Sunday, January 1, 2012

PD400 - Day 2

I spent sometime in the morning figuring out how to increase the speed of the power feed.  The manual that came with the lathe is so small that some of the components the drawings refer to are not obvious.  Also, I find the manual rather skimpy.  Mike helped me with most of the "problems" encountered (some are not really problems but my ignorance of how such lathe works, like unlocking of the tailstock...).  Really have to thank him for the support, despite being New Year's eve.  He even called back a few times with the last being at around 8.45pm! Didn't want to disturb him during the eve of the New Year.  Wasn't expecting a reply till the 3rd.  Great customer service!

Following the instruction in the manual, I swap the 20-tooth gear with the 40-tooth. This increased the power feed to 014mm/rev from the snail crawl 0.07mm/rev. A strip of newspaper was used to set the distance between the gears.
After playing with the power feed for a while, I changed the belt to the smallest ring on the big pulley and the biggest on the smaller pulley. This gives me speed of 1400rpm at stage 1 and 2800rpm at stage 2.  I'm using this setting for brass and aluminium.
Wanted to turn some aluminium to for testing purpose but those in the box are a little too big and I'm lazy to turn the chuck jaws around for bigger diameter stock.  A short piece of brass was used instead. I struggled through while facing and turning the short length as the handwheels were really hard to turn.
Despite the problem with the handwheels, I had good result. This lathe is rather accurate. I dialed in 0.5mm (in radius) and I ended up with exactly 1mm less in diameter (or an error of less than 0.01mm as my Mitutoyo Digital Vernier Caliper has resolution of 0.01mm).  Surface finish is good too.
Determined to solve the handwheels problem to enjoy the lathe better, I stripped the top slide to find out the possible cause. Found that the screw holding the handwheel on each axis is too tight. Took the opportunity to clean up the grease and put on new grease.  Now the top slide and the cross slide hand are much smoother when cranked.  There are still some stiffness which I will try to research on the web before continuing. Tried adjusting the gib a little but didn't yield any result.
This is the cross slide, or the bottom of it.  Read about it from a link posted by Steve Wan (thanks Steve!).  I believe that the capscrew here is to take out backlash.
Putting back the top slide on the cross slide.
I tested the radius cutting tool which I bought together with the lathe. After going through yet another skimpy documentation, I managed to figure out how to mount it. I think they design the manual for experience users. Anyway, I'm not able to proceed to make the cut as I realized that which ever possible position I mounted the tool holder and the base, I'm not able to reach the stock. Extending the tool out of the holder didn't help, not to mention sacrificing rigidity.
From another angle with more stock sticking out of the 3 jaw.  This is the farthest I can advance the carriage. Need to find out exactly how this is to be used. One possibility is the length of the stock.  I'll try again later.

I attempted to turn the brass stock again after loosening up the handwheeds a little. It is much better now but still not smooth enough.  More research has to be carried out in order to solve this problem, and before I can start doing some work using the new lathe.

I would like to take this opportunity, at 3.15am on January 1st, 2012, to wish all readers

A Blessed 2012!!!

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