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  1. #1
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    Default Toolmakers lathe

    I live in an apartment and so space is a very limiting factor. My father on the other hand has been getting more and more as us kids have moved out. He has been talking about getting a precision toolmakers lathe for some time now and I'm sort of in it with him. At this point I think my understanding of these machines has surpassed his and I try to aid him in what to look for. He has an old Myford with a bent leadscrew lying around without much tooling for it and no base. So he's looking to get something useable.

    I found an old Boley toolroom lathe at an online auction in Sweden the other day. It was similar to a 5LZ but still different in many ways. Came with a comprehensive set of collets and gears for thread cutting. 15 instead of the standard 25 for the 5LZ. The machine weighs close to 800kgs though as everything is cast iron and he didn't like the look of it. Lots of grime and some surface rust. I tried convincing him that for the price and accessories it was still a very good fixer upper (about 1300 dollars). He decided to pass on it, I even came close to buying it for myself but I have no place to keep it.

    This leads me to the question at hand: do you gentlemen have any suggestions on what to look for? I hear Myford in general is popular. And Altas. I'm looking for a metric machine that is well thought out, takes collets and is easily equippable. Should I avoid plain bearings? Are they harder to service/replace than rollers?

    Surface rust on a machine this size, how much of a complicating factor is it?
    On this machine the rusted surfaces were the ones people had touched a lot. Outside of chuck, handwheels etc. The bed looked terrible at first look but I think it was just grease and dust. Still, 800kgs is a lot to move around and moved around it would have to be until his workshop is completed. That lathe is gone now though so I'd just like some pointers on what to keep my eyes open for!

    Best regards
    Karl

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: karlmansson)

    Hi Karl,

    It helps to know exactly what type of jobs he would like to do , in order to recommend a size. You mention thread cutting. If he wants to do alot of it, then a QCGB would be very helpful. I have an Atlas 618 and occasionally have to cut an imperial or metric thread, and it is a pain to change all the gears manually.

    Spindle bore size can be important, again depending on the types of jobs. And the bigger the lathe, the more expensive the accessories.

    David
    David S

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: David S)

    Thanks for the input David! I tried pressing him for a little information on what he thought he'd do with it and suggested he might do some vehicular repairs and bike repairs on a larger lathe to which he replied "What? Oh no, not car stuff...". He's being a bit cryptical but he's said he'd want it more for "fine mechanics". Which I interpret mostly as anything between clock stuff and bicycle repair. It's going to be a hobby lathe but he likes robust old equipment. Although he did find the Boley to be a bit too chunky... He's a HAM radio guy too and I think he has in mind to manufacture parts for that.
    I intend to borrow it at some point for case making for wristwatches. He was very keen on getting a Schaublin 102 that popped up recently but sold the same day, if that gives you an idea of size and bore size.

    Karl
    Last edited by karlmansson; 02-28-2017 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: karlmansson)

    I gather old lathes of the sort of size and specifications you may have in the back of your mind are very difficult to find. A metric Myford may be a good choice, as you can also still get the accessories and there is a large second-hand market in the UK at least.

    If the lathe is to be used in an appartment, the maximum floor-load may be an important consideration. I gather most residential buildings have a maximum load of 500 kg/sqm, which would have ruled out the Boley.

    Do you know Tony Griffiths' site: www.lathes.co.uk ? It makes you drool, but unfortunately most of the machines are not made anymore. However, flicking through it help you to shape your ideas and then you can look in a more targeted way on the second-hand market.

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: wefalck)

    Thank you wefalck!

    No, the lathe is to be used on a concrete floor I think. It will be at his house, not mine.

    Yes, I am aware of lathes.co.uk, it's a great site! I wa however surprised to not find the Boley lathe offered on there. Not that it is of much relevance anymore but if someone could identify it I would be curious to know what it was. It doesn't have the "apron" as the 5LZ does. Otherwise it's a similar bed length and center height.

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: karlmansson)

    Alright, he intends to useit for "fine mechanical service and prototyping, electronics related application primarily in the HF area, microwave and such. Antennas, filters and connector housings.". Still no word on sizing though. It sounds very small. He would probably get away with something as small as a Schaublin 70. Or of similar center height. Any suggestions?

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: karlmansson)

    Would thread-cutting be part of the job-description ?

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: wefalck)

    Probably. If he doensn't have using taps and dies for everything, and I don't think he does, it would include cutting threads for connector seatings and other things.

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: karlmansson)

    Thread-cutting capability would rule out the smaller Schaublins unless you can find one of the really expensive screw-cutting attachements that drive their top-slide.

    The same applies to any of the so-called bench-type lathes.

    I gather you would end up with one of the Chinese-made lathes that are sold under various brands or a PROXXON one, if you don't go, indeed, for Myford. There are virtually no European manufacturers of small engine lathes, except, Myford and PROXXON anymore.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: wefalck)

    By the way, I wonder who's really behind the production of these lathes :

    The Bergeon WW50 :
    http://www.lathes.co.uk/bergeon2/page2.html

    and the Leinen :
    http://www.boley.de/shop/4581.drehmaschinen

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: Moebius)

    Ad 1: https://www.bergeon.ch/ ... they used to have production sites at various towns/villages around the Swiss Jura, but I could imagine that now they also produce overseas. There was/is a cluster of tool-makers around Le Locle.

    Ad 2: https://www.boley.de ... same provisa with respect to actual production sites; they used to be located in Esslingen, but now seem to have their headquarters in the major city nearby, in Stuttgart. The story of Boley vs. Boley & Leinen vs. Leinen seems to be quite complicated.

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: wefalck)

    Hi wefalck,

    ...There are virtually no European manufacturers of small engine lathes, except, Myford and PROXXON anymore...
    Would you count the Cowells 90ME as too small? It has screw-cutting capabilities.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: gmorse)

    Oops, forgot these guys. They make good stuff. Visited the production site once ...

    However, the Cowells 90ME essentially is a glorified watchmakers lathe (the 90CW) with a 50 mm centre height. Prices are considerable.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: wefalck)

    Hi wefalck,

    Quote Originally Posted by wefalck View Post
    ...However, the Cowells 90ME essentially is a glorified watchmakers lathe (the 90CW) with a 50 mm centre height. Prices are considerable.
    I won't disagree with the point about the prices, they are expensive but they're very solidly hand-built and fitted to very close tolerances. However, the 90ME doesn't accept collets as standard, (although there is an adaptor available), it accepts various chucks and has amongst other features a cross-slide, lead screw, back-gearing, screw-cutting ability, auto longitudinal feed, and is a very capable and accurate small lathe. I don't regard mine as a watchmaker's lathe by any means, that role is filled by my 6mm Lorch. By the way, in case you're wondering, I didn't buy it new, I'm not that rich!

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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    Default Re: Toolmakers lathe (By: gmorse)

    That's a good point about the 90ME, that it doesn't take collets, while the 90CW takes the standard WW collets. Before I got my Lorch WW-kit with screw-cutting attachment, I thought about talking to them to see, whether one couldn't have the 90ME with a 90CW headstock ... or even better a backgeared 90ME headstock with a collet-taking spindle.

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