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Thread: Reeves drive is getting on my last nerve!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
    Posts
    445

    Reeves drive is getting on my last nerve!

    The Craftsman lathe with Reeves drive was freed again this evening. I would think as much as I keep sanding on it, there would have to be running clearance before long! Tried graphite for lube the last six or eight times but if I turn every day or two I might get twenty or thirty hours between teardowns. If the drive sits on my open back porch with a tarp over it a few weeks without being used it is almost a given it will jam.

    I put it together with some thick nasty moly wheel bearing grease this time. Concerned about the dust issue but so far it isn't getting enough running hours on it to get dusty!

    Need some pieces ready for a weekend sale the first weekend of November. Maybe a dozen just need a little sanding and finish or are ready but I'd like to have six or eight more pieces. The sale is kind of a long shot, it is part of what they call a fifteen mile yard sale. Will have the work at my sister's antique shop so at least some of the people stopping in are expecting to finds stuff at more than junk prices but I'll have to see how it goes. If nothing else I should get some comments and feedback.

    Hu

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,008

    Reeves drive is getting on my last nerve!

    I've felt your pain. Now you know why most of us who've owned that lathe eventually replaced it. But it's good to see you're making some product with yours. Mine more than paid for itself.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
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    445
    Vaughn,

    Made up my mind tonight that when I get a replacement for it I'm gonna take it out back and shoot it. It would be a dirty trick to even give it to somebody!

    Hu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Frisco TX
    Posts
    42
    I had a Jet 1442 with a reeves drive and i had no problems with it over 5 years of use. Never replaced the belt. Sold it to a newbie in my turning club and it is still working. I think you will ultimately only be happy when you upgrade from Craftsman. Harbor freight is not an upgrade. Grizzly may be but I only have experience with their table saws. Don't kill the old lathe; fix the speed at 1000-1300rpm and make it a buffing station. The Delta and Jet Midi lathes have variable speed and have many happy loyal owners. Christmas is coming up....hint, hint.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Reno, Nv
    Posts
    3,632
    I'm a Chip off the 'ol block here...I know...had to do it!. I had the famous HF 14x48 $100 POC and moved up...anything was a move up!! Some of the Grizzly stuff, General and my favorite...Jets are hard to beat! If you have the chance to try a couple out...do so! But there is no way I'd think of a HF as an upgrade...unless you want to talk about metal lathes?
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
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    I have a little history with lathes, actually own three at the moment, two in storage. I have a highly modified pool cue building lathe not the repair lathe, a small metal lathe, and the Craftsman wood lathe. I actually bought one of the Harbor Fright wood lathes back when they were very cheap. Sat around and gathered dust awhile and I gave it to a friend. Maybe that is why he quit calling me. Oh yeah, I actually own three and a half lathes, I bought half of a Jet mini that is in storage. Probably sturdier than this Craftsman that is three times it's size but my brother wants to turn pens someday and he gets that lathe.

    I also owned a Jet 14x40 metal lathe. The machine worked fine but I found out it was a lot like sausage, best you don't know how it is made! I had to go into the carriage first thing to fix a broken lock. The lock appeared to have been made by impressing a shape into dry sand and pouring it full of metal. Rattiest looking casting I have ever seen and that is saying some! Much of the rest of the innards were scarcely better. Machining halfnuts for the lathe should have helped accuracy a bunch but I never got around to it. No issues with accuracy as long as I didn't reverse direction anyway. When I went into the headstock I found the same thing, all of Jet's efforts to make something nice are spent on the outside. Even at that they tend to have bondo filler on the outside of the main castings before painting, the castings aren't nearly as nice as they look. Years ago the story was that all of the castings came from the same government ran foundry be it a Jet, Griz, or whatever. Seemed to be true when you looked them over. No idea if that has changed or not.

    Having said all that, I'm going to hold my nose closed as firmly as possible with my left hand and buy a 3220B if I get able to. The Vega 2600 lathe is the cheapest that might fill my needs and the 3520 is much cheaper than any other lathe that has a movable headstock which I need. Not getting another pivoting headstock after my experience with the Craftsman and I need to minimize bending and twisting since my lower back doesn't actually do either one anyway. Like many of us in the states, if a large chunk of cash were to drop into my lap the American Beauty would be a no brainer to purchase. Barring a miracle, there will be a few steps in between one and the Craftsman if an American Beauty ever happens at all.

    Making the lathe into a buffing station is definitely an idea as is maybe keeping it as just a sanding and finishing unit. Sure would like to shoot it but I hate cutting off my nose to spite my face! Maybe I'll just shoot it a little bit, then I'll stab it, just a little bit. After that I'll hang it a little, then maybe a small fire . . . It will take a manly effort but I'll try to stay away from the HE.

    Was cleaning up some pieces I will offer at the sale in two weeks and took this snap. Lousy picture and the pieces run from "sign somebody else's name to them" to barely acceptable but I have to admit between cussing it and working on the Reeves drive I have turned out a little bit of stuff on the Craftsman. Hope to get some more turned this week, have to see how it goes like everything else. This shows about half the stuff I have turned with the gray and white thing second from the bottom, second from the right being one of the last things I have turned. The bean pot looking thing sorta modeled after Mexican pottery in the middle on top is another recent turning.

    Hu
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails yardsale 016post.jpg  

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Frisco TX
    Posts
    42
    You will not regret buying a PM 3520B.....please join the Mustard Monster club. And there is nothing wrong with the Jet 1642 either. Vega owners sing their praises, too, although I have never turned on one.

    Nice looking pieces. They don't look like they have any finish yet which will make the colors really pop.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,825
    Can't speak for your machine but I had a Grizzly for six years and used much with no problems. In that time it went through four belts and one of those was defective, not the machines fault. I finally sold it to a professional turner who has sent me, not one, but two handwritten letters thanking me for selling it to him. In use it required minimal maintenance. I think I only used WD-40 on the shaft a few times for lube and cleaned occasionally. I'm surmising the Reeves system is not the problem with your lathe but other factors might be at work. From your post I'm guessing maybe over lubeing. But, dunno really. Good luck.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    Posts
    4,351
    Hu,
    You didn't say where your machine is jamming... I have a Jet 1442 that I've had some problems with the Reeves unit... I have for all practical purposes rebuilt the inside of my head stock... there's two places on the Jet that seem to create most of the problems... the bearing that fits inside the tear drop doohicky (obviously I don't have a name for the part) but the bearing slides along the head stock shaft when you change speeds... this shaft will get dusty and dirty from the wood dust and the rubber dust off the belt and can jam up the bearing so that it doesn't slide... the bearing will stick and slide out of the holder... a repair man suggested I put a few drops of Locktite on the outer bearing bearing race and that does seem to help.

    I try to keep the drive shaft as clean as possible, and Jet says to lube it, but not with graphite... WD40 seems to work best as a lube for me, although it's not the best (according to Jet).

    The other place I have trouble is with the motor pulleys that open and close on the motor shaft to change the drive speeds.
    The drive pulleys are the most troublesome for me... I've had the key way slot wallow out a little and not hold the aluminum pulley ridgid... it will shift sideways slightly and the teeth will meet point to point instead of meshing... then not open or close when you are changing speeds. That is the most difficult fix as it's hard to move just one of the pulleys back a bit so it can be shifted back into place. One fix would be if the pulleys were of a harder metal than aluminum. I also had problems with the set screws slipping and letting the pulleys be pushed up agains the motor housing and misaligning the belt, which causes it to wear prematurely. To solve that a friend and I put washers between the inside pulley and the motor housing so it can't slip into the motor housing... seems to work pretty well and haven't had that happen since.

    My lathe has been a real work horse and I'm usually on it at least 5 days out of 7. If and when I can replace it, I will definitely go to an EVS speed control.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
    Posts
    445
    Frank, Chip,

    I do agree that the Jet and I suspect the Powermatic both function just fine. After some tweaking that was actually an issue with a third party chuck that was at the limits of tolerances without being rejected I turned out some very high precision work with my Jet metal lathe. I have spent hundreds of hours on small and medium sized Jet lathes and mills in a machine shop that have thousands of hours on them. The shop finally wore out a bearing in the mill head and they purchased an entire new head. That mill probably had twenty thousand hours on it. The working quality of the Jet is plenty adequate. I was very disappointed when I took mine apart and found that the build finish quality was only skin deep. Been inside old iron that was designed and built to last several lifetimes so my expectations were a bit unrealistic. I'm not going to pay triple the price for a Bridgeport mill now built in Taiwan, I'd buy the Jet. My J-head Bridgeport the same age I was is far better than either. It isn't just a love of old iron, far better designs and no corners cut. The J-head was considered light duty, still far better made than anything near that size today and out of better iron.

    I do hate sending my money to china but that is another issue all together. I like equipment I can trust. Quite right I'll never be happy with this Craftsman. I don't know if the thing will work today. There is no way to lubricate it except to tear it down. I have been using colloidal graphite to lube it because of the dust issue and lubing about every eight to twelve hours of use by lack of choice! Trying moly wheel bearing grease this time, doubt it runs long enough for grease to be an issue. Out of love with this lathe to put it mildly. Just damned it mightily on another forum when someone was looking at a similar beast. I do know that some of the reeves drives that can be lubed without disassembly perform pretty well and the fact this one lives under a tarp on my back patio with two sides open doesn't help things.

    I'm very tired of working on the lathe seemingly every time I go to turn wood and I can't afford to upgrade at the moment. Just ain't a happy camper!

    Hu

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