Turning Archive 2005

Subject:
Moveable control for General lathe *PIC*

Dave Shombert
>I have a General 26020, circa 2000, that I'm very satisfied with, but I had always wished it had a "remote" - a way of positioning the on/off and speed control wherever I wanted it, so I wouldn't always have to reach to the front of the machine (a little inconvenient when hollowing, especially if you're straddling the bed). Not long ago, I had a chance to use a new version of this machine and it had just that - the controls were in a box tethered to the electronics by a cable. I inquired about getting one of these from General and adding it to my lathe - a couple hundred bucks, and dire warnings about the complexities of hooking it up. But in looking the thing over, I realized that there's nothing more to this than just (a) unscrewing the metal plate that holds the switch and speed control, (b) mounting the plate on a box, and (c) hooking everything back up - via a long cable - to the same place in the electronics as it was originally.

It worked great. I needed six feet (about $20 worth) of six-conductor (stranded #20 wires) shielded cable, a scrap of wood (apple, in case you're wondering), and a couple rare earth magnets. Plus a scrap piece of 1/16" steel plate to cover the hole in the machine where the controls used to mount. Now I can have the controls within easy reach no matter what I'm doing - on the bed, on the side of the machine near the tailstock, or anywhere else. And there's nothing complicated about this electrically, everything is connected exactly as it was at the factory. No more, no less. It's just six feet of cable outside the machine instead of two feet of cable inside the machine. I would think this approach would work on some other lathes. I'm embarassed that it took me five years to think of it. Duh. Attached is a photo showing the box stuck on the headstock with its original location just below it. I'll follow this with a few more.

Dave Shombert
Elkins, WV

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