email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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SCOPE Multi-purpose Lathe
by Kneller Engineering

Scope Page 2   Scope Page 3

A reproduction catalogue is avaiable for the Scope



Manufactured by Kneller Instrument & Tools Ltd of Caldecott Street in Rugby (although it appears to have been marketed by a separate Company, from the same address, Scope Engineering Ltd.) the 4.25-inch centre height by 14.5-inch between-centres  backgeared and screwcutting "Scope" was in production by 1947. In 1958 Kneller moved to a new factory, in Daventry, and were eventually to make, from 1964 onwards, a lathe bearing their own name, the Kneller Combination Machine. Kneller, founded in the late 1930s by Mr Kneller, was to become well-established and very successful firm of precision engineers who did much sub-contract work for the aircraft industry including parts for the Concorde prototypes and many jobs for Rolls Royce.
Protected by British Patent No. 580071 applied for on May 10th, 1944 in the names of the joint designers, Norman Samuel Hardy, Charles John Kneller and Norman Winfred Grice, the Scope was described officially as a:
Combined turning, drilling, milling, and planing machine. In use it was intended to act as a "semi-universal" machine tool whereby both the carriage and tailstock could each be given a reciprocating action of up to 6 inches along the bed by means of hand-operated levers.
Supported on a very robust cast-iron under-tray, the headstock was of conventional arrangement with the backgeared, 9/16" bore spindle running in precision taper roller bearings and carrying a 1.25" nose thread and a No. 2  (later a No. 3 ) Morse taper socket. As reflected in modern contemporary practice, all the gears, including the changewheels and its tumble-reverse mechanism as well as the various belt runs were neatly guarded by cast covers.
Instead of a simple iron casting, the bed was arranged in the form of two ground-finish, high-tensile nickel-chrome cast-steel bars - the rear being solid and the front in the form of thick-walled tube enclosing a 3/4" x 8 t.p.i. leadscrew with a handle at the tailstock end to provide a slow-rate hand feed. Obviously, to allow the saddle to be driven, the tube had to be slotted, in this case along its lower surface. Screwcutting, with the standard set of changewheels provided, gave pitches from 4 to 64 t.p.i. with other gears available to extend the threading range as well as a 63t metric transposing wheel.
Sitting between the bed rails and guided through the middle of the saddle, was a vertical post able to be elevated through a distance of 3 inches and also, by an ingenious means, angled to the centre-line axis*. Braced by two smaller bars at the front and a flat plate to the rear (that doubled to mount an adjustable height stop) the post carried, on its on its upper face, a screw-driven 6" x 4" cross-slide-cum-boring table with its four T-slots arranged in pairs at 90 degrees to each other. The slide had handwheels and zeroing micrometer dials at both front and rear - surely one of very few lathes ever to be so equipped - the intention being to allow the unit to be swung around and, when fitted with front and rear toolposts (or other tooling), to allow certain jobs to be machined without having to disturb their set-up. Another very unusual feature was the provision of a second plain vertical post that could be dropped in to replace the first - this being in the form of a simple toolholder slotted at its upper end to hold a turning tool.  Thus arranged, the tool met the work at the very bottom of its diameter instead of horizontally, as usual. Some advantages were, naturally, claimed for this arrangement amongst them being that: the maximum diameter of workpiece able to be turned would be considerably increased (there being no saddle to get in the way); the tool would be held in a particularly rigid manner with a reduced number of contact faces between itself and the bed; when seated the operator would be able to view the tool more easily and when boring (with the tool clamped across the top of the column) the cut would be along the bottom of the hole and so more easily viewed. Whether this second post was dispatched with production machines is not known - but it believed that its use was confined to the prototype. In order to provide a reciprocating movement to the slide rest when shaping, either a simple lever could be attached to the base or an ingenious drive system fitted that used a cable-operated ratchet assembly to provide two feed rates of 0.002" and 0.008". Evidence also points to the provision of an electric motor to provide power cross-feed, the mechanism being hung, in a rather exposed and fragile manner, on the back of the slide rest. Whether the electric drive was fitted to all machines is uncertain but the maker's general arrangement drawing does show it in place.
Continued below:

The unusual twin-bar bed Scope lathe with elevating cross slide and a dividing unit built into the tailstock

Continued:
Instead of using a compact bevel-gear mechanism with a horizontal control handwheel (as used to lift the knee of many milling machines) the designer of the Scope opted for a rather crude and  awkward-to use direct-screw feed with the handwheel positioned horizontally at the bottom of the column.
Power was provided by a 3-phase, 1425 r.p.m.  0.5 h.p. motor driving a 4-step V-belt pulley through a countershaft unit bolted to the base plate behind the headstock. 8 speeds were available of: 38, 50, 80, 120 r.p.m. in backgear and 190, 280, 450 and 680 r.p.m. in open drive. In addition, at extra cost, a high-speed setting could be provided - from a double pulley on motor and countershaft to give speeds of: 400, 280, 450 and 1420 r.p.m. On lifting the headstock cover to change speeds, a cam mechanism was arranged to automatically slacken both motor-to-countershaft and motor-to-headstock belts - a neat arrangement found on some other lathes including the once popular American-built Clausing Model 100.
Designed to convert the lathe into a shaping and slotting machine, the tailstock was very unusual in that not only did it have an upper section sitting on a slideway allowing it to be moved several inches across the bed (a system offered as an option on some American precision plain turning lathes), but also a barrel having the same thread and Morse taper as the headstock spindle and equipprd with a 6-inch diameter division plate with rings of 60 and 24 holes - or, on some versions, 60 and 56 holes. The top of the tailstock was machined to accept a dismountable housing to hold a cutting tool and the whole unit could be reciprocated (for shaping work) by the action of a bottom-mounted lever-feed unit. A further tailstock accessory was also available (though if it required different castings is not known) - a worm indexing gear attachment.
If you have a Scope lathe, or any literature from the maker, the writer would be pleased to hear from you - as would a scope owner in New Zealand who would like information to rebuild his machine; he can be contacted at b.fullerton@auckland.ac.nz
* Peter Smithhurst writes (with illustrations at the bottom f the page):
In my recent efforts at downsizing, I bought a 'Scope' lathe advertised on lathes.co.uk While that might seem a counter-productive step, my days of humping big lumps of metal around are over and I wanted to return to my main love of model making. So, having disposed of various large machines, I needed some smaller-scale replacements and settled on the Scope - a very versatile machine with facilities for shaping and slotting, a built-in simple dividing attachment for radial drilling, a rise-and-fall cross-slide that allows small milling and boring operations to be carried out - while also, incidentally, increasing the turning capacity by replacing the 'T' shaped cross-slide and column with a plain cylindrical tool holder. However, I felt the machine had even more scope (no pun intended) for modification to be even more adaptable and that I shall be working on that as time allows.
Upon close inspection, one thing puzzled me - not only could the cross-slide be raised and lowered but also be angled to the centre-line axis. For boring, slotting, shaping or milling, that is a very useful attribute - yet I could see no means of setting the angle or bringing it back to zero, i.e. 90 degrees to the axis.
Having stripped the tailstock and saddle for cleaning and it was then that I noticed various unusual features: the wheel controlling the rise and fall has an adjustable central disc (Fig. 1) engraved with degree graduations - but no cursor against which to read the setting. Also, on the top face of the wheel rim, was what appeared at first sight to be a Vernier scale - but I failed to see this could function. It was while cleaning the column - with the cross-slide dovetail forming the cross-bar of a 'T' - that I noticed the feedscrew bronze nut was secured by two diametrically opposed Allen screws, one large and one small. Another puzzle - why two? Even odder, the small screw did not engage with the bronze nut - the hole went all the way through the column and nut yet the screw was only half the necessary length. Eventually daylight dawned - the smaller of the Allen screws should have worked on a small brass plug so that, when screwed in, it clamped the feedscrew in place. Thus locked, when the cross-slide assembly was rotated, the handwheel rotated with it and the supposed 'vernier scale' was, in fact an angular scale showing degrees of rotation (Fig 3). Obviously the setting needs to be read against a cursor so I made a replacement - slightly different from the original in being secured to the bottom bracket of the rise-and-fall system by an adapter fitted in the threaded hole for the oil nipple (Fig 1). To return the cross-slide to 'zero' it would seem that 'clocking it' would be the best bet.
So, the way the scale is used for angular positioning of the cross-slide is that the handwheel is rotated until the cursor reads zero on the rim's angular scale, the Allen screw A is tightened to clamp the feedscrew; the clamping bolt B slackened and the column rotated against the angular scale to allow the column to be rotated to the required position; finally, bolt B tightened again. (Fig 2)..



The Scope set up as an ordinary centre lathe--but with the cutting tool held in a slot on a special plain column that replaced the standard unit. By this means discs up to 8-inches in diameter could be turned over the saddle.

Instead of using a compact bevel-gear drive of the type used to lift the knee of many milling machines the designer of the Scope opted for a rather crude and  awkward-to use direct screw feed to elevate the boring table through a range of 3 inches.

Designed to convert the lathe into a shaping machine the tailstock was very highly unusual in that not only did it have an upper section sitting on a slideway that allowed it to be moved across the bed (a system offered as an option on some American precision plain turning lathes), but also carried a barrel threaded to accept a chuck and fitted with a 6-inch diameter division plate with rings of 60 and 24 (or 60 and 56) holes. The tailstock was arranged to be moved along the bed by the action of a bottom-mounted lever-feed unit. Not shown in the photographs, but included in the drawing below, is the top mounted bracket that carried a long bar into the end of which was mounted the shaper cutting tool.

Horizontal milling. A transverse feed was obtained by hand operation of the cross-slide screw.

Arranged as a boring machine

Shaping. The detachable shaping head is shown fitted into its carrier bracket on top of the tailstock. The ingenious use of a cable-operated ratchet feed was used to move the table.

Drilling using the indexing and set-over tailstock to space out holes. The unit being drilled has been turned on the lathe and, still attached to its chuck, transferred to the tailstock spindle.


Scope Page 2   Scope Page 3

A reproduction catalogue is avaiable for the Scope

SCOPE Multi-purpose Lathe
by Kneller Engineering
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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