|Late '70s Jet 1024P Lathe|
This weekend I picked up an old (presumably late '70s) Jet 1024P lathe. Surprisingly, there is little or no info on the internet about this machine. I suspect I'm not the only one having trouble finding the information, therefore, as I'm working through the lathe, I will be posting detailed write-ups and pictures.
Last Thursday my “trusty” Harbor Freight 9x20 lathe decided to destroy yet another innocent part. This time I was one of the gears in the apron. When this happens, I follow a ritual of sorts: first I go to Grizzly.com to order the replacement parts, and then to Craig's List to find that mythical pristine Logan , South Bend or at least Atlas, that's been sitting in someone's basement and can be had for a song. Well, as usual, that lathe didn't turn up, but I noticed an ad for an old Jet 1024 lathe. The ad looked like it was posted by a liquidation company or a similar outfit: ridiculously high price, lot of marketing fluff and no useful info about the machine.
Don't know why, but the next day, on my way to work I decided to call and inquire about the lathe. Surprisingly the lady on the other end of the line informed me that the posting was old and the price is actually $200 higher ($1500). Apparently they've made a mistake but then found a comparable Jet 1024P on eEbay, so they are actually updating their listing as we speak. I politely thanked for her time and went back to listening to the radio. Two hours later my phone rang; it was the owner, calling me to ask if I would want to come and look at it. Apparently it just went on sale for $800... I've heard a lot of good feedback about Grizzly's 1022 lathe, and this looked like a close relative or a predecesso. Since I paid more than that for my 9x20 a few years ago, and now it was in a dog house for being broken again, I figured an old Jet could be worth it.
I made it to the address Brian [the owner] gave me, which turned out to be a “fine home decor” consignment store full of fine china, antique chests and a rusty lathe right smack in the middle of it. Right off the bat Brian apologized that he won't be able to turn the lathe on. The power cable was threaded through the change gears. Apparently the gears chewed through the isolation, so live cable was touching the frame, shocking the guy that looked at it last. After measuring the spindle runout, checking the gears and inspecting the ways it became clear than this lathe was in a better condition than my 9x20, so I did my best to put on a poker face and asked for the bottom number. After a pause and a short silent exchange with the lady I spoke to earlier Brian firmly told me that he would need to get at least $600 to break even. We shook hands and 15 minutes later the lathe was in my truck on the way home.
|Jet 1024P Lathe, Freshly Unloaded|
What I Got
|Kitagawa 165mm 3-Jaw Chuck|
Upon closer inspection and some research it appears that I've bough a Jet 1024P lathe, made in Taiwan. I didn't find any dates stamped on the lathe, but Google Books search turned up several Popular Mechanics magazines from late '70 that ran ads for this lathe. The earliest issue that came up with a lathe that looked like mine was from early 1977; it appears that 1980 model is a bit different, having a lead screw and a feed rod. Additionally, there is a posting on CNCZone.com by a gentlemen restoring a similar lathe. His is 1976 model, and the change gear box casting is a bit different, so evidently mine must've been 1977 and 1979.
The lathe came with three jaw chuck, measuring a bit over 6.5”. After a quick wipe with WD-40 I uncovered a round label stating that it was made in Japan by Kitagawa. I'm not familiar with this company, but “made in Japan” must be a good sign. Subsequent inventory of the stuff in the “bucket” turned up three external jaws for the chuck. As it sits right now, the chuck has about 0.0035 runout, but since the same runout is present on the chuck's housing, I suspect the chuck is simply mounted off-center. It remains to be seen if I can remount the chuck more accurately, but even 35 tenthousandths is nothing to sneeze at when it comes to 3-jaw chucks.
The above-mentioned bucket also contained a steady rest, faceplate, a few change gears, pound or so of ground HSS tools in different stages of decrepitude, a Kennametal indexed tool holder, and a some other stuff.
|Headstock Gears Look Good|
The machine is in a “lightly worn, but heavily neglected” condition. What looked like rust in the picture turned out to be 30 years of grime. Once I removed enough of it to see the condition of the metal, I was pleasantly surprised. The ways have a few dings under the chuck (preasumably from someone dropping the chuck), but those are on the inner V-prism, used by the tailstock, so they shouldn't affect the performance of the lathe. Other than that, the bed shows no discernible wear. Similarly, the dovetails (cross slide and the compound rest) still show the grinding pattern, as do the gibs. The spindle turns freely and has no measurable runout (my dial test indicator is marked in 0.0005” and the needle barely twitched). Close inspection of the helical gears revealed no damage or excessive wear either.
So far I've found three non-trivial issues with the mechanics of the lathe:
- One of the change gears has a significant wobble, apparently caused by a bent shaft.
- There is something loose in the apron. The gears appear to be intact, so I suspect there is a loose/missing key on one of the shafts.
- Threading dial indicator has a missing tooth.
Needless to say, the previous owner(s) didn't see much value in tightening the gibs or removing the slop from the hand wheels. Fortunately that is an easy problem to remedy.
Overall I'm very pleased with my purchase. Although the lathe definitely needs some love and tender care, the important parts are in good condition. The few things that I know are wrong should be relatively easy to fix.
Granted, this lathe ain't a Monarch or Hardinge, but those almost never turn up in my neck of the woods. The few South Bend or Craftsman lathers that do appear in the classified ads or on CL either cost an arm and a leg or are beat up to death (or both). Even though Jet 1024P is still an Asian import, it's made in Taiwan and the quality is much better than the lathes I've seen come from China lately. No matter what, this machine will be a huge step up from my 9x20.
One More Perk
|A Steady Rest or A Piece of Industrial Art?|
I think I'm getting a bit too excited, so I've forgotten to mention one more thing that came with the late. I don't know exactly it this is a steady rest of some sorts or an abstract piece of art, but this definitely the first time I've seen a contraption like this. It's not very clear from the picture, but the screws are pretty much redundant, since the whole things is welded shut. There is even a hex wrench embedded into one of the welds. The amount of craftsmanship and pride that went into this “art piece” definitely sheds some light at the lathe's condition, though.