LeBlond Lathe 15×42
Regal Dual Drive Mk1
After looking for a lathe for a lot of years, in June of 2014 I got pretty serious about finding one. In South Dakota, lathes are as scarce as hen’s teeth, and they just don’t come up very often. The ones that do are typically overpriced pieces of junk that have been well used.
I missed out on a nice one at an auction that went for a bit more money than I wanted to pay.
I was then looking at a Southbend 10L in Sioux Falls, SD, but it was in pieces and the guy wanted more than $1000 for it. The taper attachment was also broken.
My brother is out in Pennsylvania, and lathes on Craigslist pop up occasionally. He has picked up 2 lathes for himself, and had scored some pretty good deals. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to part with them, even to to his dear twin brother…. Me! But I convinced him to help me with a search for lathes.
The complicating factor is with me being in China for work, it makes it really difficult to go look at them in person, so having my brother be able to do the legwork was a huge help.
I initially found a lathe at an equipment dealer in York that seemed like a decent deal. It was on the smaller end of lathes at 13×40, but still plenty of features. Problem was that it was an Enco lathe, which I have heard varying degrees of feedback on them. The price was decent at $1700, and it was in good shape.
I was getting pretty serious about this one, until my brother found the Leblond.
It was listed on Craigslist, Leblond Lathe, 15×42, 3 Hp, complete with 6-jaw chuck, 4-jaw chuck, faceplate, steady rest, taper attachment, instruction manual, and misc tooling (tool holders, centers, etc), asking $1450.
After my brother had some emails back and forth, he finally was able to visit, and made the purchase! He got it for $1250, but with a trailer rental, and some money for strapping, so I sent him a check for $1350.
Since I was going to be in South Dakota for my summer home visit, I really wanted to try to get the lathe shipped out right away. I also had a hydraulic tubing bender that I had also purchased out there, and was already stored at my brother’s garage. I made the listing on Uship, which I had previously had good luck with for my knuckleboom crane attachment, and also my 1950 Chevy COE truck. Unfortunately, it was not to be…. all of the bids on Uship kept coming back as $1700+ to transport the lathe and the tube bender. The Uship calculator was estimating it at ~$1250, so that seemed a bit ridiculously high. Particularly since I didn’t HAVE to have it in South Dakota, so I decided to wait.
Fast forward 4 months, and with an upcoming work trip back to South Dakota at the end of November, I decided to try to get it shipped again. I relisted the Uship listing, and then waited. At first many of the bids were again coming back as $1700+, but then finally I got a guy that was interested and could meet the schedule, and today (11-15-2014), I sealed the deal for $1150! With fees, it comes to $1207. That seems like a fair price.
Now to wait anxiously for it to be picked up and delivered!
With the shipper locked in, he had promised to deliver the lathe and tube bender by Sunday, November 30, as that night I had to be leaving the shop.
I arrived back in the US on the evening of 11-28-14, and about an hour after landing the shipper gave me a call, letting me know that he was making good time, and that he’d be arriving on Saturday, November 29! Sweet, a day early would definitely be a bonus!
I got to the shop Friday night, I took a quick look around, and hit the sack. The next morning, the first thing I did was air up a low tire on the forklift, and then fired it up. I keep a battery maintainer on it, so no dead batteries to worry about.
I then dropped a battery in the 1951 International truck with the knuckleboom on it, primed the carb with some gasoline, and got it fired up. Then I got the boom all unfolded, ready for the delivery.
Late morning on Saturday I got a call from the shipper that he’d be arriving in the afternoon, and he’d give me a call when he was about 30mins away. Sure enough, I got a call a bit later, and then another one when he was in town, Google maps had the wrong address shown, but within a few mins he was ready to back into the driveway!
You can see the tube bender frame on the right side of the lathe on the trailer, read more about that on the tube bender page. We unloaded that first so we’d have room to unload the lathe.
Then I had him back into the shop so the lathe was next to the knuckleboom and ready to lift off. I started up the truck and swiveled the boom into position, and then we got it rigged up. Then I lifted the lathe up high enough to clear the crate of tooling, and he pulled the trailer out of the way.
I had my digital scale on the hook, so that way I could verify the weight, and also make sure I was within capacity of the crane. The lathe weighed 2600 lbs!
Now to grab the crate of tooling with the forklift:
Then gave the shipper the authorization code for payment, and we were all done! It was about 30mins from when he arrived to when he left!
Now to get organized and get the lathe placed into it’s actual position.
Here’s what everything looked like after unloading:
I wanted to place the lathe right next to the vertical mill along the wall, so all of that stuff had to be moved and cleaned up.
The lathe was pretty long, and filled up the entire space from the door to the mill…. I was hoping to have enough room between them to place a skinny locker cabinet to hold tooling…. After a bit of measuring, I determined I could move the mill over, and have just enough room. You can see by the imprints where the mill was, and where it is now. Then I had just enough room for the cabinet.
Now to open up the crate of tooling to see what’s all in there. First I weighed it with the scale, 287 KG or 635 lbs, and then started removing the glut of screws holding it together.
My brother had packed all of the tooling for the lathe and the tube bender into one crate, so that’s why you can see the tubing dies on top. I didn’t dig too far, as I didn’t want to pull it all out until I have a good place to put it all.
Onto to getting electrical hooked up. I was almost out of time for the weekend, so I wanted to check how I would do the electrical connections on the upcoming weekend, and if I needed to buy any parts.
There’s a electrical disconnect box on the side of the mill, so I decided to tie into that, and then the mill and lathe would be on the same 3 phase breaker. The lathe had a connector on it, and I decided to buy the corresponding female connector so that if necessary I can unplug it. Now I was out of time for the weekend, time to head out, go to the work meetings at my corporate job, and wait for the next weekend.
I was able to buy the right connector at Lowes, not easy to find a 20A 3 phase connector, but I found the right one. I ran some 3 wire w/ ground romex cable from the disconnect box on the mill over to the lathe, then terminated the connector on the end, and plugged it in!
The moment of truth, would it work?
It sure did!!!!
I remembered my brother saying something about it needing oil, so after turning it on for just a short time, I did a further inspection on it, opening up the end cover, and also removing the top cover, and it was empty of oil. The manual recommends a SAE 30W oil, so I just used some motor oil to get started. Is the right oil? Probably not, but certainly better than nothing. If anyone has some recommendations on where to get the correct oil, please email me.
The oiling system is pretty sophisticated, with an internal pump that brings oil up to the top and then drizzles it over each gear set, so when its running the gears are bathed in constant oil.
It also has an electric brake that is actuated by the center position on the on/off switch. It has 5 positions, starting from the top: Forward, neutral w/ brake off, Brake ON, neutral w/ brake off, Reverse.
The gear selector is pretty slick, one handle can rotate back and forth and pivot in and out, giving a total of 12 speeds, from 28 up to 1800 rpm.
It has power feed to the table, and even the compound can feed in/out.
I need to do some cleanup of the entire machine, and also scrub the ways, as it has been sitting for upwards of 15 years without use. The 4 drive belts and the other 2 drive belts will all need to be changed fairly soon, as they have not all stretched at the same rate or only a part of them were changed at one time.
It came with the original owner’s manual for the lathe, so I scanned it into PDF form, and I’m posting it here if anyone else would benefit from this information:
Give it some time to download as it is a 7 Mb file.
Upcoming, I need to dig out the chuck key, load up some tooling, and give it a whirl for making some chips! I also need to scrub down the ways, and do a bit more cleanup on everything.
I’ll be back in the shop after Christmas and over New Year’s Eve of 2014, so I’m looking forward to that time!
More information on the lathe: