Lathe collets…

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  • #48473
    tmac1956
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    Hello:
    Does anyone know where a good set of 8mm lathe collets (for the beginner) can be purchased? eBay often has them but I can’t determine from looking at the photos (I don’t have the experience anyway) if they are damaged, etc.

    Thanks everyone!

    #52740
    arutha
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    Lathe collets in the 8mm can come in various lengths and with different threads. You need to make sure you get the correct ones otherwise you will find your drawbar wont reach them to tighten or it will be too long and they wont tighten. Having spent an age studying used collets on e-bay and the prices they make I would seriously consider the collet sets supplied by “sincere clocks” on ebay. Their new sets of collets work out as cheap, if not cheaper than buying used and they come with a matching drawbar. David P is the person to ask as I believe he has purchased one of their lathes.
    Paul.

    #52741
    tmac1956
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    @Arutha wrote:

    Lathe collets in the 8mm can come in various lengths and with different threads. You need to make sure you get the correct ones otherwise you will find your drawbar wont reach them to tighten or it will be too long and they wont tighten. Having spent an age studying used collets on e-bay and the prices they make I would seriously consider the collet sets supplied by “sincere clocks” on ebay. Their new sets of collets work out as cheap, if not cheaper than buying used and they come with a matching drawbar. David P is the person to ask as I believe he has purchased one of their lathes.
    Paul.

    I have a Levin 8mm lathe. I take a look at sincereclocks. BTW, is there a way to send a private message on this board?

    Thanks!
    tmac

    #52742
    tmac1956
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    Perhaps a better question would be — what other brand of collets are compatible with the Levin lathe?

    Thanks!

    #52743
    david pierce
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    Tmac,
    I just pulled my LEVIN off of a shelf and brushed the dust off of it. It has a ball bearing spindle but I am sure that the ID is the same as your cone bearing model. The STARRET collets work perfectly so the good news is you will not have to buy LEVIN collets. If it was me I would only purchase #3, #4, #5 etc. up to #20 plus a #50 for jewling chucks. The larger sizes, #21 through #80 do not grip as well as other design collets such as the ER-16 and the ER-11 series. WW collets offer good precision and excel at holding small shafts that are subjected to light cutting loads. For larger work I purchased a TAIG with an ER-16 headstock. This lathe is much better suited for larger clock size parts and the collets will not slip under heavier cutting loads. WW collet sets typically come in a large size range by skipping many of the smaller in between sizes and I would rather spend my money for more completeness in the smaller sizes. I believe Starret collets cost about $15.00 dollars each but you do not have to buy all of them at once. For a chuck I would get a small (45mm diameter) four jaw chuck (from RG TOOLS). With this chuck your work can be indicated in to a better degree of precision than a three jaw chuck. I do not have a lot of use for a three jaw chuck unless I am doing something crude and am in a hurry.
    david

    #52744
    tmac1956
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    @david pierce wrote:

    Tmac,
    I just pulled my LEVIN off of a shelf and brushed the dust off of it. It has a ball bearing spindle but I am sure that the ID is the same as your cone bearing model. The STARRET collets work perfectly so the good news is you will not have to buy LEVIN collets. If it was me I would only purchase #3, #4, #5 etc. up to #20 plus a #50 for jewling chucks. The larger sizes, #21 through #80 do not grip as well as other design collets such as the ER-16 and the ER-11 series. WW collets offer good precision and excel at holding small shafts that are subjected to light cutting loads. For larger work I purchased a TAIG with an ER-16 headstock. This lathe is much better suited for larger clock size parts and the collets will not slip under heavier cutting loads. WW collet sets typically come in a large size range by skipping many of the smaller in between sizes and I would rather spend my money for more completeness in the smaller sizes. I believe Starret collets cost about $15.00 dollars each but you do not have to buy all of them at once. For a chuck I would get a small (45mm diameter) four jaw chuck (from RG TOOLS). With this chuck your work can be indicated in to a better degree of precision than a three jaw chuck. I do not have a lot of use for a three jaw chuck unless I am doing something crude and am in a hurry.
    david

    David:
    That’s more great information.

    Two more questions…
    1) What collet and tool do I need for the tail stock (just for learning purposes)?
    2) Who sells the 45mm four jaw chuck by RG Tools?

    Thanks so very much!
    tmac

    #52745
    david pierce
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    Tmac,
    The LEVIN lathe uses the same 8mm collets that the headstock uses. This is one of the features that make the lathe so nice. If your lathe does not have a cross slide and you want to add one, any cross slide (Levin, Wolf Jahn, Derbyshire, etc.) made for these machines will work just fine. Another tool you may want to add later is a face plate. The LEVIN face plate is just a round plate with a bunch of threaded holes drilled into it attached to an 8mm adapter. This you can make yourself.
    RG tools is a store that sells through Ebay. They do not make anything themselvs. I am pretty sure that the four jaw chuck I bought from them was made in China. The name on the chuck box is HBM; whoever they are. If you search through all of the watch lathe pages on Ebay you will find RG tools. They are located in England.
    david

    #52746
    tmac1956
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    @david pierce wrote:

    Tmac,
    The LEVIN lathe uses the same 8mm collets that the headstock uses. This is one of the features that make the lathe so nice. If your lathe does not have a cross slide and you want to add one, any cross slide (Levin, Wolf Jahn, Derbyshire, etc.) made for these machines will work just fine. Another tool you may want to add later is a face plate. The LEVIN face plate is just a round plate with a bunch of threaded holes drilled into it attached to an 8mm adapter. This you can make yourself.
    RG tools is a store that sells through Ebay. They do not make anything themselvs. I am pretty sure that the four jaw chuck I bought from them was made in China. The name on the chuck box is HBM; whoever they are. If you search through all of the watch lathe pages on Ebay you will find RG tools. They are located in England.
    david

    David:

    Thanks – I’ll find them. You really are an expert. Regarding the collets…
    I sent a message to the people at Sincereclocks to see if they made collets with American threads that would work with my Levin. Below is their response:

    hello,
    more tks for ur message.
    our collets thread is 7×0.75

    Any thoughts if these numbers match the Levin threads?

    Thanks again – I apologize for all of the questions.
    tmac

    #52747
    arutha
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    I dont think it matters a great deal if their collets have a different thread, I belive their draw bars are quite cheap so if you do buy their collets just get one of their draw bars to go with it. If you know anyone with a lathe its not too difficult to make one, it is only a length of steel tube with an internal thread at one end and a handle to tighten at the other.

    #52748
    tmac1956
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    @Arutha wrote:

    I dont think it matters a great deal if their collets have a different thread, I belive their draw bars are quite cheap so if you do buy their collets just get one of their draw bars to go with it. If you know anyone with a lathe its not too difficult to make one, it is only a length of steel tube with an internal thread at one end and a handle to tighten at the other.

    Great advise.

    Thanks!

    #52749
    david pierce
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    Tmac,
    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.
    david

    #52750
    tmac1956
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    • Topics Started: 171
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    @david pierce wrote:

    Tmac,
    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.
    david

    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.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Watchmakers-Levin-8MM-lathe-with-collet-holding-tailstock-/290844533485?nma=true&si=q%252BLmZ5aPINWbIJDKZcp6jFRJWXA%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    Thanks for the lathe background.

    tmac

    #52751
    david pierce
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    Tmac,
    You hit the jackpot with this machine. WOW! You definately do not want to go with another drawbar. Did you order the motor yet? Measure some staffs and staff material and get those collets first.
    david

    #52752
    tmac1956
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    • Topics Started: 171
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    @david pierce wrote:

    Tmac,
    You hit the jackpot with this machine. WOW! You definately do not want to go with another drawbar. Did you order the motor yet? Measure some staffs and staff material and get those collets first.
    david

    I haven’t gotten a motor yet, but I’ve settled on a Merlin and using different pulley combinations per one of our ealier discussions. I will certainly start stocking up on Starrett collets.

    Again… thanks for your advise!

    tmac

    #52754
    tmac1956
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    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    @david pierce wrote:

    Tmac,
    You hit the jackpot with this machine. WOW! You definately do not want to go with another drawbar. Did you order the motor yet? Measure some staffs and staff material and get those collets first.
    david

    David:

    More dumb questions if you can abide….

    Do I need to find some sort of centering tool for tail stock to hold and collet size to match?

    Thanks,
    Tom

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tmac1956Lathe collets…