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Ames Lathes: Chase Screwcutting

Ames  Home Page   Chase Screwcutting   Stands & Drive Systems   
Headstocks & Tailstocks  Ames Slide Rests and Attachments


Ames Millers   Ames Triplex Multi-Function Machine   Photographs
Ames 1940s to 1960s   Circa 1835/80 Ames Chicopee Lathe

Although no Operator's Manual was ever produced for Ames lathes,
a collection of interesting Sales Catalogues is available.

The Ames chase-type screwcutting mechanism

Like all other genuine "Precision Bench Lathes", the Ames could employ both the "Chase" and "Top Slide-with-Changewheels" methods of thread generation, the former system devised by Joseph Nason, of New York, who obtained US Patent No. 10,383 on January 3rd, 1854 for an "arrangement for cutting screws in lathes."  In the Ames "Chase" method a T slot, which ran down the back face of the bed, held brackets that carried the long "transmission rod" on which the cutting-tool slide pivoted and slid. A separate casting carried in the T slot held, in two vertical arms immediately behind the headstock, the Master Thread. The Master Thread was also known as a hob, or leader, and was available in a wide range of standard and special threads.
A "half-nut", held in the end of an arm connected to the "transmission rod", pressed on the Master Thread and transmitted its pitch, via an adjustable toolholder, to the workpiece. The interconnection of the cutter holder and the half nut allowed the nut to be lifted out of engagement and the cutting tool returned by hand to the start without stopping or reversing the lathe. A little additional depth of cut was then applied by adjusting the rest "stop", the half-nut rested back on the Master Thread - and the cut restarted. Unlike the tool slide fitted to the Wade lathe, which was an especially well-designed unit with the tool carried on a compound slide rest (which enabled both lateral and vertical adjustments of the tool position to be made), that on the Ames was a very simple affair with the tool held in an ordinary compression clamp. Whilst the chase system produced threads of an absolutely accurate pitch, and was especially suited to delicate operations on thin-wall tubes used to construct such items as microscopes and telescopes, the length of thread that could be cut, and the number of threads per inch or mm, depended upon the availability of the appropriate thread master - although in the case of the Wade additional gearing was provided to extend the threading range of each Master Thread by a multiple of 1 to 10. For instance, a 10-pitch master would cut 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 80 and 100 TPI. To use the attachment, the lathe was run in reverse for right-hand threads - with the toolholder moving from left to right. For left-hand threads the master thread and its nut were reversed, and the toolholder moved from right to left.
Even inexpensive lathes could be equipped with form of screwcutting mechanism - an example can be seen on the Goodell-Pratt Pages.

Cutting a thread with a traditional type of "Thread Chasing" Attachment

Above and the 4 pictures below: this 1940/2 Ames AM-1 was found, in 1990, in pieces, under a Prybill spinning lathe.  It will take 1" through the headstock, and uses 1-A collets and the headstock spindle runs on precision ball bearings which allowed a wider range of faster speeds to be offered.
The bed is 3 feet long, with a capacity between centres of about 22"; the swing is about 6". If anyone is using an Ames, please do get in touch.  (Photographs of the AM-1 by Brian Meek, U.S.A)


Ames  Home Page   Chase Screwcutting   Stands & Drive Systems
 
Headstocks & Tailstocks   Ames Slide Rests and Attachments

Ames Millers   Ames Triplex Multi-Function Machine   Photographs
Ames 1940s to 1960s   Circa 1835/80 Ames Chicopee Lathe


Although no Operator's Manual was ever produced for Ames lathes,
a collection of interesting Sales Catalogues is available.

Ames Lathes Chase Screwcutting

E-MAIL   Tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools for Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Machine Tool Catalogues   Belts   Books   Accessories