What's new
What's new

ELLIOTT OMNISPEED Lathe

Here is another way of clamping the toolpost - a nut instead of a built-in handle. I reckon it is a good design, in this case an Italian Rapid toolpost on my Graziano Sag 14. It's useful to be able to remove the handle if necessary or re-position it e.g. when the compound slide angle is changed.

BTW, the clamp screws were originally square headed, but changed to capscrew many years ago because I couldn't find square head type. They work just fine and don't fill up with swarf as you might expect. But you need to change them all...

Rapid Type B on Sag 14 04.jpg Sag 14 toolpost 01.jpg


The compound slide fit varies on this lathe, tight when fully 'home' and looser when extended out off its base. I have recently realised that 50-60 years of overtightening that toolpost nut may have bent the compound slide. Easy to do overdo with a 1/2" power bar. Hey, the toolpost never comes loose :).

The small length of the Dickson handle also makes me think my 'power bar' is too long.

Regarding the rusty compound top surface, a friend didn't like the dings and dents on the top surface of his compound slide, so surface ground the top and the casting warped! He had to re-cut the dovetails.

The compound slide on the Graziano is steel and bears the marks of past users knocking the tangs of morse taper sockets 'home' onto drills. I think that might also cause the compound slide to warp. It's like whacking the surface a thousand times with a ball pein hammer. The tailstock top surface has suffered the same way.
 
Last edited:
I bought a bottle of Phillips Cold Blue to smarten up a few bolts and other bits.

s-l500.jpg

Just like electroplating things with nickel, the cleaner the part, the better the result. However, as I was short on time, I did not spend hours and hours cleaning things up to perfection but I still got good results.
A few bolts from the Omnispeed that were rusty that I cleaned up as a test.

IMG_20230815_085403.jpg

IMG_20230815_113142.jpg

IMG_20230815_113148.jpg

Much better!
While I had a solution I also blued a few other parts.

The 'knob' of the thread dial indicator.

IMG_20230814_202442.jpg

Part of the leadscrew bracket.

IMG_20230814_221135 (1).jpg

IMG_20230814_202550.jpg

I could now get the apron feedbox re-installed.

IMG_20230814_161927.jpg

Next was the fun part, lifting the pretty heavy apron feedbox, while holding it up AND tightening the bolts from above. In the end, I held the box up with my hands and arms and tightened the bolts with my teeth.
After all that commotion, I finally got some help with the easy bits!
My lad fitting the feed engagement lever assembly.

IMG_20230814_170938.jpg
 
Last edited:
Here is another way of clamping the toolpost - a nut instead of a built-in handle. I reckon it is a good design, in this case an Italian Rapid toolpost on my Graziano Sag 14. It's useful to be able to remove the handle if necessary or re-position it e.g. when the compound slide angle is changed.

BTW, the clamp screws were originally square headed, but changed to capscrew many years ago because I couldn't find square head type. They work just fine and don't fill up with swarf as you might expect. But you need to change them all...

View attachment 425133


The compound slide fit varies on this lathe, tight when fully 'home' and looser when extended out off its base. I have recently realised it could be because of 50-60 years of overtightening that toolpost nut. Easy to do with a 1/2" power bar.

The small length of the Dickson handle also makes me think my 'power bar' is too long.

Regarding the rusty compound top surface, a friend didn't like the dings and dents on the top surface of his compound slide, so surface ground the top and the casting warped!

The compound slide on the Graziano is steel and bears the marks of past users knocking the tangs of morse taper sockets 'home' onto drills. I think that might also cause the compound slide to warp. It's like whacking the surface a thousand times with a ball pein hammer. The tailstock top surface has suffered the same way.
Thanks.

All good information to have!

Crazy that the casing warped with just a little bit of surface grinding. I wouldn't have expected it to warp.
 
The next job was a little easier. Refitted the gears, pulley and guard (the red paint still looks very pink in this photo).

IMG_20230814_202854.jpg

I printed two feed rate/screw-cutting plates so I could choose the one I liked the most.
I couldn't choose.

IMG_20230815_135346.jpg

Both went on :)

IMG_20230815_144458 (1) (1).jpg

The brake bracket, cable and pedal were next.

IMG_20230816_140519 (1).jpg

I once again had some help when fitting the backsplash.

IMG_20230816_143941.jpg

At some point, I also filled the gearbox with oil and I was greeted with an oil patch on the floor. Not good.
I traced it to the new oil sight glass I fitted. No time like the present, get it fixed. Out with the oil.

IMG_20230816_145252 (1).jpg

A little bit of RTV around the 'push-fit or press-fit' sight glass and I refitted it. So far, so good.

I then refitted the tailstock (I forgot how heavy it was).

IMG_20230816_194553.jpg

IMG_20230816_194642.jpg

IMG_20230816_194536.jpg
 
Regarding the loose screw - what does the parts list say in the handbook ?
I used to sit the apron on blocks of wood if I hadn’t got access to a lifting device. Then pass long pieces of threaded rod down into the corners of the apron from the saddle and wind the apron back up slowly. That way you can be sure everything fits, re-attach any oil pipes etc.

Regsrds Tyrone
 
Regarding the loose screw - what does the parts list say in the handbook ?
I used to sit the apron on blocks of wood if I hadn’t got access to a lifting device. Then pass long pieces of threaded rod down into the corners of the apron from the saddle and wind the apron back up slowly. That way you can be sure everything fits, re-attach any oil pipes etc.

Regsrds Tyrone
I could never find where the screw belonged. I quickly threw it out and I am now pretending it was never there.

That is a good plan to make fitting the apron back onto the machine easier.
 
Smouser,

Have you come across anything which indicates who or where the lathe was built? I saw the leadscrew thrust bearing appeared to say 'England' but maybe it wasn't original. Country of origin of the main motor and coolant pump?

The lathe is looking very nice, hopefully the internals are good too.
 
I am not sure at all.

According to the lathes.co.uk website the OMNISPEED OMNITURN lathes were imported from 'Eastern Europe'. No idea where.

All the bearings of the machine was made in England, the motor too.

IMG_20221016_165917.jpg
 
1962: 'ELLIOTT LATHES LTD., one of the B Elliott tool companies have built a new £50,000 extension to their works at Taff’s Well near Cardiff. The capacity of the fettling department has been doubled and it now possible to machine lathe beds in batches of 100 to 150. Commenting on this development Mr E W Keheher, director in charge of the B Elliot Machinery Group, said that it would help meet the tremendous demand for the Omnispeed range of lathes introduced last Christmas. Total production had doubled in the last five months and more than 80 per cent of output is now exported to North America and Common Market countries. ....' (Pontypridd Observer, 22 December 1962).

The Cardiff works was originally owned by the Cardiff Lathe and Tool Co. Taken over by B. Elliott and Co about 1958.
 
Last edited:
I am not sure at all.

According to the lathes.co.uk website the OMNISPEED OMNITURN lathes were imported from 'Eastern Europe'. No idea where.

All the bearings of the machine was made in England, the motor too.

View attachment 425170
I don’t know where he got the idea from that these lathes were built abroad. I was always under the impression that the “ Omnispeed “ range was made in Cardiff and the “ Concorde “ range was made by “ Butler “ in Halifax.

Regards Tyrone
 
We should probably email Tony with the 'evidence' so that he can update his page.
 
Now that I look, there are similarities between the earlier Elliot "Cardiff" 7" lathe and the later Omnispeed suggesting an Elliot design?

The feedbox and the apron designs look quite similar.

BTW, the Omnispeed brochure says it has a "deep section Acculite bed". Any ideas what this means? I did a quick search and found reference to Acculite steel polymer composite, also acculite used in fishing rods, golf clubs, firearms and a dental adhesive.

However, Acculite from the 1960's could have been something different?

Elliot red cat pg 18a.jpg Elliott Omnispeed 01 edit.jpg
 
Moving on to the electrics.

The electrical box which normally sits under the qcgb.

IMG_20230623_175542.jpg

The circled switch gets connected to the third shaft of the lathe which controls the forward/reverse functions.

IMG_20230623_192555.jpg

All components were removed except for the circled forward/reverse switch and the coolant switch which I will re-use via a VFD.

IMG_20230623_180100.jpg

The motor was a big old lump.

IMG_20221016_165902.jpg

IMG_20221016_165917.jpg

Unfortunately, it is a 400/440V motor only.
It is already wired in Delta so no chance of rewiring/digging the starpoint out like what I have done on previous motors.
Besides, I would have needed a fairly large VFD to run it (I only have 220v single-phase power available).

I decided to just get a 3Kw 3-phase motor which could be run via a VFD and it should be powerful enough for my use of the lathe.

IMG_20230830_091942.jpg

I bought a taper bush pulley that would fit on the replacement motor ages ago. I initially thought the old pulleys and belts were SPZ pulleys and belts.
However, there was a slight variation when I closely inspected the old and new pulleys. The spacing is not quite the same albeit very close. It is difficult to see in the photos.

IMG_20230825_072623.jpg

IMG_20230830_092014.jpg

Because the belts are fairly long, I am hoping that the small difference won't matter too much with the length of the belts taking up the slight misalignment.
In theory, the belts will wear out on the sides a little bit quicker but, in reality, as the lathe will only be used in a hobby capacity and not 8 hours a day I think it won't matter too much.

Because the replacement motor has a different frame size and the existing bolt holes wouldn't align, I decided to mount the motor on a 'motor slide base' which will give me enough adjustments while also simplifying the fitment of the motor.

IMG_20230830_091926.jpg

Guess I forgot to paint the motor mount :doh:

IMG_20230830_091936.jpg
 
Last edited:
The time finally came to swap the mighty Warco with the Elliott Omnispeed. Out with the old and in with the new!
The notorious Chinese engine crane came in handy to lift the mighty Warco onto a pallet.

IMG_20230830_195132.jpg

IMG_20230901_145034.jpg

IMG_20230901_145327.jpg

IMG_20230901_145330 (1).jpg

Next up was to turn the Elliott 90 degrees using my pump truck and old-school trolley thingamajiggy.
I just about managed to get it turned but it was not easy, the Elliott is heavy!

IMG_20230901_162315.jpg

This is as far as I got before it would not move anymore.

IMG_20230901_163014.jpg

I pushed, I pulled, I swore, I sweated, but move it would not.
Unfortunately for the wife, she was the closest person to assist ;)

Even with the two of us, it was not easy getting it into the garage transitioning between the driveway and the garage floor.

IMG_20230901_163509.jpg

I also got an earful multiple times from the wife due to oil spillages and the state of the drive which I caused over the last few months.
I guess one of my next jobs is to paint some drive seal onto the drive again.

Due to my excessive hoarding and lack of space, I could not go much further into the garage otherwise I would not have been able to withdraw the pallet truck.

I had a rethink and swapped the trolley and pallet truck around and used my two engine skates for the front of the machine.

IMG_20230901_171523.jpg

The garage floor is not very smooth and the engine skates kept sliding and turning, and I had to re-adjust them a few times until the lathe was in position.

I anticipated that I would have a problem withdrawing the skates/trolley/pallet truck from underneath the lathe so I ordered a Chinese toe jack. Unfortunately, it did not arrive in time.
The next best thing would be to put the lathe on machine feet.

A friend sent me a photo of his lathe's (Harrison M300) feet and spacers. Very Fancy.

feet.jpg

Mine, however, not so much :whistle:

IMG_20230901_183524.jpg
 
Next up was using my 'precision' level to get the lathe set up.

IMG_20230902_100302.jpg

IMG_20230902_100319.jpg

Perfect! #pinocchio nose

I installed the motor but could not find the old drive belts (they were knackered anyway and I must have thrown them out). I, therefore, used the super sophisticated method of measuring the inside length of the required V-belts by using a piece of electrical wire wrapped around the pulleys and then measuring the length of the wire.

IMG_20230902_102901.jpg

It was approximately 1803mm. The closest SPZ belt with an inside length of 1803 mm is an SPZ 1837 belt (inside length 1799 mm).
There will be enough adjustments on the two motor mounts to make the belts work.

I bought a Chinese VFD a while ago to run my Invicta shaper, but as I have not got that up and running yet, the VFD got repurposed for the Elliott lathe.

51cj31w9TzL._SL1001_.jpg

It is a Chinese 4.4Kw VFD. So probably closer to 3Kw :)

I believe the biggest 'problem' with this VFD is that you can't wire/setup a true emergency stop into it.

Next up was installing a light above the lathe as it was very dark in that part of the garage.

IMG_20230904_210920.jpg

The belts also arrived and I am glad to report that they fit.
IMG_20230906_131424.jpg

I also finished the electrical box off. In the end, I mounted my VFD inside the electrical box. I made two vents at the bottom of the box so that the VFD can 'breathe'.

IMG_20230906_163051.jpg

As I was in a hurry and so excited to get the lathe finally running, I did not even take any further photos of the electrical installation 🙁

IMG_20230917_103724.jpg

I installed a potentiometer to adjust the speed of the motor and green LED light.

The first actual 'job' I did was to prepare a metal disc that was cut on a bandsaw that was not set up correctly. The resulting cut from the saw was a disaster!
The disc was too big for my mighty Warco and I am planning to use the disc as a back plate for a chuck on a rotary table.

IMG_20230916_090154.jpg

IMG_20230916_090147 (1).jpg
 
Last edited:
IMG_20230916_110412 (1).jpg

IMG_20230916_113051 (1).jpg


Once again, I did not take a finished photo of the disc :wall:
I was extremely happy with the finished result. I measured the disc's thickness while it was still on the 4-jaw chuck and I got the following measurements next to the chuck jaws:
1 = 32.12mm
2 = 32.11mm
3 = 32.12mm
4 = 32.12mm

All the feeds seem to work fine, but I have not tried to cut a thread with the lathe yet.
I believe everything has gone back together correctly :)

I had a few small jobs and setups remaining but I had a working lathe!!!

I installed a RPM meter on the lathe. Unfortunately, I could not seem to get a good photo of the display, there must be some sort of mismatch between my camera and the display's refresh rate.

IMG_20231007_085936.jpg

IMG_20231007_090206.jpg

I had an old rusty 20mm thick plate which I used to cover a hole in the driveway (when I installed new gates).
The plan was to cut a disc out of it so it could be used to mount a 12" chuck on a 12" Elliott Rotary table for the mill.

IMG_20231007_162751.jpg

I have got nothing with the capacity to cut 20mm thick steel at the size of the circle so it was dirty dirty grinder work :(

IMG_20231008_170011.jpg

Round enough!

On to the lathe.
The size of the plate was about the max my 4-jaw chuck could handle.

IMG_20231008_181351.jpg

IMG_20231008_181359.jpg

IMG_20231008_191659.jpg

IMG_20231008_191833.jpg
 
Last edited:
IMG_20231008_192007 (1).jpg

Ps. The lathe was still standing solidly on the wooden blocks 😆

A little while later a friend lent me his real precision level.

IMG_20231126_185544.jpg

IMG_20231126_185652.jpg

That was about as level as I could get. Those levels can easily drive a man insane. Luckily I called it good before I went insane.

With the lathe now 'level', I could focus my attention to try and align the tailstock.
I chose the method where you turn a bar down and measure the diameter at each end to measure the difference.
Unfortunately, I do not own a lathe-driving dog; therefore, I bent an M6 threaded rod to act as the drive for the sacrificial bar.

IMG_20231201_200241.jpg

It won't work for heavy cuts but for skim cutting, it works perfectly.

IMG_20231201_201609.jpg

The distance between the measuring points was approximately 320mm apart on the bar.
The initial readings:
Headstock end: 40.77mm
Tailstock end: 40.70mm

After numerous adjustments, a few cuts/passes, and trial and error I ended with:

Headstock: 38.83mm
Tailstock: 38.84mm

The confirmatory measurement:
Headstock end: 37.99mm
Tailstock end: 38mm

Perfectly fine for me!

The tailstock is now aligned with the headstock. At least at that distance and with that extension on the tailstock (3").
It will be interesting to see if there is much change for shorter distances from the headstock (the area of the lathe bed that is usually the most worn).

I then installed a safety sign so I can hopefully keep all my fingers.

IMG_20231211_193038.jpg

I bought a Sino DRO and the X-axis scale on Aliexpress' 11.11 sale.

IMG_20231211_121541 (1).jpg

I mounted the X-axis scale here.

IMG_20231214_191408.jpg

I then sized up some aluminium plate from my random bits of mystery metals which could be attached to the head of the scale.

IMG_20231214_191441.jpg

A perfect chance to use the Elliott TV2 mill.
The last time/first time I milled aluminium I broke an 'expensive' carbide milling bit by inexperience and letting it 'gum up'.
This time, I was not taking chances. I chose a big roughing HSS milling bit for the job.

IMG_20231227_210221.jpg
 
Last edited:
IMG_20231227_215744 (1).jpg

Bracket installed

IMG_20240125_162534.jpg

One foreseeable problem is that I could 'crash' the scale and bracket into the tailstock if I am not careful/forget.

IMG_20240125_155259.jpg

The bracket extends over the scale's read head ever so slightly so in theory, it should give a little protection to the read head of the scale.

However, I think I will install a rubber bump stop on the tailstock in the near future.

Something similar to this.

232_005_Bump_Stop_rubber_screw_in_quarter_whitworth__96899.jpg

Here

IMG_20240125_155321.jpg

Next up was the Z-Axis install.
I drilled two holes to secure the scale and then used a DTI to ensure it was level.

IMG_20240124_171010.jpg

I installed the guard over the scale and the Z-axis was done too.

IMG_20240125_170100.jpg

The DRO did not come with a mount/arm thingy.
To save time I just blindly bought a DRO mount/arm without paying too much attention to the size of the thing.

When it arrived, it was much smaller than what I had in mind.

autoimg-M-DRO-Readout-Console-DRO-ARM-BE--10109-DRO-ARM-BE-MAIN.jpg

I required a longer arm for the DRO.

I rummaged through my mystery metal but could not find a suitable piece of box section. I did find a piece of aluminium in my aluminium drawer which I could make work.

On this photo, I have already made the cut but this is what it looked like.

IMG_20240123_185243.jpg

To cut the aluminium I used an evolution saw that has not been used in ages.

IMG_20240123_185403.jpg

It clearly states 'Cut Steel, Aluminium and wood'.
However, the blade gummed up a few times. A couple of times so badly that it stopped the saw :o
 
I had to use needle nose pliers to clear the aluminium from the circled sections on the blade.

IMG_20240123_185510.jpg

I made my mind up, I don't like working with aluminium.
I can't cut it, I can't mill it and I can't weld it 😆

Anyway, I used the roughing milling cutter again to clean the cut up on the new arm.

IMG_20240123_185259.jpg

Not only was the arm part too short of the bought DRO mount, but the 'shaft' part was also.
I used some M12 threaded rod I had and some stainless steel pipe to make a longer shaft.

IMG_20240125_170011.jpg

That DRO mount turned into Trigger's broom (a long running joke in the UK).

IMG_20240125_170245.jpg

IMG_20240125_174132.jpg

All done!

All I had to do was to plug the scales in and test my new setup.
 
Last edited:








 
Back
Top