Home Forums General Discussion Forum Lathe collets… Reply To: Lathe collets…


    @david pierce wrote:

    Your lathe, although no longer made, was priced at around $9,500.00 when it was new. There were many reasons for this; some having nothing to do with watchmaking. These machines were also used for making extremely high precision parts for government and aerospace type instruments. Please take my word for this, it was not just another watch repair tool. Numerous small parts were required for dial indicators, gyroscopes, and most of the instruments that you see inside the cockpit of an airplane. These instruments required pivots and Levin provided extremely high end lathes to do this. Needless to say it is also a much sought after watchmaker tool and Levin was a major player in that market as well. Take a close look at your pulley, the handwheel in the headstock and the handwheel in the tail stock. If these are the original items the handwheels will be larger in size than other watchmaker lathes and made from a material that looks like wood. To me it looks like cloth reinforced phenolic. Next remove the drawbars and look at them. They should be thicker than any other drawbar you ever saw and will heavier as well. When you put them in the spindles the fit should be perfect. If you have the original drawtube assemblies for your machine you do not want to substitute anything else. The best collets for this lathe are Levin collets. The last time I checked the prices on Levin collets most of them were over $100.00 each and the smallest ones were aroung $400.00 each. The companies that purchased these were making parts that would be subject to an inspection. If the parts were wrong the customers could sue your company out from under you. You will not be facing this problem making watch parts and do not need Levin collets. The Sincere collets are metric and are made for the Sincere/Vector lathes. I would not recommend them for the Levin lathe especially if you had to go with different drawtube assemblies. The Starret collets are excellent collets, they are affordable, they are accurate, they can be purchased individually, and they will work in your Levin lathe without modifying anything.

    WOW! I guess I didn’t realize what I have.

    The drawbar handles and pulleys do look like some sort of plasticised wood and both drawbars have a snug fit. I did find a seller who has Starret collets #5 – #80 @$13.50 ea. + $8.00 shipping. He sells them individually.

    Here are pictures of the Levin that I bought. Perhaps you can look at it and tell if the drawbars appear to be original.

    Thanks for the lathe background.