Smashing a metal lathe so I can melt it!

WHAT the #@*% ??!

Sure, I could go the more traditional route and collect scrap iron pieces of drainage pipes for my iron supply. But if you've been visiting the lab regularly you know that I like to "crank it up" a few degrees! Why would I dumpster dive for some paltry scraps when I can get a "motherload" all at once? Why prey tell, go to the minor leagues when I can go straight to the majors? Check it out as I cut, rip, break and all out smash a metal lathe to plunder it's iron! - Aug./10/2007

A vintage Walcott metal lathe

Here is a vintage Walcott metal lathe with a 13" swing and about 40" between centers. Total weight? About 1500 pounds. The purchase price was $385.00 from an online auction.

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Taper turning attachment

How nice, the lathe is even equipped with a taper turning attachment. I'm sure that would come in handy if I were to use this lathe for actual machine work. No bother though, I took this attachment off and saved it. For what? Who knows. I also saved the 10" 3-jaw chuck.

Sledgehammer at work

Let's get to it. Here's an action shot of the sledgehammer about to "do what it does" to the apron. This was the best action shot I could get. Have you ever tried to time a full power sledge hammer swing to the automatic timer of a camera mounted on a tripod? Challenging...

broken lathe carriage

I just started yanking parts off the lathe and this former carriage casting was one of the first. I really dropped the hammer on it... Those iron chunks will go nicely into a crucible for melting.

compound slide

Here's what used to be the compound slide. The moral here... Don't get into a fight with a sledge hammer...

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The headstock

The headstock on this lathe is about the size of the engine in some small cars and weighs about 250 pounds. I didn't really need to pull out the engine hoist just to lift or move this thing around since I could have just dissasembled it. But the hoist strengthened my car engine comparison and I really like lifting heavy things with hydraulics!

Bronze bushings from headstock

This was a lovely surprise! Look at the size of these headstock pulley spindle bushings! Based on the look of them my guess is that they are silicon bronze. I'll cheerfully add these to my bronze stash!

busted headstock pulley

If you've never seen inside the pulley of a headstock spindle then here you go. Now I see why the headstock is so heavy. The pulley itself is about 1/2" thick iron.

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Before breaking the legs part I decided to weigh one. This single component is 95 pounds of iron.

The lathe now has one broken leg... And speaking of legs, when breaking cast iron with a sledge hammer wear safety glasses of course but ALSO wear shin guards! If/when pieces fly off they often stay low to the ground. I learned first hand that a piece of high speed iron striking the shin is not comfortable. Fortunately I had a pair of baseball catcher's shin guards in the basement and I put them on with the quickness after the first incident.

Next I break the bed!

Go to Scrap iron part; 1, 2, 3, 4


Copyright © 2007 by Lionel Oliver II All Rights Reserved.
This site was created Sept. 28, 2000