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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Alfeo Lathe - Italy


      Pictured below as it appeared in 1939, the 210 mm centre height by 1000 or 1500 mm between-centres Italian Alfeo lathe was a heavy (1.800 to 1900 kg) precision machine with an enormously deep, 375 mm wide and rigid bed. The front V-way was notable for a European machine in having an especially wide outer surface and its shorter inside section arranged more steeply than normal (on the lines probably pioneered by the American Wade company) to better absorb thrust. Heavy transverse walls braced the bed with the gaps between running through to large elliptical holes at the rear for swarf clearance. The makers claimed that the bed was scraped to "dead precision" and carried a saddle with especially long wings.
      Typical of good contemporary design, the drive system had its 5 h.p. motor carried in the base of the headstock-end plinth with drive up to the unusually long and narrow all-geared headstock by 4 V-belts. The input shaft, built into the top part of the bed and supported on a substantial double roller race immediately inboard of the drive pulley, and a ball race at the other end, carried a double multi-plate clutch with one used for forward rotation and the other reverse.  From the input shaft the drive continued through two ball-bearing supported layshafts, one directly above the other - a layout that allowed the headstock to be unusually long and narrow. The main spindle was especially massive, with a 48-mm bore, and hardened on its threaded-nose; it ran in large-diameter parallel-bore bronze bearings each contained within a tapered housing by screwed rings and adjustable for clearance by slackening and tightening rings at opposite ends. The headstock gears were all in chrome-nickel steel, hardened and pressure lubricated by a supply of oil lifted (by a gear pump on the end of the input shaft) from a reservoir located just above the motor.
      Electrical start, stop and reverse was controlled through the operation of a rod parallel to and below the leadscrew that, in common with most other designs of the same type, carried duplicated operation levers: one by the screwcutting gear box and the other (where it could be easily reached by the operator from a normal working position) on the right-hand face (and moving with) the apron. 12 speeds were provided running from 16 to 800 r.p.m in geometrical progression and controlled by three levers on the front face of the headstock.
      Of the Norton quick-change type, the screwcutting gearbox was controlled by a sliding tumbler selector and two levers: together with the "special-steel" precision leadscrew it could generate 48 English pitches from "5/16" to 56 t.p.i., 34 metric from 0.375 to 16 mm, 24 diametral from 7.5 to 56 and 12 modular from 0.75 to 4 could be generated. The sliding feed rate varied from 0.075 to 2.25 mm per revolution of the spindle. The changewheels were contained within a heavy cast-aluminium case but, instead of a positive and safe lock, only a, easily-opened spring clip held it shut.
      Entirely conventional in design and layout, the carriage assembly had the advantage of a quick-action lever to engage both sliding and surfacing feeds these being transmitted through an safety-type, overload-limited clutch; the handwheel for manual feed was on the right-hand side of the apron, away from burning chips. The compound slide rest had only a "short" cross slide, with a cast-iron extension cover to protect the end of the feed-screw, and the zeroing micrometer dials were, for a lathe with pretensions to be a toolroom machine, of a barely acceptable diameter - but not unusual for the time.
      A coolant pump was bolted to the top face of the chip tray at the tailstock-end of the bed and picked up fluid from a drain tank cast into the central section of the tray.
      Heavily constructed, the tailstock was clamped to the bed by two bolts; the barrel had self-eject for the No. 3 Morse taper centre and locked by a powerful internal split-barrel clamp set a little further back from the front than normal.

      Italian-made 210 mm centre height by 1000 or 1500 mm between-centres Alfeo precision lathe

      Of the Norton quick-change type, the screwcutting gearbox was controlled by a sliding tumbler selector and two levers: together with the "special-steel" precision leadscrew it could generate 48 English pitches from "5/16" to 56 t.p.i., 34 metric from 0.375 to 16 mm, 24 diametral from 7.5 to 56 and 12 modular from 0.75 to 4 could be generated. The sliding feed rate varied from 0.075 to 2.25 mm per revolution of the spindle. The changewheels were contained within a heavy cast-aluminium case but, instead of a positive and safe lock, only a, easily-opened spring clip held it shut.

      The Alfeo lathe had an enormously deep, 375 mm wide and rigid bed. Heavy transverse walls braced the bed with the gaps between running through to large elliptical holes at the rear for swarf clearance.


      The massive size of the main spindle and its bearings is clearly evident in this interesting section through the drive system within headstock and headstock-end plinth. Apart from the main spindle all shafts ran on  anti-friction ball races.

      The unusually long and narrow all-geared headstock 

      Headstock drive gears. 12 speeds were provided running from 16 to 800 r.p.m in geometrical progression and controlled by three levers on the front face of the headstock. 


      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Alfeo Lathe - Italy
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