I'm going to look at a Clausing 5914 being sold by a welding shop that
is closing at yearend, and I'm looking for a list of issues to be aware
of. The seller is an electrician and makes no claim to be a machinist,
and isn't able to answer my questions.
What I do know: 13" by 40", 208 volts 3 phase, motor HP unknown. Lots
of accessories are included, but the seller does not know their names or
I also have some more general questions.
1. Does or can the 5914 come with a camlock spindle? (The seller said
it was both camlock and threaded; he may have been thinking of the 5C
collets showing in the photo.) Or did people adapt threaded spindles
somehow? If yes, how well does it work?
2. It is claimed that this 5914 is varispeed. Is this possible? I
suppose someone could have modified the machine.
3. How well does the varispeed work, and what are its failure modes?
4. I think that the machine is under power, so I'll be able to listen
to bearings. What else should I look for in the headstock?
5. I'll look at the ways for wear. The claim is that condition is
good, but who knows what that means.
6. What is the footprint and weight of this machine?
7. What things usually break?
8. What have I missed?
I have a 5904, same as a 5914 but shorter, which was well used when I
got it. These machines typically have an L-00 spindle, which is
relatively easy to find chucks, etc. for. I never heard of one with a
camlock spindle, but some of these lathes might have threaded spindles.
Ways are hardened so hopefully they won't be worn. These are variable
speed, using a hydraulically actuated variable cone pulley arrangement.
The drive is probably the weakest link, having plastic sleeve bushings
that wear and if not repaired cause wear to other drive components that
can run into some money to fix. Motors were 2hp, at least mine was.
Mine also had a sheared key on the backgear shaft that ended up running
about $200 in parts to fix. Parts are still available from Clausing for
these machines, maybe not the major castings but most other parts. Get
the serial number, located near the front V way at the tailstock end of
the bed and Clausing can sell you a manual for that particular lathe,
and tell you when it was made.
These are nice machines, superior to South Bends etc. Parts are
available and quite a few were made so accessories such as steadies and
followers can be had. Figure weight to be in the 1000 to 1100 LB range,
I hauled mine in the back of my pickup, unloading it with a chainfall
and moving it around in the shop with an engine hoist.
I just finished converting mine to a VFD setup, my varidrive, while
having a few annoying issues still worked well enough but then a VFD
presented itself so I changed it over.
If the one you are looking at isn't rusty and beat all to hell you'll be
happy with it, if it has a collet closer grab that as well.
I believe it is a L00. Spindle is male taper with drive key, chuck is
female taper with drive key slot. Nut on spindle tightens chuck to spindle.
Combination of hydraulics and sheaves that can be moved for various working
diameters. Like in a reeves drive or snowmobile sorta.
Hydraulics leak, coating on each sheave nose wears, delrin bushings crack
(if they are the white ones). The bushings are available from clausing at
about 26 buck but need to be bored to fit the other side of sheave. If the
green coating is ruined moglice is used to replace it. Some go straight to
a brass bushing.
I've got a 6300 that I'm restoring. Run that spindle in high and low.
I'm not sure but I estimate my 6903 12x36 at 1500#. Pulled well on my 2000#
Other posters have given you some good info. There is a discussion
board on Y*hoo devoted to Clausing lathes and mills, with a lot of
good information, in case you haven't been there already. Lots of
members' photos, and file info as well.
I have a 5914, and it is a good general purpose lathe. The weaknesses
are as noted, typically the varispeed drive is the prime failure. The
weight is right at 1200 lbs. If the machine has been in a welding
shop, look carefully at the ways, maybe with a 12-24" good
straightedge up around the headstock. Grinding grit from welding and
subsequent grinding can go pretty much everywhere. Not good for
machine tools generally. Machine footprint about 68" x 26" including
the chip pan, as I recall.
Prices are all over the map, and depend much on the tooling with the
machine as well as the condition, and where they may be located
geographically. A taper attachment alone can be worth ~$500 used, if
in really good condition. The machines with basic tooling, such as a
couple of chucks, small faceplate, and a couple of centers might go
for $1200-2500 depending on how they are sold (eBay, private party,
I don't see the original post so will reply to this one.
1) The 5900-series lathes all had L-00 spindles so far as I know.
2) The 5914 had a Reeves drive type variable speed system and was powered
with a 2 HP 3-ph motor. It's easy to power that with a VFD controlled by
the original drum switch.
3) It works well, problems are related to not maintaining Delrin sleeves in
the motor and countershaft pulleys, which can lead to very expensive
repairs, or to air in the hydraulic line, which prevents full speed control.
Replacement sleeves are $30 or so from Clausing and one should plan on
4) The headstock gears are oil lubricated and it is pretty easy to pull the
top for a look see.
5) The ways were flame hardened and generally hold up well. Excessive wear
there could be a cause for concern as it would suggest hard use. Clausing
sells replacement leadscrews and nuts.
6) The 5914 is a 12x36 lathe with a footprint of about 29" x 72" and weighed
around 1,000 lbs.
7) The vari-speed system is the main thing to check. With the machine under
power, check the shaft that protrudes slightly bear the bottom of the left
hand pedestal and look for excessive wbble (~1/8"?). That could indicate
wear on the motor pulley sleeve. With luck, fixing that might be as simple
as replacing the $30 sleeve but there could be damage to the pulley hubs
which is a much more serious situation. Clausing seems to supply most or
all of the parts that routinely need replacement and prices are generally
not too bad IMHO.
8) Accessories like steady, follower, and taper attachment are very hard to
find and bring good prices on the used market so any of those could be a big
plus if you need them or a source of cash if you don't and sell them. The
steady can bring $350 on ebay and the taper attachment $350-600 depending on
condition. The 5914 had a clutch/brake system which some find very useful.
Check the gear train for broken teeth. Spindle nose runout was originally
spec'd at < 0.0003" which is easy to check. Check the oil levels on the
headstock and apron - low or no level might indicate poor maintenance.
Check backlash on the compound and cross feed. The nuts are fairly cheap
and easy to replace ($60 each?). New leadscrews run more like $250. If you
buy, plan on pulling the motor pulley and checking that sleeve for wear.
Most of the bearings on the vari-speed system are standard and cheap to
replace. If the seller doesn't have a manual, Clausing will sell you one
keyed to your S/N for around $25. They need the S/N so get that before
calling and ask for a parts price list. The manual is really pretty good
compared to others I have seen and has lots of maintenance info.
I've been very happy with mine despite having to replace the motor pulley
($700 about 6 years ago). It was fairly easy to disassemble and move down
to the basement. The headstock is pinned to the bed - watch out for that if
you plan on disassembling.
I got my 5914 for $1500 with tax and delivery.
It came with large Buck chucks. At ~ 80 pounds, I have a system for
The brake is disabled and the clutch is wired closed.
It is a 3 hp motor, I think.
I converted it from 440 to 220.
It has allot of power. It can make pounds of steel chips per hour drilling.
I got it at this auction 6 years ago:
That was in the days of the dot com bust in Seattle and everything was
How are you going to move it?
At the auction there was a big ex merchant marine named Eric that
approached me about moving the lathe. He wanted $50 to go from Seattle
to Mercer Island with it. He had a flat bed truck. There was a gantry
overhead at the auction. He slid it down boards to get it off the truck
at my place.
Knowing what I now know about how tippy that lathe is, I don't know how
I recently called Nelson trucking, and they wanted more to move a
Bridgeport 10 miles than the machine costs.
I bought the lathe.
For the Millrite MVI a year ago, I didn't go with a rigger who didn't
seem to understand that chains bearing directly on scraped surfaces was
Seattle. A bit far for me. Though I've had such quotes.
Sure, but he will be on the other coast, in the Boston area.
If cost is an issue, you might try approaching riggers and asking if they
would be willing to transport your lathe a little cheaper when they have
another load going the same way. That worked for my Clausing 5914 and it
was moved for $200. I figured that was only a little more than truck rental
would have cost me and the whole thing was done quickly and professionally.
The only downside was I had to be available on a days notice to be home for
delivery. The same rigger wanted $900 to move it to our basement so a
friend helped me get it down there.
It comes with lots of stuff, but sounds like it needs some heavy oil in
the gearcase. But everything appears to work, and the ways look
pristine. Nor was there any grinder grit on the lathe. Just
smooth-feeling but dirty-looking grease.
I have two references for riggers, and will call them.
I have level access into the basement through a wide-enough door, so I
don't expect a big bill to get from driveway into basement.
But the driveway is icy at present, so I would assume that we will have
to outwait the weather.
Just a bit of FYI -- I was able to do the entire job without having to
hire anyone, using my HF engine hoist. My lathe was crated and
delivered by truck freight, and dropped off in front of my shop via
truck liftgate (that was the moderately dicey part).Your situation may
be entirely different, but this machine is relatively small and
lightweight compared to something that really requires a rigging team.
You could probably do the moving yourself (with a friend), a sheet or
two of 3/4" plywood for rolling surface if needed, and a couple of
furniture dollies, with an engine hoist to do the lifting. It's an
opportunity to buy more equipment...:-) I have some pictures I could
send you if you have further interest.
When I bought my 5914 the guy I bought it from could load it into a pickup.
To get it off the truck here at home, I got a 2 ton nylon strap, made a
sling around the spindle and around the end of the bed, and got a tow truck
to lift it and set it on some Harbor Freight furniture dollies, and rolled
it into my shop, used an engine hoist to lift and drop it on the floor..
Strap cost $20, Tow truck cost $50, dollies cost $20... Gave a friend a
sixpack for use of the hoist :-)
If indeed it's in good shape you'll love it. :-) And if it didn't come
with a Royal collet closer, go get one.
Mine (5418 with a bed turret) came via a high flatbed truck
(bolted to a large pallet), and I had made a ramp of five 10' 2x4s
bolted edge up to three lengths of pressure-treated decking board. That
was used to slide it down from the flatbed into my 3/4 ton pickup in the
driveway -- over the tailgate, headstock towards the cab. It was then
tied to the corner anchors at the front of the pickup's bed. I then
drove it up the driveway, and backed up to the shop (ex garage) door. I
jacked up the rear end of the ramp so I could open the tailgate and
unhook the stays so it would swing below the angle which the ramp would
take, and then pulled the ramp and lathe back towards the end of the
bed. Once near there, I ran some mountain climbing rope from one corner
of the truck bed, around the base of the lathe pedestal, back to the
other corner and three turns around a carabiner clipped to that corner,
and into the hads of my wife to pay out a little at a time. With the
help of a friend, I slid the ramp down until the end touched the floor,
then slid the lathe and pallet down until it was almost off the ramp. I
used a floor jack to lift the ramp enough so that I could drive the
pickup out from under the end of the ramp. I then lowered it in stages
with the aid of cribbing until I could leave it stable and close the
door to the shop.
The next day, I used a borrowed hydraulic engine hoist to lift
it (via a loop of web strap under both ends of the chip pan right
against the pedestal cabinets) and remove it from the pallet. (I tied
off the webbing at a stable balance point, so it did not suddenly go
Once the pallet was removed, I set the lathe down on cribbing
(2x4s and 4x4s) (since otherwise it would be resting on the legs of the
engine hoist), removed the hoist, and lowered each end a bit at a time
until it was on the floor.
Mine came with a lever-style collet closer -- but with no
maker's name visible. I later had to extend the drawtube when I swapped
out the original 2-1/4x8 nose spindle and replaced it with an L-00
spindle. And of *course* it came with the closer, since it also came
with a bed turret and no normal tailstock.
It has been an excellent lathe since I got it (and presumably
was one before I got it, too. :-)
I did the Millrite myself (with the considerable help of the seller,
Steve Smith), but this time I have the names of some good riggers
(versus trying to pick names from the yellow pages like the last time).
So, first, I'll get quotes from the riggers. Tomorrow.