email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Fimap Lathes- Italy


FIMAP (Fabbrica Italiana Macchine Aprilla) were manufacturers of high-quality, precision machine tools amongst which were centre and production lathes, jig borers and circular-table transfer machines.  Outside their native land they were best known for the 8.5" x 45" or 60" (215 x 1143 or 1524 mm) TP-22 lathe, of which models several versions were produced, all based on a single design: the TP 20, TP22-A and TP 26-A with centre heights of 180, 220 and 260 mm (7", 8.7" and 10.2") respectively. All the company's lathes - standard, production and specialist -  were V-bed types with either hardened or hard-chrome plated ways and built to what were described as tolerances a fraction of established Schlesinger. On many models the spindle speed was changed by a hydraulic mechanism that incorporated a pre-selector, rotary control. With the lathe running, the next required speed could be dialled in and, as spindle brought was to a stop, the selected speed was automatically engaged. Rates of power sliding and surfacing were similarly selected, it being unnecessary to stop the lathe: the required setting being obtained turning a dial and the engagement by depressing a lever.
Constructed so that its ways continued on past the front and back faces of the headstock, the bed was immensely deep and heavily constructed. With the saddle wings able to overlap the headstock, the toolpost could be brought right up to the spindle nose yet, with the 25.25-inch long cross slide being almost centrally positioned on the saddle, given full and even support. As a beneficial side effect, wear over the most used section of the bed - by the chuck - was evened out, the load being spread along the 24 inches (610 mm) of saddle length. The bed was mounted on two massive cast-iron plinths, with a large pull-out chip tray filling the gap between them. Unfortunately no storage was provided, the designer obviously being unwilling to compromise the structural rigidly by forming other than the most necessary opening in any face.
Using ground ways and pressure-lubrication, the cross and top slides were immensely strong with the cross-feed screw running in its own oil bath and equipped with an exceptionally large micrometer dial fitted with a straight-pull face lock.
Bored through 2.25" (57 mm) and made from nickel-chrome steel, the spindle was nitrided and hardened and ground; it ran in three SKF bearing - that at the front being an expensive high-precision type with the other two of an ordinary commercial grade. Axial float was accommodated by a pair of taper-roller bearings. The hydraulic pump used to power the speed and feed-section controls was also utilised to drive an oil pump that pressure lubricated both headstock and the screwcutting and feeds gearboxes. As standard, the lathe was equipped with an ASA (American Standards) A6 nose, but for the English market, and optionally elsewhere, a Cam-lock fitting was available. Driven by a 7.5 or 12 h.p. motor (to the customer's choice) 16 speeds were available from 20 to 1600 r.p.m. (though one suspects that alternative ranges would have been available to special order) and with all rotating parts dynamically balanced, the lathe was especially smooth running. Spindle start and stop was controlled by a third-rod system, with a lever pivoted from the right-hand face f the apron; one must assume, though it was not illustrated or described, that the longest bed model would have had this control duplicated at the headstock end of the control rod.
Screwcutting and feeds were provided by entirely separate sealed gearboxes, the latter being mounted directly beneath the former with all controls by rotary knobs - there being no open, sliding tumbler to admit dirt and swarf. 48 Whitworth pitches were available from 1/2 to 30 t.p.i., 48 metric from 0.5 to 30 mm and 48 module from 0.25 to 15.  The 9 rates of power feed rates varied from 0.0016" to 0.0315" (0.04 to 0.8 mm) for both sliding and surfacing - an unusual situation where normally one would have expected to find cross-feed set at a rate twice as fine as that along the bed. Each feed was engaged by its own lever, through safety friction clutches, and the carriage handwheel was of the weight-balanced type and provided with a large micrometer dial.
Fitted with a 2.75-inch (70 mm) diameter hardened spindle with a No. 5 Morse taper, that tailstock was able to tackle the heaviest drilling jobs - yet had only one bed clamp, with no auxiliary ratchet to provide a positive location.
A wide range of production accessories was listed including special longitudinal, facing and heavy-stock removal models by Duplomatic, an automatic threading attachment supplied by Filematic and the usual steadies, collets and micrometer carriage stops.
Intended exclusively for production work, the TP-22-A-T version was a non-screwcutting lathe fitted with hydraulic trip stops on both longitudinal and cross feeds. Automatic-sequence electro-hydraulic or standard hydraulic copying attachments were normally fitted on this model, together with air-operated chucks and the option of a hydraulically-operated tailstock.. 

Standard version of the Fimap "TP 22 A" tool-room lathe as manufactured during the 1960s. Note the neat controls and clean, modern lines

Fimap "TP 22A-T" non-screwcutting production lathe with hydraulic trip stops on both longitudinal and cross feeds. Automatic-sequence Electro-hydraulic or standard hydraulic copying attachments were normally fitted together with air-operated chucks and the option of a hydraulically-operated tailstock

Fimap TP 22 A equipped with an automatic rapid-action threading attachment

Semi-automatic turret lathe Type TRS 35-125 with a 52 mm spindle bore and a collet capacity of 44 mm

With all its rotating parts dynamically balanced, the headstock was equipped with pressure lubrication and piped feeds

The Norton-type screwcutting gear (bottom) and feeds gearbox (top) were entirely separate and both lubricated from then pumped supply to the headstock

Spindle-speed pre-selection dial. This could be operated while the lathe was running and gave a rapid and completely automatic engagement of the (pre-selected) speed as the spindle stopped

Power sliding and surfacing feed-rate pre-selector dial and engagement lever. The dial could be rotated to the desired feed rate while the machine was running with instant engagement by the lever without the need to stop.

Neatly arranged electrical control box - though its rear location was not the most convenient for servicing or repair

The tailstock, with a hardened and ground spindle, had its locking lever protruded the end face

Powered (hydraulically-operated) tailstock Type UCP/2 designed for drilling and fine boring

Taper-turning attachment able to turn a maximum taper of 10 with a maximum travel of 23.5" (597 mm)


email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Fimap Lathes- Italy