PDA

View Full Version : American 14" Lathe



garagemark
10-29-2011, 08:18 AM
Sorry short notice. I have a possible line on an American 14" x ??? Pacemaker lathe. I've done a bit of research on the brand, and I haven't seen this machine yet (auction this morning).

Assuming this thing isn't clapped out, is it worth pursuing? I know little about the brand other than what little I read about American's history.

Anyone have opinions as to value, reliability or anything else? Again, assuming a decent shape machine.

Mark

PixMan
10-29-2011, 08:46 AM
Excellent quality name, though one that size would definitely be among the smallest ones they made. Condition, accessories, options and price is everything. If it doesn't look too worn on the ways and there's not too much (less than 1/4 turn perhaps) backlash in the cross slide and you can get it for under $1000, it might be a real bargain. If it's got tooling (chucks, faceplate, tool post, collet closer, etc.), then that sweetens the deal.

RussZHC
10-29-2011, 08:56 AM
Strictly from what I have read...often one of several American lathes used as a "reference" standard as to high quality, heavily built and very precise, an "oddity" was the 4 prismatic ways and a feature not always found was the ability to reverse travel from the apron w/o changing actual spindle rotation, can be just "extra large" to absolutely massive, bits of information within the PM forums, Bourne and Koch have drawings and some parts but expect big $$$

Tony Ennis
10-29-2011, 08:58 AM
We need to know the tooling and condition.

garagemark
10-29-2011, 09:03 AM
Thanks pixman an RussZHC. I'm looking to upgrade from my old worn out South Bend 9" A model. I assume this would (read should, if not worn out) be a decent upgrade?

I will look carefully as to condition and tooling. But almost anything should be an improvement over my current little clapped out machine. And I do mean CLAPPED OUT (I can see the dip wear in the ways by EYE!)! I am experiencing a lot of frustration with the SB.

Stand by, I'm goin lookin! :rolleyes:

aboard_epsilon
10-29-2011, 09:20 AM
Thanks pixman an RussZHC. I'm looking to upgrade from my old worn out South Bend 9" A model. I assume this would (read should, if not worn out) be a decent upgrade?

I will look carefully as to condition and tooling. But almost anything should be an improvement over my current little clapped out machine. And I do mean CLAPPED OUT (I can see the dip wear in the ways by EYE!)! I am experiencing a lot of frustration with the SB.

Stand by, I'm goin lookin! :rolleyes:
hope you haven't spoiled your chances of selling your old south bend on eBay now ,
as your idea of clapped out ...may be someones else's idea as good

all the best.markj

Mcgyver
10-29-2011, 09:32 AM
I'm looking to upgrade from my old worn out South Bend 9" A model. I assume this would (read should, if not worn out) be a decent upgrade?


you're talking about one of the nicest, most solid lathes built on this continent. There is simply no question it would be a huge upgrade even if worn, since you say your SB is worn.

All this 'worn' talk is a bit BS.... I mean what old lathe doesn't have wear? If you actually found a high quality brand with no discernible wear, a fair price isn't $1000, its many many times that....but what are the odds of one have no discernible wear?

You're not buying an unworn lathe for $1k or less, at least there's a very low probability. More realistically, you just might get one with not much wear, that's a tool gloat....or you could one with lots of wear and either 1) live with it, 2) rebuild (scrape) it your self or 3) have it sent out to be professionally ground and scraped. All of these are slightly different approaches, each provided a different value proposition when stacked with buying say an industrial (light) asian lathe....the benchmark commercial alternative. imo each Pacemaker scenario delivers a superior value proposition, but that's a highly personal view based on what i want to end up with and how much trouble I'm prepared to go through to get there. My point is, go into it with eyes wide open - there's likely always some wear, but there are also ways to deal with it if you really want the superior performance a big heavy lathe can deliver

garagemark
10-29-2011, 11:20 AM
I'm at the auction. This machine is HUGE! And sweet. And probably way out of my range. Also a Gorton pattern mill. Damn this fun. Stand by.

tmc_31
10-29-2011, 11:33 AM
Good luck Garagemark, that pacemaker should be a lot of fun!! What is the distance between centers?

Pictures man pictures!

Tim

PixMan
10-29-2011, 12:36 PM
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Are there a lot of machinist-looking people there? (They would be the guys in blue jeans, dirty flannel shirt, scoul on their face and mumbling something about everything overpriced at more than fiddybucks.)

Dr Stan
10-29-2011, 01:48 PM
The American Pacemaker line is one of the best ever made. Even if it needs a complete restoration I'd go for it.

We had some on the USS Samuel Gompers that were 10 years old and were mounted on a steel deck. They still held +/- .0005" easily and one could get +/- .0002" with some experience and skill.

aboard_epsilon
10-29-2011, 01:57 PM
you're talking about one of the nicest, most solid lathes built on this continent. There is simply no question it would be a huge upgrade even if worn, since you say your SB is worn.

All this 'worn' talk is a bit BS.... I mean what old lathe doesn't have wear? If you actually found a high quality brand with no discernible wear, a fair price isn't $1000, its many many times that....but what are the odds of one have no discernible wear?

You're not buying an unworn lathe for $1k or less, at least there's a very low probability. More realistically, you just might get one with not much wear, that's a tool gloat....or you could one with lots of wear and either 1) live with it, 2) rebuild (scrape) it your self or 3) have it sent out to be professionally ground and scraped. All of these are slightly different approaches, each provided a different value proposition when stacked with buying say an industrial (light) asian lathe....the benchmark commercial alternative. imo each Pacemaker scenario delivers a superior value proposition, but that's a highly personal view based on what i want to end up with and how much trouble I'm prepared to go through to get there. My point is, go into it with eyes wide open - there's likely always some wear, but there are also ways to deal with it if you really want the superior performance a big heavy lathe can deliver

wear........hmmm ...non


Made from a cast-iron mixture containing 40% steel scrap and other ingredients, which produced a semi-steel of approximately 40,000 pounds tensile strength, the bed had detachable V-ways, of solid tool-steel,

all the best.markj

justanengineer
10-29-2011, 02:16 PM
Going from a South Bend to a Pacemaker is like going from a mouse to an elephant, or a Honda to a Caddy, or....

When considering going from SB to Pacemaker I hope youre ready for a minimum of 3x the price for the lathe, 2x price for tooling (if youre lucky), and probably 10x the power bill (hope you have a LARGE and 3 phase service already installed). Simply put, a Pacemaker isnt a "hobbiiest" lathe, its a professional machine and if youre not ready to seriously pay to play, youre getting in over your head. My brother owns one of the smaller Pacemakers, 14x90(?) if I remember correctly with ~15 horse motor in it, and I believe he thought he got a steal at ~$4k.

Good luck and be careful if you do buy it. Everything on those weighs quite a bit more than you can likely lift without a crane. I suspect the tailstock on the Pacemaker weighs more than your entire SB (if its a 9").

garagemark
10-29-2011, 02:43 PM
Well hell, missed it by a knats azz. Other guy key twenty-fiving me to death! But I'm not going to tell you what it went for cause you'd cyber kick my tail. Wife is whipping me in person anyway.

http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp136/markandlucy/american.jpg

The pattern mill went for $1700.

http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp136/markandlucy/photo1.jpg

Just wasn't my day for machines.

Idiot (shaking my head):(

becksmachine
10-29-2011, 03:44 PM
Not wanting to tread on anyone's toes, but technically I don't think that was a "Pacemaker".

It was an American engine lathe all right, but I think that design predates the Pacemaker by some decades.

Nevertheless it would have been a huge step up from a South Bend, clapped out or not.

Dave

mark61
10-29-2011, 04:23 PM
Heavy machine! Most have replacable ways. Some odd sizes-example beds for 14" , 16",18" are NOT the same widths so steady rests are not interchangable. Some have Jarno taper in the head stock. Both of mine reverse lead screw from end of ear box inside a door. Damn near indistructable. I paid $2,500 with tooling, taper attachment and 3 chucks.

mark61

Rich Carlstedt
10-29-2011, 08:53 PM
A dream machine

Gravy
10-29-2011, 11:06 PM
Well hell, missed it by a knats azz. Other guy key twenty-fiving me to death! But I'm not going to tell you what it went for cause you'd cyber kick my tail. Wife is whipping me in person anyway.

http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp136/markandlucy/american.jpg

The pattern mill went for $1700.

http://i405.photobucket.com/albums/pp136/markandlucy/photo1.jpg

Just wasn't my day for machines.

Idiot (shaking my head):(

I'll go against the flow and say you chose wisely. Unless you really need a massive machine to do lots of production, you will probably do better with something that splits the difference between your old, small, worn-out SB and that big American. I would suggest something along the lines of a 13"SB, or a Rockwell, or if you want to dream, a Monarch 10EE or Hardinge HVLH.

The big heavy American Iron beasts are cool, but they were bred for mass production and durability, not making projects and prototypes. Don't buy a Peterbilt if you really need a pickup.

Also, regardless of size, can you get common replacement parts for less than the purchase price of the lathe?

garagemark
10-29-2011, 11:21 PM
Now that the day has worn on, I think that Gravy speaks words of wisdom. I had a moment of "Tim the tool man" more power and bigger is better. I'd have been foolish to own this machine (and all the peripheral gear it would take to get it up and running).

I need (read WANT) a tighter, larger, more powerful lathe and mill. But I need to be reasonable about my capabilities and what I'm going to actually do with my tools. Hard to admit sometimes, but true for most HSM hobbyists. If you make your living with your tools, or you do large projects, I see the need. Otherwise, not so much.

Thanks to all who responded.... and I'll keep looking for something a bit more compatible to my REAL needs.

Mark

Gravy
10-29-2011, 11:31 PM
This reminds me of something I read years ago:

"Wisdom is knowing the difference between what you need and what you wish you needed."

Maybe someday I will learn the difference.

quasi
11-11-2011, 09:06 PM
this lathe is a "High Duty" not a "Pacemaker" model.