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New Member / Powermatic Lathe

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  • New Member / Powermatic Lathe

    I am a new member. I found this forum while searching for information about a 1970's model Powermatic Lathe. I may be able to get one for hauling it away. I do not any heavy lifting capability and cannot afford to rent anything so I need to disassemble as much as possible to move it.

    I am a retired industrial technology teacher. This machine was in the shop I used to have classes in. It was new in the mid 70's and was well cared for and in excellent shape when I left for a new position in the mid 90's. Since I left, I have no idea how it was abused, but most recently is was stored for 2 years in an big UNHEATED steel shipping container along with the rest of the machinery from the shop. I was contacted and asked if I want to haul it away, I did not hesitate to say __LL YES. I wish they would have let me take it 2 years ago when I first asked for it, before it had time to rust while in storage.

    I do not know the model number of the lathe, but I found a photo of one that looks just like it online at this URL;

    (I did not see how to put photos directly into this message, can I do that?)

    As I recall the swing was at least 10, maybe 12 inches. The spindle bore would accept 1" stock but not much larger. Will be able to get the specs. and model number soon.

    I anticipate taking it apart as much as possible to get it small enough to move without equipment. I will be setting it back up in my basement.

    I have a few questions.

    Am I correct in assuming that disassembly will not be difficult, just heavy components?

    I assume the ways will be the heaviest single part, how much do you figure that casting will weigh?

    What is the best way to get rid of the rust off of the ways and get them back into good working order?

    The motor is 3 phase, since my home is not, should I just get a new single phase motor, or is is smarter to get a 3 phase converter. I have just read a bit about converters since this offer came to light.

    Thanks for your insight,


  • #2
    John, welcome to the board. Where are you located? There may be others on this board close to you that could offer assistance if we knew where you were. I have been using a Rotary Phase Converter to power my 2HP 3phase mill for a couple of years now. It has worked very well. If I was to do it all over again, I would look into using a VFD as they are less expensive and can add variable speed and electronic braking features to your lathe.

    As for as the rust on the ways, maybe a little scotchbrite, oil and elbow grease. I would hesitate to use anything very abrasive on those machined surfaces.

    all the best,



    • #3

      I too wish to welcome you to the asylum, AKA HSM.

      I recommend renting a engine hoist for this task. They can usually be had for a minimal amount of money from a tool rental store or from a automotive parts house. I believe you'd be a lot farther ahead by renting the hoist in making a safe move and one that requires a lot less time. I also suggest using a trailer rather than a PU as your lift will be a lot lower.



      • #4
        I have had excellent success with scraping the rust off with a razor blade.
        You have to experiment a bit to get the right angle and it works surprisingly well.
        Follow up with a Craytex abrasive stick. I used the medium on my lathe.
        Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel


        • #5
          Welcome to the forum! You've come to the right place for information. The knowledge base here amazes me constantly and the willingness to help as well.

          I believe your Powermatic lathe was made by Logan. If you need info, Scott Logan of Logan Acutator can help. There is a Logan User group on Yahoo here:

          There may even be manuals available from that site and certainly from Logan Actuator.

          Disassembly shouldn't be difficult and you would probably want to do so anyway even if you had the capacity to transport it in one piece. A great deal can be learned about function by disassembly and there will no doubt be years of chips and gunk you'll want to clean up. You can also look for damaged or broken parts while you're at it. Some parts can be made if necessary and Logan Actuator and sites like Ebay can be used to find replacements.

          The heaviest part will likely be the bed and you probably want a friend to help with moving that. My guess is that it will weigh between 175 and 250 pounds, depending on the actual swing of the lathe and length of the bed. I can tell you my 10" X 24" Logan's bed is heavy enough that it is a strain to move it alone and a second person makes the job much easier. Other parts are manageable if broken down to smaller pieces. I would suggest taking may pictures as you disassemble as a guide for later use. For me, anyway, a few days or weeks time can make a big difference in my memory of how things went together and a lot of time can be spent working that out.

          Rust removal may be accomplished by the electrolytic method. You can find info about that through a search of this site or other places online. As was previously stated, I would be cautious about using abrasives. One of those synthetic green pads used judiciously with WD-40 may be acceptable for any lightly rusted areas. Beyond that I think I would use a chemical or electrolytic method. No doubt others here will chime in with other possibilities.

          Being an Industrial technology teacher you probably don't need the following, but I'll write it anyway. No offense intended if you are already well versed in lathe operation. If you are new to lathes or machining I would suggest South Bend's "How to Run a Lathe" book. It's an old standby and inexpensive. You will find that older publications lend themselves more to home shop machinists than do many of the newer publications. The principles of operation for a machine like yours are exactly the same today as they were at the turn of the century. Those guys had a lot of tricks up their sleeves to turn out some great work on manual machines.

          No doubt you'll get many opinions here with regard to lathe power. Three phase has advantages in pure form (as delivered from the power company). I don't know how phase converters affect that. Three phase can give you variable speed and apparently doesn't have "phase ripple" which can show up in work. Converters can be costly and I've heard several people complain of electrical problems. I have no personal experience so I can't speak for or against them or their reliability. My lathe uses a single phase 115 V motor and a 230 V motor could be used as well. It works well, I haven't experienced phase ripple in my work that I've been able to detect and there is a lot to be said for the simplicity of the system. Very reliable! That said, I am currently going ahead with a re-powering of a mill with DC PM motors to obtain variable speed. They seem to have a lot going for them but are new to me so I won't recommend them yet. I am still on a steep learning curve with regard to electronics. I will say this if you shop carefully you can obtain commercial DC motors for about the same price as single phase AC motors. The controllers aren't that expensive either again if shopping carefully is done.


          • #6
            I hate you!

            John that was my ad you linked to.
            Still looking for a Powermatic Logan
            I'm about to sell 4 lathes to buy one.

            As for dealing with Rust, I'd bet you don't have much. 0000 steel wool and light oil will take off surface rust. I'm OK with using fine (gray) Scotchbrite, though others will no doubt rise in anger at the very mention. I think you could grow old trying to actually remove .001" from good steel with a scotchbrite pad.

            But for small pieces of even heavily rusted steel or iron, Evaporust is the best by far.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rex
              As for dealing with Rust, I'd bet you don't have much. 0000 steel wool and light oil will take off surface rust. I'm OK with using fine (gray) Scotchbrite, though others will no doubt rise in anger at the very mention. I think you could grow old trying to actually remove .001" from good steel with a scotchbrite pad.
              Or even with 400 grit paper..... on cast iron

              FINALLY........... someone with good sense! Congratulations, and I really do mean that.

              Scotchbrite, sure..... even 400 grit "wetordry" closed-coat 3M paper and oil...... you won't remove any significant material.....sanding by hand

              "rise in anger"...... Hah..... you ain't seen nothin, yet , bro.... it just could happen here, but it won't be me.....

              Keep eye on ball.
              Hashim Khan


              • #8
                Do you know for sure that it is rusted? I mean, have you actually seen it lately? There may be less than you think (or no) rust on it. I've had a lathe sitting idle for several years now in an environment that is often humid, haven't even oiled it, and the ways look like new.


                • #9
                  True dat. Often what looks like rust is actually hardened oil. When I get one like that, I hose it down with WD40 as soon as I get it in the truck or trailer, then add solvent and agitate with a brush or steel wool to keep it moist. When that seems to have done all it's going to do, I might run it down to the local pressure washer if it's hot and dry like it has been here lately. Then immediately compressed air followed by more WD40, this time to chase the water out. If it's complete I'l also oil it and run it for a while, including the QC gears and feed/crossfeed. By this time it's usually looking pretty good, and whatever is left is likely rust.
                  Next step is to attack any rust with 0000 steel wool and - you guessed it - more WD40. Sounds like I'm awash in the stuff, but a gallon of it and a pump sprayer does one medium lathe easily. Last resort is gray Scotchbrite.
                  I just finished this process on a 12" Enco built in 1981. Prior to that was a 9" Southbend. Both cleaned up very nicely and run well.


                  • #10
                    This is an update on my project.

                    Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. I got the whole lathe at home now. It is a Model 1100004H. Has a 1hp 3ph motor. 3 jaw universal chuck with both sets of jaws, 4 jaw independent chuck, a couple of face plates, dogs, little tool post with a few holders. A few centers with the ends burned off. I took it apart at the site, first day I got everything except the base cabinet, motor/drive and chip tray in my Tacoma in one load. (has Firestone RideRite air helper springs). Next day I separated the head cabinet from the tail cabinet and loaded them and the chip tray on my trailer. The head cabinet with the motor and variable speed drive was the heaviest most difficult to deal with but two of us laid it on its back and slid it onto my low trailer.

                    I am slowly working though the parts. There are a LOT of parts on a lathe. LOL. First thing I did was spray everything with WD-40. I freshen that up every day to keep it moist. To this point I have used most of the suggestions for one thing or another. I am also using electrolytic removal on some parts. As many of you mentioned a lot of the rust was just surface. I am not even going to have to repaint it, there are some scratches, but it is not terrible.

                    I got the motor and drive out of the base cabinet, so it is a lot easier to move around now and I can clean up the drive components. I now have the cabinets reassembled and leveled in the basement.

                    Looking into VFD's now so I can keep the 3ph motor.

                    Rex - I do hope we can still be friends, I would love to have a 1911, but, I think I want my lathe more. What are you getting rid of?

                    Will keep you posted.



                    • #11
                      John we're good. Sounds like my kinda project.

                      Now, I i'd know you could be tempted with 1911s.

                      I just sold an Atlas 618 Mk2. I still have a very nice Mk1 618, a 12x24 Enco, and a 10x24 Enco. Last will probably be a Southbend 9" model A.
                      The 12x24 will go up next, but I found a couple of problems I need to resolve. Plus, the bench that came with it is a mess.