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View Full Version : Rebuilding a Craftsman 109.21270 lathe



Chris165
01-21-2012, 10:19 PM
I have a Craftsman 109 lathe that is in the process of being rebuilt. Everything has been disassembled and cleaned. The base casting of the lathe is going to be sandblasted to remove the loose paint and dirt. After it's painted I'm going to install new bronze headstock bearings & spindle and a new tailstock spindle. I havent completely rebuilt a lathe before so is there any trick to removing the headstock bearings or is it as simple as pressing them out? Also are there any other bits of information that would be helpful when rebuilding this lathe.

Tony Ennis
01-21-2012, 10:24 PM
I only have advice you likely won't like. And that is, use your time and treasure restoring a better lathe. The 109 is probably the least capable lathe ever made in the 20th century. :( sorry.

Don Young
01-21-2012, 10:36 PM
There is a Yahoo Group dedicated to the various versions of these lathes. There are some posters there who provide replacements for some of the parts and manuals are available also.

I do not disagree with Tony's comments, but you can have a lot of fun with that little lathe if you respect its limitations. It is only for very lilght duty work. Be especially careful not to bend the spindle, that seems to be one of the weakest points.

Optics Curmudgeon
01-21-2012, 10:38 PM
Having owned a 109 I agree with Tony in general. Besides, I wouldn't sandblast any machine I was going to use for anything other than a lawn ornament. If you plan to use it, use a chemical stripper. As for the bearings, on mine the front bearing was tapered, pulled into the headstock casting by an adjusting nut. Just take off the nut and pop it out. The rear bearing was a straight sleeve, it would need to be pressed out. These machines are OK for a rank beginner, or if you absolutely can't afford anything else. Upgrading from them really makes you feel like you've made the big time.

Chris165
01-21-2012, 10:39 PM
I have heard that from alot of people. What were the drawbacks of this lathe and what can be done to fix them? It will not be used for heavy work (might fix it up and put it on a shelf). The Craftsman along with a little Adept lathe was given to me from a friend to clean up and restore. It is one of those projects that I work on when nothing else is going on. I do have 2 Sherlines, a 7x10, the Craftsman, Adept and a 16" x 5' South Bend to play with also.

Chris165
01-21-2012, 10:40 PM
There is a Yahoo Group dedicated to the various versions of these lathes. There are some posters there who provide replacements for some of the parts and manuals are available also.

I do not disagree with Tony's comments, but you can have a lot of fun with that little lathe if you respect its limitations. It is only for very lilght duty work. Be especially careful not to bend the spindle, that seems to be one of the weakest points.

The new spindle I ordered is a solid shaft with 3/4"-16 threads so my Sherline chucks will fit it.

Don Young
01-21-2012, 11:05 PM
Besides being easily bent, I don't think the spindle has a thru hole. If it does it is very small. The cross and compound feeds have no dials to indicate how far they are moved. There is no apron feed so carriage feed has to be done with the handle on the leadscrew. Incidentally, mine has a shop built apron feed installed. The Zamak gears and other parts are more prone to wear and breakage than those on other lathes. The 'backgear' device used on some of them is rather noisy and wears readily; some had no backgear at all.

The lathe does have V ways, reversing feed, and a decent Imperial threading capability, which many small lathes do not

I first used mine many years ago to make fork tube straightening blocks. I bolted a drilled 4"x4"x4" aluminum block to the faceplate and used a 3/8" drill bit clamped in the toolpost for a boring bar to bore the hole out to about 1 1/2". It took a while but got the job done. I bought the lathe from a gunsmith who had used it for a long time in his trade.

justanengineer
01-21-2012, 11:51 PM
What were the drawbacks of this lathe and what can be done to fix them?

Glad to hear you have other machines capable of work. To answer your question, take small cuts in aluminum, brass, or other soft metals. You can also take tiny cuts in steel, but at that point youre pissing into a headwind.

J Tiers
01-22-2012, 12:30 AM
I have heard that from alot of people. What were the drawbacks of this lathe and what can be done to fix them? It will not be used for heavy work (might fix it up and put it on a shelf). The Craftsman along with a little Adept lathe was given to me from a friend to clean up and restore. It is one of those projects that I work on when nothing else is going on. I do have 2 Sherlines, a 7x10, the Craftsman, Adept and a 16" x 5' South Bend to play with also.

Wwll the 109 LOOKS like a good machine at first. And YES it has a 1/4" thru hole in the spindle.

It's a decent machine for small free-cutting brass work.

In no particular order.............

1) Spindle too small, and bendable. 1/2-20 (some 1/2-24) spindle nose, body of spindle 0.550 diameter.

2) Spindle taper MT0........ not bad by itself, but can be hard to find.

3) crossfeed and compound have 24TPI screws (60 deg threads too) which don't come out even in thousandths for one turn..... 41.6666 thou per turn

4) bed is lightweight, sharing same ways between the tailstock and the carriage.

5) carriage is lightweight also, although heavier than a craftsman 6"

6) manual feed is only by turning the leadscrew, no crank on apron, so you wear out halfnuts and leadscrew by continuous use.

7) No dials on either crossfeed or compound, no doubt because of the weird screw thread choice

8) strong tendency to chatter if you are so foolish as to attempt larger work

9) the chucks that may have come with it (I didn't get one) stick out so far as to be very dangerous to the spindle.... the front of the chuck sticks out by several times the spindle diameter, and the addition of the work makes the situation actually ridiculous.

10) needs a follower rest at the very least, but AFAIK none was ever available, although plans exist for at least one or two varieties. I made one and work was lots better after that.

11) No steady either, and that would be useful, also.

12) tiny through hole in spindle is not very useful

13) back gears, if the lathe even has them, are extremely noisy, with a bell-like continuous ringing. Several versions don't have them at all, including one version of the 21270

Yes, you can fix many issues, I did, but you have to ask yourself why, when there are so many better machines around. The 109 , aside from a being a shelf ornament, probably has its highest and best use as feedstock for chinese toasters.

Oh, the change gears apparently will fit an Atlas 6", so don't throw them away, even though they are Zamak.

bruto
01-22-2012, 10:21 AM
I'm not sure I'd be quite as severe as some on this one, but it does have some serious weaknesses. I had one for a while, and did a few useful things with it over the years.

However, I might add that the original chucks that came with them (mine had an original 4 jaw) were pretty nice, and did not stick out so far. The chuck was actually rather well made, and deserved a better lathe.

The planetary back gears are noisy, and even with a step pulley and back gears it's too fast for comfort for threading or some steel. If you look forward to threading without panic, you'll need some reduction, either in the motor or a countershaft.

While it's nearly impossible to get a good cut with chuck alone, and anything bigger than a stub will stress the tiny spindle, it is possible to make a pretty nice cut between centers. I used mine a few times for turning small commutators, and it worked OK for that.

The forward and reverse feed lever works pretty well, though it doesn't compensate fully for the lack of other carriage movement.

The other inconveniences have been noted accurately enough above. They're real enough, and irritating.

That said, although it's at the very bottom of the food chain, it's still better than no lathe at all. But since just about any other lathe is better than this one, I would not put much time and work into it though, and would choose between functional repair and prettying up. If you expect to use it as a machine, don't bother to make it pretty. If you're going to use it as an ornament, don't bother to fix the bearings and whatnot, just paint it up and put it on the shelf.

J Tiers
01-22-2012, 10:43 AM
Ah, yes, bearings....

The nose bearing may be the best feature of the unit....the bearing is adjustable, but they seem to ALWAYS wear bell-mouthed (from flexible spindle I guess), which makes everything worse.....

The best solution is to line-ream the nose bearing after tightening it down a bit. Doing that actually improved the chatter etc on mine, but it doesn't do anything for other issues.

The tail bearing on the spindle is a non-adjustable oilite type, I never replaced mine, and it seems like an odd size. Mine wasn't worn though.

Carld
01-22-2012, 10:56 AM
The Craftsman 109.21270 lathe was the very first lathe I owned and I did some nice small work on it. I had a face plate and a three and four jaw chuck for it and a tail stock chuck. It is a cute little lathe but it is extremely limited.

I still have a 0 Morse taper that I kept when I traded the lathe to my Uncle after I bought a 10" Logan. I had a lot of fun with that lathe and did learn how to not get in a hurry when machining.

TOOLZNTHINGS
01-22-2012, 07:23 PM
Hello,

As my first lathe also I was able to do many things with it as a teenager learning about turning. I purchased another lathe last year and restored it and it sets in my family room on display.:)
Give it a try. The repair work will be a good experience. Lots of parts on E-bay.

Brian