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Thread: Lathe Speed Adjustment not working

  1. #1

    Lathe Speed Adjustment not working

    I have a fairly standard Lathe that came from Canadian Tire some time ago (I bought it second hand). The motor is behind the headstock and there is a single belt between motor and the pulley wheel (see pics). There is a lever on the front of the headstock that controls the speed.

    When I move the lever to the right, I can see the "wheel" that the belt sits on in the headstock "spread apart", which in my case appears to loosen the tension on the belt significantly (not sure if this is what should happen or not).

    Here are my problems:
    1 - When set on the slowest speed, the belt is tight. The speed appears to be very fast for the "slow" setting.
    2 - When I turn the speed dial to the right (to increase the speed), the belt tension is loosened and speed appears to decrease (?).
    3 - In scenario #2, the lathe appears to also lose more torque as I move the dial to the right. In fact, I can actually cause the lathe to stop turning (quite easily) by applying a bit of pressure on my tool against the bowl (this does not happen in the "slow" speed).
    4 - If no bowl is mounted on the lathe and I turn the speed dial to the right about 3/4 or more, the lathe actually stops spinning (I assume because there is not enough belt tension) ... and I have to get it going again with my hand.

    In short, my variable speed control does not seem to be working. I am wondering if this is a major problem, or something others have seen before. All the major components appear to be working correctly, motor and mechanism that "spreads" the pulley wheel. I really don't know much about the belt and if that is the problem or not.

    Pictures to help explain.
    pic1 - tight belt, speed set at "slow"
    pic2 - belt / pulley wheels from above. notice big wheel is "together"
    pic3 - belt loosening ... as speed is "increased"
    pic4 - big wheel (in the headstock) is "spreading" ... its hard to tell, but the wheel spreads about 1/4" as I increase the speed


    Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pic1.jpg   pic2.jpg   pic3.jpg   pic4.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Tampa & NC
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    432

    Lathe speed adustment not working

    At there best reeves drive sucks (my opinion) had one.Anyway if all else is working as you said the belt may be worn,I really couldn't tell from the pics,but try this,take the belt off then take the reeves drive apart,there should be a snap ring,You know one of those dang flat ones with the holes in both ends and and clean the shaft,pullys and just about anything else you can find,then make sure that the pullys slide without any restrictions.Then reinstall all then get a new belt if needed and that should solve your problem.I had to do that to the one I had an it worked fine,an it was new,just that everything else on it was crap,so I got rid of it.

    Ken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whittier, CA, USA
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    512
    Hi Dawson,

    From your description the two pulley halves on the motor aren't getting pushed together. First - unplug the machine!

    Taking the belt off should allow the outside floating half to free up and get pushed into the motor side (fixed) half. If it isn't, with the belt off, look closely between the halves and make sure nothing is obstructing the outside floating pulley half from sliding in to the fixed half. It could be a small piece of wood, a broken or shifted snap ring, or a dog on the shaft binding the pulley. If nothing is obvious take it apart and find out what is preventing the free movement of the outside floating pulley half. On reassembly take the time to lube the shaft and pulley with appropriate lubricant (don't overdue it, keep the lube on the shaft and pulley bore only). Check the spring to make sure it is tensioned enough to put pressure on the floating half. Take care when removing the snap ring holding the spring on the shaft, the ring and spring could go flying.

    If you do require a new belt, take the belt to an electric motor shop or an industrial supplier and get a solid machine specific belt, stay away from an auto type belt. I wouldn't recommend a link type belt for a Reeves drive based on my experience, any other opinions on that?

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Dan Gonzales; 07-07-2009 at 02:58 AM.
    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    I believe Dan nailed it. I suspect the sheaves (the two pulley halves) on the motor are not closing together as they're supposed to when you change the opening between the other two sheaves on the headstock. That's usually due to lack of lubrication. When the belt is loose like in your third picture, the two sheaves on the motor should be jammed together very tightly by the spring you see on the shaft outside the sheaves. If they are not touching, you need to take it apart and lube the shaft, as Dan suggested.

    Two warnings, both from personal experience:

    If you remove the belt, and the two motor sheaves are not touching, do NOT put your fingers between then as you try to loosen it. They can (and will) snap together faster than a mousetrap, and they would smash your fingers pretty good in the process.

    If you remove the spring on the motor shaft, be aware that is has a LOT of compression on it, and it can (and will) go shooting across your shop if you're not careful.

    Darrell Feltmate did a good tutorial on lubing the Reeves drive on his Craftsman lathe. I used a spring de-tensioning device similar to the one he describes on page 2 of this article:

    http://aroundthewoods.com/lathelube.html

    Maintenance like this is not uncommon on a Reeves drive lathe. When they are kept lubed, they work well, but as soon as you as you start seeing symptoms of the lathe slowing down or not having any torque on the lower speeds, it's time to take it apart and slick it up a bit.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    So far all advice given is on the money. Re-read what Dan said, good stuff. Only warning I would give is, do not disassemble the unit. Getting those pulleys and springs back on requires an act of Congress, a visit from Superman and six strong thumbs. After removing the belt, WD-40 will be your best friend. Use liberally on the shafts and springs.
    To remove/replace a belt (with power disconnected) put the control arm to the lowest speed setting. This spreads the upper pulley and allows you to work the belt on/off. Only takes a minute. As advised, use a good quality belt. From the photos, it looks like the identical Reeves drive used on Grizzly/Jet and several other make low end lathes.
    From your post, I'm concerned that you are not familiar with the usage of a Reeves drive. Very important that you never try to move the control arm unless the unit is running. Equally important is to develop the habit of setting the speed control to the slowest position before ending a project. If you are at the high speed and mount a big, out of balance piece, you have problems.
    I am not a detractor of the Reeves drive. There must be millions in use on a lot of different machines. They work and serve a purpose at a reasonable cost. They do the job intended.
    Let us know how things work out for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    I have that lathe (off stand, forlornly leaning against the wall*), and looking at the pictures would guess you need a new pulley segment. The outer segment of that Reeves drive is kept in alignment, as it slides in & out, with a key in keyway on the motor shaft. If not lubed regularly, the keyway in the pulley segment wears, the outer segment rotates in relation to the inner segment, and ... it gets stuck in the open position.


    *I wonder what it's doing there?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    After removing the belt, WD-40 will be your best friend. Use liberally on the shafts and springs.
    NEVER USE WD-40 AS A LUBRICANT
    sorry for shouting but I wanted to get your attention WD-40 is a moisture displacement product it will work great is you need to get water out of something but it is not a lubricant.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    NEVER USE WD-40 AS A LUBRICANT
    sorry for shouting but I wanted to get your attention WD-40 is a moisture displacement product it will work great is you need to get water out of something but it is not a lubricant.
    That is not what the guy who invented the product told me personally. It is a lubricant that also displaces moisture. That is why it was developed.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the feedback, I am going to take a look at this tonight and see if I can make use of the good comments. A couple other questions to clarify:

    1 - Should the sheeves on both pulleys move apart and come together? From what I can tell, only the sheaves on the pulley in my headstock are moving apart ... not the ones in the motor.

    2 - Should the belt be loose when the lathe is running on slow speed? Or high speed?

    I am not very familiar with the drive, in fact I didn't even know it was called a Reeves drive. People have told me to keep it on slow speed when finishing the job and I find that I cannot even move the control arm unless the machine is running so I guess that is good.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson Mossman View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, I am going to take a look at this tonight and see if I can make use of the good comments. A couple other questions to clarify:

    1 - Should the sheeves on both pulleys move apart and come together? From what I can tell, only the sheaves on the pulley in my headstock are moving apart ... not the ones in the motor.

    2 - Should the belt be loose when the lathe is running on slow speed? Or high speed?

    I am not very familiar with the drive, in fact I didn't even know it was called a Reeves drive. People have told me to keep it on slow speed when finishing the job and I find that I cannot even move the control arm unless the machine is running so I guess that is good.
    #1, I don't recall, but believe only top opens and closes.
    #2 Shouldn't be loose at all. They don't run real tight but not loose. From what you are saying, I'm thinking (that's called 'guessing' ) that maybe your belt was the wrong size to start with.
    Since, from the pictures, your unit appears the be the same as a Grizzly or Jet, you might try ordering one of their replacement part belts. It will be about a $6.00 experiment. Great if it works, not much lost if it doesn't.

    Edit: Suggestion: Go to the Grizzly web site and search for the G1067Z then check out the exploded parts view in the owners manual. It may answer a lot of your questions.

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