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LeBlond Dual Drive versus Servo Shift

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  • LeBlond Dual Drive versus Servo Shift

    I'm new to metal lathes and have noticed two different lathes build by LeBlond. I read that the servo shift had many issues, but basically suffered from a poor design. I haven't read any criticism of Dual Drive, but I'm sure there are opinions available. Would like to get a voice of experience on these machines, ideally someone that has experience with both. How do these two drive systems compare, and what are the strengths and weaknesses, if both were available and all other aspects were equal, which one would you prefer thanks.

  • #2
    Dual Drive is belt for high range and gears for low ranges.
    Smooth and power. A real good idea.

    Servo Shift is like a manual transmission with hydraulics
    that control the shifter. It most always messes up.
    Lucky you can delete the hydraulic stuff and just
    install shift levers.

    http://lathes.co.uk/regal/page4.html

    -Doozer
    Last edited by Doozer; 10-28-2020, 12:26 AM.
    DZER

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    • #3
      Welcome to the forum. I have worked on both versions. The servo shift is not for the faint of heart, although a very good machine, it definitely requires more maintenance than a gear or belt drive machine, and parts are expensive if available.. Look for a lathe that you can repair based on your mechanical abilities, and something that you can use to make stuff. Jim

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      • #4
        LeBlond built more than two types of lathes. In addition to the servo-shift and manual shift distinctions, you could also categorize them according to their "duty". LeBlond Regal lathes, available in both servo-shift and manual shift, were lighter duty machines but often found there way into production environments because they were economical. Consequently, many of the used Regal lathes I've seen are beat to hell and completely worn out. On the other hand, the lathes that were not branded "Regal" were heavy duty production machines and probably reached their peak in the 1960s. They made some extremely heavy duty, fully featured lathes and - if you happen to stumble on one of those - they are well worth the effort to move. But even some of those were available with servo-shift - most owners end up gutting the servo-shift and figuring out a way to get a manual shift on the machine.

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        • #5
          The only thing I have ever heard about the servo shift was steer clear. Can be difficult. JR
          My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

          https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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          • #6
            We have a servo shift at work. Seems like there is always something wrong with it. Right now having trouble with the spindle brake.

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            • #7
              There were four 16" Regal Servo shifts and one 17" SB Turnado at school. One Servo shift went down with a bad contactor in the three years I used it. On the other hand, if you want a lathe where shifting was a mystery, it was the Turnado.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                There were four 16" Regal Servo shifts and one 17" SB Turnado at school. One Servo shift went down with a bad contactor in the three years I used it. On the other hand, if you want a lathe where shifting was a mystery, it was the Turnado.
                Right! When they are maintained like any other nice lathe you keep it up.

                The problem is many shops tossed them to the way side cause the maintenance. I have a lathe like that.

                I have also heard of the Regal Servo shift being something of its time. Very nice Lathe. JR
                My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

                https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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                • #9
                  Thank you gentlemen, I appreciate your input.

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                  • #10
                    After 6 interviews over two months, I was called again to now speak with the PM who hired me on the spot and then called in the HR people and read them the riot act for wasting so much time on both sides. As I got a tour of the Tool Room I noticed both a Dual Drive and a Servo Shift. There were also a Clausing and an old South Bend. My first official day, the Tool Room Foreman rained on my parade and told me the Servo Shift had recently arrived from their shuttered Florida plant and had never worked since they wired it in. Two months later... The Anglo Plant Manager had been fired and I was acclimated to being the only Anglo in a TR with two guys from Mexico and a 22 year old bilingual apprentice. My bilingual Foreman had some daytime college courses and one day I finished my first job early and was thinking about my 2nd and how much better it would be if I had the Servo Shift lathe to use. I stood in front of the machine and thought back to 6 years before when I last ran one. The routine for initializing and homing the servos came back to me and after a few minutes I had things clunking back and forth while the process continued.

                    The lathe now worked perfectly and I continued into my core pin turning assignment. One of the Mexican guys strolled over to watch me and shook his head no no no. The Foreman returned and was dumbfounded until I explained the nuances of Servo Shift lathes and then he smiled. I offered to instruct everyone on how to work the machine but he said that would be “embarrassing” to the others.

                    Two days later, I was moved to the 11>7 shift where I worked alone in the Tool Room supporting night production. There were 3 English speaking people out of 25 on that shift. Everybody liked me and I was able to help some Mold Techs learn a few things. 7 months later the night shift was all laid off.
                    4 months later the whole factory moved to Mexico.

                    If you have a Servo Shift and you do that 6 minute routine at the start of each day, they seem to work just fine.

                    Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                    9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tim The Grim View Post
                      After 6 interviews over two months, I was called again to now speak with the PM who hired me on the spot and then called in the HR people and read them the riot act for wasting so much time on both sides. As I got a tour of the Tool Room I noticed both a Dual Drive and a Servo Shift. There were also a Clausing and an old South Bend. My first official day, the Tool Room Foreman rained on my parade and told me the Servo Shift had recently arrived from their shuttered Florida plant and had never worked since they wired it in. Two months later... The Anglo Plant Manager had been fired and I was acclimated to being the only Anglo in a TR with two guys from Mexico and a 22 year old bilingual apprentice. My bilingual Foreman had some daytime college courses and one day I finished my first job early and was thinking about my 2nd and how much better it would be if I had the Servo Shift lathe to use. I stood in front of the machine and thought back to 6 years before when I last ran one. The routine for initializing and homing the servos came back to me and after a few minutes I had things clunking back and forth while the process continued.

                      The lathe now worked perfectly and I continued into my core pin turning assignment. One of the Mexican guys strolled over to watch me and shook his head no no no. The Foreman returned and was dumbfounded until I explained the nuances of Servo Shift lathes and then he smiled. I offered to instruct everyone on how to work the machine but he said that would be “embarrassing” to the others.

                      Two days later, I was moved to the 11>7 shift where I worked alone in the Tool Room supporting night production. There were 3 English speaking people out of 25 on that shift. Everybody liked me and I was able to help some Mold Techs learn a few things. 7 months later the night shift was all laid off.
                      4 months later the whole factory moved to Mexico.

                      If you have a Servo Shift and you do that 6 minute routine at the start of each day, they seem to work just fine.
                      Sorry to hear about that layoff, the loss of US manufacturing capacity and its move to Mexico. May it will as with other companies, return.
                      Would you share the initializing and homing process?

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                      • #12
                        Well, that was really a blessing in disguise. That layoff sent me to Texas Work Force who then got me the interview at the refinery that allowed me to retire at 66.
                        I haven’t seen one of those lathes in 17 years now. Dials had to be in certain positions, power off at the wall, power back on. It did a little routine on its own and then I would run through the speeds up and down.

                        The job at the refinery kind of flushed all that stuff out of my memory. No regrets, if the world goes Mad Max, I know how to make gas and diesel.
                        Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                        9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

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