Hi all,

First, although this thread is about a Hercus machine, it is more about general restoration and machining and not specifically Hercus, so posting here and not in the Hercus area.

Now, for a bit of a change I thought I'd give an old war-bird some love. The machine tool in question is a Hercus Hacksaw (aka 'the hackasaurus'). Not quite a basket case - but, boy, certainly not far from it. I suspect if plugged into 415v it would have operated, albeit very badly with quite some rattling and wobbling. It is certainly a very (very) tired and worn machine - like many from the war era. I got it for a not-to-be-missed price from a fellow forum member (he'd not seen it running so it came 'as-is') - (but thank you!). I promised myself I'd fix it up. That was two years ago ....

So .. it began two years .. and happily, at 'only' 200-300 kilos it was okay on the fold-up trailer:


Then it sat in the garage for two years ....


I could not find a serial number on it, but from pics and also the little Hercus history that is about, I suspect it is maybe late 30's or 40's. The large open 'steam engine' pulley and the beautiful 'flash gordon' motor casting are hints.

Initially, I thought I'd do a 'teardown' thread for other future hackasaurus owners - but, actually, they're just such simple machines - there really are no mysteries to how they come apart. Not like, say, a bridgeport head. Just nuts and bolts and castings and a split pin or two. No taper pins. Bless! So, I'll share some pics of the resto here.

The chinesium bandsaw has given great utility, but I'll be happy to replace it with some cast iron. Besides, the hacksaw is way more interesting to look at and (importantly) passes the 'wife test' of looking something like a 'wallace and gromit' machine. ) The 'saw-o-matic' perhaps? )

It is *seriously* worn and covered in layers of grime and sh*te that cover up other layers of grime and sh*te, that cover up other layers ...

As a small example, this is stuff coming out of the motor:


But , let's not get ahead of ourselves.

These are quite basic machines. In 15 years or so Hercus only made about 1700 of them so likely each was made by 'hand' with not too many 'production line' tooling doing the job. Thus, I guess, they are relatively simple to make and assemble/disassemble.

From scratch, it only took about two hours to reduce it to parts and nut and bolts. That was with some blow torch heating on some stuck parts.



I gave parts a wire brush scrub down with a tub of degreaser. It was a messy job.


I think it would have been quite hard to clean up all the crud without removing most of the already-pretty-bad paint in the process - so I went for total paint removal. To do this, I used Bunnings 'tricleanium' ('TSP') in a near-boiling solution in the same tub on the BBQ. TSP is pretty nasty - be careful - it is hungry for human flesh but man oh man - it is by a country mile the best thing to remove old paint and grime. A hot/boiling solution is amazingly effective. Do it outdoors.


This is a motor cover after about 10 mins of partial submersion:


and parts come out leaving their clothes behind and a rinse and quick oiling will see them good for a while:


Pretty much as quick as I could I got them primed (notice the flash rusting on some parts). I use Wattyl Industrial 'agricultural' paint on the machines so I use the matching 'etch' primer from the same range.


I did get a colour match done on a part but, the match was pretty awful and kind of looked like bubble-gum blue/green. I had an extra litre of paint on hand from when I did the Bridgeport last year - so ... the Hercus will be Bridgeport grey/green. The hacksaw was obviously a blue/green colour to begin with but somehow a nice greeny/gold/grey suits machines better I think. Apologies to the Hercus purists.

The motor is a beautiful thing - an old-school General Electric Australia item - but hellishly grubby:


It was 'star' wired and no easy way to make it delta. I'll be running it on a VFD on 240. A fellow forum member offered to help modify it from star to delta so I jumped at the offer:


A big THANK YOU for the assistance!! Sir, if you are reading this - you are a **STAR** my friend. Me doing electrics is like green algae doing calculus - only more dangerous. Thank you ever so much for the motor testing and conversion, and especially for taking the time to explain things as you went. Thank you.

... to be continued ....
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