email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Russian Miniature Round-bed Lathe
"Universal 3-inches" and "Delphin"

Manuals in various languages are available for this lathe

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Although the former USSR (Russia) has, over many decades, produced a huge variety of industrial lathes, the former Communist-controlled and centralised industrial systems with many manufacturers producing identical models, was not known for an interest in smaller types, especially those intended for the model engineer or home-shop enthusiast.  Some copies of German lathes were manufactured for watch, clock and instrument manufacture and repair including: the "GODOVIKOV" (based on the Boley No. 1b), and a screwcutting version of the same machine the Model T-11; the T-28  (modelled on the 10 mm collet Schaublin 70); a little watchmaker's lathe, the "KHARKOVSKI"  (a direct copy of a  6 mm Lorch) and the C-95, a watchmakers' lathe widely manufactured throughout the former Soviet Union (if you own a Soviet-built lathe, the writer would be interested to hear from you). However, one enterprising designer obviously saw the export potential for a small, very-well equipped machine able to turn both metal and wood and to be sold at a bargain price. Accordingly, a suitable lathe was designed at the Scientific Research Institute for Cutting Machine Tools (VNIITEMR) in Moscow. and designed as the "Technika" (Tekhnika in English) with manufacture beguinning in the town of Penza (Pensa) to the very highest quality standards in a strategic defence plant. Export was taken care of by the then state-controlled firm who handled all such sales, "Stankoimport". In the English-speaking West the lathe became known as the "Universal 3 Inches" (though as the "Delphin Universal-3 Bench Machine Tool" in Australia) and as the TSCH-32-ME in some other countries.
Not all examples of the lathe discovered so far have been identical and, as minor modifications are evident to various parts, it is entirely possible that more than one factory has been responsible for their construction. Indeed, other Russian and CIS (former Soviet Union)  factories routinely produced designs from VNIITEMR--though non to the high standards maintained at Penza. The current manufacturer appears to be "
OAO Michurinskiy Zavod Progress" - which means "Factory Progress" with the first part of the name chosen in memory of the Russian scientist Michurin who was famous for breeding many new strains of plants. The company's main products are electric motors and compressors; their telephone number might be: (07545) 2-11-60, 2-12-98.
Enjoying a number of unusual features, the "Universal" has a bed where the main section is constructed from a length of ground-finished 50 mm diameter steel bar held between the end walls of a cast iron "frame" with the rear part of the bedway formed by the top edge of the frame's back "wall".
Running down the front of the bed, the leadscrew and is protected by a deep, full-length cover; there are no clasp nuts, the leadscrew being permanently engaged with the carriage by what used to be called a "full nut". A form of tumble reverse is fitted to the carriage drive, built, rather unusually, into a casing situated at the left-hand end of the leadscrew. The swing over the bed is 150 mm (a 3-inch centre height) and over the carriage 90 mm; the capacity between centres 250 mm (10 inches) and the No. 2 Morse taper headstock spindle, which runs on taper roller bearings, has a bore of 15.2 mm (0.5"). The original models had a 0.5 kW motor, though more recent machines have been equipped with an improved 0.75 kW version; in both cases 9 spindle speeds are provided, ranging from a much-too-high 200 rpm, to a more useful, if seldom used, 3000 or 3200 rpm fitted to make the lathe suitable for turning very small parts and wood.
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Unusual bed arrangements with the main section is constructed from a length of ground-finished 50 mm diameter steel bar held between the walls of a cast iron "frame" - with the bedway formed from the top edge of the back "wall".  The robust looking tailstock barrel has a rather restricted travel of 30 mm, and is fitted, unfortunately, with only a No. 1 Morse taper. On this example the motor is non original and  will be recognised by electronic enthusiasts as the DC drive from a mainframe computer.

Contimued:
No backgear is fitted; instead, following modern practice (as on Hobbymat and Unimat lathes for example), a 4-step overhung pulley is fitted on the end of the headstock spindle driven either directly from the motor or, to obtain the full speed range, by running belts from the motor pulley to an idler pulley positioned below and then back up to the spindle pulley. It may even be that the headstock spindle pulley is intended to be reversed (with the changewheels removed for clearance) to obtain and even wider speed range. A jockey pulley (visible between the motor and intermediate pulleys) is provided to press against the back of the V belt to provide tension in the low speed range. A problem arises if the lathe was placed flat on a long bench: with the up/down adjustment of the idler pulley - to tighten the belt - is done from underneath the adjuster cannot be reached. The solution is to place the lathe so that it overhangs the edge of the bench - or fit the two crude wooden-block feet supplied by the makers.
Though robust looking, the tailstock, contains a barrel with a miserly 30 mm of travel - and a hopelessly inadequate No. 1 Morse taper nose. Late machines have a No. 2 Morse taper, but no more travel, and a useless " capacity drill chuck.
As standard, the machine is very well equipped, being supplied with the accessories necessary to convert it into a tool grinder, a simple boring and milling machine (with a vertical-milling slide), a wood lathe, a 35 mm-depth capacity circular saw, a wood planer capable of machining material up to 85 mm wide and an "Alternating" saw.
Besides the conversion equipment, a 3-jaw chuck, tailstock chuck, machine vice, drive dog and No. 2 to No 1 Morse taper adapter also accompany each machine together with a set of Carbide and Ti-Nitride HSS cutting tools, a decent tool kit, a set of changewheels to cut metric threads (from 0.2 to 2.5 mm pitch) and two dead and one rotating centres; of course, this accessory list is subject, of course, to the usual
change without notice. The overall length has been seen listed at both 670 mm and 825 mm, the width 410 mm and the height 285 mm; when stripped, the basic machine weighs just 60 Kg whilst the accessory kit adds a further 30 to 35 Kg. In the early 1990s the lathe was priced at around US$800 - a comparative bargain considering the rigid construction and large number of standard accessories.
Today, several versions of the lathe appear to be manufactured with the two main variants being an industrial "light-production" unit the other a conventional screwcutting centre lathe with a compound slide rest; both are very similar in overall construction but the industrial lathe has a lever-action, quick-release collet chuck and a six-station, bed-mounted capstan fitted as standard.
The other models are (in so far as they can be translated):
TN-ymb - a basic model with the minimum tool kit
TN-ymby - the lathe fitted with several extra (unspecified) "
universal devices and adaptations"
TN-ym - complete with all the accessories except the "swivel head" and quick-release collet holder
TN-ymr - a basic model with a quick-release collet holder and a bed-mounted capstan unit.
TN-ymrp - another version with a quick-release collet holder and a bed-mounted capstan unit.
Another little known machine of eastern European origin is the miniature TOS precision lathe which, whilst of a completely different design to the Russian machine, was also marketed some years ago with a vast accessory range and at a bargain price..
A Korean firm, the Dajoo Corporation, produced a very close copy of the Russian lathe under the model designation BV15. Details might still be available from the makers:
In recent years a number of changes were incorporated in the original Russian model including moving the motor-direction switch to where the on/off switch was and the on/off push-buttons relocated around the RH side to the electrical box. The standard 3-jaw chuck became an 80 mm branded as a "Belarusa" (with some poor machining on the jaws). Both the motor and lower pulley set became adjustable linearly, which allowed enough room for adjustment - with a slightly longer belt; standard is 510 mm - to accommodate a chuck up to 125 mm in diameter. The collets on late models were poor with the  smaller sizes - 1.5, 2, 3, 4 and 5 mm - acceptable but the 6 and 8 mm versions with the hole machined eccentrically so the tip of an 8 mm cutter described a 0.7 mm larger radius than the nominal cutter diameter. For some export markets the lathe was supplied in a rather good wooden box with a tray holding the accessories - and an additional metal box for the heavier items such and the slide-rest assembly and milling slide..

The leadscrew runs down the front of the bed and is protected by a deep, full-length cover; there are no clasp nuts, the leadscrew is permanently engaged to the carriage by a "full nut". The lever to the left operates the tumble reverse, the one to the right an electrical spindle reverse. The label on the front of the headstock translates as "Stankokonstruczia". 

Because the clasp nut is "full" and the carriage cannot not be disengaged from the leadscrew, a large graduated handle is fitted to the latter to provide a hand-operated drive.

A substantially-constructed vertical-milling slide was included with the standard equipment.

Following modern practice in having an overhung pulley on the end of the rigidly-mounted headstock spindle, drive came either directly from the motor or, to obtain the full speed range, by running a belt from the motor pulley to the bottom left-hand pulley and then another back up to the spindle. It may be that the headstock spindle pulley is intended to be reversed (with the changewheels removed for clearance) to obtain and even wider speed range.
A jockey pulley (visible between the motor and intermediate pulleys) is provided to press against the back of the V belt to provide tension in the low speed range. The wooden bed-feet are factory units, necessary because the up/down adjustment of the idler pulley - to tighten the belt - is done from underneath and with the lathe flat on the table (unless positioned to overhang the edge of the bench) the adjuster could not be reached..


Secondary pulley tension bolt

Spindle reverse switch


Continued on Page 2 (of 2)

Manuals in various languages are available for this lathe

email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
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Russian Miniature Round-bed Lathe
"Universal 3-inches" and "Delphin"