Ames Lathe

I picked up this lathe from Swarthmore when the Engineering machine shop was renovated. It’s roughly a 6 x 22 1940’s model, and came with a huge assortment of collets, chucks and other tooling; it also has a 1 HP bidirectional motor and a continuously variable speed adjuster. It’s a beautiful piece of old machinery, and is in extremely good condition.

To date, I’ve replaced all the belts (including the previous leather main drive belt with a serpentine belt – a fun task), installed a quick-change tool post, and done a little bit to clean it up. Going forward, I’d like to build a new, smaller bench for it (with better coolant management than the current system of covering the nice wooden tabletop in gunk), replace the wiring (cloth insulation, yikes), and purchase more attachments for it.

Finally, I’d like to figure out some way around the machine’s lack of a lead screw. Originally, this machine was designed to use a “chase”-type mechanism for thread cutting (for more information, see the page. My lathe did not, unfortunately, come with one of these attachments, and they are essentially impossible to find. One possible alternative to this system that I’ve investigated is to create an “electronic leadscrew” – an electronic linkage between the headstock and the compound slide rest. This can either be done as part of a full CNC implementation, or as a standalone, “dumb” project.