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have oppertunity to buy a lehmann lathe?

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  • have oppertunity to buy a lehmann lathe?

    I looked at a lehmann lathe and this is what i know about it.
    1 3/4 in thru hole
    18 in swing over bed.
    36 in bed length to tail stock
    taper attatchment
    power cross feed
    5 hp.220 v
    qctp measures about 3.5 in sq.
    threading equipped thread dial and all
    10in 3 jaw chuck
    12 in 4 jaw chuck
    12 in face plate
    ways show some wear and slight nicks at the chuck but seem true with a chalk line
    has two raised triangular ways for the carriage
    looks to be mid 60s vintage
    gear box is rounded corners and not sharp corners
    chucked up a long rod and lifted on the chuck checking for vertical movement with a dial indicator found .003 to .005 in of movement

    does anybody have experiance with or any opinions of this lathe?
    i would like to know what the top speed for this machine is, is it capable of running carbides. and any other oppinions on this machine would be appreciated....

  • #2
    Hard to say much without actually seeing the machine. I'm currently making a spindle adapter for a much older vintage Lehmann lathe.

    If I had to guess, I would say that it probably doesn't have a very high top speed. As far as I know, Lehmann lathes were plain bearing machines - probably one of the only manufacturers who made gear head plain bearing machines. That would also explain the play measured in the spindle when you put the long bar in it. With a ball bearing with proper pre-load, you should measure almost nothing. With a plain bearing, you want somewhere between 0.0005 and 0.0015 of play depending on just how hard you're pulling on the bar.

    Lehmann went into buisness in 1906 and went out of buisness in 1974. They built about 3500 lathes in that time period. They were located in St. Louis, Missouri and were famous for "oil-field" machines that boasted large through-bores. One thing to be aware of on later models is their hydraulic headstocks. Lehmann pioneered the "hydroshift" technology. You could shift while the spindle was moving, even while cutting metal, but this could be a headache for you now since no parts are available. Not that you couldn't fix any problems that might arise, but they could take quite a bit of time and effort to fix.

    All in all, they aren't bad lathes. They are true industrial machines but I personally don't think very highly of them as far as their value as a used machine. They fall into antique category (for me) because of the plain bearings and I don't want to mess with the hydraulic headstock. I like the more bullet-proof conventional headstocks found on Pacemakers, Powerturns, etc.

    EDIT to add: I'm sure you could really take advantage of carbide if you were machining something that was 18" in diameter, but if you want to work smaller diameters you won't get your money's worth out of the carbide. But no one says you have to use carbide...


    • #3
      Is this any help?


      • #4

        Your quote looks word for word from one of the other forms, i wrote...

        I have to disagree with you on the plain bearing spindle bearings. After 1938 all of their lathes sold were Timken bearing equipped for the spindle and ball and roller for the rest of the headstock on the gear heads and Hydrotrol headstocks. Only the old cone heads and early gear heads had plain bearing spindles.
        The reason i know this, I've been through the drawing files of the old Lehmann Lathe company when it was bough out and moved to Houston in 1974. I worked for the man that bought it back then! Now located in Calf.

        I've owned both gear heads in plane bearing and Timken bearing equipped headstocks in my past lives!