8mm Chinese collets

Buffomarinus

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Mar 7, 2020
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G'Day gang,

I just purchased a used 8mm Webster/Whitcomb lathe on the "Bay." Considering the current world situation with Covid and international mail services it will probably be a month or two before it reaches me. In the mean time, I'm keen to prepare for its eventual arrival.

The machine has a few collets and accessories that will come with it, but there isn't an extensive range of accessories included. Can anyone tell me if the 8mm collets used on the Chinese watchmaker's lathe being sold on the "Bay" ("Sincere") will function with a Yank lathe like the 8mm W.W.? Is the draw bar supplied with the Chinese collets also compatible? I've no problem with either modifying the draw bar or even turning up a new one if necessary.

Any thoughts on this, as usual, would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Rob
FNQ,Au
 

Buffomarinus

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G'Day Bila,

What problems did you have?

My small shop lathe is Chinese. Admittedly I had to do a bit of tuning to get it up to scratch, but compared to, lets say, a Myford 7, it was well within my budget.

I notice that YouTube watch repairman Mark Lovick uses a Chinese lathe and collets and seems very satisfied with the machine and its accuracy.

Rob
 

Bila

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Not so much of a problem if you are using them with a Chinese lathe Rob, I thought you had a WW and were going to use them on it, sorry.
 

Buffomarinus

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G'Day Bila,

Thanks for the rapid reply...

Yes, I do have a Yank W.W. I'm just curious about the difficulties of adapting the Chinese manufactured 8mm.

The "proper" W.W. collets "used and abused" are scarce and bloody expensive. Derbyshire collets (see attached image) are available as "new" replacements, but the price per collet, by the time I did the dollar exchange and paid the international postage, would cost me far more then $100 USD per collet!

Hence my question.

Rob

Factory collets 1.jpg
 

Bila

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The threads and fitment into the head-stock taper of the Chinese collet's are the problem Rob, I would keep looking for a good set of quality used collet's from the net, it will be a much happier experience in my opinion/experience.
 

Buffomarinus

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G'Day Bila,

Will do; sounds like good advice. I'm hoping the collets that are coming with the machine are, possibly, all the sizes I'm likely to use and need.

Thanks again for responding so quickly,

Rob

FNQ,Au
 

Jerry Kieffer

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G'Day gang,

I just purchased a used 8mm Webster/Whitcomb lathe on the "Bay." Considering the current world situation with Covid and international mail services it will probably be a month or two before it reaches me. In the mean time, I'm keen to prepare for its eventual arrival.

The machine has a few collets and accessories that will come with it, but there isn't an extensive range of accessories included. Can anyone tell me if the 8mm collets used on the Chinese watchmaker's lathe being sold on the "Bay" ("Sincere") will function with a Yank lathe like the 8mm W.W.? Is the draw bar supplied with the Chinese collets also compatible? I've no problem with either modifying the draw bar or even turning up a new one if necessary.

Any thoughts on this, as usual, would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Rob
FNQ,Au
Rob
Just to be up front, it is well known that I am not a fan of machines and tooling from China and India. Another words my comments could be considered bias.

As with many over the years, I have owned and used some Machines and tooling made in China including The Chinese collets. As with other items, Quality was not consistent from item to item with the same issues as Bila. While I can go into many details, let me say that my worst beat up vintage hardened and ground (Chinese collets are not hardened and ground) used collet, is far superior to any of my full set of Chinese collets I no longer own. Now my biased rant. When comparing the limited capabilities and work quality achievable on my Chinese equipment and tooling to my quality equipment and tooling, they are some of the most expensive items I own if you get my drift.
I would second Bila`s suggestion of accumulating used brand name collets and or set of collets. They will come along if you are a little patient.

There is one other option if cost and the inconvenience of waiting is an issue.

Sherline manufactures their own ww collets in the USA.

There are some differences that should be noted.
While fit, finish as well as accuracy is the same as brand name vintage collets, they are supplied as work hardened. What this basically means is that if used on a daily basis without blatant abuse, they may only last a lifetime or so. While hardened and ground collets may last several lifetimes. The upside is that they are readily available for replacement if something should happen.

Personally, for daily use, I use a full set of these collets along side a full set of levin collets. Collets are then selected for their greatest advantage.

I am using WW collets for both the Lathe and milling machine and they are certainly not void of abuse.

Some things I like about these collets

(1) Accuracy is exceptional for the cost

(2) being unhardened, I can simply machine the collet for a specific application and then simply replace where the job cost cost of a collet is justified.

(3) A unhardened collet will actually hold a work piece more securely, but really comes into play when securely holding drills, endmills and micro tooling in a Milling machine.

They are supplied individually and in various size sets per attached sample link.


Jerry Kieffer
 
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Buffomarinus

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Mar 7, 2020
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G'Day Jerry,

Thanks for the input of this.

I've managed to get one example of a Chinese 8mm collet through the "Bay." It was pretty cheap price wise. I'll have a bit of a play with it and see what they are like.

In the meantime, I'll wait for my Webster/Whitcomb from North America before I lash out for anything.

Thanks for the good advice, both Jerry and Bila. Much appreciated.

Stay healthy, safe and happy for the up and coming holiday season.

Cheers,

Rob

FNQ,Au
 

Dr. Jon

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FWIW I bought a Chinese 8mm saw arbor. It almost fits into my Boley Lathe. This collet has right basic size and tpaer but the wrong thread. I can pull up a few turns on the draw bar and it it locks up.

I suspect you can use Chinese collets on a Chinese lathe but if mine is typical they will not fully seat on an American or European 8mm lathe.

There is an alternative.

For larger tooling I buy from Shars. They buy Chinese stuff and either insect it on site or have some arrangement in which they avoid the really bad stuff.

There is or was a German company that buys Chinese watch lathes and refinishes them.

I do not know how typical my wrong thread problem is. If there is aproblem you amy get around it by simply buyig a Chinese 8mm draw bar. This is what will likely do when I need to use the saw arbor.
 

Buffomarinus

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Mar 7, 2020
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G'Day Dr. Jon,

I can well imagine that the metric thread would be different on the Chinese collets. Universal standards are generally respected on ball and roller bearings, but rarely with anything else. Making a new draw bar with the proper thread and outer configuration could well solve the problem of adapting these cheaper collets to a European or Yank lathe.

Having access to a larger, precision lathe, I'm willing to give this a go when my W.W. lathe arrives sometime next month.

Many thanks for your response Jon,

Rob
 

sharukh

NAWCC Member
Oct 10, 2011
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FWIW I bought a Chinese 8mm saw arbor. It almost fits into my Boley Lathe. This collet has right basic size and tpaer but the wrong thread. I can pull up a few turns on the draw bar and it it locks up.

I suspect you can use Chinese collets on a Chinese lathe but if mine is typical they will not fully seat on an American or European 8mm lathe.

There is an alternative.

For larger tooling I buy from Shars. They buy Chinese stuff and either insect it on site or have some arrangement in which they avoid the really bad stuff.

There is or was a German company that buys Chinese watch lathes and refinishes them.

I do not know how typical my wrong thread problem is. If there is aproblem you amy get around it by simply buyig a Chinese 8mm draw bar. This is what will likely do when I need to use the saw arbor.
After our recent punch up (literally) between the Indian army and the PLA at the border at Galwan, a lot of goods from China are now unavailable to us in India. Good riddance. This means no ebay purchases, no banggood, no aliexpress etc.

I'm giving Indian manufacturers for ER collets a keen look at present. I've found stuff that is really well manufactured as well as some sub standard stuff. The prices are very competitive.

The chinese 8mm collets have a 7mm thread unless they specifically mention that the collet is WW then the thread will be .275" 40tpi. The workaround, as you mentioned, is to buy a drawbar along with the collet(s). I remember seeing a double ended drawbar that had the two different size threads at each end and a sliding knob that locked up with a set screw.

IIRC the ebay vendor went by the name of merlintools but seems to have now disappeared. I remember corresponding with another clock repair person who was very satisfied with the 10mm collets from this vendor. He had a Pultra 10mm lathe.

Vector sells rebranded and better quality watchmaker lathes from China.

Sharukh
 

Buffomarinus

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Mar 7, 2020
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G'Day Sharukh,

Let me know what you find with that "keen look" at Indian manufacturers. I'm especially interested in any quality, comparable 8mm collets you might come across.

I purchased a complete set of Carbide insert turning tool holders, including a boring bar, from an Indian manufacturer quite a few year ago. The holders are excellent and have easily handled the harsh lathe work I have put them to. The whole set, including the boring bar, was a little more then the price of a single western made tool. The precision and individual finish of each tool, unlike some Chinese equivalents, was superb.

Thanks for your response.

Rob
 

Buffomarinus

Registered User
Mar 7, 2020
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Far North Queensland, Australia
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The Webster-Whitcomb lathe arrived today and what a beauty! The bed is perfect except for a very minor blemish in the chrome above the logo. There is little, if any, surface rust to be seen. I haven't disassemble the head stock yet, but the operation is smooth with no discernible end float or radial movement. I have no idea how old the lathe is, but over all it looks like it has seen little work in the past and was well maintained and stored.
I've attached a few photos of the new watch repair "toy."

As I also have an incredible, complete IME lathe coming that has a full collection of collets, cross slide and three jaw chuck, I may be putting the WW up for sale locally. If I do sell it, I'll make up a proper timber case with a basic selection of collets. Can anyone tell me what "basic" collet sizes were usually supplied with these lathes in the smaller boxed sets Lathe bed.jpg Razor blade test.jpg Rear view.jpg Side view 3.jpg Tail stock end.jpg WW signature.jpg ?
 

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