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Thread: Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

  1. #1
    Member Bart's Avatar
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    Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

    this last couple of months, i started playing with my little Craftsman 109 lathe again, i figured this forum is dedicated to mini airboats, why not talk about a mini lathe, that many consider to not be more than a toy.
    these were an entry level lathe that Craftsman built from the 1920's to the 1960's. not a lot of bells or whistles on it. and it is not made to do the heavy stuff. it came with a 3" chuck and a bored out 1/2" spindle that turned it.
    for the past couple of years i have been fighting worn out chucks and the other nuances that it has, but now i am looking to see what improvement that i can do to it. so it can be functional for me.
    i had purchased this from my friend that has been helping me with all of my projects,
    but for Christmas, one of my daughters gave me a quick change chuck and some bits, and this started me to see what i can improve on this small lathe.
    i know that with small spindle, a steady rest would be in order, craftsman never made upgrades for this lathe, so i need to fab all these things up. so it gives me time to think about what and how i want to improve is functionality.
    last week i picked up a Bison 3-1/4" chuck, and man does that make the lathe look small, and then i am realizing that the tail stock can and will get in the way. so i had to see if the quick release that i had for the steady rest would work on the tail stock. And IT Does.
    here in a little while a lot of small parts, that are under 2.5 inches in diameter, i should be able to do with no problem, it will just take time. i figure about 1 hour on my lathe, is almost equal to less than 5 minutes on my friends. but maybe with a steady rest and a few other things, i might get the time comparison a little closer. i don't hope for much, but something has to be better.
    below is a Utube video of the quick release that i have put on the tail stock at the moment. (little things like that can save so much frustration down the road)
    the original tail stock mount was a 3/8" nut, on a carriage bolt. and of course it was on the back side. so you couldn't see it. so loosening and tightening the nut was never much fun. and it didn't come with a spring, so the bottom plate was always catching on the bottom of the ways.

    https://youtu.be/ofe4GRIy7zA
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    Last edited by Bart; 02-28-2018 at 04:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Corky's Avatar
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    Re: Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

    Man, I'd love to have a lathe like that...To be honest I'd prefer an older piece like yours compared to a newer{and probably cheaply built} one of the same size...

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  3. #3
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    Re: Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

    You might want to register yourself here; http://www.machinistweb.com/forum/

    Most of the guys work with the larger 101 series lathes, but you can probably get some good, knowledgeable help for what you're working with.

    Roger

  4. #4
    Member Bart's Avatar
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    Re: Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

    Thanks for the link, I see a bigger lathe down the road. A 101 or even a small south bend would be fun. But until that time I feel that if I can lean to make the correct mods this little guy can and will have a purpose.
    Kind of like a auto mechanics teacher once told me. If you can't strip down a 5 horse Briggs & Stratton to the last part, then reassemble it. And make it run. Then you best forget moving up to the big stuff.
    I took that to heart. Out of 15 of us students, only 3 of us had the their Briggs start up in the first couple of pulls. The other 12 were real good radio mechanics. Man they could could dial their car stereo in.
    So I am comparing this to the little 5 horse motor. That I worked on so many years ago. And I want to make it sing.

  5. #5
    Member Bart's Avatar
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    Re: Craftsman 109 lathe modifications

    the last couple of evenings, i have been modifying things on this lathe. couldn't really get the the chuck dialed in, so we took the spindle out, and found out that there was a good bow on it when we put it on a larger lathe and ran it between centers.
    so we fabbed up a new spindle with a few minor mods. like a thrust needle bearing, instead of a thrust washer.
    it took a little bit to get the lathe centered, found out after looking at everything, that the radius of the bolt holes on the backing plate, where just a little shallower than the holes on the chuck, and this kept us from getting it centered, until the holes on the backing plate were enlarged,
    on a lot of the small lathe forums, they say if you can get it within .004" be happy and don't complain.
    well this little video tells the story.
    now with a few more little mods, i will feel very comfortable in turning out some small precision parts.
    (note) when i turned the chuck over by hand the needle doesn't move, so I am thinking in the video, it is reading the harmonic vibration of the turning parts.

    http://youtu.be/AU-DsfUuoxE
    Last edited by Bart; 03-09-2018 at 06:07 AM.

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