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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, I recently purchased a craftsman 15" lathe for $150.



Seems like a good starter lathe, and big enough swing, plus rotating headstock to do big projects. I build drums, so this is a must. I do, however, have an issue, and that is the variable speed belt is too loose at the lower rpms, which is where my work will happen for the most part. I am wondering if anyone knows how to change the variable speed belt. I found a page for the drive belt, which I will need to do at some point too, but the speed belt is keeping me from starting. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

Dean
 

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I had one of those, was good for a while then I found limitations.
It uses 2 belts--one is on the Reeve drive and is fairly big, second is the real drive belt and is quite small---tends to break with big hangs. The small belt is the most important.
I don't have the site (it's on the computer that died), but if you look on the 'net there's a really good tutorial of how to change that belt and reset the speed mechanism. I got where I coud do a changeout in about 20 min.--kind of tedious to start with but actually pretty simple.
Don't go to Sears--they are NO help at all. In fact if you get your address to me I'll send you 2 or 3 of the small drive belts and they don't cost $30 that Sears charges. I don't need them anymore.
You don't have enough posts to PM yet--say howdy to some newcomers and it'll get there fast.
Other history--it's a Palmgren lathe--and no surprise, they don't make or service them anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had one of those, was good for a while then I found limitations.
It uses 2 belts--one is on the Reeve drive and is fairly big, second is the real drive belt and is quite small---tends to break with big hangs. The small belt is the most important.
I don't have the site (it's on the computer that died), but if you look on the 'net there's a really good tutorial of how to change that belt and reset the speed mechanism. I got where I coud do a changeout in about 20 min.--kind of tedious to start with but actually pretty simple.
Don't go to Sears--they are NO help at all. In fact if you get your address to me I'll send you 2 or 3 of the small drive belts and they don't cost $30 that Sears charges. I don't need them anymore.
You don't have enough posts to PM yet--say howdy to some newcomers and it'll get there fast.
Other history--it's a Palmgren lathe--and no surprise, they don't make or service them anymore.
Wow really? Thanks for the offer! I have found several sites explaining how to change the drive belt, but have yet to see about the variable speed belt. My brother in law came to take a look and said we need a drive shaft puller to get the pulley off. I actually found a replacement belt on amazon for $35, so I can get that and figure it out. Just was wondering if there is an easier way.

You can send the belts to my work:

Dean Diamond
6175 Longbow Dr
Boulder, CO 80301

Thanks for the help! I am really looking forward to getting started with turning!

Also, I am happy to at least pay for shipping, if you have paypal or something. Let me know.
 

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I went the puller route too only to find out it was the little belt, I recall mine slipping too, replaced the larger belt and no better. If it runs and then slips with a little load, it's the small belt-- it's cogged like a timing belt & when some are broken, will slip. NAPA or other parts store will have equivalent larger belts for lot less $.
Will send the belts, think they were $5 or close to that, plus the source address.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Admittedly I haven't actually put a piece on there to test it. I just know I will need to turn at the slowest speed possible, and when I lower it there the big belt hits the plastic casing. Good thought about an auto parts store too. I will get that puller and see what's what. Did you pull the top or bottom pully off to remove the bigger belt?
 

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Nope. The belt has teeth/cogs. You'll see when you get to it.
 

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Admittedly I haven't actually put a piece on there to test it. I just know I will need to turn at the slowest speed possible, and when I lower it there the big belt hits the plastic casing. Good thought about an auto parts store too. I will get that puller and see what's what. Did you pull the top or bottom pully off to remove the bigger belt?
Something about this is making me curious. Thinking often gets me in trouble, but here goes anyway ... :laughing:

If the speed control is a Reeves drive (two inter-meshing conical pulleys that increase the diameter where the belt runs as they are squeezed together), then it implies one of two things:

-- maybe the belt is thicker than the original design spec calls for, such that it rubs the casing when set to the slowest speed;

-- or the speed adjustment is "overshooting the end stop", allowing you to expand the working diameter beyond the maximum (case interior - belt thickness).

If it's the second, then you won't be able to get to a slower speed because the physical space available is the limiting factor. Maybe the indicator needs to be "recalibrated" to match the actual speed of the drive at each setting, but that won't change the lowest speed available.

If somebody changed out the belt with a thicker one (perhaps hoping it would last longer), then installing a correctly dimensioned one should restore the clearance to use the lowest speed settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Something about this is making me curious. Thinking often gets me in trouble, but here goes anyway ... :laughing:

If the speed control is a Reeves drive (two inter-meshing conical pulleys that increase the diameter where the belt runs as they are squeezed together), then it implies one of two things:

-- maybe the belt is thicker than the original design spec calls for, such that it rubs the casing when set to the slowest speed;

-- or the speed adjustment is "overshooting the end stop", allowing you to expand the working diameter beyond the maximum (case interior - belt thickness).

If it's the second, then you won't be able to get to a slower speed because the physical space available is the limiting factor. Maybe the indicator needs to be "recalibrated" to match the actual speed of the drive at each setting, but that won't change the lowest speed available.

If somebody changed out the belt with a thicker one (perhaps hoping it would last longer), then installing a correctly dimensioned one should restore the clearance to use the lowest speed settings.
Hmm, all very good things to think about. I will try to look into the dimensions of the OEM belt, and see how the one that is currently on there compares. It could be a possibility that the speed control is indeed off, as I tried to put it up towards 2000 and it was REALLY hard to turn the handle up that high. Thanks for the input, and please, never hesitate to think.
 

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Sent the belts. Plus thought of something else about that lathe, wrote a note about that. Should get to ya Friday. --- it's FREE. Was going to pitch them soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sent the belts. Plus thought of something else about that lathe, wrote a note about that. Should get to ya Friday. --- it's FREE. Was going to pitch them soon.
You sir, are a good person. Thank you for the belts, advise, and restoring my faith in humanity.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That picture is just an image from the internet. Mine is the same lathe, but I do have the pin.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sent the belts. Plus thought of something else about that lathe, wrote a note about that. Should get to ya Friday. --- it's FREE. Was going to pitch them soon.
Just got the package. Thanks again for your help. I got a chuck, tail stock and some tools and cant wait to turn something, anything, this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And a face-shield?

Seriously bad things can happen, and THESE are cheaper than the ER copay on my health insurance plan.
I bought a face shield and apron before I even bought the lathe :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, I followed those instructions and successfully changed out the drive belt. Good thing I did because the one on there was in rough shape. I turned it back on and it immediately shut off and smelled like burning. Fortunately I just had to re solder some of the wire connections inside.

Not sure of the dimensions of the correct speed belt, but I am pretty sure I do need a new one of those. When the speed gets low the belt is so loose I am afraid it will just come right off the pulleys.

Does anyone know the correct dimensions of the variable speed belt? I was wondering if the belt on there is an incorrect size. I also was unable to figure out how to recalibrate the speed adjustment knob, so I have no idea what speed is what. The belt or pulleys also squeak until a mid-high rpm range. Any ideas?

One last thing, is the top pulley supposed to adjust like the bottom one? The mechanism on the bottom pulley works fine, but the top one just stays stationary. Is that normal for the reeves drive?

Sorry for all the scattered info, but I hope some of these questions have answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Hmm, yeah, after looking at this picture



There is definitely something wrong with my lathe. The top pulley is not nearly that close together, and there is hardly any spring showing. I will take a pic tomorrow, and try to see if anything is preventing it from moving, but I feel like that could be the issue with my low speed not working properly.

Here is a pic of mine. There is a lot of slack in the belt at the slowest speed.


 
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