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Hardinge ESM-59 Lathe

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  • Hardinge ESM-59 Lathe

    I am trying to buy a Hardinge lathe. It looks a little rough but I think it is in decent shape. How difficult are they to restore? How difficult are they to learn to run? I tried to post pics but can't do it from ipad. Maybe later from computer...

  • #2
    ESM? Or DSM? Not familiar with an ESM.

    Restoring to original condition, very difficult. 25 years ago Hardinge charged $1800 to replace the spindle bearings. Not a job for a noob.

    The lathe bed? Dovetail or split? The dovetail are much, much better.

    Does it have the bed turret? If worn, that's bad, not an easy fix.

    In spite of all the above these were rugged, industrial grade machines. For non-production use even a worn machine is useable.


    • #3
      It is a very simple machine - no gearbox or lead screw, so it is entirely manual, cross-feed only, 2-speeds, forward/reverse. It won't turn threads. It is a specialty machine that does a few things very well.


      • #4
        Here's a couple of pics...

        Split bed. round turret. I had heard that the bearing were around $200. $1800 is a whole different matter.....


        • #5
          The good news here is that's a later model of the split bed type. The turret on the older models was hex shaped (they were bad).

          I would guess the bearings are closer to $400+, it's not so much the bearing cost it's the setting for near zero backlash that makes the job complicated. There is no adjustment, the precision spacer must be sized exactly for that specific headstock/bearing combination.

          If you aren't familiar with this type machine don't buy it. As equipped it's not a basic first/only lathe. The one DP linked to is better setup for general use with the cross slide and tailstock.


          • #6
            I was looking at this lathe because it is part of a business I'm trying to buy. The previous owner had it tooled up to make several parts so I thought it would be the best option. How do you "set the bearings for near zero backlash"? I was considering restoring this machine because I buy a lot of vintage woodworking equipment and always tear them down to replace all bearings, belts, etc so I don't have to worry about problems. Is this a bad idea for this lathe? (Obviously the bearing setting is an issue).
            Last edited by Kenlew; 03-24-2014, 01:14 AM.