Lathe Advice

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  • #49162
    dulwich2410
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 5
    • Total Posts: 32

    Hi all,
    I’m a newbie to this forum & a bit overwhelmed by all the experts in horological repairs!
    A brief outline about myself. I’ve had an interest in antique clocks for some 40 years and have collected some along the way – only based on looks, not value. Some fell in to disrepair so I decided to start a repair course at my local college. I am now carrying out some repairs myself, bushing etc and since watching the Bob Tascione lathe DVD, I think it is now time to buy one.
    The age old question is what and where to buy one. I am totally confused! Should I buy a 3 jaw chuck or 8mm collets, and what accessories does one need? I’ve been on many websites (EBay etc) only to find that here in the UK a lathe 30/40 years old out budded a brand new one! I just have no idea what I am/should be buying! I was thinking of a new Sherline model, which Bob Tascione seems to like, but others don’t.
    Any advice on this dilemma would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks in advance,
    John

    #58893
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey John….No reason to be overwhelmed or intimidated on this forum, I am sure we all put our pants on the same way, though David may start with the left leg first….he is still a nice guy :D I hear yah about figuring out the lathe dilemma, it took me a long time before I made my first purchase, even then I have sold and switched to different styles and sizes…..
    I can honestly tell you I am not finished yet either 🙄 (please dont tell my wife)
    there is ALOT of discussion on this forum about lathes, try to find those and glean what you can on the subject (maybe you have already) but let me ask you a few questions….what are you thinking your long term future goals are in clock repair?….polishing pivots? making parts? or even setting up to cut wheels with a mill attachment? making movements? ect….

    I use the 8mm watchmakers lathe alot for clock work (mostly re-pivoting, polishing pivots and smaller parts), but the large lathe I have also gets a fair amount of use and is for future goals of mine, I am currently looking for a medium size lathe to really get my wifes attention and if I survive it will fit the bill nicely…. I think 🙄 …. sounds like Bernie bought a new lathe recently and he is liking it.

    If your able to get a used lathe at the right price (sounds like Paul over there keeps finding them) I figure it is a good investment, my experience is that if and when I change my mind after using it for a time deciding that something else will work better, reselling and getting my money back has not been a problem…kind of fun too if you get into refurbishing them. William

    #58894
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    John,
    Before taking the plunge try and decide the applications you are going to use the machine for. The concept that one machine with a lot of accessories can handle all machining assignments is incorrect. You always end up with sacrafices and tradeoffs. You need to list the parts you want to machine (at least in your mind) and select the equipment that is best suited to the needs of the job. WW collets work for small watch size parts but they have their set of problems. One is they do not have a large range for each collet so you need to buy a lot of them. Another problem is after a certain diameter WW collets have a stepped opening and make it difficult to machine a longer larger diameter shaft. This means that the machining operation requires a steady rest which is a little less accurate than machining at the headstock and is a lot less convenient. You then also have to deal with any marks put into your part from the jaws of the steady rest. The best situation is always to put a shaft in the spindle bore and have as little overhang as possible. The power and drive system of the lathe is very important and can make a tremendous difference in the amount of time and cutter selection to do the job. This becomes extremely aparent when you are drilling from the tailstock. You may want to cut shafts and wheels so the length of the bed and the swing is important. If you want to cut clock gears you will want a milling attachment. Most importantly is affordability. A Derbyshire Instrument Lathe or a Levin Instrument Lathe will work better than any home shop hobby class lathe that most of us are familar with, but they are very expensive. This brings it to getting the most equipment at an affordable price.
    There are things that I prefer in lathe features that affect what I have bought in the past. First I like a wide steel lathe bed. I do not like aluminum for a lathe bed. Anodizing the aluminum provides some surface hardness but it is still an aluminum bed underneath the layer of surface hardness. A wide bed gives the carrage a lot of support and helps prevent the cutter from moving under the line of center on the shaft. Second I prefer a large induction motor with an industrial belt. When the speed is selected from the pulley selection the speed of the motor does not change (slow down) with the load. Third, I like ER collets for the in between shaft diameters. My first choice would be 5C collets but they are large and can only be used on a larger machine. For a chuck I prefer a 4 jaw for accuracy. Three jaw chucks are more convenient to use but are less accurate.
    If the question is which lathe should you buy, I would recommend a Taig for the reasons I just listed. This does not mean that other lathes are not good machines, it simply means that the Taig meets a list of requirements that I have. There are numerous videos and websites on this machine including gear cutting. Berney also bought one and he can tell you if he is happy with it or not.
    david

    #58895
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Welcome to the forum John!
    As William and David already stated it’s important to know what type of work you will be doing. If it’s basic clock repair then I lean towards an out of the box Sherline or Taig with a 3 jaw chuck if only one chuck is going to be part of the package. Most lathe work needed for normal clock repair entails LOTS of pivot polishing, occasional pivoting as well as some small part turning. Most of this clock work can be done on either of these lathes with a 3 jaw chuck. If you can afford a 4 jaw too then that’s a nice addition to the package as is a WW (for the Sherline) collet set which can be added later. I have no real hands on experience with the Taig lathe but have used Sherline products often and was a Sherline dealer and find them a very good value for the money. The entry level low price as well as a long list of additional accessories sold at reasonable prices has made Sherline a very popular lathe for clockmakers in the U.S. Taig is definitely worth checking out too. Just wanted to give Sherline a thumbs up in case you’re doing some comparison shopping. One more thing is Sherline quality control is excellent with their customer support being among the best I’ve encountered. When I lived in San Diego they were located just a few miles from me so I got to wander around their building and see their plant in operation many times.

    Hope this helps and again Welcome,
    Bob

    #58896
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    Biggest thing is like others have said is what do you want to do? Clocks or Watches or maybe like myself I do both. So I have a Boley watchmakers lathe I use for making small clock parts and watch parts. I also have a Taig lathe with most of the accessories including the ER collets and a self centering 4 jaw chuck from grizzly. I use the 3 jaw chuck on both as much as I use the collets. I use both lathes most every week sometimes 3 or 4 days a week for a myriad of chores.

    So like Bob, David, William if I were doing strictly watches I would go for a WW lathe or Sincere lathe that David recommends. If I were doing strictly clocks I would go with the Taig or Sherline lathe.

    #58897
    dulwich2410
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 5
    • Total Posts: 32

    Hi Guys
    Thank you all responding to my dilemma to answer some questions i only repair clocks,in time i would like to do all my own repairs making parts, broken
    pivots, polishing etc may be a mill attachment in the future (step to far?) the clocks now have my fall attention.
    What is advantage or disadvantage of 8mm/ww or er16 collets,Taig lathes are sold under the name of Peatol lathes ? and come in lots of parts the Sherline
    comes complete,and are all four chuck self centring, sorry to be such a pest.

    John

    #58898
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    Keep asking John. We all don’t mind. That is how we learn. I use the ER collets on my Taig because they are more accurate than the others that come with a lathe package. The gentleman I bought my Taig from let me sub the ER for those and just pay the difference. The ER collets have a more accurate holding power IMHO. I have a milling attachment for my Taig and it does a lot of what I do on clocks. Don’t get me wrong it is not what a full fledged mill is but does what I need. If money wasn’t a object I would have a mill. I also added these which really makes it nice to not need a tool to change tools. http://www.littlemachineshop.com/2478

    #58899
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Hey John, & welcome to the forum..

    I don’t know about Xpurts but there are many of us that freely admit our errors and also ask, beg, plead for help 😆

    Yes, the dilemma, I’ve just been through it with a mill, loads of good info and experienced advice but ultimately it comes down to..

    1. Price
    2.Application
    3. Aesthetics (at least for me)
    4. Availability of attachments
    5. Build

    I have three mini, vintage watchmakers lathes, with attachments, chucks etc.. BUT, it seem like most things I want to do, other than the micro stuff for pocket watches, is too large for these lathes.
    So I’m faced with the same thing that you are, what to buy? I definitely need something larger that will also handle the micro work..

    There are a number of entry level industrial, vintage lathes for sale in the UK, but I’m in Spain, so the transport makes it impractical. So I’m now looking back to the Chinese manufactured, finished in Germany lathes sold by Optimum.

    I hate to buy sight unseen, I want to touch it, smell it and get the feel for it, yes David & William, I’m still talking about lathes 🙄
    Recently, a machine shop I found, that is a dealer for Optimum, has two of their mini lathes on show, so I’ve had a chance to play. I must say that the build is very good, backlash is minute, finish is excellent and lots of thought has gone into safety, maybe too much 😆
    Their attachments are reasonably priced and of very good quality..

    Here’s a link to their web site http://www.optimum-machines.com/products/lathes/optiturn-tu-2304-tu-2304v/index.html

    Hope this helps ya & good luck..

    #58900
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Chirs,
    I have a similar lathe and It is a good machine. I think it is made by a company called CENTRAL MACHINERY and is marketed under many different names. Mine is a 9″ swing and is as large as a machine as I could put in the room. It is and engine lathe and my opinion is the larger the lathe, the smoother they work. The 9″ lathe has worked out well for me.
    david

    #58901
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    David,

    I may be mistaken, but isn’t there an adapter for these lathes where you can use collets on them? Or am I confusing it with a collet holding tailstock?

    #58902
    gerene
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 16
    • Total Posts: 377

    @dulwich2410 wrote:

    Hi Guys
    Thank you all responding to my dilemma to answer some questions i only repair clocks,in time i would like to do all my own repairs making parts, broken
    pivots, polishing etc may be a mill attachment in the future (step to far?) the clocks now have my fall attention.
    What is advantage or disadvantage of 8mm/ww or er16 collets,Taig lathes are sold under the name of Peatol lathes ? and come in lots of parts the Sherline
    comes complete,and are all four chuck self centring, sorry to be such a pest.

    John

    Hello John,

    Taig lathes are sold as Peatol lathes in the UK. I find that buying from Peatol makes it easier and cheeper to buy Taig stuff if you are in Europe. I live in Belgium and when buying from Peatol I don’t have to pay import duties etc. Prices for Peatol are almost the same as for Taig and Peter Morrison, the owner, is very helpfull. I don’t know where you live, but if you live in Europe you might want to contact him.

    I use a 3 jaws self-centering chuck, a 4 independent jaws chuck, ER-16 collets and I also have a WW-collet headstock for more acurate work. Apparantly the WW-headstock is not available anymore?
    For my watch work I am considering buying a smaller watchmakers lathe (Sincere?).
    The ER-16 collets are very good and probably more than sufficient for most of your clock work. I find that WW-collets are sometimes preferable since they can grip at the front part of the collet and there is no collet holder nut that gets in the way. Big disadvantage for WW-collets is their price and the number of collets you will need.
    I do not have any experience with Sherline, I was considering buying one but could not find a place in Europe where I could buy at competitive prices (including freight and duties), not saying that there is none but I don’t know of any.

    Jan

    #58891
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Chris,
    The lathe spindle has a #3 Morse Taper and the adapter can be purchased separately or as part of a set with the collets. Since the mill you purchased has a #3 taper you can use the ER collets on both machines.

    Jan,
    You have not posted in awhile, welcome back.
    david

    #58892
    gerene
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 16
    • Total Posts: 377

    Thanks David. I did not post since I was out of town for a few weeks of vacation in “La Douce France” :D

    Jan

    #58903
    dulwich2410
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 5
    • Total Posts: 32

    Hi Jan
    Thank you for your reply my base is in the U.K.i contacted Peter Morrison he was very helpful still not sure whats required in
    a starter kit, i am with Chris like to see a lathe before purchasing, seen a new Chinese lathe it seemed of poor quality to my
    untrained eye. There is a Sherline agent in Essex U.K. This lathe question has taken over my life perhaps i should stay with a
    block of wood and a burnisher,THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP AND ADVICE.

    John.

    #58904
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi John,
    before you do anything have a good think about what you want to use the lathe for, as others here have suggested. It is no different to any other tool so to make sure you get the correct one first you need to know what it has to do.
    Paul.

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