After long periods (seems long but they're really short) of hitting road blocks with getting the goodspeed up and running, I made another milestone. I ordered parts/components to get the lathe to a state that it can turn out a dowel and a rough drumstick if I figure out the template measurements. Those parts took 3 weeks to come from Goodspeed. I understand the situation there and I've been very patient. When I received the components, I was VERY excited. Everything I had ordered was in this 12x6x6 inch box. Tool Steel. I've nicknamed the Goodspeed lathe the "Green Elephant" since it weighs almost 3000 pounds and keeps eating all my peanuts. It seems I can't keep enough on hand. It's been worth it, but there have been hurdles.
When I got the parts, I went to the shop the next day and started to prepare for assembly. The first thing that needed to be done was align the machine with the setup center and die. The center mounts in the headstock and the die mounts on the carriage. The die must fit over the center and move rather freely. There is probably, at most, .030 of inch tolerance. Upon removing the old die off the carriage, and reading the manual again, I realized that someone, somewhere along the life of the green elephant, had removed the die alignment pins. Doh. Without the setup pins the machine would not work properly. I tried to figure out how to fix it. I looked everywhere local for the pins. I even looked on the internet. Turns out they are eccentric pins and specific to the machine. After all my searching and thinking, I decided to call Goodspeed.
John at Goodspeed has helped me out tremendously. He got my prior parts order together, along with some drawings, and has provided me with a wealth of information on setting up options that are on this machine not covered in the manual. The day I called him, he was recovering from back surgery from a few days earlier. He said he would look at the company when he could get down there. I was patient and gave it 10 or so days. I emailed him to touch base about the pins again and he said he did not find any. He did say that there was a machine he was going to refurb and he would look on that machine next time he got down there. Well, I gave it 5 days and heard nothing back. Today I set out on plan B.
Plan B was a last ditch effort to get this lathe back on track. Today myself and 2 bolts had a date with a grinder. I put the setup die in the machine and eyeballed what I needed to do. Pulled out pencil paper and caliper then grabbed a bolt and went to the grinder and started grinding the head into an eccentric pin. Essentially its an offset circle on a shaft. After slow grinding and eyeballing, I had a pin and tried it in the carriage. Seemed to be ok, so I started grinding on the second. I got that installed and made adjustments. Then I advanced the carriage, with die mounted, over the setup center.... slowly. Success! It worked on my first try. I was excited. I made another milestone.
Tomorrow I will go in and start working to setup the machine for turning its first dowel. I will be ecstatic when I can get a piece of stock in this machine and actually turn something into a spindle. That is part of the goal for tomorrow.
I'm taking off my hat and headed to bed.
Played a gig earlier too.
It's been a full days work.