Lathe or mill?

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  • #48935
    vanhooglesnort
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    • Topics Started: 10
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    I have a GREAT Peerless lathe, but obviously attachments are rare, worn out, and pricey. I’m having a running debate in my head about how to proceed. Mostly I’m a watch guy, and I’m seriously considering a Sincere… but I want to build a clock from scratch from my own design. I also want to keep doing the small quantity of clocks that I seem to get. I also want to do more watchmaker lathe functions, including cutting wheels and pinions, but can’t get the tooling for my Peerless. I think this leaves me with two options. I’m considering a buying both the Sincere and a small mill with attachments and tooling in order to make attachments and tooling for my Peerless. This would give me most of the capabilities I want, without a good way to turn larger stock.

    I’m also considering a larger lathe with milling attachment and tooling. This should allow me to make tooling and attachments for the Peerless, turn larger stock, and do everything except turn watch wheel and pinions. I can’t figure out a good way to make an indexing rig for the Peerless, and a larger lathe (that I can afford) won’t be precise enough.

    So I guess I’m asking those of you with more machining experience and skill than me to point out flaws in my logic or limitations in my suggested setups. I’ve never tried to mill with a lathe, so I don’t know about capabilities. I’ve also never tried to make attachments for my Peerless before, so I don’t know about MY capabilities. Maybe there’s a setup that is around the same budget level with more capabilities? A larger instrument lathe with tooling and milling attachments would be ideal, but I just can’t afford it. Total budget is ~$3K.

    Did I also mention I don’t have a ton of space?

    Thanks smart people.

    #56545
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
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    If you are considering a sincere then why do you want to keep the Peerless? You can buy just about anything for the Sincere so you can do all of your watch work gear cutting, milling etc on the sincere.
    If you want a bigger lathe then keep your eye out for a good used lathe. They do come up from time to time and if you are prepared to take a drive as the seller will only sell on collection only you can still grab a bargain because nobody else can be bothered to go and pick it up.
    get the Sincere, sell the Peerless and then you will have some money to find a nice used bigger lathe to make your clock with. :)
    Paul.

    #56546
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    hey vanhooglesnort, I am not very smart but I see Paul…. who is very smart…. has given some good advice…..I know your dilemma, I have recently gone thru the exact same thing this last 1 1/2 years and I am sure I wont be able to help much, maybe create more confusion….. I also want to do it all, watches, clocks, make clocks, make watch parts ect…ect….you can look at my shop pictures and see what I have done so far 🙄 not sure if I have over-killed it or not, I recently seen a u tube video of a guy cutting clock gears with a tiny clock gear cutter, they are not cheap but looks to be a fast way of doing it and would probably work for watch gears also….anyway to make a long story short I have upgraded and bargained my way up to the machinery I have for less of a budget than what you have and I fear it is not over yet….so I say if you have the space get one of everything 🙄 sell everything except the shop and youll be able to afford it….well…..not really….(just ask Paul for a loan). the way I see it is I can always change my mind, sell what I have to acquire what I need when it becomes time to do so. some of my thoughts are; how big of a clock do you want to build? will your equipment handle it? remember attachments and tooling, they are expensive for any machine. be patient, write up a plan, do the homework, alot of used equipment is in really good shape for a decent price with tooling. now that I have re read this it makes me more confused, at the least have some fun with it :D . currently cutting my first clock deadbeat escape wheel with the mill for practice, I think this large of a machine will do small pieces rather nicely. now I just need to learn how to add and subtract. William

    #56547
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Van,
    Instead of a lathe or a mill how about a lathe AND a mill. For 3k you can get just about everything you need with the Sincere and still have enough left over for a Central Machinery (Harbor Freight) bench mill. All of this can be looked at on Youtube. With the Harbor Freight bench mill and a rotary table you can turn a clock gear blank with an end mill. The hole in the center of the gear can be bored with a boreing head and boreing bar. The spokes can be milled out precisely with an end mill cutter and a rotary table. You can’t turn a long shaft this way but it works well for circular flat pieces.
    david

    #56548
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    David,
    the only issue he would have then is when he came to turn the barrel arbors and maybe some of the bigger arbors for the clock, what size of material does the sincere 4 jaw chuck take?
    Am I correct in thinking their collets only go up to 7mm?
    Paul.

    #56549
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Paul,
    The Sincere is a regular 8mm geneva style lathe and will take the same 8mm accessories as his Peerless, once the American standard drawbar is installed. In the previous blog I was refering to actually turning a gear blank on a milling machine using a rotary table and an endmill. It will work for flat pieces but not for shafts. A decent size lathe like the one you have will turn a blank a lot more quickly but it can also be done on a mill as well. As far as a long shaft goes, a lathe is certainly the best choice if not the only choice.
    david

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vanhooglesnortLathe or mill?