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Measuring Watchmakers Lathe for belt *help please*

ClipClock

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So I bought a gorgeous little 8mm Boley watchmakers lathe :) :) Needless to say I don't know one side of it, but when has that ever stood in the way? Give me time lol :D

I feel a total idiot asking this....

But I need to get a belt for it and I just dont know how to tell what width of belting I should order! Not the length, of it, but the width to fit within the Pulley (I think thats what the slot where the belt sits on the tailstock is called anyway lol)

Belt widths seem to come in 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 mm. My 'space' shown in red seems to measure about 6.3 mm

Can anyone help please?

P1030936_2989.jpg
 

Jerry Kieffer

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So I bought a gorgeous little 8mm Boley watchmakers lathe :) :) Needless to say I don't know one side of it, but when has that ever stood in the way? Give me time lol :D

I feel a total idiot asking this....

But I need to get a belt for it and I just dont know how to tell what width of belting I should order! Not the length, of it, but the width to fit within the Pulley (I think thats what the slot where the belt sits on the tailstock is called anyway lol)

Belt widths seem to come in 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 mm. My 'space' shown in red seems to measure about 6.3 mm

Can anyone help please?

209048.jpg
ClipClock Name:???:

First, it would appear that someone has replaced the original bakelite spindle pulley with a metal "V" belt pulley probably a "3L". If so, such a large stiff belt could easily have damaged the cone bearings from over load stress. The first thing I would suggest is to disassemble the headstock and check the bearing surfaces for scoring. If so, they will need to be replaced or reconditioned. If not, the headstock can be cleaned, reassembled and adjusted and of course lubricated.
A watchmakers lathe will give the best surface finish with an endless belt (not spiced) of some kind. Personally I use 3mm or 4mm rubber "O" rings from an industrial supplier ordered to the desired length. "O" rings can be installed when the headstock is reassembled.

In this case, not knowing the dimensions of what appears to be a replaced pulley, I could only suggest 4mm and try it.

I am assuming that this watchmakers Lathe will be used for watch work as designed for and not general clock work that it was not designed for.

Jerry Kieffer
 
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caddwg

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ClipClock: Your pulley looks okay to me. It looks identical to my old Boley/Lienen Reform lathe. My Peerless has a bakelite pulley. Both have a sharp "V" at the base. Both my lathes work well with a 3mm belt. I use the type you can weld together with heat. Originally I used round leather belts (like an old sewing machine), which were even larger in diameter. I purchased my first lathe (Boley Lienen) about 50 years ago. Regards: Larry
 
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ClipClock

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ClipClock Name:???:
Hi Jerry, well my user name combines my two favourite hobbies of riding horses and (trying to) repair clocks lol

Thanks very much for your help, I had the lathe checked (after I bought it lol) by a clock guy who seems to collect lathes and his view was that I had been very lucky and its all in great shape, including the bearings. Which is a relief to say the least.

Of course I'm now nervous I'll mess it up through my ignorance. I've booked a short course for next week to get started on the right track. You take your own lathe and so I HAVE to get it in working order for Monday! Hence the urgent need for a belt (I've already got a small sewing machine motor so am nearly there barring the belt)

Caddwg, thank you, I much relieved that it looks a bit like yours. Yes mine has a sharp V at the base as well.

Think I'll get a 3mm belt and hope it's the right one!

Heres a gratuitous photo of my gorgeous baby lathe :)

P1030800_2858.jpg
 

gmorse

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Hi ClipClock,

That looks very comprehensive! Do bear in mind what Jerry has said about the size of the work you do with it, don't be misled into overloading it just because it has a three-jaw chuck, and also that there are many accessories out there for Geneva pattern lathes like this, but since yours is a Boley, it has the flat on the bed on the top, whereas most others have it on the back. The 8mm collets available here in the UK will mostly fit. Having said that, you do appear to have pretty well everything you'll need!

One thing that's essential is a means of controlling the motor speed, whether by hand or foot. Oh yes, another thing is don't have the drive belt too tight.

Where are you taking your starter course?

Regards,

Graham
 

ClipClock

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Thanks Graham, no I realise it's for small work only. But I think it will be very useful and it'll get me started. I want it for things like re-pivoting french clocks, that type of thing. Maybe a bigger lathe will join it some day if all goes well. Thanks, thats a good point about the shape of the bed, I hadnt really thought about that.

The little sewing machine motor has a foot pedal :)

I dont really know what tension the belt should have. As a result I have designed the set-up so that everything can be moved so it can be adjusted easily if I havent got it quite right

The course is down in West Sussex. Poor teacher lol :D
 

Jerry Kieffer

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Hi Jerry, well my user name combines my two favourite hobbies of riding horses and (trying to) repair clocks lol

Thanks very much for your help, I had the lathe checked (after I bought it lol) by a clock guy who seems to collect lathes and his view was that I had been very lucky and its all in great shape, including the bearings. Which is a relief to say the least.

Of course I'm now nervous I'll mess it up through my ignorance. I've booked a short course for next week to get started on the right track. You take your own lathe and so I HAVE to get it in working order for Monday! Hence the urgent need for a belt (I've already got a small sewing machine motor so am nearly there barring the belt)

Caddwg, thank you, I much relieved that it looks a bit like yours. Yes mine has a sharp V at the base as well.

Think I'll get a 3mm belt and hope it's the right one!

Heres a gratuitous photo of my gorgeous baby lathe :)

209072.jpg
Clipclock
Thanks for the unique name explanation, just one of my things. Hope I did not offend.

After reading Larry's comment, I checked my older Boley catalogs and he is correct in that some of the older Boleys were equipped with three step metal pulleys.
My suspicion was based on the large low quality appearance of the pulley in your original photo that is not typical of Boley parts.
The photo must be deceptive as many photo`s can be.
However, as long as the pulley runs true and the Lathe runs quiet and vibration free, correct or not it will not be an issue.
A 3mm belt should work fine.
As Graham has mentioned, you are pretty well set if this is the type of lathe you wish to use.

Jerry Kieffer
 

ClipClock

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Jerry of course I'm not offended in the slightest! When I joined I didnt realise most people here use their real names. Nobody on the horse forum I go on ever does for some reason

Yes I see what you mean by the photo, it does make it look a bit weird.

Thanks everyone for your help, I rather suspect I may be asking many more questions over the coming weeks...

Fingers crossed it runs ok when I get the belt on it.

Sally
 

Dushan Grujich

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ClipClock Name:???:

First, it would appear that someone has replaced the original bakelite spindle pulley with a metal "V" belt pulley probably a "3L".
G'Day Jerry!

That is the original spindle pulley on that lathe. It was standard practice by G.Boley, Boley&Leinen, Lorch Schmidt and other makers, including Swiss, to supply their lathes exclusively with metal pulleys. It seems that pulleys of Bakelite were used only in US, and if lathes were made in Europe for export to US then the makers may have supplied the Bakelite pulleys, as they were expected.

BTW, these metal pulleys are supposed to be fitted with round leather belts, either 4, 5, or 6 mm OD, the included angle of pulley is not correct for "V" belt use as it is universally set to 53º for the minimal slippage of the round belts.

On my watchmakers' lathes (Boley&Leinen and Favorite) I use polyurethane textured surface round belts 4 mm OD, and for the overhead drive 3 mm OD (the green coloured).

Cheers

Dushan
 

Jerry Kieffer

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G'Day Jerry!

That is the original spindle pulley on that lathe. It was standard practice by G.Boley, Boley&Leinen, Lorch Schmidt and other makers, including Swiss, to supply their lathes exclusively with metal pulleys. It seems that pulleys of Bakelite were used only in US, and if lathes were made in Europe for export to US then the makers may have supplied the Bakelite pulleys, as they were expected.

BTW, these metal pulleys are supposed to be fitted with round leather belts, either 4, 5, or 6 mm OD, the included angle of pulley is not correct for "V" belt use as it is universally set to 53º for the minimal slippage of the round belts.

On my watchmakers' lathes (Boley&Leinen and Favorite) I use polyurethane textured surface round belts 4 mm OD, and for the overhead drive 3 mm OD (the green coloured).

Cheers

Dushan



Dushan
Thanks for the update information. For whatever reason, I have never owned a Boley watchmakers Lathe with a metal pulley even though the early Boley catalogs list them as mentioned in my last post.

Jerry Kieffer
 

gmorse

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Hi ClipClock,

...The course is down in West Sussex. Poor teacher lol :D
As you're in the UK, perhaps you might consider joining the BHI as an Associate. The branch meetings are a good place to meet like-minded amateur and professional horologists, and the courses they run are excellent. I think the Kent branch meets in Faversham.

Please keep the questions coming!

Regards,

Graham
 

shimmystep

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I use polyurethane textured surface round belts 4 mm OD, and for the overhead drive 3 mm OD (the green coloured).
Ditto. The smooth type is not near as good IMHO. If you're going to make your own belts from a length it's useful to make a small jig to ensure that when you join the ends up, they are perfect. The green type of belt can be joined by heat easily, and excess carefully carved off when it's cooled. With care a good join can be made with un-noticeable effect as the join runs through a pulley. I've not had one break using heat with this type. The textured belt avoids slippage and melting of the belts surface which can lead to a bitty and bumpy belt.
 

caddwg

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Just a quick addition. I think Shimmy has the right idea concerning some kind of jig to enable a perfect match when joined. I use a small knife blade upright clamped in the vice. I then heat the blade red hot. I touch the two ends (one on each side of the blade) and slide them off the edge and bond them together. My problem is, that I tend to be a bit shaky, so Shimmy's idea of a jig would be great. You do need to move rather quickly so the materials stays soft. Regards: Larry
 

Dushan Grujich

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I think Shimmy has the right idea concerning some kind of jig to enable a perfect match when joined.
G'Day!

I certainly agree that it is a much better joint if ends are supported during the process of cooling and formation of a solid joint. However, as it happens with a good polyurethane belting, there is not much call for joining the ends of belts thus no reason to make a special jig for it. It has also crossed my mind and I have been thinking of doing something about it, so in the end I used a small brass prism that, since it was made of brass, I practically had no other use for.

Brass Prism - a Jig.jpg

I have never used the prism for anything else and so far it served me well as a jig for holding ends of a belt during joining, quite nicely. It definitely pays not to trash odd bits and pieces, one can always find use for most of them.

Cheers

Dushan
 

cazboy

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ClipClock, regarding the choice of diameter for your lathe belting: in my opinion, I would suggest that you choose, and stick with, whatever diameter will easily slip between the innermost high points of your pulley and the headstock's frame casting. The reason this is important is that somewhere down the line, you will want to take advantage of the three pulley diameters and mix/match them with the pulley on your motor. You will find it is difficult, if not impossible, to move the belt from, for example, the large diameter pulley to the next pulley diameter if the belt is too thick to fit between the two. When I started with my lathe, I first used 5mm belting and I quickly found the space between the pulley & frame casting is too cramped to allow anything larger than 3mm belting. I now use O-rings instead of fusible belting, but I make SURE I purchase 3mm O-rings!
I've taken the liberty of adding a bit to your original picture, to illustrate exactly what I mean.
I wish you well!
PS...you should practice disassembling, reassembling & adjusting your lathe until you are GOOD at it! It won't take you long - they're pretty simple. The guys here will be HAPPY to help, if you get stuck. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR LATHE AS YOU DISASSEMBLE IT FOR THE FIRST TIME! Take 6 or more pictures from all angles, take one part off, take more pictures, take another part off, take more pictures....etc., etc., etc., .... you get the idea. You will be SO glad you took all those pictures when it comes time to put it all back together!

Regards,
...Doug

P1030936_2989.jpg
 

ClipClock

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Hi ClipClock,



As you're in the UK, perhaps you might consider joining the BHI as an Associate. The branch meetings are a good place to meet like-minded amateur and professional horologists, and the courses they run are excellent. I think the Kent branch meets in Faversham.

Please keep the questions coming!

Regards,

Graham
Graham, I've never thought about joining the BHI. Faversham is about an hour away, so maybe a little too far away to go often. But I'll look into it I think. The courses sound interesting!

Thanks also Shimmy, Caddwg and Dushan. I had hoped to use an O ring, but in the end couldnt get one the right size locally. Given I need to get it working by Monday I just bought the lathe belt stuff you have to join from M&P (3mm). It arrived today - M&P are so good at delivering thank goodness! Will have a crack at joining it tomorrow. I'll maybe look at replacing it with a better version later.

Getting it set-up has all been very last minute for a bunch of reasons, but it's cleaned and oiled and seems very smooth so hopefully it'll be OK :)

Edited to say, thanks so much for the great information cazboy, I think I must have posted at the same time as you :)
 
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cazboy

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Edited to say, thanks so much for the great information cazboy, I think I must have posted at the same time as you :)
You're most welcome! I'm glad that you seem to have your lathe ready for class.

YAY all FINALLY working :) And its spinning very smoothly and nothing vibrating etc. Much happiness :)

Getting excited about learning how to use it now!
WONDERFUL! It sounds as if you're now ready to attend your class. What you will learn will certainly be valuable. After the class is over, you can exhale a bit and spend time examining any little changes you might want to make.
Good luck!
...Doug
 

ClipClock

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Well my little lathe was a superstar :) I'd like to say that woman and lathe are now as one being, but that would be overstating things a tad (well a lot actually), but learnt tons anyway.

The entire course was using gravers! Now I completely see why everyone recommended getting a lathe with a cross slide lol. Figuring that out is my next task :D

The belt worked perfectly so thank you all!! I'm also glad I spent the time cleaning and oiling it, it was in very good shape for a rather long 2 days! And the main thing is I'm no longer scared of it and can see it'll be really useful :)
 

cazboy

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Hi ClipClock! Wow, that is great that your class was a complete success. I have to say, I think you are proceeding with things in an extremely commendable set of stages! By that I just mean that you came to a nice place (this forum), asked reasonable questions, got reasonable answers, cleaned and oiled your lathe on your own and then went to a formally-organized class, which I'm sure included lots of hands-on experience mixed with (hopefully) some academic discussion. You certainly are coming along well!! And I could NOT agree more - the most important thing is that you're not "afraid" of the lathe anymore. Congratulations are in order! :)
...Doug
 

ClipClock

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Thanks so much Cazboy for your kind words, I'm very glad I went on a course. I think I'd have really struggled to get to started without some basic tuition. And if I had got started I'd probably have been doing it wrong. Much more to learn though!
 

gmorse

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Hi ClipClock,

I'm glad your course turned out so well; it's a great feeling when you put the graver on the work and the metal just peels off as it should! I think you'll be glad you started learning to turn with the graver, even when you begin to use the cross-slide, as you'll have a better appreciation of the importance of the angles of the cutters, and just what it feels like when it's working properly.

Well done, and keep it up!

Regards,

Graham
 

Dushan Grujich

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The entire course was using gravers! Now I completely see why everyone recommended getting a lathe with a cross slide lol. Figuring that out is my next task
G'Day!

Great that You have had success at the beginning! You should have no regrets about having started with graver use. I use a graver for turning balance staffs for watches as well as for turning some other small parts, also for centre finding prior to drilling. However I also use cross slide just as much where I find it appropriate to do so.

You do have a nice lathe with many accessories, answer the challenge, and learn how to use each one the way they were designed to be used.

Keep the chips flying!

Cheers

Dushan
 

LongBike

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I have this .... Un Branded Lathe now that was said to be a
...... A Webster-Whitcomb , but need to find out just what kind of
Belt to Buy for it. Could use some advice to it. DSCN7092.JPG DSCN7094.JPG Mine-5.jpg DSCN7101.JPG DSC-Mine.JPG Spares. DSCN7092.JPG DSCN7094.JPG Mine-5.jpg . It has a Leather Belt now so I want spares to keep.
Thanks for any reply back.
Longbike
 

bruce linde

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i have a sherline now, but my previous lathe (similar to yours) used that green cord where you laid it in place, cut to size with a razor blade, and the melted the two ends together (by heating the razor blade, putting the hot blade between the two ends, and then pulling out the blade while they cool and meld together).... worked a treat.
 

wefalck

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The green Polycord™ belts seem to be the best, but I found it difficult to get them in small quantities. The Chinese sell copies, which are not bad, but seem to become impregnated with oil and then don't weld very well. A diameter of 4 mm is usually appropriate for watchmakers lathes.

I have a teflon-coated cutting knife for my soldering iron, which I put between the end and then pull out, when they are melting. Push the ends together, but not too hard, as this will squeeze out the molten material and the joint will fail. I then trim the exsess back with sharp scissors and grind it smootth with a coarse grinding wheel.
 

measuretwice

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The green Polycord™ belts seem to be the best, but I found it difficult to get them in small quantities. The Chinese sell copies, which are not bad,
A couple of thoughts on polyurethane belts. I disagree with you on the Chinese quality, I've found it abysmal to to point of not working and the good quality stuff is not overly expensive. The main complaint is the Chinese stuff is that it is far more stiff. This saps horsepower to point where some things won't run and requires a lot more tension for it to get a grip. Of course I have no idea if we've bought the same Chinese belting, but it seems rather ubiquitous on amazon, ebay etc. I've tried a few times and had to send it back.

Recently I did get some good stuff from Amazon.ca, marketed as premium and at a higher price. Amazon is convenient but if you want to get the good stuff guaranteed, for us in North America, these guys are great http://www.cadencesupply.com/index.html I don't know if they have a minimum, I use enough of it and its cheap enough I would typical buy 25' so I have some in stock.

On joining belts, two things as general tips. First, you want carefully hold the ends in perfect alignment. Otherwise as the irregularity passes over the pulleys it increases tension momentarily - this creates vibration. Secondly, the joint needs time to cure, ideally 30 - 45 minutes held in position without disturbing it. This requirement is a lot less noticeable in larger sizes, but with smaller diameters, like 3/32, its critical. Belts that size break if not allowed to cure.

Here's a device I made to meet those two requirements. The polyurethane is clamped in the two sides, a hot knife is used to melt the ends, retracted, then the two halves are clamped together. Works like a charm.







edit....links all of a sudden aren't working here, I'll try to get these up on my website and post a link
 
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Davie

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ClipClock: Your pulley looks okay to me. It looks identical to my old Boley/Lienen Reform lathe. My Peerless has a bakelite pulley. Both have a sharp "V" at the base. Both my lathes work well with a 3mm belt. I use the type you can weld together with heat. Originally I used round leather belts (like an old sewing machine), which were even larger in diameter. I purchased my first lathe (Boley Lienen) about 50 years ago. Regards: Larry
Hi there Larry where can I get a 3mm belt that can be welded. also who manufactures them? Thanks in Advance Davie in Canada.,
 

Betzel

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I think I read in a Daniels book that he preferred not-too-tight oiled leather over everything else, but it's hard to join. A staple will eat stuff, so maybe fishing line or dental floss sewn in with a fine needle would work. If you have a small (sewing) motor without much power, making something like a pow-r-stat (another good idea from back in the day when Americans had such things) can really help to give you what you need to turn slowly, but with added torque. Why not try the leather? Everyone has a shoe guy down the street...nothing to lose?

I think measuretwice is right on the Chinese green belting sold on ebay, etc. as it is a bit stiff, and the texture wears off pretty fast. Have not had an oil penetration problem yet, and it sounds like a drag. But it's great to practice your splicing until you can do it with no black! I use a toe-nail clipper to remove the melted mushroom cap along the OD, and it can run very quiet if done right. You do have to wait 5 minutes for it to gel though. And, polycord is expensive, and says "Made in Switzerland" on it in expensive and fine white letters (IIRC) but I really like it a lot. I bought mine from a seller on eBay who had purchased a lot from Bergeon or Frei, and was selling it by the foot. Try Perrin in Canada and see what they have?

Finally, take the belt (or any big chuck) off (slide it over to a smaller groove) when are not in use. The old lathes drink like a fin and operate in a bath of oil, which gets pinched off if you leave the belt (or a 4-jaw) on overnight, as most of us have. A bit sticky in the AM, and that's inappropriate metal to metal contact. Twirl it for a bit by hand to get the oil back in suspension before you spin it up and it should be okay.

Or buy a Sherline and move on. Nah...
 

Chris Radek

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I ordered my last one ready-to-use from mcmaster. You can order whatever length you need in 1/4 inch increments. That was 3 or 5 years ago I think? I'll do it again if I ever wear this one out. Sometimes it gets oil on it and gets slick, but it's fine after I wipe it off again. To be kind to my future self, I wrote the belt diameter and length with a sharpie next to the lathe.

That avoids so much frustration for $5.

I did have to disassemble the headstock to mount the belt of course, but I think periodic disassembly and cleaning is smart anyway.
 

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