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  1. #1
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    Default Hercus 260 as a first lathe?

    I'm looking to buy my first lathe and have found a Hercus 260 for $1500.
    From the ad: "3 & 4 jaw chucks, norton quick change gear box, metric lead screw, roller bearing head, good working order"

    I've only seen a picture of it, and am going to have a look at it this weekend.

    I'm a complete novice and have ordered some books to tell me what to do(!).

    My main use is to generally have a play and to make the odd part etc. for my motorbikes.

    I'm interested in any wisdom you might have:

    - Is this a good machine to buy?

    - Have you any advice as to how I might assess it when its in front of me?

    - If its ugly, what would I have to replace (spindle bearings, rack etc.) to make it beautiful? Is it financially realistic to replace such parts if necessary? (For example I've think I've read somewhere about a Hercus 9" that needed new precision bearings that could cost $1000).

    - What sort of accuracy would I expect from such a beast?

    - I want to cut imperial threads. Do I need an imperial lead screw to do this, or is this where the magical 127 tooth cog comes in? I've ordered the book on screwcutting, so its not an explanation of screwcutting I'm after (yet!), just an evaluation of the difficulty (or ease) to set it up to cut imperial threads.

    Any other thoughts etc. would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Darren

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  3. #2
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    Hi Darren,

    Sounds like a very reasonable price, go for it. Hercus made quality lathes unlike some Chaiwonese lathes made today.

    Don't concern yourself about the headstock bearings, since it's a 260, it won't be that old in terms of lathe age. The Timken taper roller bearings will last a life time, unless left to rust as mine have.

    Accuracy is as fine as you will ever need.

    Can't advise you on cutting imperial threads on a metric lathe, haven't explored that possibility yet.

    Go and get it tomorrow, you will have a lot of fun.

    For a bit more info, visit http://www.lathes.co.uk/hercus/index.html

    Good luck,

    PS, if you decide not to buy it, please let me know.

    Ken

  4. #3
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    I second that motion. That should be a great lathe for you to learn on and then to keep!
    Make sure you get as many accessories form the seller as he is willing to give you in the deal. You never know what treasure he may throw in.
    Hercus, Boxford, Myford and several others,are all clones of the 9" South Bend Lathe made in the US, so any manual relating to any of those will be useful to you and there are several you can download in pdf format.
    We have 2 Hercus 260's at work and they survived the 25 years have been there no worries.

    Sterob

  5. #4
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    G Day Darren,
    Let me add my voice to the weight of opinion on the Hercus 260.
    These particular lathes have been a mainstay of turning practice in the high school system for 40 years or so. Most of them are still in use. That alone speaks volumes for a machine that survived the rigors of the High School system for that long.

    If in good condition you are getting the lathe for a $1000 less than what a machinery reseller can ask for them. Our school bought a couple at $2500 each this year to add to the ones we have already.
    There a ton of spare parts readily available.In fact easier in most cases to obtain than those of a cheap Hokinese lathe.

    Example : the the cross slide dials were hard to read after years of work -new ones cost $65 each and turned up in a week or so.

    $1500 is excellent value.
    Grahame

  6. #5
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    Threading imperial on a metric lead screw is the reverse of having an imp lead screw cutting metric.

    So do a google and you will find heaps of info.

    Essentially as long as you have the change gears applicable and the chart that shows what positions the gears go in to give "x" thread you are right.
    All you do is engage the slowest speed, engage the half nuts, make a pass, quickly back out the cross slide as you stop the spindle, reverse the lathe and repeat until you reach thread depth.

    As long as the half nuts remain engaged on the leadscrew you will be fine....so just make sure it comes with the change gears and you will be fine.
    Cheers

    Craig
    Brisbane

  7. #6
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    Darren,

    At $1500, and assuming it's not a dog, that's a great deal.

    Like everyone else has already said, go for it!

    you won't regret it.

    Shane
    A man who thinks that it can't be done shouldn't interrupt a man who's doing it........

  8. #7
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    Default I've done it

    Well, today I rang up and said I'll do it.

    I got the vendor to throw in 2 stud gears (25T & 50T) and a 48T screw gear. If I understand it correctly this should enable me to cut most of the imperial threads (from the 3mm pitch metric leadscrew - please correct me if I'm wrong!). Hopefully he'll come good with those. I also asked him to throw in a couple of tools so I can play with it when I get it home...

    I spoke to the guys at TECO about inverters and they were most helpful. They said to bring the motor in, and we can then contemplate replacing it with a single phase motor, or use a FM50 inverter (I think that's the right model - the details are at the office). The inverter is roughly twice the price of a motor, but the speed control might be nice....

    I also spoke to the tafe college where the lathe came from and the guy there said there was no problem with it, and they got rid of a couple of lathes to buy a new flash one.

    So all things are pointing to happiness.......

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpw700 View Post
    I also spoke to the tafe college where the lathe came from and the guy there said there was no problem with it, and they got rid of a couple of lathes to buy a new flash one.
    Their new one won't be too flash if the sold a couple at $1500 ea to fund it. Any idea what the other one they were getting rid of was?

    Mal

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpw700 View Post
    Well, today I rang up and said I'll do it.

    I got the vendor to throw in 2 stud gears (25T & 50T) and a 48T screw gear. If I understand it correctly this should enable me to cut most of the imperial threads (from the 3mm pitch metric leadscrew - please correct me if I'm wrong!). Hopefully he'll come good with those. I also asked him to throw in a couple of tools so I can play with it when I get it home...

    I spoke to the guys at TECO about inverters and they were most helpful. They said to bring the motor in, and we can then contemplate replacing it with a single phase motor, or use a FM50 inverter (I think that's the right model - the details are at the office). The inverter is roughly twice the price of a motor, but the speed control might be nice....

    I also spoke to the tafe college where the lathe came from and the guy there said there was no problem with it, and they got rid of a couple of lathes to buy a new flash one.

    So all things are pointing to happiness.......

    Get the VSD....they are great. 3phase without the fuss and you can then run as slow as you want....great for threading.
    Cheers

    Craig
    Brisbane

  11. #10
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    Mal,
    I don't know what happened to the others. I'm buying it off a 2nd hand machine dealer down here. He's only got the 1 260, but there's also a 9" there too.

  12. #11
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    Hi Darren,

    Please let me know the name of the dealer, either in this forum, or via a PM.

    I am still chasing a few bits and pieces for my 9" Hercus AR.

    Ken

  13. #12
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    Hi,

    The 260 is a great lathe I once owned both the 260 and the older 9" AL Hercus. The 260 is a bit heavier / stronger in constructiion. all the controls and techniques are the same. I might still have a set of imperial gears in the shed from the 260.
    If it goes against the grain, it's being rubbed the wrong way!

  14. #13
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    Speedy,

    I'd certainly be interested in any gears and/or any other bits you may have for the lathe.

    Haven't had much time on it of late (young child syndrome), but at least its there and waiting for me!

  15. #14
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    I'll have a look to see what I have in the shed
    If it goes against the grain, it's being rubbed the wrong way!

  16. #15
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    Default Imperial threading using an ATM

    Good to some one else is bamboosaled with thread cutting. Can any one inform me as to what gears are required for imperial threading with my metric 260? and a source of such gears.
    also wouldl gears from hercus 9 be suitable? thanks fellows.
    cheers
    kev.

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