During the Peron years, Argentina had a booming machine industry with brands such as Fraver, Pia, Visa, Rowic, Barbero, Wecheco and Boffelli & Finazz in prominence. Sadly, many of these closed in the 1990s and little information remains about them - and, of course, no replacement parts. To save time and expense, the design of many Argentinean machines - especially lathes, milling machines and drill presses - was inspired by USA makes such as Atlas, South Bend and Delta Rockwell. They were not direct copies - and parts do not interchange - but, according to owners, some can be "modified" to fit. Not a perfect situation, but at least enthusiasts can attempt to save what would otherwise be a machine heading for the scrap heap.
Looking to have been made during the 1940s and 1950s, the Fraver lathe was offered in several versions, all with the same 145 mm centre height and with a decent basic specification - a Norton-type, quick-change screwcutting gearbox, power sliding and surfacing feeds driven by a separate power shaft and an integrated drive unit. Of the seven known models listed by the maker, two - the D and D1 - were for bench mounting; fitted with a robust, quick-set, built-on countershaft unit they took, respectively, 700 and 850 mm between centres. The other five, from the appearance of their headstocks, appear to have been supplied on an underdrive stand with the motor and countershaft contained within the headstock-end pedestal These models were listed as the MD 700, MDI 850, MD2 1050 and MD3 850 - their between-centre capacities being the same as the suffix number.
All versions were listed as having the same twelve spindle speeds, the motor being fitted with a two-step pulley drive to the countershaft and the latter with a 3-step drive to the headstock. When driven by the larger pulley on the motor, the speeds generated were 342, 618, and 1100 r.p.m. and with backgear engaged 79, 143 and 255 r.p.m. With the smaller pulley on the motor in use, the backgear speeds dropped to 49, 89 and 160 r.p.m. and the direct-drive speeds to 213, 383 and 690 r.p.m.
Driven by an 8 t.p.i. leadscrew, the screwcutting gearbox was set to generate, as standard, English pitches with Metric and Modular requiring the mounting of the transposing changewheels that were included with the lathe's standard equipment. Also supplied was a thread-dial indicator, though this could only be used for inch pitches, the maker's warning that for other threads the leadscrew clasp nuts should remain engaged and the lathe electrically reversed back to the starting point.
Made from chrome-nickel steel, the headstock spindle was hardened and ground and ran in adjustable taper roller bearings. At least two variations of the headstock are known to have been produced, one with open flat-belt drive and the other enclosed in a more box-like structure - the latter probably on the underdrive stand and with later models having a 3-step V-belt drive. Each lathe was supplied with a generous kit of standard equipment that included a 4-jaw chuck, fixed and travelling steadies, a catch plate, eleven changewheels, a coolant system powered by an electric pump and the necessary open spanners and Allen keys.
An example of what seems to be an MDI 850 - in very neglected condition - was recently rescued from a dumpster and will be featured here as work on its rebuild to working order progresses..
If you have a Fraver lathe (or any other machine tool made in Argentina) the writer will be delighted to hear from you.
Si tienes un torno Fraver (o cualquier otro torno hecho en Argentina) el escritor estará encantado de saber de ti.