Rockwell 46-150 tailstock ram lock - problem solved

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Forum topic by coopersdad posted 02-15-2018 09:25 PM 1117 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 1613 days

02-15-2018 09:25 PM

I inherited a Rockwell International 46-150 wood lathe, I’d guess made in the ‘70s or ‘80s. It appears the same as the 46-111, which I find some info for, not sure the difference.

I’ve never had a wood lathe and have just a little experience turning. This machine seems to be OK but not real sturdy, not impressed with the quality of the castings and the fit and finish. The stand will need some beefing up, it rattles and vibrates.

But before I put any work into that, I cannot get the tailstock ram to lock. The tailstock casting has a split cut in it, and the lock lever is supposed to use that to compress the casting against the ram. I tighten it, and it doesn’t lock. I can really reef on it, hard as I can, and get it to sorta lock. A few tries doing that resulted in the threads on the lock lever beginning to strip, so that’s surely not right.

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!

7 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13384 posts in 3152 days

#1 posted 02-15-2018 11:37 PM

I used to own one of these, sold it a few years back. The stand is a thunder machine, horrible. I didn’t have that problem with the tailstock and don’t have the lathe anymore to look at but going from memory it works off compression and should be easy or impossible to fix. :) The handwheel works okay? The tailstock casting is aluminum. The original Delta was cast iron with cast iron legs but Rockwell cheapened it. I repainted/refurbished mine, added variable speed, and sold it for quite a bit more than I paid. It’s not a bad lathe for spindle turning and small bowls but I would build a new stand.

-- Rick M,

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34 posts in 1613 days

#2 posted 02-16-2018 12:01 AM

The handwheel works fine. Yes, it works from compressing the casting against the ram, but it won’t compress enough apparently. I thought about extending the cut, to get more flex to the casting, which sounds like a great way to completely wreck it.

View MrUnix's profile


8089 posts in 2971 days

#3 posted 02-16-2018 12:50 AM

Check the compression slot to make sure it isn’t packed with crap, and verify the nut on the bottom of the handle is seated properly. Easiest way is to eject the quill completely and use a flashlight.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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34 posts in 1613 days

#4 posted 02-16-2018 06:13 AM

I’ve had it completely apart and off the bed several times. All cleaned, nothing in the slot, nut seated. It just won’t close the slot enough to hold the ram.

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34 posts in 1613 days

#5 posted 02-17-2018 01:21 AM

No matter what I did, I couldn’t make the lock hold the ram. So I made a new one. There’s about 1/2” of aluminum at the end of the tailstock, so I drilled and tapped it. A threaded and bent piece of 3/8” rod bears directly on the ram, and doesn’t take a lot of force to hold it. I think if I keep from horsing on it the aluminum threads should hold up. I put a small piece of brass in the threaded hole so the new lock doesn’t gall the ram. I put a bolt in the old lock lever hole, since tightening the new lock would tend to pull that cut apart and loosen the whole thing. It also helped to take up some slight wobble in the ram.

Now I can get to cleaning it up and rebuilding the wobbly stand, and start learning how to turn!

View johnstoneb's profile


3144 posts in 2944 days

#6 posted 02-17-2018 02:33 PM

I have that same lathe never had a problem with the tail stock. Looks like you have a good fix for your problem. I finally cut a piece of 3/4 ply and put on top of that sheet metal stand then bolted lathe thru it. That help with the thunder and vibration a bunch, I also put a 3/4plu shelf on the cross braces and will eventually throw some sandbags on that and that should help a bunch more. The lathe itself is not too bad a lathe but the stand needs to go away.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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34 posts in 1613 days

#7 posted 02-17-2018 04:10 PM

Bruce, plywood on the top and a shelf was my plan as well – glad to know it’s going to help. I have a bunch of wheelweights I plan to put in some shallow wood boxes on the shelf for weight.

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