Record Power DML24 Lathe Restoration

Full View Of Lathe

This is the original incarnation of the DML24 from Record Power. It’s a three-speed wood turning lathe made around 1997 and is about as basic as a lathe gets. You don’t get electronic variable speed, indexing, a swivelling headstock, quick release tool rest and tailstock adjustments or even a cast bed. It does however have a solid cast-iron headstock and tailstock, a 200 mm tool rest and a spindle turning capacity of approximately 550 mm, which is above average for a bench-top lathe.

This was found rusting in the workshop of a local joinery firm that was closing down, and was too good not to restore. I wish I’d taken some pictures of it as found, but my excitement got the better of me and I was keen to crack on and get it stripped. It came on a stand of sheet tin which was rusted through and collapsing. The bed bars had quite a bit of surface rust, the castings were dirty, the bearings were knackered, the motor was noisy, the barrel thread was damaged and there was a rusty live centre stuck in the tailstock. A bit of a basket case perhaps, but I like a challenge.

End View From Tail Stock

I started by stripping everything down to the very last screw. This won’t be a complete how-to article as I didn’t take many pictures as the work progressed, but I’ll share a few things I learned along the way. At this point I’d also like to commend Record Power. Not only were they able to supply every spare part I required for this 25-year-old lathe, but they also provided the user manual for the later DML24X MK2 iteration which is very similar aside from an extra speed and a few finish upgrades. Their turnaround time was quick and their prices were reasonable. Based on that experience I will have no hesitation in buying record power products in future.

I first disassembled the tailstock, removing the locking knob and unthreading the barrel from the hand wheel. A rusty live centre was stuck in the MT1 taper. Try as I might it wouldn’t come free. I tried heating, I tried freezing. I mounted it in an engineers vice, found a knocking bar and hit it with the largest hammer I could find. The two parts were rusted together and after so many years there was no separating them. I replaced the tailstock barrel, and the hand wheel while I was at it as the original was in poor condition. The threads in the cast iron were cleaned up with a wire brush on the Dremel using the flex shaft attachment, which is great for this kind of detail work.

Close Up Of Tail Stock

Turning to the headstock, I removed the motor for service. There are two grub screws to secure each of the two pulleys, both in the same threaded hole. Also note the pulley orientation when you’re taking the headstock apart. The motor is secured to the swivelling tension plate by four screws and can then be simply lifted away.

I removed the spindle from the headstock as the bearings were knackered. So too was the spindle as it turned out. The 3/4  16 TPI thread on the spindle nose was destroyed and the inside of the spindle taper was rusty. The flats, designed for a 9/16” Whitworth spanner were rounded and pitted. A new spindle, thread protector, bearings and belt were purchased. The bearings are 6202zz 15 x 35 x 11mm and 6204zz 20 x 47 x 14mm. Quality replacements are available from most good stockists or from Record Power themselves. The belt came from Drive Belt Solutions as Record didn’t have stock.

Rear Headstock Bearing

The bearings are a press fit into the headstock casting and the spindle is knocked through from the back to come out through the front of the headstock. There’s an M6 retaining bolt in the back of the spindle with a retaining washer. I removed this, and installed a sacrificial M6 Allen bolt. I was then able to set the headstock on some blocks of wood with the threaded end of the spindle pointing downward, and hit the sacrificial bolt with a hammer to knock the spindle out of the headstock. It came free with its front bearing, leaving the rear bearing in place.

This I removed by flipping the headstock, and using a length of M12 threaded bar with strategically-placed washers and nuts to knock the bearing out. To get the front bearing out, pot the spindle in an engineer’s vice so that the outer ring of the bearing is sitting on the top of the vice jaws, and whack the rear end of the spindle to pop the bearing free from the tapered shoulder on the spindle.

Reinstalling the bearings is a fairly simple procedure. Set the front bearing (the larger of the two) into the casting and tap around the periphery with a hammer to seat it. It’s important to seat the bearing evenly around the circumference and to only hit the outer ring. You can then do the same with the rear bearing. Insert the spindle through the front bearing, add the larger of the two drive pulleys, locate it into the rear bearing and (using the thread protector and a lock of wood) hit it home. As you knock it down, continually rotate it so as not to damage the front bearing.

Front Headstock Bearing

You’ll probably find that knocking the spindle into place unseats the rear bearing. It can be reinstalled by tapping around the outer edge, and then installing the retaining washer and screw which will pull the bearing back into the casting. Don’t forget to insert the drive pulley and the drive belt as you reinstall the spindle, or you’ll have to do the whole removal and reinstallation procedure again. Make sure you put the drive pulley in the right way round too – the larger diameter faces the spindle nose. Don’t ask how I found that out.

I then stripped the motor. Four long bolts through the underside allow the three sections of the motor to be separated. The bearings are press fit here too though not as tightly, so you can open the motor by pressing the end of the spindle against a workbench. The bearings were in good condition so I gave the motor a thorough clean and packed the bearings with grease. They are ‘sealed for life’ bearings, but if you pack a thin grease where the two races of the bearing meet it will work its way in.

Close View Of Head Stock With Motor

Years of dirt and a few rust spots were removed from the motor shaft using the Dremel and the wire brush. I then reassembled the motor, and it was finished off with some fresh paint after the labels were masked. The NVR switch was stripped, cleaned and fitted with a fresh power cable and mains plug.

There are noThere are no adjustments to speak of on this lathe aside from pulley alignment and speed adjustment. Sadly there are no adjustments to align the centres, though as there is no bore in the headstock and a minimal bore in the tailstock lateral alignment isn’t as critical so long as it’s ‘about right’ and the points of the centres meet. You can also add shims to the front contact point of the headstock or tailstock. You do have to ensure the base is flat and the bed bars are properly seated in the castings, and that the angle brackets to secure them are correctly oriented. Each angle strap has a concave angle at one end and a convex curve at the other, giving 1 or two points of contact. The right-most bracket is oriented such that the single point of contact rests on the front tube, and the left angle strap is situated with the two points of contact on the front tube. THey’re held in place by a pair of M12 threaded bars, designed to be bolted to a bench with holes on 1067 mm centres and 86 mm from the front of the bench.

Drive Belt

The headstock, tool rest banjo and tailstock are secured with similar square clamps. These are positioned with the two points of contact clamping the front tube.

Pulley alignment is as simple as setting the pulleys so that the belt tracks straight and so that the grub screws tighten to the machined flat surfaces on both the spindle and motor shaft. The speed is adjusted atypically for this kind of machinery by moving the belt between steps on the motor pulley and spindle. The larger the step on the motor pulley, and the smaller the step on the spindle, the faster the speed will be. This lathe has speeds of 450, 950 and 2000RPM as it is the original three-speed model. It can be upgraded to a four speed model adding 1500RPM using the pulley set from later DML lathes.

The complete list of required parts for this lathe was as follows. One headstock spindle. One 3/4 x 16 TPI thread protector. Two headstock bearings (6202zz and 6204zz). One tailstock barrel. One tailstock hand wheel. One belt. Three bolts M12 x 120 mm. Three M12 nuts, three M12 washers. Some leftover spray paint to clean up the motor, some spray-on white lithium grease, sandpaper to remove the rust and a pile of Ultragrime wipes. The base was a leftover piece of 8 x 2 pine, which made a few trips over the planer and through the thicknesser before being chopped to length, rounded up with the trim router and coated with a couple of coats of water-based varnish. Total parts cost was about £120GBP.

Headstock With Screw Plate

I then needed a live centre, prong drive centre and a faceplate to actually turn something. Record power had discontinued their MT1 accessories. Fortunately most other manufacturers haven’t. I was able to purchase these parts from Axminster Tools. I particularly like their face plates as they have six mounting holes as opposed to the four holes that is more typical especially on smaller plates. Their live centres are also extremely well made, with super smooth bearings and perfect cones.

It’s taken a couple of months for me to get around to publishing this article. In that time I have purchased a new lathe for a couple of reasons. Firstly I needed something with a more compact footprint, yet with a larger centre height over the bed to allow me to turn 12 inch bowl blanks. I could have reduced the length of the DML24s bed bars, but there is no way to usefully increase the centre height. I also wanted quick release tool rest and tailstock and electronic variable motor speed, and I needed to buy a chuck for most of the projects I wanted to accomplish. I saw no point in buying a chuck for this lathe as most new lathes in this class use the 1 inch x 8 TPI thread, and I wanted a directly threaded chuck for accuracy.

This lathe however was instrumental in establishing that woodturning was for me, and set me on the path toward, I hope, one day becoming a reasonably competent turner. My first Tulip bowl was turned on this lathe. Wood turning can become an expensive hobby and I was glad of the chance to test the waters for minimal outlay before diving in at significant expense.

And frankly there are things about this lathe I prefer. The induction motor is quiet and will never let you down, whereas I predict a limited lifespan for the DC motor in my  current (new) lathe. And there’s a lot to be said for the simplicity of a pulley-driven speed control system, as pulleys can’t fail like electronics can.

This is a fine lathe for most turning tasks where capacity isn’t a major consideration. There are a lot of them out there and you can find and fix them for very little outlay. Carefully restored and properly maintained, they’ll probably outlast us all.

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