Finally pulled the trigger on a little lathe/mill!

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by brian fisher, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    Dec 9, 2006
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    Brian, the green silicon carbide stone do a better job cutting steel weather its soft or hard. The stones last and hold their shape a lot longer. The Aluminum oxide stones do best with the soft metals like brass and aluminum. When I started out working on clocks I purchased the lathe you are using. And I hate to be the grench here but I quickly discovered its lack of repeatable accuracy and few choices of attachments were a henderence to its use for clock work. After about a year I sold it and went with the Sherline. The collet holder you are making looks like it will substantially reduce the between the centers working distance and limit the work you are able to do on the lathe. RJ, I've had the chance to work with the Harbor Freight bench top lathe and if I were you don't bother. It's Chineese made and is considered a work in progress. That means you will have to do a lot work on the lathe itself just to get to a decent accuracy and sometimes you can't even do that. You will also not have very many attachments you will need for clock work. For what they cost your better off putting your money on something else even if its used.
     
  2. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    thank you joseph.

    to both you and RJ, i would agree that the sherline is probably the best thing out there. its not that i couldn't afford one if it wanted but i didn't want to throw that much money at this tool. i am pretty sure i will upgrade at some point.

    personally, i think the unimat db is pretty awesome though. my main reason for choosing this one was because of all the accessories that came with it. i measured my headstock and its runout is .0002. that is at least a good starting point. when it comes to a small lathe, this one has capabilities greater than most. the choice of accessories availible is pretty unmatched. the tool really seems to hold its value. just take a look at how much they sell for on ebay. i am sure i will be able to recoupe my costs when i do eventually upgrade.

    a few months ago, i purchased the threading attachment from a family friend that is also a member here. just yesterday, i purchased 6 metric threading patterns for 20 bucks each. i am still pretty excited about this little guy.
     
  3. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

    Apr 15, 2005
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    I wish I could master threading better. Using taps/dies is adaquate but establishing expectations of diameters, tpi, matching/testing gets intensely harder the smaller we go. Maybe a lathe that threads might make life easier. Seems also like there should be a master standardization that all other threading standards be accounted for, even if a super small base unit is used. There are split dies that can thread any diameter much like a threading lathe can accomplish. I think we are losing the race to maintain the old standards. Once lost then repairing will have to force fit.
     
  4. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    I worked on the chuck a bit more today. i re-did my set up and used a new grind stone. after some effort, i now have the runout down to about 3+ 10,000ths or .0003. i removed the chuck and re-installed it 3 times taking a dial indicator measurement each time. i was able to repeat my results each time. i am pretty darn happy with that number.
     
    wefalck likes this.
  5. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    some new toys for my mini lathe

    vxElar.jpg

    i picked up this gerstner tool box at an auction in michigan a couple years ago. my dad shipped it to me last month and i am using it to store my Unimat accessories. it is starting to get filled up. normally, a tool box like this would be a ridiculous luxury. fortunately, it came to me at a really good price. seems like i paid about 50 bucks and and it came full of antique marbles. this box is like 6x bigger than my lathe.

    3uK2PG.jpg

    i made a little plywood tray to hold my collets and chuck.

    sWc9gu.jpg

    I also made a tray for my thread followers. i just bought a 20 and 24 to add to my set. i know there are a lot of different ways to cut threads, but i really like this system. it is fairly idiot proof. i can't think of any other mini lathe that has a thread cutting attachment? if i ever do switch over to sherline, this accessory will make it really tough to completely get out of my unimat. the bottom row is comprised of metric followers. the top and middle rows are SAE.

    if anyone has a unimat steady rest they are willing to part with, please send me a pm.
     
  6. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Excellent, and thanks for sharing that.

    I've noted that one of the great attractions of the big, clear photographs we're able to show here is that they give us a glimpse of the workbenches of others. Yours is quite nice, and you'll never see mine here because it's horrible.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  7. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    Nov 13, 2011
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    tool envy
    bench envy
    workmanship envy
    if i didn’t have clocks to wind, i’d shoot myself

    congrats, btw! :cool:
     
  8. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Ability to find the actual workbench envy.
     
  9. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    lol you guys. i had my bench cleaned off really well for the last 3 months or so. however, i have been redoing my staircase for the last couple weeks, so the bench has become a bit of a catchall for tools i've used and not put away. amidst all of that, our furnace (original to the house- about 40 years old) quit working 2 days ago. about ten years previous, i picked up a nice used unit that has been sitting in the garage all this time. rather than pay to fix the old one, i figured it was time to get off the procrastination train and do a changeout. tools for that are scattered all over the bench too.
     

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