Saturday, August 10, 2019

Installing a Collet Closer Attachment to a South Bend Heavy 10 (10L) Lathe

I'd been eyeing the collet closers that keep appearing on eBay, and finally pulled the trigger.  On arrival, I realized I had a few issues to work through.  Not having ever used one, I didn't know what I was getting into.  As I played with this puzzle, I realized I was missing a few things, so I asked a great machinist forum (all are welcome there except for folks who push for power or troll everyone else endlessly - it's a welcome forum) - The Hobby Machinist Forum.  The response came back rather quickly.

First, these collet closers include a pin that sticks out of the headstock.  My headstock didn't have that pin.  Most Heavy 10 lathes include a threaded plug that you can pull out and install the pin.  However, I didn't even have that on my headstock.  I had to drill the headstock, tap it, and thread a shop-made pin in.

Second, I was missing the gear.  Yeah, in case you didn't know, the outboard gear on a heavy 10 lathe (the one driving the reverse tumbler mechanism) is not the same for collet attachments.  That one sticks out a little bit to engage a woodruff key in the attachment itself.

Third, the good collet closer attachments have a Gits oiler on top to keep the brass bearings for the clutch handle lubricated.  Mine didn't have that.  It means I'd have to replace the threaded pin holding it on up top with a new one that had a hole through it and an oiler.

First was handling the pin in the headstock.  This is easiest (and doesn't get cast iron chips into the machinery) if you remove it from the lathe and dismantle it.  Once ready, you need to center punch where you will drill, then do the normal.  The procedure is documented on the hobby machinist thread where I originally asked those questions.

If you look in that last picture, you'll see my lathe's live center in the quill.  It allowed me to keep the tap centered along the axis of the hole I'd just drilled.  However, it should be noted that you don't want to do this if your live center doesn't have a tang to help remove it when you are done.  It's a serious pain to remove if you don't pay attention to this.  I first tried holding things at an angle into the quill, different keys, and even prying on things I shouldn't.  I finally gave up, grabbed one of my ball joint separator forks, shoved it around the live center taper, gave it a couple of small whacks with a hammer, and it came loose.  Again, please don't ask me how I know not to do this.  It's a painful memory that has repeated itself twice.  [sheesh].  Don't forget to counterbore the hole.

Well, with that ready, I had to make the pin.  It's pretty simple,  Again, dimensions come from that hobby machinist thread I'd mentioned earlier.

Install the pin, drop that arm over it, then bolt the arm up to the closer handle, and this piece is done!

I also had to create the set screw/Gits oiler combination.

Next was to get the gear.  I'd watched eBay for a while after knowing I needed one, but never found one.  It's an 18DP, 40 tooth gear that sticks out 1.4" farther than the standard gear.  This was a bit of a surprise to me because the other gears (for the banjo and the change gears) are all 16DP.

I bought a chunk of iron, and bored it out, then turned the outside down.

This gave me the gear blank.  I still need to face the outboard end of the gear and clean it up a touch, but then I need to cut the actual gear teeth.

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