Old Bill Inspects a Lathe and Aids a Machinist
OLD BILL still felt a boyish thrill about being in another city. He had come a hundred miles to look at several machines that were for sale.
Finishing his breakfast, he taxied out to the shop where he was to inspect one of the machines. He was a bit too early for the proprietor, so, from force of habit, he ambled into the shop.
“Look who’s here! Glad to see you!”
Old Bill winced a little from an exuberant greeting emphasized by a vigorous slap on his shoulders, but a smile spread over his face as he recognized in the foreman of the shop a man who had worked for him several years before. Old Bill looked about the place. He sensed that the younger man’s eyes were following his, as though anxiously awaiting Old Bill’s verdict.
“I am glad to see that you keep your place clean,” Old Bill commented approvingly.
They chatted of old times awhile until the proprietor arrived and led the way to the lathe that was for sale.
Old Bill went up for a close examination. It did not take any time for him to note scars and scratches on the ways, and barely a touch sufficed to tell him that the cross feed screw was pretty loose. The tailstock spindle could be clamped, so it was not worn much, and there were no missing teeth on the headstock gears.
Starting the lathe at a pretty good speed, he listened to the quick change gears. They did not seem bad.
Then he looked to the spindle bearings. He found a board close by; using it as a lever under the faceplate, he tried to raise the spindle out of the bearings. Any looseness would have been felt at the end of the board.
One thing more interested him. He rubbed his finger over the vees, then studied them closely. Just as he had thought, the lathe had donea lot of hard work in its time. (Continued on page 105) There was a shoulder on the vee where the carriage had been run back and forth. While this defect did not prevent the lathe from having a certain usefulness, Old Bill knew that it could not be depended upon to do highly accurate work.
(Continued from page 104)
“There are some other things in town I want to do,” Old Bill told the proprietor, “and then I will be back to talk business with you.”
“All right,” he replied. “I shall be here all day.”
Old Bill and Jones, the foreman, then took a turn about the shop by themselves.
“I have been wishing for a couple of days that I could see you,” Jones remarked. “I have a job of the kind you like, and I don’t know exactly the best way to get it done. One of the plants here has an engine driving a generator, and they have decided to put on another flywheel. There is room on the shaft, but there is no keyseat. The diameter is twelve inches, which means that we must do a lot of chipping, yet that is the only way I see that we can get it done.”
“I don’t believe I would chip all of it,” said Old Bill. “Drill most of it out, and chip just to finish it. If you will get a piece of steel and make a jig, you will be able to do a nice job, and quickly.”
“We can only get at the shaft for three hours a day, so speed is what we are after.” “Well, I can’t say that you will be able to do the job in one day, or two,” Old Bill continued, “ but here is a method that will speed it up: Take a piece of flat steel and plane a vee on one side of it. Then lay off one-inch holes all over the area of the keyseat so that there is about an eighthinch wall between them. Clamp this on to the shaft and drill holes into the shaft all the same depth. Use a flat end drill to finish the bottoms. Now for the trick. Shift the jig along the shaft so that you can drill out the webs between the holes, and flatten these bottoms, too. Take off the jig, and all you will have to chip is a little on the bottom, and the high places off the sides.” “That sounds almost as good as a milling machine! ” Jones exclaimed. “I knew that you would have some idea that would help me out on this job.”
Old Bill started away on his next errand, happy in the thought that he could be useful to his “boys,” even after they had left him and were no longer boys.