Boxford lathes explained

The article has been written to educate the reader on the various Boxford lathes produced and to be used as a guide when looking to identify the model of the machine. Using the features of the machine will simply tell us the model but we need to know what to look for. 

To locate the serial number on these machines, look to the right hand side of the bed at the tailstock end. The serial number should be just behind the two bolts which hold the leadscrew bracket in place. 

Earlier Boxford lathes had the motor mounted to the rear of the headstock. The model identification below can be used in the same way but with the motor mounted at the rear, the lathes name would be a Model A instead of AUD and Model B instead of BUD etc. The UD in the naming sequence stand for Under Drive and refers to the motor being mounted in the cabinet under the headstock. The underdrive system was introduced around 1959.

AUD – These models are most easily identified by the gearbox which sits underneath the headstock on the left hand side of the machine. These models also have the power feed apron which gives both traverse and cross powered feeds.

The gearbox allows the user to change the RPM of the leadscrew in relation to the RPM of the spindle by changing the configuration of the handles on the gearbox. It can be used to change the speeds of the powered feeds or the desired pitch in screwcutting

The AUD, ME10, VSL & VSL500 were supplied with either a metric or imperial gearbox

BUD – The BUD is can be identified by having the same apron as the AUD but does not have the gearbox. These machine have the same power feed set up as the AUD but the adjustment of the leadscrew RPM has to be done through the use of changegears mounted inside the gear train cover to the left of the headstock. BUD machines should come with a set of change gears and the ones required will depend on whether the machine is for cutting metric or imperial threads.

The AUD, BUD, ME10, VSL & VSL500 all share the same apron allowing powered traverse & cross feed through the keyway in the leadscrew.

CUD – The CUD is the most basic of the Boxford 3656 series that is still capable of screwcutting. As with the BUD, the CUD requires change gears to set the screw cutting pitches.

This model does not have any power cross feeds but can utilise traverse feeds through the use of the half nuts and change gears. This does however cause more wear to the halfnuts.

TUD – the TUD is the most basic of all Boxford 3656 series lathes. Good for learning the basics of lathe work, their use is limited through its lack of features. Most easily recognisable by the lack of leadscrew. The basic apron only has the traverse handwheel.

The CUD (right) and TUD (left) aprons 

Metric Boxfords were fitted with 3mm pitch leadscrew. Imperial Boxfords were fitted with a leadscrew of 8 teeth per inch (T.P.I). To determine if you have a metric or imperial leadscrew, the author has found the best method is to use a set of vernier calipers and simply setting it to 1 inch and counting the number of complete threads. As a double check, the verniers can be set to 3mm to count one complete thread if it is a metric leadscrew

Photo showing imperial leadscrew with verniers at 1” & Metric leadscrew with 3mm thread pitch.

Boxford stopped producing the 3656 series lathes approximately 35 years ago and switched production to a new design known as the X10 series.