Finally pulled the trigger on a little lathe/mill!

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by brian fisher, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    I've been looking for something along these lines for a good while now. The catalyst that finally pushed me over the edge is that I needed to have caps made for my 13 tube Jacques. after pricing out the cost of having them done, i decided that this money could be better put toward a "forever" tool. Kind of like: give a man a fish, he eats for a day. teach him to fish......

    s1jRk9.jpg

    it arrived with a little minor damage. the guy i bought it from did a really nice job of packing it up. in spite of this, the motor bracket and the power feed shaft arrived bent....because...well....fedex ground.

    i spent a couple hours fooling around with it today and was able to straighten everything out to my satisfaction.

    as you can see in the pic, this one came with a lot of very expensive accessories. in fact, just the add-ons sell on ebay for more than i paid for the entire lathe. they guy i bought it from buys and sells metal working machines and tooling for a living. he knew i was getting a good deal but was just happy to see it being sold to someone who would cherrish it.

    Accessories:

    power feed attachment is connected to the lathe.

    From left to right:

    a box of misc. bolts and various spare parts

    Dividing table (48 tooth gear) attached to round mill table

    3 jaw chuck (spare set of jaws but one jaw is missing a couple of teeth)

    4 jaw chuck

    mounting plate with dog

    1/4" drill chuck

    2 live centers and 2 dead centers

    milling attachment

    rectangular milling table

    machine vice

    4 hold downs for the tables

    original set of cutters with almost no use on them

    this lathe has been used very sparingly. i have my doubts it has even been used more than 20-30 times and seems to have been well taken care of.

    I purchased a 10 foot section of neoprene belting material. the lathe still has its original set of leather belts. they seem to be in really good condtion.


    here is a litte vid of my starting it up for the first time:

     
    chimeclockfan, bruce linde and PatH like this.
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    there is a lot to play with there!
     
  3. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    NICE! Variable speed?

    Now comes the fun part: learning how to use all the extras. (My experience is limited to just a couple of classes, but it really can be fun and rewarding.) Looking forward to seeing and hearing what you are able to accomplish with this addition to your shop.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Brian,

    You do have a lot of goodies there, these are ingenious little machines! One thing to beware of when using the power feed is that there doesn't appear to be a limit knockout stop on it, so you could drive the tool into the chuck if you don't pay close attention. I have one of these set up as a drilling machine, and the only problem I have with it is the flexibility of the rods forming the bed and also the thinner ones on the cross slide; you need to take light cuts, especially if milling with it.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2011
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    Nice set up Brian. I have most of what you have with the exception of the power feed. That would be nice for looong cuts. You may want to make some riser blocks for the headstock, tool post and tailstock if you plan on doing something that is just a tad large for the machine. Yes it has its limitations but it got me by before I got a larger machine.

    Look forward to hearing how it works for you.

    David
     
  6. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

    Apr 15, 2005
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    I wonder what arrangement can be made to cut threads. Seen other non unimat with arrangements to thread. What freaks me a bit is that a lathe/mill can make all its own parts. At least in theory.

    Next on list is a foundry...!!! Casting aluminum in that green sand. Double freaky...!!!
     
  7. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    thank you for the kind comments all of you. it is not variable speed, but i do have a variable router controller i am planning to employ. there is a thread cutting attachment availible for this lathe. the problem is that each thread needs a separate pattern/follower set that sells for around 50 bucks on ebay.

    I made my first metal part today.

    nSLjXL.jpg

    not too bad for really not knowing what i am doing. there was a learning curve. one of my first purchases after buying this lathe was to pick up a set of PDF manuals off ebay. that was probably the best 6 bucks ive ever spent. a combination of this and watching jim cut parts in his shop was what i needed to get through my first project. only 12 more to go.

    VcFJG0.jpg

    i have not completely read them but i have spent some time skimming through. for example, i learned how to properly reverse the jaws on the 3 jaw chuck.

    i have been looking at what do do for collets. Unimat actually made a head stock that takes traditional 10mm(?) collets. it is pretty tough to find and also very expensive. the collets that fit that chuck are also fairly cost prohibitive. they also have a collet chuck attachment that can be screwed in just like the 3 or 4 jaw chuck. it uses another type of collet called an er16. this one is also very hard to find and the swiss collets are expensive as well.

    after looking around on line, i found that someone sells an er20 collet chuck that perfectly fits the M12 x 1mm thread on the head stock. i chose to go this route. the reason why is because i can buy chinese er20 collets for very cheap. i can get both metric and sae up to 1/2" or 13mm. 13 metric collets from 1mm to 13mm and 14 collets from 1/16" to 1/2" cost about 45 bucks with shipping. apparently they are rated pretty high. we will see how they work once they arrive. i am pretty excited about them.....
     

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  8. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Brian, I have a Unimat SL like yours that I have used for years. I used it as a lathe and as a small drill press more than any other way. I have the round milling table and several different size gears for cutting wheels. I used a sewing machine foot controlled reastat to vary the speed. Works great. I now have a Sherline mill so I no longer use my Unimat. It is a great little machine to begin with. I have lots of manuals if you need copies. Lots to work with there. Good luck.
    Will
     
  9. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2011
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    Brian nice job on your first test drive.

    One of the things that I found that helped me with this small lathe is learning how to grind HSS lathe tools. Sharp is good. Also I found it better to grind a very narrow party tool, perhaps 1mm or less in width to reduce cutting forces when parting. I made a lot of stuff with mine once I became aware of its "sweet spots", and it taught me patience big time. Your power Z feed would have helped me in that respect.

    David
     
  10. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    Brian, I started out repairing clocks with that lathe and mill set up 37 years ago. The biggest problem I found with it was the flex (twisting) of the bed rods. Even with light cuts I would be a couple of thousands off because of it. It was not something visable to the eye until heavier cuts were made. The one thing I did to correct a lot of that problem was mount the lathe on a large heavy steel plate that was also mounted on a 3/4" piece of plywood. That will go a long way to eliminating a lot of twist in the bed rods. Even then there was a flexing of the rods themselves with heavier cuts. You will find as you learn and gain skills in lathe and mill work that you will demand more and more accuracy than the machine can produce. When that happens it will be time to upgrade. In the meantime have fun learning and enjoy. Also this is not a toy, it is a powerful metal cutting machine and even for its small size it can do a lot of damage to fingers, eyes, face, etc. if you don't respect it and be aware of what you are doing with it.
     
  11. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

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    Hi Brian.
    Yup nice little machines to start. My collet head stock takes standard 8mm ww type collets. Did you see all the oddball attachments for these? Lol
     
  12. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Brian I second Joseph's recommendation for a sturdy base. I have mine mounted on about three sheets of plywood and MDF all glued and screwed together and then painted.

    I also mounted a flat steel plate behind the bed so that I could mount magnetic base indicator holders.

    mounted on base.jpg

    David
     
  13. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    thank you everyone for all of your advice. some of the older models came with a cast iron bed. i wonder if it would be worth my while to procure one of those off ebay?

    you can tell this tool was definitely made in an era long before our society became enamored with lawsuits. as joe mentions, there is not a single saftey device to be found on this.....anywhere. i actually kind of like that feature to be honest. i suppose that if i mangle one of my fingers through it, i might change my tune a bit though....

    I would like to say i have a healthy respect for it. i've been using table saws and many other power tools for all of my adult life.

    i posted this pic elsewhere on the forum but i did pick up a set of interchangable bit cutters from harbor freight. they are a godsend compared to what came with the set. i really do need to learn how to shapen tooling.

    Rq8gbJ.jpg

    2ztWvR.jpg

    also, using a dial indicator to set up cuts will make everything so much more precise.

    Rq8gbJ.jpg
     
  14. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Brian if I can suggest. You could turn the too holder around so the slot for the lathe tool is closest to the head stock. This will get the tool closer to the work piece and you can have less stick out for more rigidity. This would also force the lathe tool into the tool post rather than try and push it out from under the set screws.​

    David
     
  15. Peter John

    Peter John Registered User
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    Good suggestion. I have the unimat sl as well. Used it as a lathe until I discovered the Sherline is better. Stronger dc motor, variable speed, sturdier ways for both cross slide and longitude. The unimat is now a drill press. Peter
     
  16. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    WF17YR.jpg

    i picked up this 10' roll of belting material off amazon for less than 10 buks including shipping. the size is 8mm. if you can buy 6mm, it would probably fit a little better but i am really happy with this stuff considering the price. belts are easy to make. i just heated up the soldering iron and melted the ends, then fused them together.
     
  17. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    Brian, that belting is good stuff. I have used it before on various projects. I would stay with the larger diameter it will hold up longer. The stuff does stretch and after a while will start slipping under load. But it's easy enough to make a replacement and ten feet will make a lot of them.
     
  18. David S

    David S Registered User
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    With my unimat I always removed the belt if I wasn't planning on using it for awhile. Essentially between uses, to try and minimize belt stretching.

    David
     
  19. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Super glue also works well for attaching the ends of the belt. :emoji_bulb:
     
  20. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    thank you for the tips. i took off my belts today after making several cuts.

    i picked up a few items off of ebay.

    XRO5uo.jpg

    first is a set of tommy bars. they came from a local houston guy. it is odd to me that they have hollowed out holes in the bottom, but they are sturdy enough to get a good tightening on the chuck without bending. they really beat the heck out of the original stainless sticks.

    Ln7r81.jpg

    next up is this quick change tool post. it is made in the USA from a seller out of california. this is the only one specifically made for the unimat that i am aware of. it comes with several tool posts as seen above. it even came with a holder for my dremmel. the square is a tool post rising block to match the headstock riser(that i don't have yet)

    tJh5Us.jpg

    collets and collet chuck. all of this came off ebay too. the size is er20. i chose this platform because they go up to 1/2". another reason is that there is a pre made collet chuck out there that actually screws directly to the unimat headstock. i did not buy it because it costs 100 bucks or so. the chuck in the photo is pretty similiar except it doesn't have the m12 x 1 thread and only cost 10 dollars. i ordered an m12 x 1 tap from china but it has not arrived yet. i bought the chuck with the 10mm hole up the center because the correct drill size is 10.6mm for that thread. hopefully i can run a nice true thread up the center and use it with little to no runout. the metric set is 13 collets while the sae's came with 14. so 27 collets cost about 40 bucks with shipping. so...i have less than $60 invested so far into a chuck and 27 collets. no....they are not the $600 dollar set of swiss er16's but i am hoping to see some good results with them anyway.
     
  21. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I tried a borrowed Unimat once, but I lacked patience and I'd been spoiled by the ten-inch engine lathes I'd used in high school and thus tried making parts (not for clocks) that were far too large and tough for the little machine.

    Note that any unfamiliar machine tool requires a lot of practice, and while you're learning you will run the tool into the rotating chuck, and try to mill a surface with the cutter rotating the wrong way, and carefully set up a thinnish rod to turn down only to have it bend and wind up atop the cutter bit, and every other mistake anyone could possibly make. But as you learn you'll discover that even a machine tool with serious limitations is vastly better than no machine tool at all, and you'll be surprised at the devilish and evil shortcuts you can make to get the job done.

    You'll likely have to do a certain amount of adjustment of the gibs to ensure that things don't rattle, though since the machine had been in use previously they're likely pretty good.

    Have fun, and be very patient with yourself.

    Mark Kinsler

    and don't burn yourself on the chips
     
  22. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i used to use that stuff (before the sherline) and would put a razor blade in a pair of lockjaw pliers, heat it up with a butane torch and then just slide the two ends up the red hot sides of the blade until they met and fused...
     

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