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Wabeco Lathes
D2000, D2400E & D3000E
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If any reader has details of early Wabeco lathes,
I would be very interested to hear from you

Wabeco machine tools are made by Walter Blombach GmbH, Am Blaffertsberg 13, D-42899 Remscheid, Germany, phone: 02191 -597-0,  Fax 02191-597-40
It is reported that lathes and millers sold under the Prazi II Apollo label appear to be the same as the current Wabeco machines even to the series numbers.
The company, long established in the machine-tool field, currently makes a range of small lathes and vertical milling machine with both conventional and CNC controls. During the early years of the 21st century the lathe range consisted of two basic models, each with a different kind of bed: the series 2000  twin-bar type (in production since 1978) and the more conventional series 6000 in cast-iron with inverted V ways.
The bar-bed lathes, although heavily built and of excellent capacity for the amount of room they occupied on a bench, were of essentially simple construction and specification - there was no tumble reverse (although a pair of gears was available to cut left-hand threads), power cross feed or screwcutting gearbox available; all had a 110 mm (4.3") centre height with the cheapest example, the D2000, being limited to 350 mm (13.8") between centres compared to the 500 mm (19.7") of the more highly specified D2400E and D3000E variants.
All models were fitted with taper-roller bearing headstock spindles bored to pass 20 mm and equipped with a No. 3 Morse taper centre. The D2000 had, in basic form, a countershaft drive (of clever design) using smooth-running Poly-V belts to produce speeds of  90, 180, 310, 470, 900 and 1600 rpm from a range-standard 1.4 kW motor - a useful spread, but too fast on the lowest setting for successful screwcutting by the inexperienced.
Both fitted with a very quiet, electronically-controlled, variable-speed headstock spindle drive as standard,  the D2400E and D3000E had a rather more useful range of 45 to 2300 rpm - and was offered as an option on the D2000. Despite the compact nature and economy of using a variable-speed drive, the makers decided to enhance the slow-speed capabilities of the lathe by mounting, under the headstock, a speed-reducing countershaft between the motor and spindle; one hopes that, at the lowest speed, there was still sufficient torque to tackle large-diameter turning and slow threading - although it could not, of course, have been be equal to that provided by a proper backgear assembly.
Protected by a simple top cover, the leadscrew, ran between the bed rails and was fitted with a direct-acting graduated handle at the tailstock end - although some versions included a right-angle bevel box that caused the operating handle to be brought out at a more convenient right angle to the bed and so face the operator.
Unless you can afford to buy a Hardinge HLV or HLV-H precision toolroom lathe, your chances of enjoying separate electronic control of the spindle and carriage travel are almost zero; however, that was exactly the system employed on the D2400E and D3000E models - separate, electronically-controlled motors allowed both spindle rotation and tool advance rates to be independently set. The carriage drive motor, combined with its speed-reducing gearbox in a unit that looked remarkably like a windscreen wiper motor assembly, was mounted at the headstock end of the lathe behind the rear bed rail with a toothed belt used to take the drive to the centrally-mounted leadscrew.
In use, if the "textbook" speed and feed setting for the particular combination of workpiece diameter, material and tool angles did not produce perfect results then, by experimentation, adjustments could made instantly to one, or both of them, until things improved (another important advantage of an independent, electrically-driven carriage is the reduction in the number of gears involved in the transmission of power; gear drives are bad news for surface finish, they induce vibrations which, whilst usually hidden in the "roughness" of ordinary turning, become much more evident in the finer finishes that high-quality machines are able to generate). Unfortunately, this ease of use came at the expense of a complication in the way that screwcutting was provided; if a full screwcutting gearbox had been fitted the problem would not have arisen - the price would simply be a lot higher - instead, realising that generating threads is an infrequently undertaken task, the designers settled on a system that used toothed wheels and belts. This unusual arrangement - in theory subject to variations in the thread pitch as the drive belts stretch - worked, in practice, perfectly well. It had the bonus of almost completely silent operation but, in comparison with a set of ordinary gears, was a comparative nuisance to set up.
Engagement of the power and screwcutting feeds was by a chrome-plated, ball-ended, 3-position selector lever on the lower front face of the headstock; in its middle position the lever put the drive into neutral while moving it upwards selected the screwcutting feed - and downwards the variable-speed electrical drive.
A useful option on all early Wabeco lathes was a vertical drilling and milling unit mounted behind the bed  - the same head units being used on the company's self-contained milling machines. Various fittings to mount on the lathe bed were available to extend the unit's usefulness - a T-slotted boring table, vice and rotary table being amongst the most popular.
The D2000 measured 980 mm long by 400 mm wide and weighed approximately 59 kg; the other two bar-bed lathes measured 1250 mm x 36 0 mm and weighed 65 kg.
For detailed photographs of the Series 2000 lathes click HERE.
Details of the cast-iron bed Series 6000 lathes can be found HERE.

The basic bar-bed lathe: Wabeco D2000 110 mm centre height by 350 mm between centres. This lathe is limited to 350 mm between centres, has a belt-change countershaft to alter the spindle speeds and a direct-acting handwheel on the end of the leadscrew.

The better specified Wabeco D3000E 110 mm x 500 mm with electronic variable-speed control of both the headstock spindle and the carriage-sliding feed.
On this model (but not on all fitted with variable-speed control) the hand control for the leadscrew is arranged through a right-angle drive with the handwheel facing the operator. The rotary control for the electric carriage drive, and its on/off switch, are positioned at the tailstock end of the lathe's base plate .

The compound slide rest has a deep, plain (non T-slotted) cross slide - but pleasingly traditional "balanced ball" handles.

Variable-speed drive lathe - the motor is mounted under the headstock and drives to a 2-speed countershaft unit supported on a bracket which incorporates a screwed adjusted rod and handwheel. Drive to the leadscrew is through toothed belts and pulleys arranged to form a compound reduction - by combining different pulley in the manner of changewheels, the arrangement can also be used for screwcutting. The drive-system guard cover is retained by the two threaded posts.

The "changewheel" set required for screwcutting.

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Wabeco Lathes
D2000, D2400E & D3000E
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Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
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If any reader has details of early Wabeco lathes,
I would be very interested to hear from you