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National Gap Bed Lathe 14x40?

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  • National Gap Bed Lathe 14x40?

    Anyone own or herd of a National Gap Bed Lathe? I have an opportunity to buy one with steady rest and follower for 2000.00. I bought my Bridgeport from the guy and he is needing cash, He said he would work with me on the price, let me pay so much down and payments..... It is a big SOB. I have a couple lathes right now, just sold another SB9A on ebay today, I now have 1 SB 9a, 1 SB heavy 10, 1 SB 16, My thoughts are if I was to get the 14x40 I could sell all but the 9a for small stuff and pay for it 2 times over. thoughts anyone?

  • #2
    Pictures, pictures, pictures

    Is it a National Gap Bed lathe or a National Lathe with a gap bed.

    Age, condition and no chucks???
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

    Southwestern Ontario. Canada


    • #3
      im sorry, I don't know what I was thinking!! im having him send me a few pictures, it does have 1 3 jaw chuck with it,. Its the cam lock spindle. coolant, steady, follower. that's about all I know about it. I looked at it briefly but didn't look too close because have so many lathes already!


      • #4


        • #5


          • #6
            That looks to be an industrial-grade Taiwanese lathe from the '80s or '90s.

            Briefly, I think your plan makes sense. I would suggest listening to the headstock under power in each gear, however, as gearhead lathes with broken gear teeth are a bummer. Also think hard about how much power it would take.

            For doing real work, though, that National would be 3x-10x as fast as any of your current lathes. Plus, it's got the steady/follower rests.



            • #7
              metalmagpie, thank you for the reply, I am with you on everything you said. As far as power, I was thinking of getting this...

              I also picked my 3 phase Bridgeport up as well, I believe that this converter would be great.

              I was thinking the same thing as far as efficient. The bed looks good, everything seems smooth. There is one thing, The seller said that if he trys to start the lathe in high gear it will flip the breaker? "He said that he has to start it in low gear, neutral, and then high gear. I don't know anything about these lathes so I don't know what to look for. I love the lathe though.


              • #8
                I suppose if it trips a breaker then she is pulling to much current to get her going, my old harrison was doing somthing similar, put the spindle in top speed and the thing would ramp up in speed slowley, put a clamp meter on the feed and the current was fairly high, but i noticed that due to the length of the undersize cable running to the shop there was a voltage drop at the shop, this may have been a factor.
                I dropped the oil out of the headstock and replaced it, it was clean but with age it was mighty thick!
                The new oil was suplimented with a dose of slick 50 gearbox treatment, i didnt know if that was a good thing to do but at the time had no one to ask, turns out it worked, the headstock noise decreased considerably and she will start in top now, i wouldent recomend shoving additives in there but its an old machine so i figured what the heck.
                The new feed to the shop is still unfinished due to the pressures of house building, i reckon i will have arms like the hulk with all the 40 lb dense concrete blocks im lifting building the inner walls, i can just about lift a 4" thick block with one hand now!, but my arms ache.
                I digress, stick a clamp meter on her and see whats going on, if big amps are present there must be a root cause, resistance in the headstock drive train, if so then the only thing you can do is reduce the friction, an oil change usually achives that, the alternative is that he had an inadeqate supply and had to bring her up to speed without a peak in the amps by getting her running then uping the speed?, i did not think you could do that as all the lathes i have used require the spindle to be stopped before a gear change as i have never heard of a syncomesh gearbox on a lathe!, they are essentialy crash boxes, as you could easily tell walking round the training centre in work when one of them tried changing speed while running, reading the bix notices was beyond them!
                It looks a nice machine however be cautious, not all folk tell the truth!, a magnetic retreiver dipped into the oil filler plug and poked around the bottom of the gearbox can sometimes save you from a lemon.


                • #9
                  Thanks boslab, I appreciate the info, The bad thing is, the fella just doesn't know enough about these machines to tell me much. he never ran them much at all. I bought the mill 3 months ago and just went and picked it up. He seems sincere.


                  • #10
                    Hi keth524
                    As far as the breaker tripping, as already mentioned, the lubricants may have stiffened with age. If the cabling used to supply the power has an excessive
                    voltage drop, the motor will attempt to pull more current to compensate. The breaker may be inadequately sized for the machine, or tripping prematurely
                    due to old age.
                    Location: Long Island, N.Y.


                    • #11
                      ok awesome, I will take multimeter with me when I go back to check it out! thanks Rich!


                      • #12
                        hey fellas, its been awhile since I have visited. I have been doing disaster cleanup in north Carolina for a month. Anyways, this guy has messaged me today about the lathe, he is getting ready to post it back onto craigslist if I don't jump. My only problem is I have never owned a gear head lathe and I don't want to miss something crucial! My uncle is a tool and die maker, has been for 20 years. Im trying to get him to go with me to check it out for me. I really don't want to miss out on this lathe, this is exactly what im looking for and not far away either. But at 2000.00 I think if I miss it, there will be more come along. any advice or responses would be appreciated. Thanks for all the help!


                        • #13
                          It appears to be similar in size and construction to my 1974 vintage Victor 1640, made by Tai Chung Machine Works of Taiwan. I see these Victor machines often in both 1640 and more common 1630 sizes, and in various states of condition. They range in price from a low of a $1500 to almost $4000. Consider the $2000 price a negotiation start point. You should be able to get it for no more than $1800...unless he is indeed going to finance it for you. In that case, you're paying his price.

                          There won't be a lot more of that size and quality floating around at that price. The market is holding pretty steady on pricing of this genre of lathes, and has been for several years now.

                          BTW, that one is a bit unusual in that the threading dial is on the left side of the carriage. You don't see that too often.
                          Last edited by PixMan; 07-05-2014, 07:39 PM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PixMan View Post
                            BTW, that one is a bit unusual in that the threading dial is on the left side of the carriage. You don't see that too often.
                            My old Harrison L5 had it on the left ,my okuma has it on the right..and the Emco doesnt have one being metric. All options covered .



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                              That looks to be an industrial-grade Taiwanese lathe from the '80s or '90s.
                              It is!
                              They were pretty tuff lathes but the bed is ordinary soft Iron
                              Not flame hardened, and typically these strattified to use by less skilled individuals,
                              that sanded most of there work to size. Worse is these same duffuses never protect the bedways
                              when sanding, running over the swarf. These lathes will usually not cut str8 within 6-9" of the chuck.

                              Chuck a 3" by 10" lenght of any soft tool-steel. Take three cuts reducing to your final pass
                              at finish feeds and speeds. Bet you get a taper of at least .003" in 8" of cut.
                              Last edited by Old Hat; 07-06-2014, 08:38 AM.