Union Graduate Lathe.

Jul 29, 2018
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Huddersfield. UK.
United Kingdom

A few years ago I bought a Union Graduate lathe in virtually scrap condition from an academy the lathe advertised on Gumtree. With the lathe home I could better assess just how bad it was; I intended to subject it to a full and comprehensive rebuild so it being in such poor condition wasn't a problem in fact it made it a lot cheaper which suited me; I'd fancied a Graduate for many years but without sufficient funds.

The lathe was completely stripped; the headstock mandrel with bearings were removed as were all electrics and the motor. The lathe was stripped to bare metal then brush painted in machinery enamel taking a lot of care.

New mandrel bearings were bought and carefully installed not forgetting to add a new drive belt; the motor was replaced with a top quality 3 phase inverter rated Brook motor at 1.1KW; a new VFD was bought allowing variable speed with reverse etc this being a huge upgrade making the lathe a great deal better than when it was new.

Missing parts I made as required; it was an easy but time consuming restoration for me but I ended up with a wonderful Graduate lathe now running ever so sweetly indeed; I've used it for woodturning and more recently learned how to metal spin on it; the lathe was too low for me as I'm tall so I made riser blocks lifting it 3" higher; it's a joy to own and use.

This is an excellent way to build up a first class workshop for little monetary outlay; for many years I've bought scrap machinery and done full restorations finding it to be highly interesting and rewarding.

I've added the story elsewhere but worth repeating in this new section.

Kind regards, Colin.

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These old cast iron machines are wonderful to restore being built like tanks; it doesn't take a genius to work out this lathe needed new bearings.

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Mandrel and headstock bearings removed; undue force must never be exerted otherwise a lot of serious damage can be caused; gently does it especially whilst installing new bearings.

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A lot of dirty work but now ready for a paint job.

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Tailstock locking lever items; a bodged repair is the set screw.

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The original tailstock spindle minus its cam seen upper hence the set screw bodge which of course was a failure. The new spindle I turned shown lower which was an interesting job in its own right on the metal lathe.

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The old tailstock lever assembly and my home made lever assembly.

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What a difference and what a joy to own and use; please note wooden raising blocks and emergency kick switch.


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