Union Graduate Lathe.


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Hi,

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.

Union Graduate_0001.JPG


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.

Union Graduate_0002.JPG


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.

Union Graduate_0003.JPG


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

Union Graduate_0005.JPG


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

Union Graduate_0006.JPG


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.

Union Graduate_0007.JPG


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

Union Graduate_0008.JPG


What a difference and what a joy to own and use; please note wooden raising blocks and emergency kick switch.
 
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Hi I have just got a Graduate and going to bring it back to life as a short bed but I have noted that the headstock does not have the right bolt holes or the extended mounting point ? now i am unsure what to do . Any light you can throw on the subject would be great. Thank you
 
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Hi,
Apologies for the late reply but being retired means full time grafting seven days a week with no time off.

Any chance of adding pictures which would be better than text alone? Once you get the Graduate up and running I'm sure you'll be very happy using it.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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hi Colin this is a bad picture of what I mean, if you study the bed mounting point there are three vertical holes and it does not have the wide connection point, where as the short bed in the bottom of the picture has three holes in a triangle
 

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Does any one have a swan neck arm for a Union Graduate lathe for sale ??
 
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Hi,

Thanks for the picture which helps.

It would be a relatively easy job for me to attach the short bed to the headstock because I've got a decent well equiped workshop. I'd offer up the bed to the headstock using some kind of support such as a wooden frame; with the bed now supported it could be shimmed into alignment as for center height and nudged for side alignment with say a pointed drive center mounted in the mandrel. I take it you've got a tailstock and if so the center height can be determined from this; once the center height is known then adjust the height of the bed accordingly and also for side adjustment ensuring the bed and headstock mating faces are flush.

Now I'd add new mounting holes by carefully drilling to accept new set screws but also I'd drill a very close fitting hole to accept a steel dowel 12mm? this dowel could be added first to ensure nothing moved out of alignment then small diameter pilot holes drilled before opening out to clearance size to accept the set screws; It's possible two bolts with nuts could be used because I think there's access to the inside of the headstock but if not it would be easy enough and important to first drill holes right through but at tapping diameter. 16mm dia set screws could be used and the tapping drill size would be 14mm but depending on thread pitch;

https://www.trfastenings.com/Produc...Terminology/Tapping-Sizes-and-Clearance-Holes

The new bed holes could then be opened up to 16mm.

1622122031290.png


The tap will need to match the set screws selected and the tapping hole diameter will have to be correct for the set screw; whatever is done care needs taking not to simply drill holes at 16mm dia; I've chosen 16mm just as an example this being strong enough; drill bits; taps and tap wrench all are readily available.

I take it for granted that this kind of work I can do without even thinking about it but for a novice it's difficult and possibly even tapping an hole will be a new experience but there will be lots of interesting videos on YouTube showing how its done.

Safety is important; lathe beds are heavy and need handling with a lot of care. The main points are in getting everything perfectly aligned and safely supported; the location dowel installed and the holes drilled for both tapping and clearance then simply add a washer to each set screw and securely tighten.

I hope this helps but please take a lot of care because it's very easy to make a mess of it being a novice. If I can help further just ask and I'll try.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

I've just popped into the workshop and whilst there taken a few pictures.

Assorted tooling_0001.JPG

Medium drills some stepped to fit a smaller chuck.
Assorted tooling_0002.JPG

Larger machine drills with Morse tapers.
Assorted tooling_0003.JPG

Reamers both machine and hand.
Assorted tooling_0004.JPG

Some of the taps and more machine drill bits.
Assorted tooling_0005.JPG

Tap wrenches.

All these have been gathered over the last 60 years or so; I always keep my eyes open for tooling whilst visiting Rufforth Auto Jumble; these are just a few seleted at random but give an indication of my workshop capabilties.

Adding the short bed to the headstock can be done as described earlier but for more advanced an adaptor plate could be made involving more work. It comes down to experience and workshop facilties; obviously only a small selection of tooling would be needed in order to sort this Graduate out but even so a big bill can soon be run up because tooling isn't cheap; I always buy the best tooling I can get hold of then I only buy once.

What I need is some quality workshop time; there are always more pressing jobs to be done like I've just washed and dried the car; earlier I was in the gardens; I dream of getting into the workshop which seems strange in that I'm retired.

Good luck with your Graduate.

Working machine_0001.JPG

Here's my latest project; making a brazing machine for brazing TC tips onto tooling using a 1,950W commersial micro wave transformer; it's fitted with manual and timer controls with three relays to allow controls to be run from 12VDC; here it's connected to a test motor whilst I check cuircuits which is easier than trying to test with the transformer connected. It's just an experiment not having seen this done with the controls before. If only I had more workshop time?

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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hi would the three vertical holes be man enough to hold the short bed safe and sound ? Please
 
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Hi,

hi would the three vertical holes be man enough to hold the short bed safe and sound ? Please
Only if suitable sized set screws are used and with enough space between holes. Holes too near each other will weaken the casting.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Colin the three vertical holes in the pedestal are factory for a long bed so i would assume that they would be good, I asked because i am looking at making an adaptor plate to bolt on using them and then bolting the short bed to that
 
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Hi,

An adapter plate is a good choice and should be fine; the plate will need to be thick enough. Sounds like you're now sorted and good luck.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Thank you for the good wishes, I am still concerned about three vertical holes holding the plate , short plus all the sideways loading of turning ie shear . The plate is going to be between 1/2" and 1" thick.

Doug.
 
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Hi,

1/2" thick steel plate will be plenty strong enough Doug;

1622295782213.png


https://www.orbitalfasteners.co.uk/...-screw-high-tensile-zinc-plated-de-embrittled

Use countersunk where the two faces meet and hex head set screws where heads allow. 1/2" plate takes some cutting as does drilling and countersinking holes so decent kit is needed. My Graduate has the standard bed and no problem with three fixings regarding strength.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Thank you Colin for allaying my fear's, would you use all three holes in the pillar of the lathe Please.

Plus if you do not mind me asking is there someone or some where that you know where I could get a tailstock.
 
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hi Colin sorry to bother you again , the three bolt holes in the pillar would you know the size of the middle one Please
 
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Hi,

You're welcome Doug. Yes if you can use all three holes; sorry though I don't know the size of the center hole; I do recall installing the set screws was tight with tool access.

Would you have been better simply buying the standard Graduate than going to all this trouble or is space very limited for you and are you more interested in bowl turning?

http://www.woodturninglathes.co.uk/graduate_spares.html

Spares are available at the link above but to buy a complete tailstock will need a second mortgage?

https://turnedwoodenbowls.co.uk/2017/03/07/graduate-lathe/

Is this the short bed you're trying to attach and if so the tailstock is totally different to the long bed model like mine; these jobs quickly become complicated and run up a big bill.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/17473244..._graduate lathe|graduate lathe|graduate lathe

Just for the arm?

I do see lots of Graduate parts for sale on eBay but it's a case of getting lucky; sometimes parts also appear on Gumtree.

I think the middle hole on mine is for the location dowel the other two holes being threaded?

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Colin the UG I purchased was set up as a sander ( that is all I could afford ) , the middle hole appears to be threaded, yes I am trying to make it a sander/ bowl lathe. I have looked at 1/2" plate and bolts but would like to find out the size of the middle hole. As for the tailstock, I have an arm I need the piece with the quill. This is probably the hard way round but small budget means working with what I can afford.
All the information you have give me has been really helpful, if any contacts come to mind Please let me know
 
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Hi,

I'm a bit puzzled Doug; you have the pedestal and bed and say the middle hole appears to be threaded? Why do you need to ask what diameter the middle hole is; why can't you simply measure it?

I'm rather concerned in that although I fully understand what it's like to work on a very limited budget you're trying to tackle a job that is more related to industrial than DIY; 1/2" steel plate isn't the usual material found in a standard UK workshop and few DIY'ers would have kit to cut or drill big holes in it or even know where to obtain such plate.

I have an industrial floor standing pedestal drill fitted with a back gear allowing revs as low as 60 rpm; this is the kind of drill needed to bore 16mm holes in thick steel plate and to countersink for a 16mm diameter set screw will need an even larger diameter drill bit.

I want to encourage others to have a go and hope I'm not being negative; I don't know your skill level or workshop facilities you have; I'm careful as to what I suggest because these lathes are heavy and can cause serious injury if not handled correctly; the bed alone could break bones should it fall unexpectedly if it was not supported in a safe manner; I suggested a wooden frame to support the bed allowing alignment taking into account the weight of the bed. I'm assuming possibly wrongly that you intend to make the adapter plate out of steel plate and not cast iron? You quote using between 1/2" and 1" thick indicating to me you are guessing not really knowing what's involved; we all start at the beginning so please accept this as meant in a friendly manner and not a criticism.

I'd like you to succeed Doug and am interested in what kit you have in order to cut and drill thick plate also to tap large diameter holes; I'd also like to watch your progress if you could add images of work in progress.

If the middle hole is threaded then there are two diameters involved;

https://www.roton.com/screw-university/identifying-screw-threads/major-minor-diameter/

Whilst at work I attended an intensive week long "Kaizen" training course where we were taught to take anything right back to basics; with this in mind I wonder if you'd be better selling the lathe you already have and starting over because as an outsider looking in I think perhaps you could well end up spending more in modifying your lathe and buying components to replace the missing ones; is your graduate single phase and are the bearings and motor etc in good condition; mine was scrap when I bought it but I can rebuild machinery very cheaply. Many graduate lathes were supplied as 3 phase 415V and need to be converted to single phase for use in the average UK workshop changing the motor and starter.

Graduate lathes are very well respected and in my earlier years graduate lathes were regarded as the Rolls Royce of wood turning lathes; even now a graduate is a joy to own and use.

I've rambled on long enough so time now to get off my backside and into the workshop.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Colin thank you for your concern , I am going to use Black steel 180mm x 180 mm, I have a bench top drill press plus two hand drills and drill bits, taps I will look at getting .
The weight , I have been in manual work all my life so will be careful to set things up correctly , as for starting again I get bits qhen I can afford them and hopefully will end up with a good lathe.
The motor is 3/4 hp 3 ph looking at changing that to 1 1/2 hp, bearings are noisy looking at removing, cleaning, reinstalling if still noisy replace.
I am not in a screaming rush so as and when. Thank you Colin

Doug.
 
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