email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Falces Lathes - Spain


With no other evidence available one can only guess from its design that the "Falces" lathe, manufactured by the Industrial Iberia Company of Elgoibar, Guip˙zcoa in the Basque country of northern Spain, was a product that might have been made at any time from the mid 1930s to early 1950s. The make is seldom encountered outside its native land, although small numbers are known to have been exported to other European countries and the manufacturer displayed at international exhibitions during the early 1950s.
Of slightly old-fashioned appearance, with separate covers for the motor-to-headstock drive belt and changewheels, the Falces was of 250 mm centre height and could be had in versions offering, 1000 mm, 1500 mm, 2000 mm or 3000 mm between centres. From the appearance of the top slide, mounted on a raised circular boss, and the very deep sole-plate to the tailstock (probably "built up in the sand" as foundry workers say), it appears that the lathe might have been inexpensively adapted from one with a lower centre height - a process not unknown in the machine-tool world, and obviously a cheap if not honest way of expanding a model range. However, a number of makes who did this listed these larger capacity lathes correctly as being for "Light-duty large-diameter turning."
Using flat and V-ways, the 335 mm wide bed was very deep but with a reduced height along its middle section, a feature found on many lighter duty lathes manufactured before 1950. The bed's front V-way was not symmetrical but had a wider front section, set at a shallower angle than the shorter and more upright rear element, a design intended to slow down bed wear and improve the absorption of tool thrust; this was an idea in vogue from before 1914, but not taken up universally and one seen infrequently in the closing years of the 20th century. A removable gap bridge was fitted as standard: some 325 mm long, when removed it allowed work up to 800 mm in diameter to be turned. The bed was supported on cast-iron plinths under headstock and tailstock with the longest version having the benefit of an extra support in the middle.
Constructed as an open-topped box, the all-geared headstock was provided with a hinge-opn lid; drive came direct from (apparently without the option of a clutch) from a 1450 r.p.m. 2 h. p. motor (but 3 h.p. on the longest-bed version) mounted on the back of the bed and connected to the input shaft by 3 V belts; a second drive was taken from the motor shaft downwards to a gear pump built into the wall of the rear-mounted coolant tank. Electrical stop, start and reverse was under the control of a "third-shaft" control rod set parallel to and below the power-feeds shaft with a lever by the screwcutting gearbox and another pivoting from a bracket bolted to the left-hand wall of the apron. 9 spindle speeds were provided ranging from 30 to 730 rpm and controlled by a row of 3 identical levers on the face of the headstock.
A full screwcutting-and-feeds gearbox was fitted with control by the usual sliding tumbler and two levers; a set of changewheels was provided to convert the box to either metric or English screwcutting with another group available, at extra cost, to generate modular pitches.
Of double-wall construction, the apron was lubricated by splash from a sump and fitted with a sight-glass level indicator. It appears that the power sliding and surfacing speeds were both selected and engaged by a push-pull button and may have been without any form of safe and instant engagement or release by a lever-operated control.
Weighing 1450 Kg, the shortest-bed version put on extra 120 kg for every 500 mm of length when sold in longer bed forms. Supplied with the lathe when new was a complete motor and electrical system, a 275 mm drive plate, Morse centres for headstock and tailstock, fixed and travelling steadies, changewheels to extend the threading range of the gearbox, a set of spanners and a coolant pump.
As the name "Falces" is cast into an easily-changed door on the headstock-end plinth rather than into bed, this suggests that the lathe was also sold using other brand names.

From the appearance of the top slide, mounted on a raised circular boss, and the very deep sole-plate to the tailstock, it seems possible that the lathe might have been inexpensively adapted from one with a lower centre height - a process not unknown in the machine-tool world, and obviously a cheap if not honest way of expanding a model range. However, a number of makes who did this listed these larger capacity lathes correctly as being for "Light-duty large-diameter turning."


email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Falces Lathes - Spain