Turning Archive 2007

Some More Robust Pictures

Bill Grumbine (Kutztown PA)
>Greetings all
I meant to get this posted some days ago, and actually did in a couple of other places, but then real life got in the way of me and my computer. The lathe arrived about 3:00 PM last Wednesday, and all went very smoothly indeed. The truck driver was a very friendly guy who was willing to help us get the thing into the shop. Getting it off the lift gate was a little exciting, since it barely fit, especially with three guys (one of them me!) also trying to stand on the lift gate to move it around. Including the crate, it checked in at 920 lbs.

Once we got it on the ground, we removed the excess crating - i.e. everything but the skid, and prepared to get it into the shop. My shop is at ground level, but not quite. There is a lip of concrete about 1 1/2" high which we had to surmount. We got the thing onto the pallet jack, took a running start, and got it most of the way in on the first try. It took two more tries to get in all the way, but it went relatively fast.

After signing papers and sending the driver on his way, I had this in the shop.

It was very well wrapped in what looked like a giant garbage bag and that foam stuff that electronics come in. It only took a couple of minutes to get all that off, and then the real grunt work began. After getting the bolts holding it to the skid out of the feet, we prepared for the heavy lifting. The headstock, banjo, and tailstock were all moved to one end of the lathe, and boards were placed at the other end so that we could slide it along the skid. We dragged the "light" end off the skid and set it on the floor. Then, we moved all the stuff on top back to that end, and prepared to get the second end on the floor. We did that by padding a long crowbar with some of the foam, sliding it under the ways, and lifting from two sides while my daughter removed the boards. Now it was sitting firmly on the floor with the skid wrapped around it. No problem, that is what reciprocating saws are for! In very little time there was a pile of scrap two bys laying out in the parking space, and we were at work getting the lathe up on its wheels.

The wheel kit is an option, and comes with a jack, which also serves to lift the lathe to adjust the leg height. Most people will probably use something like this once or twice, but I think it is going to be real handy when students of less than normal height (6' 2") come to use it. It will also be a plus if I want to do demos, or need to make full use of the bed (more on that in a minute). I got it as far as you see in the picture above last night before it was time for bed. I had to run some errands as well, so I was not able to devote my undivided attention to the machine.

Here is a shot with the tailstock pivoted. This is a huge advantage for me in a couple of ways. While most people will like it because it gets the tailstock out of the way for turning at the end of the lathe or using a captured hollowing rig, I have the added advantage of it enhancing my flatwork capabilities. With the lower bed ways and the tailstock out of the way, the slider on my Mini Max combo machine will sail right past it, with sheet goods passing over the ways. That adds a minimum of 30" of space to the other end of the shop, all the way across, effectively opening up about 30-45 square feet or better. And because of the wheel kit, the lathe does not need to be out in the middle of the floor all the time. I don't need the 58" between centers all the time, and since the headstock slides, I can condense it down to a smaller profile for most of my turning, and if I need to stretch it out for a longer piece, it will be a simple matter to put the wheels on, and move it out to where I can use its full length.

I got the lathe leveled the next day with the help of a friend. What a job that turned out to be! The lathe was not the issue, but rather my shop floor. The floor is concrete, poured in 1943, with no intention of anything but parking and working on cars. As such, it has more billows than the North Atlantic, and as much oil on it as when Exxon Valdez became a part of our history. I have an unpleasant combination of rough and slippery. We tried the leveling feet that came with the lathe, but they were too small and moved around. So we went back to moving the legs, which are infinitely adjustable. We got it dead on level in all directions, but it kept skating around like a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.

I didn't have this problem with the Poolewood, but my friend (who happens to own the Poolewood now) pointed out that the feet on the Poolewood are hollow tubing, whereas the feet on the Robust have a plate welded onto the end, and is painted to boot, creating a lot less friction. So, we bolted it down to the floor using some Tapcon screws.

I fired it up again, and it was still vibrating. Checking the speed, I realized it was running at about 1200 rpm with a 16" out of balance blank. I backed it down to about 900 rpm and we could stand a nickel on edge with no problem.

Here is a picture of the first shavings. I took a piece of silver maple that was still somewhat wet, about 16" in diameter to start, and perhaps 5" thick or so. I leaned into it with all I had using a Thompson 5/8" gouge, and taking off as big a shaving as the gouge would handle. I was able to slow the lathe down somewhat (haven't met one yet that I can't stall) but you can see the shavings in the window there. Taking the heaviest cut the gouge could swallow, the nickel still stood on edge. So I am happy.

The rest of the shop now needs some serious work, including some new tool storage, and I have to finish my dust collection, but I am planning to have some pieces to show as soon as possible.

Thanks for taking a look.


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