (or have made) adapters to fit any wood lathe stuff to fit them.

You can buy Morse taper reducers but by the time you get them down to No2 it sits out about 2" from the end of the quill and they bend.

A problem is that the older lathes in some cases don't like running at the higher turning speeds for a long period of time.

If I remember rightly (and someone will correct me if I am wrong:wink:) they had bronze bearings in the head and used a total loss oil system to lubricate so there is always oil around which doesn't mix well with sawdust.

That centre steady would need modification for verandah posts.

As long as you are aware of the pitfalls, yes you can use it for wood but you have to realise the first job you get for it will be 12' long.:wink::D

Nice toy all the same.:D

16th Jul 2010, 06:03 PM
I bought a similar Macson some years ago for $150 total with the view of making another large lathe. But shifting the bed was not worth the effort (too heavy for my workshop) so I just got the chucks ( they can be worth $) the tailstock ( hard to get otherwise) and the headstock

I have seen plenty of 'better' old metal lathes come up on ebay ( even metal spinning lathe recently) that are much cheaper ( few hundred $)

If you want to use a metal lathe they suit large diameter work, rather than splong spindle work ( as their old bearings allow slow speeds) which means spacing the headstock and tailstock up off the bed.
Adapting them to suit wood chucks is the easy part. If you want any ideas on this, ask ( rather than me type for no reason)

Unless you want to do metal work ( as well as wood ) look for a cheaper unit

I hope this helps.

16th Jul 2010, 06:38 PM
Also old big lathes have a top speed that akin to an idle speed for wood turning. Speeds of around 500-600 max or even less. From my point of view too much time and effort required for conversion and then they are only second best at most, for wood turning.

16th Jul 2010, 06:38 PM
thanks for all the thoughts.

just have to have a bit a think about it.

might try to kill me anyway..... few people get killed from big turnings on these lathes going astray over the years I spose ?

17th Jul 2010, 01:47 PM
Getting it down from the Sunshine Coast to Kyogle, including cranes to load and unload either end is also going to add considerably to the cost. Along with the adaptations, the overall cost is starting to get close to a good second hand purpose made woodturning lathe.

I'd keep looking Jake.


17th Jul 2010, 02:40 PM
One of the benefits of metal lathe is rigidity of whole machine and potential tool rest if on cross slide. Closer tolerances of slides mean that dust more liekly to jam them though. I have old DSG lathe (70's vintage) it runs lost oil lubrication, OKish for metal but wooddust????

Old lathes do run bronze bushing, which can be easily replaced if you have access to a working machine and some reamers. Would consider that it could have worn feedscrew, threadscrew shafts making it more work to fix. But if you are not intending to use the feedscrews, then I'd check to see if they can be disengaged via neutral position or gear removal.

I'd check out drive mechanism. Standard non gearbox, non tensioned belt wood lathes mean if teh chisel jams the chuck stops, limiting extent of damage. Metal lathes generally don't have this feature and will plough on regardless, so need to be treated with lot lot more respect.

17th Jul 2010, 04:58 PM
Drooooool!!!!! Both as a lathe and as scrap metal.:q:q

sacrilege :oo: it makes me sick to see something like that scrapped seriously have you never heard of the saying "they dont make them like they used to"

as a lathe that would be great restored from the pictures i can tell it has split bronze bearings and ill take a stab and say it is a geared head and not run by a flat belt. with the box ways it would be easier to scrape and that would probably be the most difficult task to restore it to original working order for metal.....

as a wood lathe like everyone else said you will want higher speed i doute it would it would even reach 500rpm but you could use the carriage and power feeds with a fixed tool just like cutting metal and forget the chisels it has enough HP to plow through it!!!!!

man i would be really tempted if i had the room it really should be preserved are you still interested in it?