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Advice on potential Schaublin 135 purchase


Cast Iron
Jan 28, 2009
Hi Guys,

I have an opportunity to buy a used Schaublin 135 lathe in a non-working condition.
To start with, the electrical system is messed up completely. The fuse board (on the right side of the machine) wires which are connected to the main electrical board (in the front right side of the machine) were cut and the fuse board is out of the machine (but available). Most likely this is due to the fact that the factory were it was purchased from by the trader has to put the machines out of order before selling them to scrap.

Next, there is no coolant pump nor tank.
Next, the handle of the variator seems to be a broken replaced one and from the other side the u-joint which connects the handle connection rod to the variator is not connected. This makes me suspect that there might be some issue with the variator that someone tried to solve. I tried moving the belt which goes from the motor to the variator, but I couldn’t make it move with my hand. Not sure if the lathe is in low gear, brake is applied, one of the feeds is engaged or the spindle or variator are stuck.

Besides of these issues the lathe seems in a reasonable cosmetic/wear condition to it's age.
I had the chance to take a low-quality video, which shows a bit.

This is the deal- the electrical issue does not concern me much. I can either repair it or replace it completely. I'm more concerned about mechanical issues that will be difficult to solve or even impossible if spare parts are needed.

In worst case- is it reasonable to think that the variator can be replaced with a VFD?

Change gears, collets and steady rest are not available.
I can buy it for quite cheap, let's say about 1400 bucks and I can come back again to make any checks before buying it.
I know this is quite complex machine and would be interesting to hear your opinion if this is going to be a reasonable or a useless project. Are there any check you recommend me to do?

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That 135 actually looks to be in decent condition under the dust and surface rust, the Variator probably suffered with the normal oil leaks which resulted in the system becoming unserviceable , no coolant tank is not an issue, easy to make one, electrics could be re-done using modern stuff and VFD's for sure.

Multifix holder which is good, my project (thread on this forum) involved replacing the variator oil system and although have an ongoing issue electrically with high speed selection this is more due to not having a decent 3 phase supply.

If its cheap to get home and you fancy a project it looks a good bet to me.

A lot of parts are still available from Schaublin, so if the need arises for say a genuine Variator handle then you can always 'treat' yourself to the odd original part to make the machine look the part, parts which end up inside can be upgraded as it's not as key to the look.

This was mine when I bought it


Now ...
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Any idea why I cannot spin the motor nor the spindle by hand?
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If the spindle is engaged and the brake is jammed on then it wont move, the top red knob lever needs to be disengaged, depending on its orientation it should move to a central location between the two extremes this frees the motor from the spindle, sometimes you need to rock the spindle to allow this to happen so this might not work. Final though is the spindle solenoid lock which depending on how your machine was left after the electrics were removed might be locked on, not sure on the process to free it and access it as never had to do mine.

Just some thoughts and good luck, either way takes a lot of misuse to shred the main spindle bearings so would suspect they are not the root cause to the jammed spindle.
Thanks for the info. I tracked your project and you have done a great job and your documentation will be very helpful to anyone who works on this machine.

What’s the purpose of the spindle solenoid lock?
What’s the purpose of the spindle solenoid lock?
Well frankly not entirely sure as it engages when the power is off (supposedly) but guess the designers back in the day felt it was an important safety feature.

Someone more experienced on this machine/manufacturer might be able to provide a more accurate answer :)
Well at least that explains why I cannot turn the spindle w/o power. You mentioned that in order to move the upper lever I need to rock the spindle. Will I be able to do so with the solenoid locked?
Ignore me for now as my spindle lock appears not to be on at any point so cannot confirm actually how it is meant to work! Guess not being on is better than being on however......

Do seem to recall while testing the lathe during the electrical saga that when the power was on the spindle lock would engage when the carriage lever was in the off position, as soon as you powered the spindle up the lock come off - either way you should be able to rock the chuck with the lathe disconnected and engage the centre 'free wheeling' position on that top lever.

Re the spindle lock I am sure an expert will confirm the right way it should work, look forward to that myself too!
Hi Peter. Not yet, but probably very soon. If I see that I can release the spindle, I’ll take it. The thing is, unlike Europe or US, there is no market for lathe parts here in Israel (unfortunately). There are no machine rebuilders. If I cannot repair it, it will go to metal scrap —> 100$ per ton of steel.
As you have one, maybe you can tell if the spindle is locked or free when the machine is disconnected from power?
I have a Schaublin 150. When the power is off, the spindle will move but it’s hard to turn. If the carriage is engaged the spindle will be feel like it is locked with the power off. If you can move the carriage left and right with the hand wheel then the carriage is not engaged. If the power is on, the spindle brake will be on and of course the spindle will be locked.
Does this machine have a taper attachment? If it does, I’ll buy the taper attachment from you.
I agree with Peter, if that machine was closer to me, I’d buy it without even looking at it.
I don’t think it has a taper adjustment. You can have a look in the video above and double check.
When you say spindle brake, you mean the electromagnetic brake in the motor or another one?
Thanks for the hint. I’m very likely will get it.
I don’t think it has a taper adjustment. You can have a look in the video above and double check.
When you say spindle brake, you mean the electromagnetic brake in the motor or another one?
Thanks for the hint. I’m very likely will get it.
Yes the electromagnetic brake in the headstock not in the drive motor. It’s stops the spindle almost immediately from any speed. The brake needs power to engage and should not stop the spindle from turning with power off.
Doesn’t look like your potential lathe has taper attachment. My hunt for a taper attachment continues……
just out if curiosity, why it has two brakes- one in the headstock and one in the motor?
Hi see #29 from this thread on my electrical journey.....


Reading through it seems this spindle lever lock works when the lathe is running to avoid an operator moving the lever by mistake, as soon as the spindle is stopped this releases so it should always be released when the machine is not running or powered up - that makes more sense now to me - your machine which is not powered up or running should be free from this lock.

I would suggest the brake is jammed on stopping the spindle turning, possibly some rust or the bushes which I'm my thread were replaced with brass items (plastic use don original) could be the issue. I genuinely don't think the bearings or spindle itself are seized they are well protected and very substantial items.
$1400 for this is a no brainer. Even if you stripped out all the clever Schaublin stuff and just ran the spindle off a belt to a 3Ph motor and VFD, you still get that incredible spindle, bearings, bed stiffness etc.
$1400 for this is a no brainer. Even if you stripped out all the clever Schaublin stuff and just ran the spindle off a belt to a 3Ph motor and VFD, you still get that incredible spindle, bearings, bed stiffness etc.
Sure. However with what seems to be a stuck spindle, I have to eliminate at least sever spindle damage.
If you get a chance slacken off the motor so the belt either slips or can be removed from the motor pulley and then check the spindle rotation, I would bet a fair amount of money that the spindle is fine.

The condition from looking at the video under the surface rust and dust looks very much like a machine with minimal real hard use, guess the owner had some issues with electrics and got snip happy with some electrical pliers.

If you bought it and for some bizarre reason the spindle was knackered (did not pre check it was OK) you could strip off the tailstock, carriage, Multifix tool post and holders, chuck, lead screw, motor etc and get back way more than $1400 but guess the decision depends on your plans and how much time etc you have for the process.

Looking forward to seeing a video of the chuck/spindle moving......

PS if you don't buy it let me know please.