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Utita T3VI Copying Lathe


Manufactured in Italy by Officine E Fonderie Utita Este (Padova), was the UTITA T3V the world's largest "front-way" * lathe? This is, one with its bed ways machined not into the top face as normal, but along the front. With a capacity between centres of either 600 or 1000 mm and a swing of 340 mm, the Utita was not intended for general work, but for heavy-duty hydraulic copying. Its range of dedicated features was aimed at making it suitable for turning a wide variety of workpieces with both external and internal profiles, including 90 shoulders.
The maker's stated aim was to produce a lathe - built and tested in accordance with SCHLESINGER standards - that could be used to the maximum power of the motor while providing the operator with as much convenience as possible e.g. chips did not need to be cleared, but were discharged vertically, and the controls simplified as far as possible.
Machined from a forging, headstock spindle was hardened on its front section and ran in plain bearings fitted with what the makers described as "micrometric adjustment" of the radial play. The rear of the spindle was supported in close-tolerance cylindrical roller bearings with the thrust taken by ball races. 
Held within the cabinet base, the combination of a 9.5 h.p. 3-phase motor and a speed change gearbox gave twelve spindle speeds of 50, 70, 100, 142, 192, 273, 370, 528, 748, 1065, 1428 and 2040 r.p.m. Spindle speeds were changed by two long concentrically-mounted levers on the front face of the stand with an additional lever, higher up, to select high and low speed ranges. Gears were pressure lubricated by an automatic system and carried on case-hardened shafts, mounted on ball bearings For the operator to be sure that the lubrication system was working, a sight glass was fitted to observe the flow of oil. Electrical control was by four push-buttons, flush-mounted on the left of the headstock's front face.
Very heavily built and extra-long, the carriage was especially stable and fitted with tapered gib strips for adjustment - its length and shape also helped to protect the otherwise unguarded bed ways from the wearing effects of swarf. Nine rates of Automatic feed were provided in each direction, these being, in mm for each revolution of the spindle, 0.10, 0.18, 0.28, 0.32, 0.43, 0.56, 0.75, 0.87 and 1.17. At the end of the working stroke, the cutting tool was automatically detached and the drive fitted with adjustable, automatic safety stops. The copying carriage was hydraulically driven - the pump powered by a separate 1.8 h.p. motor mounted inside the base cabinet.
Templates were held on centres supported on posts secured to and adjustable along a pair of wide parallel surfaces machined low down and along the front face of the stand. Each post carried, in its inner face, a T-slot that allowed the template to be adjusted vertically.
Example of "front-way" lathes include: Birch, Cook, Fulswyng (possibly unique, with both front and back ways), Speicer, Pearce, Portercable (though that might be better described as a "back-way" lathe), Rolls-Royce, Rivett, Toyo, Wade,  and three of unknown make  Unknown100, Unknown129 and Unknown156.
Today the
UTITA Company continues to operate and manufactures a range of powerful CNC-controlled lathes.


The makers claimed that, by clamping the three-point fixed steady to the upper prismatic section of the bed, it could be used without interrupting the full-length travel of the carriage. The arm holding the three support pins was hinged and locked by a quick-action eccentric lever - this arrangement allowing it to be moved quickly out of the way when changing the workpiece.

A user-operated grooving tool clamped to the bed's top prismatic ways. It was possible to fit more than one tool and, at the limit of its capacity, could form grooves 15 mm deep in workpieces up to 200 mm in diameter.

Quickly interchangeable tool holders: on the left for turning external turning and, on the right one for boring


A = Maximum turning length = 600 or 1000 mm
B = Maximum diameter admitted between centres = 340 mm
C = Maximum turning diameter = 200 mm swing
D = 2900 mm long
E = 1300 mm deep
F = 1100 mm high
G = Spindle speeds 50, 70, 100, 142, 192, 273, 370, 528, 748, 1065, 1428 and 2040 r.p.m.
H = Rates of powered feed to the carriage, mm per one revolution of the spindle: 0.10, 0.18, 0.28, 0.32, 0.43, 0.56, 0.75, 0.87 and 1.17
I = Vertical stroke of the tool holder = 100 mm
M = Main 9.5 h.p. drive motor

Utita T3VI Copying Lathe
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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