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Colchester Lathes - Anyone have one?

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  • Colchester Lathes - Anyone have one?

    I am going to look at an older round head Colchester lathe this weekend. I am hoping that it is in good shape as I really need to step up my machine size. I've been working with a 12" Atlas but have outgrown its capability, and as they say "You can do small work on a Big Lathe but you can't do Big work on a Small Lathe". I'll be going from something that is around 750 lbs to something that is 2400 lbs but with only a 3" increase in swing and actually an 8" increase in centers.. however the through bore steps from 3/4" up to 2-1/16", so that will be nice for working on driveshaft tubes up close to the headstock.

    Has anyone been around the British Colchester lathes? This one has the English and Metric Thread gear box, is badged 440V but appears it might be dual voltage so I can switch it down to 230V 3 phase. I have plans of running it on a 5 HP VFD so I can adjust my frequency down to 50 HZ as well.

    If you've run one of these, anything odd I should look for? This machine has a gap bed and it appears it has been run with the gap removed for some time. I am worried that the ways may have wear in them from the apron overhanging the gap.
    1942 WC53 Carryall in progress.