Webster & Bennett 36" VTL

British Iron Retrofit

By admin, March 19, 2011

Webster & Bennett Vertical Turret Lathe retrofit extends life

In March 2011, I repaired a British-built “Webster & Bennett” Vertical Turret Lathe (VTL) which was dying from low oil pressure. This was a 36 inch swing machine.

The hydraulic and lubricating pump, integrated into the main housing and driven off the main spindle motor, was worn out and was only creating 200 psi in warm weather, while the machine was spec’ed to have 300 psi to reliably shift gears.

Original pump

Original pump

An in-kind replacement pump was available at a fairly high price, but the fiber (phenolic) gear driving the pump was moderately worn as well. Instead, I routed the oil lines to bulkhead fittings on the machine’s main housing. I purchased an appropriate “new surplus” pump and motor inexpensively, mounted them on an external base, and ran hydraulic hoses to the machine. Adding a contactor switched with the main spindle motor, the machine was back in service. [Unfortunately I do not have pictures of the finished job.]

Another interesting repair on this machine involved failure of the vertical-feed lead screw. I found an excellent source that provided an oddball “two start” lead screw made to our exact requirements, in a reasonable period of time.