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Lathe recomendations please


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Like most things it is easy to make the initial purchase but the other expenses that come after are a different kettle of fish. In the case of a lathe -tools, tool posts, chucks, chuck keys, DTIs (dial test indicators), verniers / micrometers, live centers the list goes on.

James, I think you said they are like telescopes - once your buy, you just cant stop!!!

The other thing about buying a lathe similar to the one I linked to is how much wear there is on the bed / slides / tail-stocks. Again for the hobbyist / amateur the level of accuracy is not the same as for a commercial venture

Ian

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The most popular these days are the so-called "mini lathes" of around 90mm centre height (you can swing a diameter of 180mm - about 7") and a between centre distance of 300mm. They come in new at aro

I have a Chester Conquest Super (I think the non-Super model might be too small). Unless you're thinking you'd need to machine large parts I'd say its about the right size, as Roger suggests. It was

aaaah....can't even read this thread, the three things I ever lusted after. (besides my telescope).. a) a toolmakers lathe, and the skill to use it: a boat like "spray", and the skill and time to sai

Yess that would be the dogs, but just a wee bit big. I'd have nowhere to put such big machine. I need to be realistic about how much I will use it and what for. I have a couple of projects in mind, but they could be done on a hobby lathe. If I get too adventurous, its gonna cost me a fortune. I only need to be able to turn, bore and make threads.

Most smallish adaptors only cost a few quid, so I would have to make quite a few before the lathe paid for itself. There are some things that can't be bought or haven't been invented yet. Thats what it will be most useful for,

Another question;

When it comes to cutting internal and external threads, is it one tool or many tools.??

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The other thing about buying a lathe similar to the one I linked to is how much wear there is on the bed / slides / tail-stocks. Again for the hobbyist / amateur the level of accuracy is not the same as for a commercial venture

Ian

Thats where the skill comes in, finding the wear and adjusting for it.

We have a very worn Colchester at work, its taken me a few years to workout it's wear and still it catchs me out,

then I'm no expert and I don't have to do intricate stuff. :grin:

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I only need to be able to turn, bore and make threads.

Most smallish adaptors only cost a few quid, so I would have to make quite a few before the lathe paid for itself. There are some things that can't be bought or haven't been invented yet. Thats what it will be most useful for,

Another question;

When it comes to cutting internal and external threads, is it one tool or many tools.??

Turning small parts is where I've found mine most useful. There are some little things you just can't buy, and it's really nice to be able to make, say, a spacer of exactly the size youj need rather than faffing about with combinations of commercially produced ones to get the spacing you're after. As a result of another thread yesterday I'm now going to make a replacement tube for a 2" SCT diagonal to allow me to fit it to a standard push-fit focuser rather than leaving it sitting in a draw unused.

Of course if you're making stuff in aluminium then sooner or later you're going to want to splash out (as it were) on some anodising gear, too :) I've not done that as yet, but whilst spraying stuff with black barbeque paint is ok, it's not brilliant and I'm sure it's only a matter of time :)

The tools for turning threads are different for internal and external and for metric and Imperial. When cutting a male thread you'd use a straight tool with a 60 degree (for metric) cutting point. To cut a female thread you use the same type of cutting point, but on a right-angled tool that is inserted from the end of the workpiece. I've taken to turning a female thread up the inside of anything that will have light passing through it. Imperial threads are 55 degrees. Because the threads on astro gear are often only two or three turns deep I've found it easier to cut them turning the lathe by hand. The quick way to do that is to set up all the leadscrew gearing and then put the key in the chuck to allow it to be rotated easily. It's rather neater to make up a mandrel for the headstock spindle (which is hollow) and put a crank handle on the end. It does work very neatly though. I really didn't expect my first attempt at thread-cutting to work, but it came out perfectly.

James

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I vaguely remember doing the manual chuck turning thing in an apprenticeship a million years ago. I may have to delve into the inner recesses of my memory banks and try to locate it. This could be like reliving my youth all over again, but without the girls. :smiley:

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So far I have managed to buy and bodge bits and pieces for my astro kit but in several cases it has meant a lot of filing and many hours of quite hard work. Also, if I had a lathe I could turn various adjusters for things like lining up the framing between multiple imaging sets. Current system is a right bodge-up and several changes of plan :D Not having the right dimensions on adapters etc. has meant having to add spacers to get the spacing right. Too many years (decades) ago to contemplate my father taught me how to use a small lathe to turn small items up to about 4" diameter. He was an engineer and tool maker by trade.

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Not involved with Model Engineers Workshop honest but have seen step by step instructions on Anodising, Bristol exhibition would be a good place to start looking but prepare to be overwhelmed by the variety of tools on offer, that is if you can get over the models and workmanship on display. A trip to your local society is a very good idea my guess would be the more difficult the item you ask them to make you the more chance of getting it done and you may not need a lathe! Of course they will press gang you into a talk on astronomy so it will work both way's

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Well I am surprised Gina. With your upbringing, and seeing what you get up to on here, I would have thought you would have had a lathe for years.

Yes, I've always wanted one but they've been too expensive in the past. I might just get one yet :D
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I purchased my Lathe some 25 years back my first job i done on it to get the outlay of money back was 100 of these,,,the materials were free and i sold them for £5 each....still have the lathe a Acorn 16 speed, 10" swing, screw cutting ect so this is the object no doubt somebody will know what use its put to.....

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I had a look on the Model Engineers Workshop website. Interesting place and if you search the forum you can find tons of useful info. Its just like here, post a question and get a 100 answers. :smiley:

I have my eye on a couple of Warco machines, so I'm hoping there might be a deal to be had at the Bristol exhibition in August.

The key looks familiar, but couldn't be sure what it is for. Spring tensioner or old radiators perhaps.

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I vaguely remember doing the manual chuck turning thing in an apprenticeship a million years ago. I may have to delve into the inner recesses of my memory banks and try to locate it. This could be like reliving my youth all over again, but without the girls. :smiley:

Ho, ho...yes, that was exactly what it was like for me but without the stink of all that coolant they used in the basic training workshop.

Pete.

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I had a look on the Model Engineers Workshop website. Interesting place and if you search the forum you can find tons of useful info. Its just like here, post a question and get a 100 answers. :smiley:

I have my eye on a couple of Warco machines, so I'm hoping there might be a deal to be had at the Bristol exhibition in August.

The key looks familiar, but couldn't be sure what it is for. Spring tensioner or old radiators perhaps.

Not even warm........ :grin:

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Warco do offer a lot of machine for the money. I've used them and they have done a good job. Ok they're not Colchester / Harrison

quality but perfect for most turning you'll ever encounter doing astro work.

If you doo look at second hand Colchesters etc, make sure it is a sound machine as spares are difficult to get hold of and even

simple spare parts are massively expensive.

If you do find a good colchester, and good ones are out there, it might be worth stretching your budget as it will hold it's value very well if you ever decided to sell.

And get the largest machine your budget and space allows. There's no such thing as a lathe that's too big :smiley:

Dave.

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I have owned a few lathes over the years. Trouble is whenever I move house I end up having to sell the thing. It is something that i kept in mind two/three years ago when I brought a Warco WMT300 lathe.

I have had Myford, Harrison and Colchester but as pointed out in other posts these are getting very expensive.

The Myford Super 7 was one of my favorites for a small lathe, it was the amount of accessories that are available for them that increases appeal.!! I chose the Warco on the grounds of the quantity of things that came with the package, but still ended up spending a lot extra on accessories that wasnt inc. I dont think they do the WMT300 any longer, it is a 'manual' (belt / pulley drive) which I prefer to variable speed typ since more to go wrong with them. It does have a reverse drive switch which on occasion can be very useful.

Two things to keep in mind, max swing over the bed and swing over the compound slide. These predetermine just how large a workpiece can be managed. Oh... and when I come to sell this one, I know they do sell quite well on second hand market!

Boyd

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Forgot to mention in previous post, the other reason I chose this m/c was the spindle bore which is 26mm. This allows for 1" bar to be inserted into chuck and extend out of the m/c... believe me, at some point you will find this useful!

Boyd

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I think I shall be getting a lathe sometime in the future. Two things need sorting out first - the space/place to put it and the funds to buy it. I have things other than astro related that it would be very useful for. Trouble is, I seem to keep buying astro kit and finding it hard to accumulate any funds :D

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