Need help setting up a large lathe (air interlock)

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Entropy455, Jul 25, 2018.

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  1. Jul 25, 2018 #1

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    I just purchased a large hobby lathe. It’s an Axelson-Clearing Model 2516, manufactured in 1960, with a 40-horsepower drive motor, about 18 feet between centers, weighing roughly 25,000 pounds (weight estimated by the crane operator). I intend to power the machine with (qty 2) 40 horsepower rotary phase converters, wired in parallel. My problem is that I’ve been unsuccessful in locating any literature on this lathe (e.g. wiring schematic, parts list, operator’s guide, lubrication & maintenance requirements, etc). I am particularly interested in the air interlock – where the machine will not energize without being fed a source of compressed air. Why?


    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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  2. Jul 25, 2018 #2

    TonyM

    TonyM

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    Was it originally fitted with a pneumatic chuck. Normally these had a safety interlock to prevent rotation if air pressure drops below a set level.
     
  3. Jul 25, 2018 #3

    SmithDoor

    SmithDoor

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    Axelson is very good lathe
    In 50s and 60s the ever one when horse wild. I found even on large lathe the most horse was 5 up. After spending $5,000.00 in parts1983 (Today that is over $12,000.00) to upgrade my my power to 480 volts and 400 amps to run one lathe. This disappointing to find the best I could 5 horse on a single cutter
    After that I use10 horse power an save money.

    After spending look at how much power can I use on a tool.
    I found that tools they made from 1930 to 1940s was most horsepower that any could use on machine tools

    Dave
     
  4. Jul 25, 2018 #4

    SmithDoor

    SmithDoor

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    They same for turn on and off machine tools. I do not know how many ways to could turn on and off a motor in 60s and 70s.

    Dave
     
  5. Jul 26, 2018 #5

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    you have one very nice lathe there.



    Im not sure id go that route. First will you ever actually use that 40 horse power? It is not for me to say but it is something to think about. Also consider how much of that HP is going to overcome friction. I just have a hard time imagining a cut using 40 HP of energy on a geared lathe.

    Id seriously consider the possibility of a VFD and a smaller motor. You would need to research the latest drives to see if a suitable unit exists for single phase service. Then you have to balance the costs against two 40 HP motors acting as rotary phase converters. You would also have to consider if your electrical service can even handle the start up of such a phase converter. If you need to implement a soft start solution a VFD might be cheaper. This especially if you can get by with a smaller motor.
    Interlocks are very common in machinery. Until you have a manual in hand your best bet is to trace out the entire pneumatics system. That being said i wouldn't be surprised to find a clutch brake unit on the machine. Lesser possibilities include pneumatic actuated shifting forks, control valves for coolant and lubrication. On a machine that old there are other possibilities for the air.

    In any event the machine wouldn't operate without air to the clutch brake. This would be the primary reason for an interlock.
    Check out the lathes web site in the UK to see if they have info.
     
  6. Jul 26, 2018 #6

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    It will take 80 horsepower of rotary phase converter to start a heavy 40 horsepower gearhead lathe (rule of thumb). Once the lathe is running, I could theoretically turn off one of the 40 horsepower converters, and it will run just fine up to about 30 horsepower of spindle power, on the single converter. The problem with staring large gearhead lathes is the very high surge-power required during startup. If the converter is too small it will stall out, and trip the main breaker. I have 350 kcmil feeder wires feeding the shop (240 vac single-phase), being feed via 37.5 kVA transformer. The transformer is large enough to run an honest 40 horsepower 3-phase motor via rotary phase converter - in steady-state. The question is how badly the lights will dim with 80 horsepower of converter, staring a 40 horsepower lathe (which could draw upwards of 1400 amperes during startup). Worst case I'll request the power company install a 50 kVA transformer - which they'll happily charge me for. . . . I figure the idle current for two 40 horsepower converters will cost about 68 cents per hour (assuming 12 cents per kWhr), which is not a big deal for a machine that will only see occasional use.
     
  7. Jul 26, 2018 #7

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    Here’s pictures of a 10-horsepower converter I built to power my smaller machines. Works like a champ.


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  8. Aug 10, 2018 #8

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    Did you ever finalize this?

    While ive seen nothing advertised recently id shop around for a solid state VFD to run this size motor. Unless you find used your rotary converter motors will cost a fine penny.

    There is no doubt such a VFD (if it even exist) would be expensive but you would gain advantages such as soft start and variable speed. You might even save on the cost of a new service transformer.

    A little edit:

    Im wondering if you chased down the reason for an air interlock. If it is for a brake clutch you might have more manageable motor start up currents. Also other soft start solutions might be viable.

    There are likely a dozen ways to get this lathe running. It is just a matter of figuring out the correct path for your usage.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  9. Aug 10, 2018 #9

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    Not resolved (yet).

    The chuck seems to be a traditional D-type locking mechanism (non-air). My best guess is that air is somehow used within the clutch/gearbox/transmission.

    Right now all of my effort is on the phase converters. It is going to cost me about 2500 bucks to build a pair of 40 hp converters - provided I use SSRs in lieu of contactors. I'll take pictures of the converter construction. . . .
     
  10. Aug 10, 2018 #10

    dkwflight

    dkwflight

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    Some hobby lathe.
    Maybe you can lease it to a shop.
     
  11. Aug 11, 2018 #11

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    I'd resolve the issue of the air usage first. A lot of these big lathes had a clutch brake assembly either on the motor or on the power input to the gear box. If so you would see a pretty huge difference in start up effort if you have the clutch off at motor start. That may mean being able to start the motor with one phase conversion motor instead of two. If so (we don't even know if it is possible) you would save the cost of the additional motor and the associated electronics.
     
  12. Aug 11, 2018 #12

    DJP

    DJP

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    This lathe for hobby use makes the discussion of shellac checks pretty insignificant.

    Have you considered hooking up air pressure to see what moves or what leaks? That may help.
     
  13. Aug 11, 2018 #13

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    I don't even know what air pressure to feed it. . . Most industrial tool air is around 90 psig. But what if this thing only requires reduced 20 psig air? I'm really nervous energizing this machine, without a schematic diagram, or at least OEM operating instructions.

    The electrical enclosure has almost a dozen large electrical contactors. I'm assuming the machine is wired for 460 Volts, as it would be highly unusual for a lathe of this size to be wired for 230 Volts. I can rewire the main spindle motor for 230 Volts, however the lathe's existing contactors might not be rated for twice the operating current. I might simply purchase a 3-phase step-up transformer. We'll see. . . . . Again, I haven't torn into the electrical yet. I'm still trying to find OEM literature/operating instructions. I'm also gathering parts for the phase converters. Even if I "can" run this thing on a smaller converter, I want to power it properly (It's my OCD).

    Below are my medium lathe, small lathe, and my large mills. I had to build a gantry crane to move the horizontal mill, because it was beyond the capacity of my forklift. Needless to say, my large lathe is beyond the capacity of both my forklift, and my gantry crane. . . .
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  14. Aug 12, 2018 #14

    Richard Carlstedt

    Richard Carlstedt

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    Time out ..We had an Axelson in our Newark California shop up until the early1990;s
    It is a fine lathe. our Plant air was 90 to 120 PSI. I can not recall why it needed air, except that it had a clutch assembly. Most all our lathes had Auto Lube systems , by Bijur or Lincoln so that is most likely the reason and if the lube system did not respond to a micro, you got no rotation.
    Time out note is for the reason to have two RPC's ??? ( I think you wanted to start up sequentially ?)
    If the motor can idle ( and I am sure it can ) you only need the make the motor have a self starter and use a 5HP (single phase ?) motor coupled to it with a over-running clutch . The 5 HP will easily get it up to speed, and then there will be little in-rush of current on the larger lathe motor.
    I think you really should investigate a "Phase Perfect" unit for your application.
    Rich
     
  15. Aug 12, 2018 #15

    Richard Carlstedt

    Richard Carlstedt

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    Forgot to say our shop was 240 Volts

    Rich
     
  16. Aug 12, 2018 #16

    Entropy455

    Entropy455

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    My reason for two converters -

    It takes 80 horsepower of phase converter to start a 40 horsepower gearhead lathe. A single 80 horsepower phase converter may trip my 200 amp main breaker, simply by starting the converter. Additionally, when making heavy cuts on a single converter, I'll be drawing upwards of 180 amperes - which leaves me very little reserve for other loads in the shop.

    This is why I'm installing a second 200 amp panel in my shop. One 40 horsepower phase converter will be connected to one 200 amp panel (via 150 amp breaker), and the other 40 horsepower converter connected to the other 200 amp panel (again via 150 amp breaker).

    Only one converter will have an automatic start function (i.e. momentary starter caps wired into the circuit). I will automatically startup one 40 horsepower converter, than energize the second converter - then I can safely start the lathe. I'll be able to take heavy cuts, to light cuts, to everywhere in between - and I won't have to worry about tripping either of the mains, because the load will be split between two service panels.

    Unless I can get a 40 horsepower phase-perfect for under 2500 bucks, I'll be sticking with rotary phase converters.
     

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