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Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

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  • Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

    Can anyone recommend good options for modernizing a Rockwell lathe to be able to take MT2 accessories? I’m not sure if it requires modifications to the tail stock as well. Trying to gauge the cost involved in top of the lathe and tools.
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  • #2

    Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

    I assume any machine shop could do this for you but that is generally pretty expensive for the value added. Is there even enough meat in the OEM tailstock to create an MT2? I think it would get pretty thin?

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    • #3

      Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

      If it is a Rockwell with anything but a #2 Morse taper, it must be a Beaver after they were bought by Rockwell. I still have my first lathe, a Rockwell Delta Homecraft from the 1950s and it is MT 2. Similar in size to the Beaver, but a much better lathe. All of the larger Rockwell lathes with Reeves drives or three pulley range are MT 2 as far as I know. IMHO you would be wasting your time converting a lathe to MT2. There are lots of better options, but I am only a turner who started about 60 years ago.
      Mike

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      • #4

        Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

        Gee Mike, at 60 years experience I would have thought your first lathe might have been treadle-powered .
        I agree with your view on converting.
        billh

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        • #5

          Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

          The original Beaver lathes had an option for a MT2 headstock and MT1 Tailstock the easiest way to upgrade that is to just buy one with it. I have a delta 1460 lathe with MT2 headstock and tailstock. They can be had for a good deal sometimes and they are a good lathe. I added a VFD to mine so i now have electronic variable speed as well.

          Its not impossible to get a MT#2 into the headstock spindle. just take it all off and bring it to a good machinist. the only issue is the machinist will probably cost more to do the job than the cost of buying a used lathe which already has a MT2 headstock.

          another option is to just get a chuck with the right threaded adapter and a spur drive to go in the chuck. Nova has good options for those. was there anything specific you wanted to use a tapered headstock for?

          If you haven't bought a lathe yet i would say keep looking and get one with a MT2 headstock and tailstock.

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          • #6

            Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

            Originally posted by billh View Post
            Gee Mike, at 60 years experience I would have thought your first lathe might have been treadle-powered .
            I agree with your view on converting.
            billh
            Hi Bill. About five years ago, I actually had a treadle lathe that a fellow in Cambridge had built to make Windsor Chairs. It was based on the design of the fellow from Ottawa Valley that taught Windsor Chair making. It was fun for a while and we used for a couple of guild public demonstrations. Too hard on the body and I passed it on to another younger turner.
            Mike

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            • #7

              Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

              Originally posted by Evan Dunville View Post
              The original Beaver lathes had an option for a MT2 headstock and MT1 Tailstock the easiest way to upgrade that is to just buy one with it. I have a delta 1460 lathe with MT2 headstock and tailstock. They can be had for a good deal sometimes and they are a good lathe. I added a VFD to mine so i now have electronic variable speed as well.

              Its not impossible to get a MT#2 into the headstock spindle. just take it all off and bring it to a good machinist. the only issue is the machinist will probably cost more to do the job than the cost of buying a used lathe which already has a MT2 headstock.

              another option is to just get a chuck with the right threaded adapter and a spur drive to go in the chuck. Nova has good options for those. was there anything specific you wanted to use a tapered headstock for?

              If you haven't bought a lathe yet i would say keep looking and get one with a MT2 headstock and tailstock.
              I agree that if you haven’t bought a lathe yet, hold out for one with MT2 headstock and tailstock.
              I have a newer model of Delta then Evan’s. Mine is a 70’s era Delta 46-200 lathe. They are similar to the General 160 lathes. Mine originally came out of a school. I bought mine about fifteen years ago. It came with a 3/4hp motor and the four step pulley setup. I used it like this for about five years.
              Click image for larger version

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              The bearings in the headstock started getting noisy. So about ten years ago I took it all apart and installed a new belt and bearings in the headstock. I decided to upgrade to a VFD and 1-1/2hp three phase motor at the same time. I gave it a fresh coat of paint as well.
              Click image for larger version

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              I couldn’t believe the difference the upgrade made, it was like a totally different machine. I’ve been very happy with it ever since.
              I mostly use mine for making furniture parts and the odd small bowl. Unless I really get into bowl turning in the future I don’t see myself ever upgrading to another lathe.
              Roundhead likes this.
              Mike @ Buck Lake

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              • #8

                Re: Modernizing Rockwell style lathe

                Hi Mike,
                Now that is interesting because a few years Valley Woodturners (Ottawa) had a person from up the Valley do a demo making Windsor chairs using his human-powered lathe. Maybe the person you referenced. Never used one but I think I'll stick to the 3-phase VFD power.
                billh

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