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Machinery Covers: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Cast-iron lathe covers

Cast-iron lathe covers

I had to remove the lathe’s quick-change gear cover to tweak the spindle takeup adjustment nut.

The gear cover is an elaborate ten-pound iron casting, emblazoned with brass tags, and held in place by three 1/4-20 machine screws. The back gear covers, visible in the upper-left corner, are the same sort of wonderfully complex iron casting.

Make magazine, issue 17, has a snippet about an old sorghum press with instructions cast right into the machine, so you could literally RTFM: Read The Ferrous Metal. As it turns out, this 1928 South Bend lathe has instructions stamped into machined metal areas atop the change gear train: OIL.

Here’s a closeup…

Read The Ferrous Metal

Read The Ferrous Metal

Think about it: an iron casting, with machined-flat surfaces, stamped with instructions. How many man-hours did it take to get from raw material to finished product?

Wow…

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