Phil Coleman's Web Site

Colchester Chipmaster 5 x 20 Lathe.

This is a photo essay of the dismantling, repairs and resoration of this fine lathe.

I had been looking for a Chipmaster for some time as I was very much attracted to this machine after reading about it on Tony's website and being impressed by it's high top speed of 3,000 rpm, ideal for small work, and the belt drive to the spindle which ensures quiet running at the higher speeds.

The Chipmaster is a precision machine with high quality Gamet spindle bearings, a hardened bed and is massively strong and rigid.

My lathe (FG6220) was made in about 1973-4 and was in excellent condition. Some of the minor bearing bushes required replacement mainly, I believe, because previous owners had not paid sufficient attention to lubrication, particularly on the saddle apron. Clearly the lubrication instructions had not been followed! It seems they were not aware of the carriage oil bath filling hole, possibly covered by swarf? I've attached a photo that shows just how important this oiling point is. Fortunately all these bronze bushes were simple turning jobs to replace. In other respects it is a dream come true...

The first job on receiving the lathe into the workshop was to strip it down and clean it up. The photo of the saddle apron shows what 40 years of duty can do to a fine machine. But this assembly responded well to a bit of tender loving care and is now nearly as good as new.

Another user has an excellent website with information about his Chipmaster: The Wandering Ax Man - Chipmaster Review which tells the story of his machine and his restoration of it (a metric, or "Continental", version).


The Chipmaster in the seller's warehouse in England:
The saddle after 40 years of service:
The saddle after cleaning and painting (rear):
The saddle after cleaning and painting (top):

The saddle after cleaning and painting (front)
The saddle showing the oil ways. It's important to add oil so that all those bearing surfaces are kept lubricated.
The brake shown before reassembly.
The Chipmaster finished in my workshop..
A view of the drive. I am using the original motor driven by a VFD.
A view of the saddle.
A view from the tailstock end. The VFD is shown behind the headstock.

Last updated: April 2017

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