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August 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm #48353
So I’m looking at an old set of turns.( I was born 100 years too late , and I’m of German descent, so we HAVE TO do it the difficult way ..ok, joking aside I like the idea of the control you get with a bow driven setup) But I’m also getting the idea that I need a lathe eventually. Lots of choices, so I’m turning to all of you for some help in what to look for.
8MM appears to be the popular size, but outside the basic lathe/motor set up, what do I need for a starter setup ? Collets I’m guessing, a tip over rest, wax chuck, etc. Can I safely piece this together so long as I know that the lathe is tight ??? Any direction is greatly appreciated…
RandyAugust 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm #52164willofiamModerator
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Hey Randy, I too am of German decent, soooo that explains what my wife has been telling me for years 🙄 I am no expert on the lathes but I do think you have to be careful about what fits on your lathe bed and the height of center from that, say…. if you bought a tail-stock, or a steady rest ect…. I asked the same question on here some time ago, check out the forum for past subjects on the lathe. Bob is the guy to get good advice and he has recommended to me a Sherline, also mentioning the setups from overseas being pretty good and reasonably priced but I havent heard anything else. But as you may know, blaming my descendents,,, I ended up with a 8mm Boley and a Unimat. I use the Boley for most things, I like lathe work by hand (former wood turning on the lathe) and Bobs videos are pretty good explaining how the jewelers lathe can do most of what you need. I have a good assortment of collets and have added some, all different name brands, and have made other lathe parts. I am a clock guy and it looks like you may be working on watches so there may be things that you smarter guys would use than me . Keep an eye out for the whole kit and kaboodle from someone retiring, can be spendy, maybe not, but wow, I would like…..and already set up with everything. Uncle Larrys sometimes has setups for good prices also….I also like the foot-peddle, allows me to address thing quickly. Well, just a quick response for you, have fun and dont ever give up, WilliamAugust 25, 2012 at 8:39 am #52165
Thanks for the great reply William.
I was thinking that my best bet was to buy a complete set ( costly maybe ) but I know that improves my odds of getting parts that all match up.
I think that I’ll still pick up the turns,..just for the initial experience until I gather enough cash-ola to get a good lathe.
Boleys are definitely ones that I’ve been looking at, but I’ll also check out the Sherlines.
All my best,
RandyAugust 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm #52166david pierceParticipant
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Willofiam and Randy,
I would like to throw in my two cents worth. For small precision parts the Chinese lathe from various suppliers such as Sincere is an excellant lathe. The accessories such as cross slide, tailstock, gear cutting, dividing attachments, precision drilling attachments are available and affordable. It is a very high precision machine and will produce a highly polished finish on small pivots with just a turning tool. On tiny parts the precision becomes more critical because the error introduced from the spindle can be a sizable percentage of the part diameter. The tail stock takes ww collets and actually lines up with the spindle. The bad points are it is a small light duty lathe for small high precision parts. It was neither designed for large parts nor heavy cuts. The other point is the model I bought had a different thread form than the standard 8mm ww collets. I solved the problem by ordering a tap from Merlin tools and running it through the drawtubes. I believe now the lathe can be purchased with the standard thread but in any case this was a very minor problem.
For clock parts a bigger lathe with a different belt system would be a better choice. An “A” belt can deliver a lot more power from the motor to the spindle than the round watch lathe belts. Also, a watch lathe motor is not a powerful motor in the first place. By virtue of the size of clock parts compared to watch parts, precision is not as much of an issue as power. Trying to drill a 1/4 inch hole through a brass or steel plate is very difficult to do with a watchmaker lathe. A Sherline or a Taig will not have anywhere near the precision of the smaller watchmaker lathe but will have the power and enough precision to make clock parts. The last time I looked, Sherline lathes were expensive. The Taig is offered at a much lower price, has the same precision as the Sherline and has a bigger motor.
For ultra ultra precision, larger than watchmaker size, and a powerful motor, take a look at the Derbyshire Instrument Lathes. The Sherlines have gotten so expensive it would probably be worth it to kick in a couple more thousand dollars and go with the best lathe of that size in the world.
David PierceAugust 26, 2012 at 8:24 am #52167
Really appreciate the information.
I’ll check out the Sincere line of tools.
RandySeptember 3, 2012 at 8:40 am #52168david pierceParticipant
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By the way, if you ever get a chance to look at a beautifully polished shinny watch through a 40x or even a 20x microscope what you will see will give you a whole different perspective on the subject of precision. You will not be able to see this with a loupe. As the optics become more powerful the depth of field decreases to a point where the human body can’t maintain the focusing distance. This is why watchmaker loupes usually go up to 10x and are generally not available in more powerful sizes. in any case the gears, pivots, plates and other parts at 20x or 40x look like they were formed with a chisel and sledgehammer.
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