I received my order in the post from bolt.com.au the other day containing the new gib screws, brass nuts and other bits and pieces.

While removing parts of the lathe I decided that if I was going to go ahead and remove the compound slide, cross slide and carriage to clean out the dovetails, gib’s and replace the gib screws then I might as well take apart the apron and clean it out too.

I disassembled the apron into all of it’s pieces, except one of the half nuts which I was unable to remove, degreased and cleaned each piece individually. There was quite a bit of build up of old grease, dirt and brass swarf. In fact I discovered that some of the oil holes were completely blocked, so all of my previous routine oiling was in vein.

Advance Lathe apron in pieces

After getting a good clean, everything got a coating of one type of oil or another then reassembled.

I wish I had taken a ‘before photo’ of the inside of the apron because after cleaning it came up quite well (compared to before).

Advance Lathe apron cleaned reassembled

I reattached the apron to the carriage using the new countersunk cap screws I purchased to replace the old ones. This was an attempt to stop the apron from working its way lose after just a little bit of use. I also cleaned each individual tooth in the rack, there was quite a bit of gunk compressed into the pit between each tooth.

Advance Lathe apron reattached.

The little piece of threaded brass on the carriage looks like it has been put there to extend the travel of the cross slide, grandpa must have had something to machine with a large diameter and couldn’t quite get the cross slide back far enough without disengaging the lead screw, it’s a nice little mod!

Before the carriage went back onto the bed, the gib screws got replaced with the new ones, including the locking nuts and new oil spread along the dovetail. After placing it back on and doing some adjustments on the gib screws, I am pleased to say it now has a much smoother movement in the carriage.

Advance Lathe carriage gib screws

You can see that the carriage has two gib screws with locking nuts and the 3rd gib screw in the centre is a thumb screw, this is used as a carriage lock, I may make some improvements to this down the track.

The cross slide gib screws were not quite long enough to add my brass locking nuts! :( I wrongly assumed they were the same length as the compound slide when I was ordering them, it looks like another order will be placed shortly.

Advance Lathe cross slide gib screws

The compound slide gib screws look the part! All threads were cleaned out using a 3/16 BSW tap before placing in the new gib screws.

Advance Lathe compound slide gib screws.

Next step is to do some machining to see if I get any better results, but that’s enough for today!

These little improvements to the lathe are all just part of the many things I want to do to the old Advance lathe to improve the quality of the cuts and it’s usability.

Winter has passed and I am now venturing out into the workshop again.

In my workshop I have an old Alfred Stewart Advance lathe serial number AW609 which was handed down to me from my grandfather around ten to fifteen years ago when he got his hands on a Myford Super 7. I had not had much use of it over the years as the last few places I have lived in I had no workshop so I had the lathe in storage.

Advance Lathe

When I moved into my current place I decided to get it set up again so I could start machining a few projects. I started doing a bit of research into the lathe as I had not known much about it. I stumbled across some great on-line resources for this lathe, it turns out the Advance was made in Melbourne Australia which I found interesting and it seems the design is loosely based around early Myford lathes, more info available at www.lathes.co.uk and Tooljunkie both excelent sites with a wealth of information.

It is a nice old lathe but has seen better days, I am now in the process of making repairs and improvements to the lathe.

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My first addition to the lathe was a QCTP (Quick-Change Tool-Post). The previous 4-way tool-post didn’t allow me to place the tools low enough to find centre line, which I found very strange perhaps grandpa just whacked on any tool-post he could find when he gave the lathe to me. With the QCTP I can adjust the height below the level the old tool post would allow and can raise the level of the tool without using shims!!. I had thought about machining a few millimeters of the top of the compound slide to get a better height adjustment range, however I don’t have a milling machine (yet!).

I wanted to replace all the gib screws as some were broken and others replaced with odd screws also the apron kept working its way loose, everything is a bit worn and my cuts are not so smooth so I thought new screws might help a bit. I had a friend at work help me determine the threads used on the lathe, using a thread gauge and chart we determined the grub screws were 3/16″ BSW and the countersunk screws holding up the apron were 1/4″ BSW, we verified this using a 3/16″ BSW tap and a 1/4″ BSW tap. I have ordered new grub screws and locking nuts for the gib screws and some new screws for holding the apron from www.bolt.com.au. Ideally I would like to drill out the threads and re-tap them at a slightly larger diameter metric thread,  but this mod will have to wait for now as I have many other projects on the go.

I am also in the process of converting the lathe to variable speed. I have purchased a Reliance Electric single phase to 3-phase Variable Speed Drive (VSD), I now need to replace the single phase motor with a suitable 3-Phase motor then hook up the VSD.

I am also adding a digitial read-out (DRO) to the lathe, I have purchased digital-caliper-type linear scales which I plan to interface to my own DRO unit, all the parts have been ordered and I am currently awaiting the package to arrive. I have already designed and fabricated the PCB’s for the DRO but have not built them up yet. I will post some updates once I start working on adding this in, I need to investigate the best way to mount the scales securely without drilling too many holes in the lathe and with some form of swarf and cutting oil protection.

The accessories I have; 3-jaw chuck, 4-jaw chuck, face plate, steady rest, change gears, original tool holder and two spare back-plates. They could all do with a clean-up, the steady rest looks like a pretty rough job, at some stage I would like to make a new one from scratch.

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If there is anyone else out there who is the owner of an Advance send me a message, perhaps we can share some tips or mod’s.