Reeves drive type lathe speeds

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Sam Knight

Sam Knight
Sam
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Just wanted to share a small tip to those that may have a Reeves-type lathe or Shopsmith. I purchased a used Shop Fox lathe and the minimum lathe speed that it would go down to was 690 RPM's. Watched a few videos on maintenance on these lathes and decided to try it myself. First I bought a replacement belt from NAPA Auto Parts. The new belt is quite a bit wider than the old one. I cleaned off both pulley shafts with WD40. Just sprayed and turned on the lathe running the speed up and down. Next I installed the new belt. Next I used an air compressor to blow / dry the shaft and pulleys. Then all that was left to do was oil the shafts with some 3 in 1 oil. Run the speeds up and down again and add more oil if needed. After doing this the lathe will run a minimum of 490 RPM's. While it will not go down to 100 like a lot of the new electronic variable speed lathes but I think it was a great improvement anyways.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
Sam, I have owned and repaired Shopsmiths since the early 60s. I was introduced to the machines in 7th grade shop in the 50s. The Reeves drive in the old Shopsmith is well built, but the quickest way I know to render the machine inoperable is to turn that speed dial with the machine off. I bet I've replaced more than a dozen of what we call the "pork chop" that moves the adjusting sleeve. On the subject of a lathe Reeves drive I own a Delta lathe with the Reeves. From the 1st machine I bought through it's replacement, several warranty repairs to now it has crooked main shafts. This machine was the end of this model and the last out the door in China. I have a degree in machine design and my opinion is that the material in the shaft is not capable of the stresses applied by the Reeves drive. Just my experience with the old Reeves drive.

Pop
 
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