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help with Macson lathe info australia.

mattybgt

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
Hi all, first post here, hoping that someone may be able to give me a hand with identifying the model of, any owners manuals and info about a Macson lathe i am looking to purchase. It is approx 20 inch swing, gap bed with a 4 jaw chuck. I have attached a couple of photos of it. It has some light surface rust on the ways and other bare metal surfaces as it has been in a heavy vehicle workshop for years unused. The lead screw has a visible amount of wear on it in the usual spot, so not sure if that will make threading inaccurate? Any help whatsoever will be hugely appreciated. cheers matt from tassie



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Sheraton2

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Location
Australia
Macson

Hi Matt

MACSON was the trade name for McPhersons in Victoria, McPhersons made just about everything and they were also agents for many other brands of engineering equipment . They had a foundry and made pumps and all kind of stuff.

There is another Taswegian on this forum PDW . He will offer good advice .

It looks to be a later MACSON 1960's maybe . It is large , and would pull a lot of power .What HP is the motor ? The speed range is very good , it would handle carbide tooling well . You can also try this Australian metalwork forum

http://metalworkforums.com/forum.php

Mike in Gippsland
 

mattybgt

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
Awesome thanks, Im not sure what hp the motor is,I haven't had a look at that yet.I am hoping to convert to 240 volt with a vfd, but the motor size will determine wheater it is viable or not. Ill go across to the other forum and check it out. Thanks very much for your help!i will hopefully find out some more about it on the next forum.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Awesome thanks, Im not sure what hp the motor is,I haven't had a look at that yet.I am hoping to convert to 240 volt with a vfd, but the motor size will determine wheater it is viable or not. Ill go across to the other forum and check it out. Thanks very much for your help!i will hopefully find out some more about it on the next forum.

You won't be able to convert it, IMO. It's going to have at least a 7.5HP motor and I wouldn't be surprised if it was as big as 20 HP. It takes a lot of power to spin a big chuck up at high speeds.

My Monarch CY lathe isn't that big and it has a 7.5HP 3 phase motor on it.

Anyway, other than questions on origin - which is always a mystery with a lot of MacPhersons stuff - if it's in good shape and you need a lathe that big, buy it. It's a camlock machine so your chances of getting chucks etc for it are excellent. They won't be cheap, but will be available. I can see a 3 jaw chuck sitting in the chip tray so that's handy.

These machines generally don't sell for a lot, and many had soft beds, so do your best to check it out before parting with cash. I know there aren't a lot of machines available in Tasmania, that's why I keep shipping stuff back, but unless you need a machine that big, they're a PITA quite frankly. I've got 3 lathes and my Monarch CY (16" swing, actually 18" x 54") gets used about 1/5 of the time my little Colchester Chipmaster gets used.

Having more than one lathe is good though, so if you've got the room, go for it. But I really, really doubt you'll be successful running it on a single phase VFD.

PDW
 

mattybgt

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
Thanks mate,I appreciate your comments. the more i think about it, the less it will probably suit me. I was concerned about the size, the only thing i was thinking of is the price, which is very cheap. I would really probably prefer a smaller lathe, maybe 300x900, but as you know they are hard to find secondhand. Do you have any preferred places to buy machines you could recommend? I am in the north west, but can travel all over tassie if necessary.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Thanks mate,I appreciate your comments. the more i think about it, the less it will probably suit me. I was concerned about the size, the only thing i was thinking of is the price, which is very cheap. I would really probably prefer a smaller lathe, maybe 300x900, but as you know they are hard to find secondhand. Do you have any preferred places to buy machines you could recommend? I am in the north west, but can travel all over tassie if necessary.

There's nowhere in Tasmania that has used machinery available on a commercial basis. You have to be lucky with Gumtree or similar, or import from the big island - which is what I do. Bought a lot off of eBay and had the things freighted home.

Also depends on your budget - if it's small, getting stuff from the big island is out as freight is going to add $500 to $2000 to anything you buy, depending on size & location, ease of access etc.

There are a couple reasons why that machine is cheap and they probably aren't real good ones. Wear is the first & obvious one, which can be checked for. The other is size/weight.

It's a truism that you can use a big lathe for small work but what people don't say is, it's a PITA. You'll need an engine hoist, gantry or similar just to change out the big chucks. Or grip a small chuck in the big 4 jaw, but this limits your safe top speed to what the big chuck is rated for. Etc etc etc. I'd rather use my Chipmaster than my Monarch that's for sure.

Frankly if you have the money buying a new H&F AL960B made in Taiwan is your best bet. They're reasonable to good lathes. The AL1000G is a better machine but a lot more dollars. Or hang out for a decent UK or USA machine, they do come along.

I personally wouldn't buy a Hercus as they're just knockoff copies of a South Bend, with all the flimsy, flexible and feeble limitations of one. But then I've been there, done that and learnt what doesn't work for me. YMMV.

PDW
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
That is a very late Macson,and not particularly big,IMHO.It also has a 2speed motor,but thats not an insuperable problem,assuming you dont have 3ph.Its not a very big one,and I personally would grab it for small dollar.I doubt it would weigh over 2 ton,an easy lift for any truck crane.Dont attempt to shift it yourself,thats a mugs game now that every truck has a crane.get it plonked down where you want it.Incidentally,wear on a lathe is not the massive problem that this forum claims it to be,and can easily be lived with.Broken gears are more serious,and should be checked for.Anything you buy in Tassie has freight added,including Asian lathes.Incidentally ,some asian lathes are ok,but they all come with rubbish chucks that have unhardened parts and dont last five minutes.Regards John.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
That is a very late Macson,and not particularly big,IMHO.It also has a 2speed motor,but thats not an insuperable problem,assuming you dont have 3ph.Its not a very big one,and I personally would grab it for small dollar.I doubt it would weigh over 2 ton,an easy lift for any truck crane.Dont attempt to shift it yourself,thats a mugs game now that every truck has a crane.get it plonked down where you want it.Incidentally,wear on a lathe is not the massive problem that this forum claims it to be,and can easily be lived with.Broken gears are more serious,and should be checked for.Anything you buy in Tassie has freight added,including Asian lathes.Incidentally ,some asian lathes are ok,but they all come with rubbish chucks that have unhardened parts and dont last five minutes.Regards John.

It's a 20" swing. It likely has a D1-8 camlock chuck mount or bigger. It's at least 48" between centres. It's got a pretty sizeable headstock.

My Monarch weighs 2.6 tonnes. This machine is going to weigh more than that.

WRT power, it takes a lot of power to spin up that amount of rotating mass in high range. That is a fact of physics. Retrofitting a smaller motor - even if straightforward - is likely going to severely limit the machine's capability in high speed mode. If it currently has a 2 speed motor, fitting a VFD and single speed motor isn't going to effectively cover the existing range, IMO.

A big machine that you can't effectively use is NOT cheap, it's a waste of money & space to you.

I'm not touching bed wear, our standards of what is acceptable may well differ. Gears broken is a no-brainer, you need to run any machine in all speeds and feeds before buying it or consider it a project machine if it isn't under power.

Asian chucks run the gamut from total rubbish to absolutely first class; you get what you pay for.

I'm painfully aware of the Tasmanian freight issue - I have Tasfreight on speed dial......

PDW
 

RC99

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Location
near Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Are you sure it is a 20" swing?

By the 1960's Macson were producing the modern squared off looking series of lathes. The headstock was square along with the tailstock. I have seen these in 18, 21 and 25" swing and they are reasonably common.

They did still made a 16" swing lathe to the old round style like that one and given the top speed of 1600rpm, it is more likely to be a 16" model, just like on the first page of this pdf http://archives.dcemulation.org/www....com/tooljunkie/paper/MC1966-Metalworking.pdf
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Its a dead ringer for the 14/16" model in the 1965 and 1966 catalogues.The 72 prefix in the serial is the y o m .As said,the bigger models were squarer .The gear head type on this machine goes way back to prewar years.The Transmig beside it also gives scale.I dont claim that the motor can be run from a single phase supply,but I can also say that if I wanted a lathe, a little thing like that wouldnt stop me.Regards John.
 

mattybgt

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
thanks guys, for all your comments. i have talked to the guy that used to run the lathe on a commercial basis for several years. he said it still produced acceptable accuracy, but as PDW has been saying it may be too big and unwieldy for my shop. I am a heavy vehicle mechanic by trade so shifting items that weigh several tonnes is not an issue, just a matter of power and space taken up! I will probably just go with a smaller hafco lathe ( admittedly at 3 times the price) but arguably more useful for my tasks, especially since I have a very large industrial lathe accessible to me in my workplace (plus a three axis CNC line borer, radial arm drill etc etc)
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
thanks guys, for all your comments. i have talked to the guy that used to run the lathe on a commercial basis for several years. he said it still produced acceptable accuracy, but as PDW has been saying it may be too big and unwieldy for my shop. I am a heavy vehicle mechanic by trade so shifting items that weigh several tonnes is not an issue, just a matter of power and space taken up! I will probably just go with a smaller hafco lathe ( admittedly at 3 times the price) but arguably more useful for my tasks, especially since I have a very large industrial lathe accessible to me in my workplace (plus a three axis CNC line borer, radial arm drill etc etc)

If you're down Hobart way and want to get in touch, send me a PM. I'm away at the moment, likely back in mid August.

I actually do know someone who's got a machine I think would be suitable, problem is the man is a collector and even though he's not using it (or the myriad others he owns), he probably won't sell it.

....... and NO, it's not me, for those who know me in real life!

PDW
 

mattybgt

Plastic
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
awesome thanks mate, i will be in touch! thanks a heap for your assistance, and you never know, we may be able to pry it from his collection! thanks again
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
McPhersons are still in business,and after decades of govt interference,asset strippers,company raiders,stock promoters,etc,now import disposable plates and forks etc.Surprisingly,a friend of mine wrote them about an old Macson he had,and they sent the full set of drawings for the parts that were broken or missing.Regards John.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
McPhersons are still in business,and after decades of govt interference,asset strippers,company raiders,stock promoters,etc,now import disposable plates and forks etc.Surprisingly,a friend of mine wrote them about an old Macson he had,and they sent the full set of drawings for the parts that were broken or missing.Regards John.

That's interesting - I have an old planer that was made or imported by MacPhersons. That's the only badge on it anyway. Purely for curiosity sake I'd love to know if they actually made it in Australia or not. I've used it a fair bit machining straight edge castings.

PDW
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
The University of Melbourne Library reference collection has Mc Phersons catalogs from 1899 to 1978.Which would be when they closed the engineering part of the business,as I remember buying a lot of tools from the Brisbane Branch when it closed.This was when the asset strippers got controll.Mc Phersons were sitting on prime real estate in every capital city.Releasing shareholder value,they called it.Regards John.
 

Thirsty 1

Plastic
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Hi all, first post here, hoping that someone may be able to give me a hand with identifying the model of, any owners manuals and info about a Macson lathe i am looking to purchase. It is approx 20 inch swing, gap bed with a 4 jaw chuck. I have attached a couple of photos of it. It has some light surface rust on the ways and other bare metal surfaces as it has been in a heavy vehicle workshop for years unused. The lead screw has a visible amount of wear on it in the usual spot, so not sure if that will make threading inaccurate? Any help whatsoever will be hugely appreciated. cheers matt from tassie



View attachment 175729View attachment 175730
 

Thirsty 1

Plastic
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Hello Everyone, Thirsty 1 is the name of my 4.2 ltr diesel Nissan Patrol.
It was well named before the price hike!
I also have recently purchased a Macson lathe like mattybgt's. Best I can find so far is that it appears in the 1966 Macson catalogue.
I am in the process of restoring it. However I am unable to locate any detailed info. Have help from local blokes to rebuild some busted gears,
However clutch disassembly has me beat. Does anyone have the knowledge of how to pull this item down . or Can anyone point me to where this info can be obtained as every link on this site comes up with "ERROR". Thanks, Thirsty 1
 

Overland

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Location
Greenville, SC
There's some concern here about using a VFD on this lathe.
Well I have a 21x80 Colchester with a 15 hp motor from memory.
It's a single speed motor, so I don't know the impact of a 2 speed motor.
Anyway, I use a Fuji VFD on a 40 amp 220 volt single phas circuit with no problems at all.
Bob
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Im not up on Oz lekky,but pretty sure that most houses have 60A or 90A single phase 240 service,and a great many newer houses have 415 /3 phase to run air conditioners,pool heaters ,etc.......and 3 ph may not be that expensive to have connected .......if no new on site poles are requided,then maybe $1500-$2000 will get 3ph to your house......of course new wiring will run a lot more.
 








 
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