Manufactured from the late 1950s until the early 1990s (in variable-speed drive Mk. 2 form) the Smart & Brown 1024 5.5" x 24" toolroom lathe was, and still is, a sought-after machine. It was manufactured to a very high standard - and not down to a price (which, as a result, was considerable, the price of a decent detached house in the north of England). Some high-resolution pictures - may take time to open
Constructed from a high-grade, nickel-iron and flame hardened, the massive and deep bed was provided with what the designers considered to be "..the best combination of V and flat ways to locate and maintain the relative positions the headstock, carriage and tailstock over a very long service life." Its walls were braced by huge, inverted U-shaped cross webs and, to further help rigidity and vibration absorption, the lathe was mounted on a cast-iron base of great weight.
On the original Mk. 1 model, twelve spindle speeds were provided, these ranging from 30 to 2500 r.p.m. The headstock pulley ran in its own ball journal bearings concentric with, but independently of, the main headstock spindle with the two connected by a drive peg - this arrangement freeing the spindle from the effects of belt pull. A 3-speed, 3-phase motor rated 1/1.5/2 H.P. (sometimes fitted with a disc brake) was located in the base and drove upwards to a 2-speed gearbox that incorporated a multi-disc friction clutch to smooth out speed changes. The speed-change gearbox was operated by a lever and the settings could be altered without having to move a belt from pulley to pulley.
With a Type D1-4" nose and running in SKF type N.N.30.K double-row cylindrical roller bearings, the heat-treated spindle was bored to clear 1.25" and accepted collets up to 1" capacity. To prolong the lathe's life and maintain its accuracy, filtered oil was pumped automatically to the headstock, speed-change and screwcutting gearboxes. The apron had its own system, lubricated by a small pump contained within its base that was automatically engaged when the carriage was set to slide.
Produced as the "1024 VSL" as a Mk. 2 version with cosmetic alterations to make it look more modern, this version retained the same capacity as the original while also being almost mechanically almost identical. However, to make it even easier to use and more productive, it was fitted with a very effective push-button-controlled variable-speed drive unit that gave both forward and reverse speeds from 40 to 2500 rpm from a 3-phase, 3 hp (2.25 kW) motor.
Dual metric/English micrometer dials and a coolant system were fitted as standard and the automatic lubrication of the leadscrew, saddle and bed, apron and headstock was fitted to all years of production and both the Mk.1 and Mk.2..