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I use only older Hardinge lathes. They have many qualities that I like: their small size and weight, their simplicity of design, the transparency of their operation, their quiet operation, their ease of maintenance and repair, their relatively low price. The main problem with them is finding the accessories you need to make them useful. This is especially true of the thread cutting accessories. This is the 4th Hardinge I have had with the thread chasing attachment. This is the only one of the 4 that was complete enough to use at the time I bought it. I was able to get 2 of the others working after scrounging around for the needed parts and making parts that I could not find. Someone bought the other one before I got around to detailing it. Part of the reason I did not keep the 1st 3 was that I had a Clausing 5900 series lathe that I used for cutting threads. Like most people, I bought into the belief that a quick change gear box, variable speed and other modern features were good. All those modern features come at a price, however. The Clausing was a very heavy lathe that had to be moved with a fork lift. The hydraulic system used to change the variable speed would have been a nightmare to repair. Just changing the variable speed drive belt required considerable disassembly and reassembly. One person can disassemble, transport by hand and reassemble one of these older Hardinge lathes. The operation of these Hardinge lathes is all in the open. There are no complex or hidden systems. The Hardinge cuts better threads than the Clausing. The Hardinge will cut threads starting from the shoulder. The Hardinge will cut threads up to a preset point and disengage itself. There is no need to set the thread cutting tool at 29.5 degrees; the lathe cuts evenly on both sides of the V groove just the same. Here are some photos of threads being cut with this old Hardinge.
My 1st 2 Hardinge thread chasing attachments were bought from the same old man. He would go to auctions in the Chicago area and buy Hardinge lathes and accessories. He said he once bought 12 Hardinge lathes at an auction in order to obtain one or more parts from each. He too had trouble putting together a complete thread chasing attachment. He mentioned that he could not get the above lathe working for all pitches until he found that curved hinged bar that is part of the Hardinge collet quick close system. Finally, this old man, at 85 years of age, gave up his machine shop and sold me his personal thread chasing lathe. When I asked him if he would sell it, he said "Yes, but it is expensive." I bought it at his price and thought "what a bargain." In all the years I had bought such equipment from him, I never once bargained with his prices; I wouldn't dare bargain with someone selling such RARE items. I was lucky to get it. I feel blessed to own it.
While looking over the lathe and accessories, the old man continued with his sales pitch........ "These lathes were oftentimes found in multiples in shops. Each lathe would be set up to cut a particular thread." Having worked with Hardinge thread chasing attachments before, I understood the message between the lines........."these lathes are very difficult to set up; you will not want to set it up for different operations if you can avoid it." How well I know that! It takes some minutes to set up the lathe to cut a different thread. The thread guide at the rear may have to be changed. In order to do that, you have to remove the gears between the spindle and the thread guide, loosen the mounts that the rear thread chasing attachment rides on, change the thread guide and the follower, maybe even make a thread guide follower, maybe change the shaft that the thread guide runs on, reassemble all, install different gears between the spindle and thread guide, being careful to have just the right clearance here and there, being careful to unlock and relock all as necessary. You have to reset the thread chasing stop. You have to reset the cutting tool height and depth and maybe change the cutting bit. Don't forget lubrication! That overhead countershaft has to be oiled before each use and maybe during use. The thread guide shaft needs lubrication. Spindle bearings and gear shafts need lubrication. Think you are ready to cut threads? Careful, it's easy to screw up. If all is not properly set up, you may damage the gearing, ruin the workpiece, etc. There is so much to double and triple check. It is best to cut a practice thread, maybe even by hand turning the lathe, and make sure all is working smoothly before working on your part. I like to turn the part a little oversize on another lathe and initially cut shallow test threads on the oversize part. Then I turn the part to final size on this thread cutting lathe before cutting the threads. Once properly set up, thread cutting proceeds with remarkable ease. Multiples are easy.
I appreciate these old lathes and especially the thread chasing attachments. If you have any such lathes and/or accessories, do not discard them. They are not worthless junk. Obsolete, well yes--in most people's eyes, but not mine. I want to keep this older technology alive. Offer them to me, please. Conversely, I have some excess equipment that I am making available for trade. In the photo below are some of the thread guides that I have for these thread chasing attachments. I have some duplicates. I am willing to trade those duplicates for ones that I do not have. What do you need; what do you have to trade? You will find some of my excess equipment illustrated on the page that led you here; click on your back button to get there. A gunsmith named Bob from Wisconsin drove in and bought a 3 phase 5c Hardinge lathe with thread chasing attachment from me. Bob, you have some parts that I need; call me please.
I have one thread guide with 15.25TPI pitch. With these lathes you may cut multiples of the thread guide pitch up to 6X. 4 X 15.25 pitch would give you 61 pitch. I am curious to know what this thread guide may have been used for. The old man who sold me this lathe said he thought it may have been used in the Norden bomb sight. A PHd physicist friend had a relative who worked on the Norden bomb sight; he thinks not. What do you know that uses 61 pitch threads? What this would be good for is making a product that could not be easily duplicated. Hardinge often used odd diameters and thread pitches just for that reason. It is available for trade.
Hardinge toolholder for rear thread chasing attachment for 7" lathe. It is in extremely clean condition. It has been very little used. It was properly stripped, cleaned, prepped, primed, painted and adjusted. It fits on a 1.25" diameter shaft. It is available for trade.
A 1913 Hardinge catalog lists stepped wheel chucks as illustrated below. I would like to have a set.
Do you have an old Hardinge lathe bed with a rear T-slot. These are used with the thread chasing attachments. If you have one, I am interested. The configuration may not be the same as you see in this photo. The T-slot may be farther back as it woud be if the spacer blocks were part of the lathe bed in the 2nd photo.