Manufactured by the firm of Elgo S.A., based with many other machine tool makers in the industrial town of Elgoibar, in the Basque region of northern Spain, the Elgo KL26 was one of a number of similar small manual and automatic capstan lathes offered by the Company. In comparison with UK and Italian-made models of the same capacity these were relatively inexpensive machines and found some success in export markets.
Weighing a substantial 828 kg (1825 lbs), with a swing over the bed of 320 mm (12.6 inches) and over the cross slide of 160 mm (6.3 inches), the KL26 had a maximum bar capacity (using direct fitting 5C collets controlled by a quick-action lever) of 26 mm (1.03 inches) when using round stock
Twelve reversible speed were provided in three ranges: 300, 600, 1200 and 2400 r.p.m.; 250, 500, 1000 and 2000 r.p.m. and 200, 400, 800 and 1600 r.p.m. - though by special order these could be increased by up to 25%. Control was normally from a neat panel fitted to the front face of the headstock that held push-buttons for selection of the motor speed, an emergency stop button and a lever to select forward and reverse motion. As a cheaper option the makers offered electrical control by a pair of rotary switches. Power was provided by a 2-speed motor of 2-3 h.p. running at 750 and 1500 r.p.m. and pivoted on its pulley-end flange to allow the single B-section belt to be moved for speed changes - a large access door being provided on the stand's left-hand face. The drive passed through an oil-immersed gearbox (its hardened and ground gears running in ball races) equipped with a multi-plate clutch that allowed instant reverse without stopping the motor. Final drive to the hardened and ground chrome nickel steel spindle was by three A-section V-belts, these running over a pulley overhung outside the left-hand bearing. Two precision-class angular-contact ball races were used at the front of the spindle and one cylindrical roller bearing at the rear.
Fitted with six tool stations, the 100 mm (4-inch) travel) hexagon turret was manually indexed and bored to take tooling with 25 mm (1-inch) shanks. The unit, built up from largely hardened and ground components, was mounted on two needle roller bearings with the sliding action controlled by either a lever pivoting from the right-hand end or by full-size capstan handle for heavier tasks.
Fitted with a tapered grip strip the cut-off (forming) slide ran on dovetail ways and could be fitted with either handle or screw operation, the latter fitted with a large zeroing micrometer dial and a pair of ball-thrust bearings to reduce friction and improve feel. Instead of the front and rear toolposts being fixed in position, the top of the slide was formed with a dovetail way by which means they could adjusted as required. Another unusual fitting was an optional second slide, this being vertically disposed and mounted on the front face of the headstock above the spindle nose.
Coolant was built into the base, a separate 1/8th H.P. motor being provided to drive the gear pump.
A useful range of accessories was offered including toolposts for the cut-off slide that could be rotated for ball turning and short (50 mm) taper work, a bar-feed attachment, light unit, splash-back and tool tray, a comprehensive range of round, hexagon and square collet sets, roller boxes, self-releasing tap and die holders, adjustable dead and rotary stops, drill chucks and knurling tools.
For the UK market the importers, Capital Equipment & Machinery, supplied the KL26 complete with the headstock-mounted vertical slide, bar-feed attachment, complete coolant equipment, lever and screw feed to the cross slide with a vernier micrometer dial, a micrometer stop on the cross feed and a splash back. In 1977 the lathe was listed at ?500 and continued to be built (though with deteriorating quality standards), until the late 1980s.