View Full Version : willis 1440 engine lathe

03-24-2004, 07:17 PM

I'm looking at a willis 1440 engine lathe, It looks to be about 5 years old, I don't have a any experience looking at lathes. I have done some research on them and have found that the ways seem to be one of the most important componants to check out. I was wondering if any one has had any experience with the willis. And i would also like any advice you have on checking the machine out. Thanks in advanve

Chad (BattleCreek)http://www.metalmeet.com/photopost/data/500/1509Wills1-med.jpg

03-24-2004, 07:36 PM
Chad, I can't help you on the Willis, but it would have to be badly abused to be hurt much in five years--short of three shifts a day, in a place where the workers didn't care at all for their equipment.

It is possible the lathe was scraped originally and the markings that were made on the ways will be reduced or gone if the ways have been unduly worn. Look underneath the tailstock to see what they used to be like. Then look at the places where the carriage does most of it's back and forth moving, to compare.

That's just the beginning of the process, however. Do a Google search on inspecting machine tools, or buying machine tool tips, etc. There are many places I've seen where these things have been discussed, and certainly a lot more I never saw. Good luck, a lathe is a wonderful addition to your shop.


PS get as much of the ancillary tooling and equipment as the seller will let go of in the deal if you can. Follower Rest, Steady Rest, Taper Attachment, Tool Post Grinder, and all the stuff like tool holders, knurling tools, dogs, faceplates and 3 and 4 jaw chucks. The cost will be much higher if you have to buy those things later, and much harder to run down, too, probably...


03-24-2004, 07:39 PM
I didn't see the picture before my reply. Don't forget to get a tool post, and threading tools, too, if you can.


03-24-2004, 07:45 PM
How to inspect a lathe can be found at www.mermac.com .
Good advise and can also sometimes help with parts.

Hope this helps,


03-24-2004, 08:48 PM
The Willis is not a "name brand" machine. It appears from the picture to be a generic Taiwan or China copy of a Colchester lathe. You'll see lots of identical machines around with different names.

Being a gear head machine and being made in the third world you have to be careful. These lathes are notorious for having gear problems in the head. Actually, they're notorious for having all sorts of problems, especially after 5 years use.

Check it out under power to make sure everything works and all the gears are quiet.