Feed Mini Lathe

As with many such "inexpensive" products the manual and documentation has the basic safety stuff to try and mitigate liability, but not a lot of
operation detail. Never having played with a metal lathe before I am learning how to make tools and fixtures (I think I have a grasp of the distinction now) and accessories.
One little project was made easier by use of the feed, but I noticed something odd. In forward feed (right to left with chuck turning towards the operator) I have to hold the gear engage lever up or it drops out of gear and stops feeding. It's a very positive feel like that is what it is supposed to do. However, when reverse feed is engaged (left to right) It does not drop out. It stays positively engaged. Is this normal? Should it drop out when I let off the lever in either direction or should it stay engaged in both directions? Or should it do exactly what it does. I just now took the gear cover off to take a look, and except for swapping gears for different feed rates or thread spacing there is no obvious way to change its operation.
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P.S. I am not crazy about this lever being behind the lathe so that I have to reach around or (EGAD!) over the lathe to engage it. I would think for safety it would be better to be in front.
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On Wed, 30 Dec 2009 12:16:19 -0700, Bob La Londe wrote:

What kind of lathe do you refer to? If you mean one that looks like <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber212> which has two levers on the back (one for feed direction, one for high/low gear), both of those levers latch into place. You pull out fairly hard on the end of the spring loaded lever, push it to the right place, and release. Take a look at the detent holes and pin and see if they are ok. If you can't shift a lever quite far enough because of gears out of sync, perhaps rock the chuck back and forth a ways.
Also, take the spindle end housing off and look at the two identical meshing gears on a rocker controlled by the feed direction lever, and see how they engage when you move the lever.
Re safety, neither lever should be moved when the lathe is running.
--
jiw

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Is this a 7x mini? "The Mini-Lathe" by David Fenner may help, covers the 7xs. Amazon and others have it, it's British. There are also quite a number of web sites devoted to the 7x.
Not too sure what you mean by "gear engage lever", the half-nut lever on the carriage or the direction changing lever on the headstock? Either one is supposed to stay put until you change it. If it's the directional change lever("tumbler"), I'd have to look at mine, but I believe that lever has a dog that engages a dimple or hole in the headstock to hold it in place. Mine's a few years old and who knows what they've done to the design lately. This thing is so small I normally don't use anything but hand feeding for the parts I turn on it. If it's your half-nuts that don't stay engaged, you need to do something about the detent in the apron.
Stan
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The best mini-lathe/mini-mill manuals are on the Little Machine Shop web site:
http://littlemachineshop.com/Info/getting_started.php
--
Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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