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Wandess Lathe

Manufactured by Whatton and Sons Limited, precision engineers of Wolverhampton, in the heartland of industrial England, the "Wandess" backgeared, screwcutting lathe was marketed exclusively by Stenor Limited of Kew Foot Road, Richmond, Surrey. Although Wandess were well known for their motor and motor-cycle cylinder boring bars and other garage equipment, their lathe is very rare - indeed, virtually unknown, even in the United Kingdom. From its design, and the appearance of the company's advertising literature, it appears to have been sold from the late 1930s until (perhaps) the mid 1950s. It was available in two models that, apart from their centre heights of 4 and 5 inches, appeared to use largely the same parts - the exceptions being the depth of the headstock, tailstock and top slide castings and the headstock spindle and its bearings.
Fitted with widely spaced angular-contact bearings, the headstock of the 5-inch model held a 40/50 ton high-tensile spindle with a No. 4 Morse taper, a 1.75" B.S.F. threaded nose and bored through to give clearance for a 1-inch diameter bar. To cut production costs, and further distance the machine in the market from its bigger brother, the 4-inch lathe carried a smaller spindle (with a 9/16" clearance hole, a No. 2 Morse taper and a 1.25" B.S.F. thread) that ran in adjustable, plain phosphor-bronze bearings set in tapered housings. The spindle of the 5-inch lathe carried a 4-step, V-belt pulley that, in combination with the substantially-constructed built-on, 2-step, V-pulley countershaft and motor bracket, gave 16 speeds in "low-range" backgear of: 36,45, 74, and 122 rpm and in "low-range" open drive of: 50, 60, 99 and 163 rpm. With the belt set on the "high-speed" pulleys the range in backgear was: 158, 212, 350 and 577 rpm and in open drive: 235, 283, 467 and 769 rpm. Even though the 4-inch machine had to make do with a 3-step V pulley on the spindle, it retained the two-speed drive from motor to countershaft to give a total of 12 speeds; in backgear "low range" these were: 45, 74 and 122 rpm; in backgear "low-range": 60, 99 and 163 rpm; on the "high-speed" setting backgear gave: 212, 350 and 577 rpm and open drive: 283, 467 and 769 rpm. The front of the headstock V belt was guarded by a rather fine polished cover in cast aluminium - as were the screwcutting changewheels. The recommended motor size was 0.5 hp and all lathes were supplied with a push-button thermal-overload switch and Dewhurst drum-type reversing switch fitted originally in a inconvenient and dangerous position out of reach to the tailstock-end of the bed casting. Later machines were improved when the push button switch was moved to the front of the stand and the reversing switch mounted on a neat bracket fastened to headstock's front face.
Of close-grain cast iron the bed, was of the same enormously deep section for its full length; the ways were set at the usual 60-degree edged angle with the thrust taken out against the back V - unfortunately, this also provided the location for an adjustable gib strip that would have been better placed (though more difficult to engineer) against the front V - so leaving the rear face to absorb the forces directly instead of through the threaded adjusting screws and a relatively thin plate.. The gap in the bed, which was standard on all lengths for both models, allowed a diameter of 14 inches to be swung on the 5-inch machine and 12 inches on the 4-inch with both able to accommodate material up to 3
5/8 inches thick.. A choice of several bed lengths was offered - the 5-inch lathe could be had with a capacity of 31 or 37 inches between centres and the 4-inch with 19, 31 or 37 inches.
Continued below:

Wandess 5-inch lathe

Continued:
Unfortunately the cross slide had only a single T-slot (behind the top slide) and a short" construction that, because it did not bear against the full length of its ways, would have tended to concentrated wear towards the middle section of its travel. A cast cover was fitted to guard the rearmost portion of the otherwise exposed Acme-form cross-feed screw. On the 5-inch lathe the cross slide had a travel of 7 inches - but 1.5 inches less on the smaller machine. The 360-degree swivelling top slide, with 2.5 inches of travel, was the same on both models - except for a thicker base on the 5-inch lathe to lift the turning tool to the correct height. The micrometer dials were tiny, even by the standards of the time, a problem caused by the designers failure cast the cross-feed screw end bracket as a "bridge" to extend the slides travel towards the operator; instead, he chose to both flatten the end bracket's top surface and make the dial so small that the slide could pass over both of them. The cross-slide handwheel was a proper "balanced" type whilst that fitted to the top slide, in view of its reduced diameter (designed to clear the cross slide when the unit was swivelled) was given a double handle.
Whilst screwcutting was through the usual changewheels (held on studs with quick-release spring clips) and a conventional tumble-reverse mechanism in addition (to provide a sliding feed without wearing out the leadscrew) a power shaft was fitted, driven from a small gearbox on the left-hand end of the leadscrew; engagement was by a long lever pivoted from a point low down in the centre of the apron with the screwcutting operated by a separate lever to the left. Surprisingly, the maker's catalogue made only the briefest mention of the power sliding-feed set up - and devoted just eight words to a description of its function. The changewheels were guarded by a polished cast-aluminium cover held on by two pegs that engaged in holes drilled in the end face of the headstock.
Both lathes shared the same upper section of the tailstock, with the 1.25-inch diameter, No. 2 Morse taper barrel having 3.5 inches of travel and a proper locked formed from a split barrel; the base of the tailstock on the 5-inch lathe had been, as described succinctly as long ago as the 1800s, "
built up in the sand" to get the height right.
The weight of the 19-inch between centres 4-inch model was 308 lbs, the 31-inch 336 lbs and the 37-inch 364 lbs. The 5-inch lathe weighed 364 lbs in 31-inch form and 392 lbs as a long-bed, 37-inch machine..

While screwcutting was through the usual changewheels and conventional tumble-reverse mechanism in addition, to provide a sliding feed without wearing out the leadscrew, a power shaft was fitted, driven from a small gearbox on the left-hand end of the leadscrew; engagement was by a long lever pivoted from a point low down in the centre of the apron with the screwcutting operated by a separate lever to the left. Surprisingly, the maker's catalogue made only the briefest mention of the power-feed arrangements - and devoted just eight words to a description of its function.

Wadness 5-inch (with thickened bases to the tailstock and top slide) on the maker's heavy cabinet stand - even the lightest weighed over  168 lbs. The stylish cast-aluminium covers over the headstock drive belt and screwcutting changewheels were given a highly polished finish.

A usefully long cast cover was provided to guard the leadscrew against damage and wear from turnings. The thinness of the tailstock sole plate reveals this to be a 4-inch version.

The 5-inch lathe needed a built-up top slide base to get the tool post back up to the correct height.
Instead of casting the cross-feed screw end bracket as a bridge to extend the slides travel towards the operator the designer flatted its top to give the slide clearance - a decision that resulted in the micrometer dial having to be made annoyingly small. 

Both the front of the headstock V belt and the screwcutting changewheels were guarded by rather fine, polished cast-aluminium covers.


email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Wandess Lathe