Reeves drive problem

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Kim Metzger, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Kim Metzger

    Kim Metzger

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    I sold a Chinese copy of the Grizzly GO462 to a friend a while back and have a question about the variable speed Reeves drive. When I first bought the lathe the digital readout showed it running at 700 rpm at the lowest speed (although the actual speed may have been lower). My friend says he now can't get it to run slower than 900 rpm, making it impossible to turn large bowl blanks because the lathe starts walking across the floor. Does anyone know of a way to fix the speed control to slow it down? Help appreciated.
     
  2. Fred Belknap

    Fred Belknap

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    A new belt might help. The one I had would go to almost 500 with a new belt. The more it was used the faster it runs.
     
  3. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    I've had an old Oliver 159 for quite a few years now. I'm not familiar with the Reeves drive on a Grizzly lathe but on the Oliver the sliding width side pulley needs to be kept clean and lubricated to maintain the full range of speed. The Oliver has a grease zerk on the shaft for lubing it. I don't think the newer machines have that. So they either rely on some kind of dry lube or something. But even with being able to grease the Oliver it will eventually get gummed up with saw dust. Just taking it apart, cleaning all the parts, and applying some fresh grease makes it like new again. I'll bet that will get the Grizzly back to health too. Hope that helps.
     
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  4. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I've repaired several lathes with Reeves drives and owned a few myself. I'm betting that just cleaning the shafts so the moveable pulleys will move over their full range will solve the problem. If not a new belt along with the cleaning definitely will.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Though I haven't got experience with that Grizzly, I've done some maintenance on a Delta with Reeves and a couple Jets with Reeves. Pictures of the Grizzly look similar. The speed adjustment handle on the Jets easily gets loose on the 'axle' and moves a little. When that happens the indicator is not correct. Since the little rod that sticks out and engages in the holes on the backplate also moves with the lever, it's possible not to be able to reach the lowest (or highest) speeds. To fix, you have to loosen the set screw and return the lever to the correct position where the set screw hits a flat.

    As John points out, the sliding half of the pulley can get sticky and not move as intended, which requires cleaning and lubing.
     
  6. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    If you can take the cover off of the lathe and expose the reeves drive you can
    spray a cleaner on the reeves pulley while running the speed of the lathe up and down.
    This will usually loosen up the contaminates on the reeves shaft. Some reeves drive
    pulleys are made of cheap pot metal and some of the older lathes used better quality
    metal to make the pulleys. The cheap quality ones will break easily if any force is applied
    to the pulleys if they are stuck on the shaft. A good cleaning and lubing on a regular schedule
    will prevent these problems.
     
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Your best bet is a cleaning, greasing, and new belt.

    However, the imported Reeves drive lathes (Delta, Jet, Grizzly, etc.) used pulleys that were made of die cast zinc which was a very poor choice because of wear, deformation, and cracking. Those lathes were designed for light duty spindle turning and were a maintenance headache especially if used for bowl turning and other heavy duty use. I have one of those lathes, the Delta 1440. I would have given it away, but I couldn't bring myself to be that cruel to another person. It's not even a decent boat anchor. I still am thinking of changing it to a VFD variable speed Frankenboehme lathe.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I had the Delta 12" version I think was called the 46-700. I went through 3 sets of those pulleys. One day while waiting for the pulleys to arrive that were back ordered I ordered a the First Nova Comet that came out. That machine ran so much smoother it improved my turning overnight. I sold the Delta as soon as I got it repaired. I owned a Shopsmith before that and it required periodic maintenance of the Reeves drives system although I never had a problem with pulley failure on that machine.
     
  9. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    They make replacements for specific brand name drives, but nothing that matched the kind used in the Delta lathe. The driven pulley on the spindle is unique especially in the way that it couples to the speed control lever. A decade ago I spent countless hours searching through the catalogs of all the manufacturers of Reeves drives and never found anything close. I have a box full of broken pulleys that Delta replaced for free. Like John, I sometimes had to wait on a slow boat from China to get a replacement set. I was on a first name basis with the people in the parts department in Memphis and then Jackson when Delta was sold to B&D.
     
  11. Ely Walton

    Ely Walton

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    Easy... don't clone the clones...

    Ely
     
  12. Kim Metzger

    Kim Metzger

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    Many thanks to all of you. Sorry for the late reply but I haven't figured out how to get notified. You've given me a lot to go on.
     

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