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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:32 pm 
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Hi,

At last I'm starting to do jobs I want to do rather than jobs I have to do. A few years ago Bron kindly bought me a Clarke CL300M metal turning lathe as a Christmas prezzie. I had sold my big Colchester so wanted a small lathe until I bought another lathe to replace the Colchester which was too big for the garage it taking up a big footprint.

I'm used to big machinery so first job was to destroy the circuit board and motor on this Clarke both expiring in a cloud of smoke much to my dismay. I had been putting a light cut of 60 thou on when it expired having not read the manual. Now when I read the manual it states do not exceed 10 thou cuts? 60 thou to me whilst using the big Colchester was merely scratching metal and I thought I'd have no trouble with such a small cut on the Clarke but it was an expensive lesson to learn.

No way was I going to spend over £100 for a flimsy circuit board and I hadn't a clue what the tiny motor would cost and couldn't care less if this was the performance to expect? To cut a long story short I bought a brand new industrial sewing machine servo motor which too was variable speed. I grafted this much larger motor on but had to do this by designing and installing a countershaft into the original tiny motor housing; it was a squeeze but I did it.

The servo motor is lever operated for start/stopping the lever returning to off by a powerful spring so obviously some kind of linkage would be needed but at the time I was bogged down with more pressing jobs so came up with a very high tech solution by cutting a block of wood just long enough to wedge between lever and chip guard and I got very used to popping this block of wood in but it always bugged me. Having finally caught up I've been giving this problem a lot of thought and it proved a lot more difficult to resolve than ever I expected in fact I had a couple of attempts without success.

This morning I wandered into the garage after pulling the car out to give the car another soaking and really set about this problem. I measured the end of the motor lever at the hole and found the travel from Off to On to be just 1". Sorting through my stock of metal offcuts I pulled out an assortment and I also found a knob on a bent lever which looked like it could be useful? Bits of angle iron and metal strip were measured and cut; from the bracket I installed the distance to full on was 4" so I cut metal to suit this drilling three fulcrum holes the lengths of metal being hinged in the middle. 1/4" holes were drilled throughout allowing both 6mm set screws and nuts plus three short lengths of 1/4" dia silver steel for the fulcrum pins these pins being drilled across axis near each end to accept a common split pins to retain them in position.

The pictures show better than text the design of the linkage which I put together; not very pretty but it works perfectly. The two halves of the linkage form an hinge and in the off position the hinge is a steep "V" but at the on position the hinge travels just past horizontal and is arrested by a flat piece of steel locking the motor on until the knob is actuated to release it.

At last the Clarke is now fully working as it should; the servo motor cost £160 plus the cost of countershaft bearings and drive belt etc but for around £200 and plenty of head scratching the Clarke is now a much superior and robust lathe than when new. I appreciate in order to sell such lathes for hobby use they are built down to a price but the circuit boards and motors supplied as original are just rubbish; I'm sure Clarke will do a roaring trade on these two items but not for me thank you I dislike expensive junk.

Since the servo motor has been installed I've used the Clarke a lot and now it's a nice little lathe capable of a decent cut which I hand feed; I dare not engage power feed with a decent cut applied due to the plastic gearing which I don't wish to strip but so far this Clark is a nice small accurate lathe although I certainly would never recommend anyone to buy one because the circuit board and motor are much too flimsy. I've enjoyed today and what a pleasure it is now to work in bright daylight in the garage under the new LED panel lights whilst it remains the usual black hole outside?

A couple of days ago I decided to upgrade the terrible tail-stock clamp; this flat metal plate clamp was rubbish it allowing the tail-stock to wobble all over the place so I increased thickness and length which has now made sliding the tail-stock more of a pleasure.

Next job is to have a go at installing a new Balata flat drive belt onto the bigger Lorch Schmidt lathe.

Hope this is of interest?

Kind regards, Col.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:55 pm 
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Thanks Col. There was one of these for sale locally to me "As new and unused" still boxed. It was about half newprice and I was tempted, but decided not to as the ancient, although fairly knacked Drummond round bed I have does the occasional odd bit I need.
Anyway I'm glad I didn't bother now, I can see that motor having lasted about the same time in seconds as the maximum cut in thou'.
And plastic gears. Umm. . . :shock:

ETA Nice job on the motor conversion. :thumbleft:



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:31 pm 
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It's inspiring (as always) to know that cheap'n'cheerful equipment can be made into something much more capable under the hands of someone with a bit of knowledge and experience.

Such modifications should be made into Youtube videos Col - I reckon you could get quite a following and there's money to be made for popular Youtubers (I know money won't interest you but putting your ideas 'out there' would certainly benefit many other hobbyists and preserve the knowledge - legacy and all that :lol: - not that I'm hurrying you on :lol: :lol: ).

Great stuff.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:38 am 
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Hi,

Thanks Dave54. You did the right thing in not buying the Clarke even if it was new and a bargain price. These small Clarke lathes would be so much better if Clarke did away with the electronics and installed simple 4 speed stepped pulley belt drive and changed the plastic bits to metal then it would be a nice little lathe which would attract favourable reviews. As the Clarke is currently supplied with full electronic speed control using a flimsy circuit board and equally flimsy motor then I'm not surprised it's receiving such bad reviews; pity I didn't read these before Bron kindly bought me the Clarke. For the price of a brand new Clarke I received little more through eBay for my wonderful industrial Colchester Triumph with lots and lots of tooling; if I had plenty of space I'd have never parted with my big machines but I became fed up of bumping into them in the garage. Plastic gears on a lathe I think the Lathe should be called Lego?

Many thanks k_e for your kind comments. Unfortunately these days I'm a dinosaur of a time when apprentices were taught hands on the only classrooms being one day and two nights a week at tech paid by the National Coal Board. I was taught on the old style machines where the machine operators skill was required to produce accurate components; electronics were years away in fact only a few years previously our cottage had been changed to electric lighting from gas so I'm indeed one of the originals? As you rightly say k_e I'm not into my hobbies to make money but I might have a go at trying to create a video to add to YouTube but at the moment I haven't a clue as to how to do this but I'm a quick learner. I avoid electronics as much as possible when it comes to buying big kit; modern machinists are actually mostly programmers? The machines I like are the ones where I need to use my head and hands turning handles etc rather than pushing buttons. For one off jobs I'm sure I could have the job done manually by the time a CNC machine was tooled and set up; CNC machines are the business for production runs and do a superb job. I would consider adding DRO (digital read out) though to save taking vernier/micrometer readings?

These small Clarke lathes attract good money on eBay but I wonder how many end up with blown circuit boards/motors? :cb

Talking of lathes I need to install the new drive belt onto my big Lorch Schmidt lathe then I'm well covered for turning metal with the Clarke and Lorch and for turning wood with the Record DML24" and the Union Graduate. You can't have too many lathes. :thumbleft:

Kind regards, Col.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:08 pm 
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these lathes are rebranded SIEG lathes there is loads of info on the net about modifying these

parts are available through http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/ and they do a few upgrades for them and do the SIEG machines in red

I have the small SIEG C1 lathe (axminster tools branded and white) I also have the Clarke mini Mill again its a SIEG X1 Mill not bad little machines for the money but you do need to strip them right down when new to get the tolerances down to something usable, the c1 is gutless if turning anything harder then mild steel



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