AKE Watch and Clockmakers' Lathe
Made by the now long-forgotten company of A.Cl.Hofmann u.Co in Kamenz, Saxony, in the far east of Germany, the plain-turning AKE was one of a number of small lathes made in the former Communist-controlled German Democratic Republic during the 1950s and 1960s. Looking to be a half-way house between a lathe intended for use by watchmakers - and one designed for slightly larger work - the AKE was around 300 mm long, took 150 mm between centres and had a centre height of about 80 mm. The headstock, made of aluminium, had its spindle driven by a pulley overhung on its left-hand end - this being a particularly easy and cheap-to-produce though very effective design widely employed on a wide variety of less-expensive lathes throughout the 20th century. However, the AKE was perhaps rather meanly specified with just a choice of two speeds. Equipped with a threaded nose, the spindle was also bored to accept 8 mm diameter collets, these being of the compression type, retained on a screw-on nose cap.
Bolted to the headstock's inner face was a bed in cast iron - unusually wide for this class of lathe and formed with square-section ways. A simple carriage, made with its "inner apron" and saddle as one piece, was driven by a balanced handwheel connected to a leadscrew positioned between the ways on the bed's exact centre line. Adjustment of the saddle-to-bed fit was by a row of three gib-strip screws at the rear, these being equipped with locking nuts. Only a simple cross slide was fitted - moved in and out by a screw with an ordinary rather than an Acme or square thread - and carrying a non-swivelling tool slide equipped with an American lantern-style toolpost intended to take a small tool-bit holder.
Of the simplest possible kind, the tailstock had just a plain "push" spindle, secured by a handle closing down a slot in the casting, could not be set over for the turning of slight tapers and was locked to the bed by a direct-acting screw formed with a knurled-edge ring.
Other small East-German lathes from the same period include three by unknown makers, a range of watchmakers' lathe by Andrä & Zwingenberger (together with versions badged as Georg Jacob, WMW Prazima and Saupe & Sohn), the Unispan, Saupe, Rudolf Kadner, SL2a and Eisfeld.
Wenn ein Leser hat eine AKE Drehmaschine, würde der Schriftsteller freuen, von Ihnen zu hören..