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ELLIOTT OMNISPEED Lathe

Smouser

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 14, 2022
I thought some members might be interested in my Elliot Omnispeed lathe.

In October 2022 I became the accidental owner of an Elliott OMNISPEED late.

Some background information on the Omnispeed lathes from lathes.co.uk.

I went to buy an Elliott Progress 3A drill but then could not pass up the OMNISPEED the seller had for sale as he did not want much money for it.

Here is what it looked like when I bought it.

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I borrowed a trailer and went to pick it up the next day. Loading was easy as the seller had a crane.

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It was much more difficult offloading it with only having a Chinese engine crane at my disposal.

The tailstock end was lifted first, and the machine was placed on two machine skates.

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When trying to lift the headstock end, the engine crane could not manage.
We took some bits off to reduce the weight. The motor weighed a considerable amount on its own.

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The next stage of the plan involved:
• Lift the headstock end of the lathe.
• Drive slowly forward with the headstock end suspended and the tailstock end riding on the machine skates.
• Build a stand out of wooden blocks so that we could lower the headstock end onto them.

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Next up was lifting the tailstock end and then driving out slowly from underneath the lathe.

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Once it was standing on the towers of wooden blocks, we lifted the lathe again at one end, removed a few wooden blocks, lowered the lathe and then repeated the same process at the other end of the lathe until it was on the ground.

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The following day I got a call from the seller and he said that he found a few more lathe bits and asked if I wanted to come and pick them up.

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The haul included a 4-jaw chuck, both steadies, some change gears an original manual and a random bearing. Definitely worth driving back to collect those bits!

The machine then got covered up and it stayed there for a few months (much to the annoyance of my wife) as there was no room in the garage for it and I was busy with work and other projects.

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For me it is a 'massive' lathe.

I had a Warco 350 as my first lathe (similar to Grizzly G9249 or Laintaine 350 or Jet 1024) for about 6 months before I got the Elliott.

Tomorrow I will post some more if I get a chance.
Massive lathes are were you need the overhead crane just to lift the chuck key.

One place I worked at had one of those only it had a longer bed. It was used by anyone who needed a lathe, mostly fitters, it had no particular operator. I was minding my own business in the overhead crane, I was standing in for the usual driver on this particular day.
I saw one of the fitters put a length of 3/4” or 7/8” round bar in the chuck that was sticking out of the tailstock end by about 4 ft. Without checking the speed he just switched it on. Unfortunately it was set at 2,500 rpm. As you know there’s no clutch, the spindle is either on or off immediately. Within a second or two the bar started to wobble. I was shouting “ No, No” from up in the crane but the guy couldn’t hear me.
A second or two later the bar bent completely to 90 degrees and started beating the ground ! The guy shit his pants and ran away. Luckily the fuses then blew and the lathe stopped..
The lathe was bolted down with 5/8” rag bolts but the headstock end was lifted a couple of inches off the ground ! If anyone needed a reason for bolting a lathe down there you have it. It would have fallen over if it had have just been sat on the concrete.
Other than that there was no damage done. A tribute to a strong little lathe.

Best of luck with it, regards Tyrone
 
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Massive lathes are were you need the overhead crane just to lift the chuck key.

One place I worked at had one of those only it had a longer bed. It was used by anyone who needed a lathe, mostly fitters, it had no particular operator. I was minding my own business in the overhead crane, I was standing in for the usual driver on this particular day.
I saw one of the fitters put a length of 3/4” or 7/8” round bar in the chuck that was sticking out of the tailstock end by about 4 ft. Without checking the speed he just switched it on. Unfortunately it was set at 2,500 rpm. As you know there’s no clutch, the spindle is either on or off immediately. Within a second or two the bar started to wobble. I was shouting “ No, No” from up in the crane but the guy couldn’t hear me.
A second or two later the bar bent completely to 90 degrees and started beating the ground ! The guy shit his pants and ran away. Luckily the fuses then blew and the lathe stopped..
The lathe was bolted down with 5/8” rag bolts but the headstock end was lifted a couple of inches off the ground ! If anyone needed a reason for bolting a lathe down there you have it. It would have fallen over if it had have just been sat on the concrete.
Other than that there was no damage done. A tribute to a strong little lathe.

Best of luck with it, regards Tyrone
Wow! Scary stuff.

Later, you will fall off your chair when you see what my lathe stands on then!
 
The lathe has dual dials, metric and imperial. I grew up with the metric system, so I am mostly interested in that.
Unfortunately, the dials were frozen and did not operate as they should have.

This is how the dual dials work.

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I removed the dials to see what the problem was.

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They were just very dirty inside, and there was some corrosion on the teeth the little gear engages with.
I cleaned and oiled it all up and then nickel-electroplated all the steel bits to prevent future rust. The original chrome plating was beyond saving.
Both dials now worked perfectly with the imperial and metric measurements.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the finished dials.
However, they looked similar to the ones I have done for my Elliott TV2 milling machine.

Before
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After
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The tailstock has been inside the garage since I took it off to try and remove some weight from the lathe to pick it up with the engine crane.
While I had the electroplating stuff out, I decided to plate the barrel of the tailstock as that was rusty too.

Cleaned up and going in the solution.
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Checking the progress.
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The finished article.
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The nut of the tailstock was in pretty poor shape.

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I decided to try and make a new one and cut my first internal thread using my Warco 350 lathe which I had not owned for long at that time.

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Test fit with the screw from the tailstock.
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It came out ok. Not perfect but much better than the original one.

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Installed in the tailstock barrel.
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While I had the tailstock in the garage, I decided to clean it up a little.

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I grabbed a selection of grinders with wire wheels and flap discs and cleaned all the rust and old paint off.

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The weather was still poor in the UK and it was unsuitable to spray paint outside. Brush painting was the method of attack.

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Painting conditions were less than ideal and I am never satisfied with the result when I brush paint.
Too late now.

Top coat.

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Smouser,
Looks like a good project, and you're making good progress.
I got your message about Elliot catalogues. I not sure what is the best way to send you high res copies, maybe I should send them to vintagemachinery.org?
In the meantime, here is a Omniturn page (click on thumbnail, then click again on image for full size):

Elliott Machine Tools Catalogue 05 orig.jpg
 
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Smouser,
Looks like a good project, and you're making good progress.
I got your message about Elliot catalogues. I not sure what is the best way to send you high res copies, maybe I should send them to vintagemachinery.org?
In the meantime, here is a Omniturn page (click on thumbnail, then click again on image for full size):

View attachment 424393
Peter S,

Thank you for the image and the offer of sending the high res copies.

I will send you my email address in a private message, alternatively, if you could upload the brochures to the Elliott section on Vintage Machinery that would be great too!
 
With the tailstock completed and the weather improving, I started to strip some parts off the late.

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Backsplash

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Gear cover

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Coolant tank / Chip tray

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I used all 4 grinders I own, some more than others. I had a flap disc, a 'soft' wire wheel, a knotted cup wire wheel and a paint stripper disc.

The wire wheel seemed to remove the rust and old paint the quickest, the flap disc was used afterwards to try and key the steel a little to potentially help the paint to adhere a little better.

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The setup for painting.

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The coolant tank has been previously repaired. I am not planning to use coolant on the lathe but thought while the paint is stripped, I might as well try and 'plug' some suspect areas on the sheet metal.

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Areas like this

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I got my MIG welder out to 'plug' the holes.

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I then ground the welds down a little and tested for leaks by filling it with water. All good.

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The coolant tank and chip tray did not get the same zinc primer as the other bits. I chose to use Jotun Jotamastic 90.

"Jotun Jotamastic 90 is a two component polyamine cured epoxy mastic coating that is a surface tolerant, abrasion resistant, high solids and high build designed for maintenance and repair. It can be used as a primer, midcoat, finish coat or as a single-coat system in atmospheric and immersed environments."

It is the toughest paint I have ever used. Not easy to spray though.

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The wind picked up a little and all sorts of things flew onto the paint :(

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A few bugs also decided on suicide.

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I later covered the Jotamstic 90 with the same topcoat as the other pieces.
 
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A massive thank you to @Peter S for providing the Elliott machine brochures. I have combined all the individual scanned images into a PDF.
It can be downloaded from Vintage Machinery here.


The next thing I wanted to address on the lathe was the data/information/threading plate.
The location of the plate is probably not the best and through the years previous operators placed tooling/chuck keys etc on it and it started to wear.

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Some other signs/information plates were a bit tired too.

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Luckily, the manual has a copy of the information of the data plate in it and it could be printed out, laminated and used like that.

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However, I wanted to get a metal plate to replace the original but the quality of the scans out of the manual was not really suitable.
I messed around a little on my computer to try and recreate the sign but I soon realised it would take me hours (lack of skill and practice doing this kind of thing).

I remembered that I still had an account at www.freelancer.com and posted the job on there asking for a recreation of the scanned image.
Bids started flowing in instantly (graphics designers must have some algorithm/automatic bid system). I looked through a few bids and selected a Freelancer from Pakistan to recreate the image as he said he could start straight away.

Within a few hours, he sent me the first draft.

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As part of the job description on Freelancer.com, I also stated that I wanted the original source file (Adobe Illustrator in this case). Adobe Illustrator uses vector graphics which means you can basically infinitely scale the design without losing quality, unlike an image (jpg, gif etc) which loses quality when you increase its size.
After he made some minor adjustments, I accepted the design, paid the freelancer £20 and he sent all the files over to me.

I then made a few minor adjustments until I was happy with it.

The next problem was, where and on what to get it printed.
I believe the original is on anodized aluminium but I am not too sure. I could not find a place that could provide an instant online quote for anodized aluminium printing but did find a selection of companies that could print on aluminium dibond material.

Lots of companies have a minimum order of £50 - £75 but I found https://www.colour-frog.co.uk which could print the sign for about £21 (375mm x 115mm).
However, for a plate of 375mm x 400mm, it was only £28 so I went for that.

You have the option of either white dibond aluminium or brushed dibond aluminium.
I chose brushed.

This is the design I sent for printing.

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The preview on their website.

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The sign arrived a few days later. It was very well packed, wrapped in bubble wrap with corner protection and then wedged in between two pieces of cardboard as outer packaging.

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The new sign overlaid with the old.

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