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Over many years, and several changes of ownership, the Flexispeed became in turn various models: Simat 101, Meteor, Hector, Norfolk, Perris and then, unchanged, as the first "Cowells" lathe - a brand that was to find considerable success and which still continues in production today.
0 Morse taper centre, was The less-expensive Perris "Special".A 3-step headstock pulley was fitted, designed to be driven by 5-mm diameter round plastic belt; depending upon the desired speed range it could be powered directly from an electric motor - in which case only very high speeds for turning tiny components would have been available - or through the optional speed-reducing countershaft that was mounted on an arm bolted to the back of the bed.With a remotely-mounted 1425 r.p.m motor fitted with a 1-inch pulley the countershaft gave approximate spindle speeds of 423, 750, 1333 in open drive and 89, 157 and 280 r.p.m. For a miniature lathe the carriage was of heavy construction with an especially large (139 mm x 44 mm) three T-slot cross slide with 89 mm of travel (designed to make the most of mounting a vertical milling slide) and a 360-degree, 1.5-inch travel swivelling top slide located by an inverted conical boss with pusher screws entering from both sides of the cross slide.A view showing the spindle-bearing adjustment screws, the unprotected bearing oil holes, the simple but robust robust-for-its-size layout of the countershaft and the neat if fragile arrangement of the changewheel cover's hinge assembly.For an inexpensive lathe the compound slide was particularly well designed and made.The SL90 offered buyers a number choices, it being possible to start with a plain-turning model and then add backgear and screwcutting as finances permitted.
Remarkably, so well designed was the SL that it could be refined to horological standards - a so-called 'horological' version of the PL90 was, apparently, just the ' Special' - hardly of a watchmakers' standard in comparison with an SL90, but vastly superior to a Flexispeed and cheaper than the small precision Coronet lathes made for a short time after WW2..The auto-traverse fine-feed attachment (a full set of screwcutting changewheels was extra) drove through a neat dog-clutch with engagement by a knurled-edge handwheels and disengagement through a useful (and safe) adjustable automatic throw-out.The metric-pitch Acme thread leadscrew ran through a cast-iron "whole" nut on the apron and so, with no quick-action rack-feed to advance the carriage, movements up and down the bed had to be by twirling a wheel (with micrometer dial) fitted at the leadscrew's tailstock end.Located by a tenon in the gap between the bed ways the headstock carried a 0.25-inch bore, No. Like all such spindle arrangements, common in the miniature lathe world, great care has to be taken not to use these screws as a form of adjustment; over tightening will lead to fracture of the headstock casting and a difficult and expensive repair.It's far better to have new bearings made, and even a spindle as well if necessary, when wear has become apparent.However, other varieties were also offered, with as many as five versions of PL90 lathe (dating back to 1964), have been identified being sold using sold by Urquhart Tools (a dealer better known for marketing machines using the "Astra" brand), this being reviewed very favourably and advertised in the ME for January, 1964.