Cataract bench lathe

  1. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    I just collected this today after getting a call from a nice fellow tipping me off to it's existence. It's a Hardinge Cataract bench lathe - a superbly made precision machine in it's day.

    I bought it because of it's pedigree and because I already have a larger Hardinge HLV lathe which is also at 'project status' so they will compliment each other nicely when they are done (even though in truth I'm going to struggle to find a spot for this one). This one has had a bit of a tough life doing what lathes do but fundamentally it's sound. You would-not-believe how heavy the bed is for such a small machine.

    Anyway, we all love pics so here they are:

    Here's the lathe, with 24 3C collets 3-jaw and 4-jaw 3C chucks and a rotten old flat belt.

    cataractfront.JPG
    Headstock pulley has 2 rings of holes, I think the 4 holes are probably spindle locks and the 60-hole circle is for indexing. No idea what fixes in the holes in the end of the bed but they did do a whole buch of attachments for this type of lathe.

    cataract hsend.JPG
    Rear view showing it to be a plain bed, some of them had a tee slot running along the back for thread chasing attachments

    cataractrear.JPG
    Found the serial number under the hammerite on the end of the bed.

    cataractbedsn.JPG

    Scraping away hammerite also revealed the headstock serial. These machines were very modular so each part had it's own number.

    cataracthssn.JPG

    Despite the surface rust the spindle has been protected by the oiled felt wick so hopefully it will all be in good nick in there. I won't attempt to pull the spindle out until all the rust is gone off the spindle end.

    cataractspindle.JPG
     
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  2. awemawson Forum Supporter

    Potentially very nice Pete :)

    I presume a full strip down and rebuild is in order, what derusting strategy are you adopting?


    :sheep::sheep::sheep:

    PS I see that you still have that height gauge :laughing:
     
  3. spencer 427

    spencer 427 Member

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    Very nice Pete. I sure you will find room.
     
  4. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    Still got it yep

    Most of the de-rusting will be done by scraper but first I'm going to have to dip the bed in something to de-rust in the gap. I might get some of that citric acid which has worked so well for you Andrew.
    There's one spot on the bed which is slightly pitted which is a shame but since it's not a sliding way all its going to be is ugly.
     
  5. dan.taylor.1

    dan.taylor.1 General Tinkererer

    Have a measure of the collets, I've a load I haven't a chuck for that look very similar.
     
  6. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    These are the 3c collet specs Dan:

    Thread Dia: .642"
    Thread Len: 3/4"
    TPI: 26
    Body Dia: .6495
    Collet Len: 2 11/16"
    Head Dia: .852
    Head Angle: 12 degrees

    Trivia: The C in 3c, 5c collets actually stands for "Cataract", because the collets were actually designed by Hardinge who owned Cataract machine tools so a 3C collet is actually a Cataract No3

    P 43.jpg
     
    Maker likes this.
  7. dan.taylor.1

    dan.taylor.1 General Tinkererer

    Hi Pete, think I've read about the history before, probably when trying to find out what these ones I have are. They're very similar to a 5c but not quite. Much coarser thread on the back for instance.
     
  8. Ton-up

    Ton-up Member

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    Nice find, especially as you have a HLV as well. Why such a odd name?
     
  9. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    You mean Cataract?

    From "Hardinge History"

    In 1902 (or thereabouts) Hardinge acquired the rights to the Cataract range of Precision bench lathes formerly produced by the Cataract Tool and Bicycle Company (named after the waterfalls visible from the factory grounds)
     
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  10. Ton-up

    Ton-up Member

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    I knew it meant waterfalls, i didnt know the reason why. Good read.:thumbup:
     
  11. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    10kg of citric acid on the way. I've no idea how much de-rusting I can do with that but it'll surely be enough to dunk the slides, chucks and collets in.
     
  12. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    Stripped the headstock. It has a very nice bronze replacement bearing with a new wick. The front bearing is original hardened cast iron. THe bearings are clever they pull into a taper via an adjusting screw so you can dial out any free-play. The spindle and bearing journals are in excellent condition apart from a single score around the front bearing where someone has fouled the pin with a collet (I've found the mangled collet too). I'll have to make an inside lap just to make sure there's no ridge left behind on the bearing.

    cataractstripped.jpg

    Note all of the oiling is done by felt wick. The new bronze bush has a new wick but the front bush has a really tatty old wick which will have to be replaced. The wicks have a little 'tail' on them which dangles into a tiny oil reservoir underneath. So long as the oil is kept replensihed and the wicks are in good nick it makes a very reliable oiling system.

    Well it's lasted over 100yrs so far (machine dates from 1910-1915) so it must be a pretty good system.
     
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  13. bigegg

    bigegg I drink and I know things. Its what I do.

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    i use 1kg in a 30l hdpe blue barrel

    10kgs is enough to do a couple of 200l drums full - so enough to de-rust an entire myford-sized lathe.
     
  14. eLuSiVeMiTe

    eLuSiVeMiTe Forum Supporter

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    Very similar to my spindle bearing arrangement and oiling method on both my smart amd browns.
    Works flawlessly and still keeps very good tolerances. 20180711_201044.jpg 20180711_201038.jpg
     
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  15. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    I had to make a new collet key because someone had previously made one that wouldn't stay put in the hole, in fact it has been pushed back out by a wrong-seated collet and gouged the hard cast iron bearing. Here's the pin that was stuck in the spindle, it's just a round pin with two flats.

    pin.jpg

    The drawing shows that the original is a tee-shaped pin which obviously would have to be fitted from the inside:

    colletpin.JPG

    I measured the slot in the collets at 1/8" wide and .050" deep so I made the pin .110" wide and to stand .040" proud on the ID of the spindle.

    newpinturn.jpg

    First I turned it up from a 12.9 cap screw. The top is 1/4" diameter and 40 thou thick. The shank is turned for a tight fit in the spindle hole but it has a bit of a lead-in turned on it to get it located before pressing it in.

    newpinmilled.jpg

    Next I milled the sides and parted it off in the lathe, then put it in a drill chuck so I could grind a gentle radius in the top.
    All that was left to do was fit the pin. I got it located with a pair of long nose pliers then I needed to press it home. To do that I quickly hacked this tool out on the mill. It's just a piece of round bar with a groove milled in it at a sloping angle.

    pinserter.jpg

    Using that tool I could 'bar' the pin into the hole by levering slightly then sliding the bar in a bit more. All it took was a few taps with a small hammer to fully seat the pin.

    newpinfitted.jpg
     
  16. Dieselkid 63

    Dieselkid 63 Banned from forklifts

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    Any progress on this?
     
  17. Pete.

    Pete. Member

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    Not at the minute. A few other jobs have got in the way, one being a new roof on the rear porch before the weather sets in plus I've been concentrating on the South Bend.
     
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  18. Dieselkid 63

    Dieselkid 63 Banned from forklifts

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    Will you use it or is it just something nice to have seeing as you have the big Hardinge?

    It’s given me inspiration for my newly acquired mini lathe.
     
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