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Graziano SAG Lathes - Italy
Instruction, Maintenance & Part
Manuals for many SAG lathes are available
If any reader can provide a high-resolution photograph of the screwcutting chart from a SAG 20 or SAG 508 the writer would be very grateful

Graziano machine tools were made in Italy. Although a wide range of lathes was manufactured, one of the company's most popular was the SAG 180, later to be sold as the improved SAG 14 with a bed some 3/8" wider, much larger micrometer dials, a hand-operated bed and cross slide lubrication pump, top and cross slides in steel instead of cast iron, a micrometer-dial equipped carriage-traverse handwheel and other small modifications. Designed as a high-class, precision machine (at an expensive 1048 in the late 1950s), the lathe was twice as costly as an English Willson lathe of equivalent size yet, even so, found a ready market, especially in America, where several thousand were sold. With a 180 mm (7") centre-height, the lathe's had a bed that was flame-hardened and ground-finished with V-ways and constructed as a "double-height" type -  not unlike the arrangement used on some flat-bed Drummond lathes in the 1920s - with the carriage running on the covered lower ways and the tailstock on the higher (exposed) set. The arrangement provided a usefully deep "gap", though without the usual weakening effect of a removable bed piece. Fitted with multiple, longitudinal carriage "throw-out" stops as standard, the carriage had long and very wide swarf covers that extended right to the tailstock end of the bed  - this latter detail, and the raised bedways, can also be clearly seen in the photographs at the bottom of this page.
While the lathe was generally on a par with the contemporary Colchester Triumph, its nine speeds (obtained through gears made from heat-treated and ground nickel-chrome steel forgings) were rather more useful, running from 45 to 1500 rpm or, optionally, 54 to 1800. With a 2-speed motor sixteen speeds from 30 to 1200 rpm could be obtained and the makers offered the facility to vary the top and bottom speeds by fitting different sizes of pulley. The motor was a 5 h.p. unit (with electrical control by a "third shaft" operated by a lever pivoting from the right-hand face of the apron) with the spindle arranged for instant reverse through a double friction clutch (though not all models may have been so equipped). Usefully, the spindle start, stop and reverse could be operated from controls on the apron as well as the headstock.
Equipped with a D.1-5" nose, the 2-inch bore spindle of the early 180 ran in plain bearings at the front - with bearings at the rear consisting of two axial thrust type and one parallel roller bearing. Any thermal expansion of the spindle went towards the tailstock through a split phosphor bronze bush held in a conical taper housing - by which means it could be drawn in and the clearance adjusted. Later-model 180s had three English-made "Gamet" high-precision bearings were and the spindle bore increased in size to 2.25 inches - changes carried over to the next model, the SAG 14. While the bushed spindle had a large notched threaded collar to adjust the bearing clearance, the Gamet-bearing equipped machines can be identified by a bevelled collar held on with socket head-cap screws behind the D1-5 spindle nose. One other change on later models was the deletion of a useful cast iron raiser block that bolted directly to T-slots at the rear of the cross slide - the block accepting custom-tool holders by
Rapid of Italy.
Screwcutting and feeds was by a dual metric/inch fully-enclosed, all-lever gearbox (there were no openings to admit swarf or dirt) with initially, a 3-range A-B-C selection that was later increased to a 5-range A-B-C-D-E. type Late-model lathes had a 3/8"-pitch leadscrew, early ones a 1/2".
Generously equipped for a 1960s model, the 180 had, as part of its standard equipment, a 12" independent 4-jaw chuck, fixed and travelling steadies, a Herson quick-change toolpost, coolant and spanners.
As Graziano subjected the machine to continuous improvement, it is difficult to be specific about changes to the design; however, in summary, there were at least two versions of the SAG180: a 2" bore plain-bearing spindle with an "A-B-C" screwcutting gearbox and a 1/2" pitch leadscrew, then a type with a Gamet bearing, "A-B-C-D" gearbox with a 3/8" leadscrew. However, there may have been a third, or at least a maker's variation on specification (possibly to use up spare parts) - a 1978 SAG180 being found in the US with the A-B-C-D-E gearbox and a 2.25" spindle bore (thus being, in effect, a SAG14 labelled as a SAG180).
Graziano was bought out by the Gital company in 1998 but, sadly, the beautiful manual lathes are no longer be made - having been replaced by CNC and automatic types and a move to a specialisation in gearboxes.

Graziano Model SAG 14  (previously the SAG 180) 7" centre height by 40" or 60" between centres with an unusual "double-height" bed, not unlike an English Drummond from the 1920s.

The 10-inch centre height Graziano Model SAG 508 was also badged as the SAG 20 and, with a reduced centre height, as the 230.  It featured a hardened "double-height" bed, clearly visible in this end-on illustration, fitted with long swarf-guard covers which extended right to the tailstock end. The carriage sliding feed was  fitted with multiple, longitudinal carriage "throw-out" stops as standard and the spindle start, stop and reverse could be operated from controls on the apron.
Running on Gamet high-precision bearings and fitted with a D.1-6" Camlock nose the 2.25" bore spindle was provided with twelve speeds from 26 to 1300 rpm - with an optional, slightly slower set available to special order. The headstock gears were made from heat-treated and ground nickel-chrome steel forgings whilst the screwcutting gearbox provided a range of English, Metric and Module pitches - 40 English, 40 metric, 40 diametral and 40 module  - without resort to changing or resetting any of the changewheels.
A 16" independent 4-jaw chuck, fixed and travelling steadies, Herson quick-change toolpost, coolant and spanners were supplied as standard.

A SAG 20 / SAG 508 / SAG 230 with slightly different styling--but of identical mechanical construction to the 508 shown above. This model was offered with centre distances of  1500 mm (59"), 2000 mm (78.7") and 2500 mm (98.4").  The swing in the gap was 708 mm (27.8") .

Clearly seen in this illustration the double-height bed of the Sag 12 (SAG 153) continued the Grazianio tradition on this, the smallest lathe in the series. The Model 12, had a centre height of 153 mm (6") and accepted 800 mm (31.5") between centres. A detachable gap piece was listed as an option and, with this removed, is was possible to turn a piece of material 440 mm (17") in diameter and 200 mm deep.
English  Gamet high-precision bearings were selected for the headstock - a double row of opposed rollers behind the nose and the end bearing (in a manner employed on many Colchester lathes at the time) having an outer ring preloaded by a set of springs to compensate for the effects of heating. The 1
5/8" bore spindle used a D.1-4" Camlock nose, a 4 Morse taper centre and was provided with eight speeds from 80 to 2000 r.p.m.
A very useful feature of these machines was the ability to change spindle speeds on the move - a system that involved four gears, in constant mesh in the main gearbox, being free to turn on their shafts but with each connected to a magnetically operated clutch that could lock it to its shaft. As a further refinement a forward/reverse clutch was also fitted that meant changes of both speed and direction could be managed by simply activating the required clutch through a small 'joy-stick' on the carriage - a small 'click' giving an instant change as the gear became locked. Normally eight speeds were provided but, with the optional 2-speed motor fitted, this became 16. However, although this was a most useful speed range - and very easily controlled - like Italian cars of the period the lathe's electrical reliability did not inspire the greatest of confidence.
Able to generate a generous range of 60 rates of sliding and surfacing feeds and 30 English, 30 metric and 30 module threads the screwcutting gearbox was fully sealed against the ingress of dirt and chips, operated by rotary controls and fitted with its own centralised lubrication system..
A later model, the Sag 12S, looked rather different to the standard 12 however, it was basically the same lathe, but with 'squared'' styling and a more appealing blue paint finish. However, one major change was the replacement of an electric change gearbox by an expanding/contracting "Reeves" pulley-drive system, although the forward and reverse electric clutch and electric brake were retained and the speed, direction and braking of the spindle still controlled by switches on the carriage.
Most of these SAG 12 lathes are found with a 3 HP motor - and weighed approximately 1000 kg.

Graziano SAG 180. This is an early model with the bed ways about 268 mm wide compared with 280 mm on a SAG14 lathe

A standard fitting on early models, on late examples the cast iron raiser block at the back of the cross slide was no longer fitted

SAG180. Screwcutting and feeds was by a dual metric/inch fully-enclosed, all-lever gearbox (there were no openings to admit swarf or dirt) with initially (as shown), a 3-range A-B-C selection that was later increased to 5-range A-B-C-D-E.

Sag 180 spindle bearing

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Graziano SAG Lathes - Italy
Instruction, Maintenance & Parts Manuals for
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