1915 Metal Lathe in Action

in steemmakers •  5 months ago

The chicks that hatched last weekend are starting to get some wing feathers and are noticeably bigger, too.

They are also making a mess of their cage by scratching their food everywhere. The feeder has a top that helps prevent the mess, but there is a missing nut to hold it together, so I made a new one using a 1915 Monarch metal lathe.

There were lots of these lathes made in the run up to WWI. I found it on Craigslist from a guy who bought it so that he could use the cast iron legs for a table he was commissioned to make for a hotel. I made new legs for it and rewired the motor to get it working again.

I need to make a simple nut from the aluminum stock in the foreground. It will be held by a collet and a taper adapter.

The tool rest is mounted on a dovetail slider that can be mounted at any angle. Here I adjusted the tool rest to cut a taper to match the bottom of the chick feeder.

Drilling on the lathe is very simple. The drill bit automatically aligns itself on the centerline when the workpiece is spinning rather than the drill bit. This hole will be tapped with SAE 4-40 threads.

The underside of the nut gets a 1/4" clearance hole to reduce the amount of thread cutting.

Cutting the threads is no problem if the starting hole is the right size and the hole is not too deep.

Test fitting the nut on the bottom of the feeder. It looks like a good fit.

Those chicks look pretty impressed don't they? That is what happens when you show off your lathe skills. The chicks come in flocks.

I was interested in doing this post because is fits into both the @steemmakers and @ghscollective categories. Steemmakers is a support group for makers and DIY enthusiasts. The Global Homestead Collective is for people who are interested in self sufficiency, gardening, and other homesteading topics.

Cheers, Professor Bromide

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I used to work on old lathe's from around the 1950's THe biggest one was an old Lang Lathe like this one


The plant where I work still does a lot of work on manual lathes like that one. Some of them are huge. I've never seen it, but there is one that has a 20' diameter chuck that spins horizontally.

What did you build when you were a machinist?

Here is another shot of the gearing on my lathe. The tool feed rate was way too high at 0.040" per revolution, so I put a speed reducer in the gear train to slow it down. The red box is a 22-to-1 speed reducer from a dethatching machine I found in the junkyard.


I finished my apprenticeship as a miller/jig borer. But working on design and development you had to be able to work every machine. I worked for the government making large heavy vehicles. Early days was all manual machines but later i worked mainly cnc's

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That lathe looks like an impressive machine. I've not got a DIY bone in my body but would love to learn how to make/fix my own stuff using such devices. Unfortunately I'm not sure Mrs Stav shares my enthusiasm to fill the garage full of stuff that quite honestly wont get used.

One of us has to be a realist I guess :)


My wife doesn't complain about my stuff unless it is sitting in the yard with weeds growing around it. It helps that I can keep it out in the workshop and not in the garage. On the other hand, she hasn't been able to park in the garage for the last few weeks because I've been storing materials for another project in there. That can't last.

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