LeBlond Regal Lathe
15" x 54" Lathe
My uncle gave me an old LeBlond Regal 15" x 54" lathe. It was once used by a school system. It has only a few tools and no manuals. There are also broken parts, the biggest breakage being the tailstock. It is a cast part, so fixing it may not be an option. The lathe has been sitting outside for a "couple of months". So, I am working on a thorough assessment on its problems to decide if I can restore it.
I really do not need the lathe since I just finished restoring the Clausing that my uncle gave me a long time ago. But, based on small things like the lack of wear on the lead screw and the past ownership being the board of education, I think the lathe is probably in good mechanical shape. And, if I cannot restore it, maybe it will be sold to someone who can.
So, I brought the lathe home on a trailer and it is still sitting there. I still have to decide if I can restore it. I did cover it with a tarp until I decide.
I looked inside the gearbox and did not see any broken gears. There is some surface rust inside the gearbox, but it seems to wipe away fairly well. One of the servo pistons looks pretty rusty. I did not get any pictures, but I do believe the gearbox is good.
I broke the gray tab off when the hook moved while I was securing the lathe to the trailer. The yellow lever was already broken.
The wiring and electrical controls look suspect.
The motor is free and will turn, but it is a three phase motor so I will have to construct a phase converter to run it. I really want to run the motor to be sure the gears all turn before making that decision.
This is the broken tailstock. Recently, there has been a tailstock for sale on Ebay, but I am not ready to start investing in the lathe until I am sure I can successfully restore it.
I have been advised to be sure the ways are still good before proceeding. Not sure what all to check there, but maybe I can find some guidance.
I did make room in my shop if I decide to bring it inside. Moving it will be a really big challenge. I have an I-beam arbor to lift things, but will need to strengthen it with bracing before lifting the lathe. It has lifted a Van Norman #12 mill that weighs 2000 pounds twice without issue. The Regal weighs 3000 pounds.
Again, I do not plan to spend very much money on it until I am convinced I can restore it. From what I know now about this project, I believe it is something I can do. That optimism could change quickly depending on what else I discover.
I have already run a #6-3 copper line to a sub-panel to the area of the shop cleaned out for the lathe. Right now I have a 40A breaker protecting the line. That may need to change to a 60A breaker, but for now I am going with the 40A. I may even try a 30A breaker in the sub-panel. But I think a 30A is going to be too small.
Having a way to run the three phase motor is something I will need to tackle before going too far with this lathe. I am constructing a 7.5 hp phase converter from parts I have scavenged to run the 5 hp three phase motor. I followed information found on the internet to help me with wiring, but am concerned about it being safe once completed. So, I am trying to figure out how to meet the NEC with how it is wired. I want it to be SAFE!