Lathe or Mill?

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by shutterbug, Jul 22, 2009.

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  1. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I appreciate all of the comments so far! I do have a question regarding aluminum. Although it appears that many (if not most) of you consider it vastly deficient for either a lathe or mill, is because of strength, tendency to bend, flex or what? In part, I understand the reasoning behind your opinions. However, as far as strength goes, I recall that airliners are made from it and seem strong enough to transport huge amounts of weight. So what specifically leads you to dismiss it that hasn't already been mentioned? The interchangeability of parts between the Sherline lathe and mill is sure a useful idea. I should clarify that I'm in clock repair as a part time business, but would love to be able to do more than I'm capable of right now due to machinery. Still thinking, considering options, analyzing cost/profit ratios, etc. Realistically, I have less than 10 years of repair potential left :)
     
  2. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    one of the properties of a machine is that of mass. Cast iron has obviously more mass than a similar part made of lighter materials such as aluminum. Larger amounts of mass will frequently yield a higher degree of finish on a part due to less vibration being transmitted by cutting forces and machine operations.

    With that said, higher mass is not always an asset, for example if you want to move a carriage very very quickly and then stop it quickly, mass has to be over come. This can be an issue in say CNC machines, things like CNC routers, CNC engravers, CNC lasers and the like.

    A Sherline product is able to deliver a great deal of work for a reasonable price. Other products also fit that description. Selection of machines always becomes a religious and or political arguement on just about every discussion group. As demonstrated here.

    When it is all said and done what you buy will most likely depend on your opinion and wallet, not ours. You will also most likely discover that there is no single solution that will do everything you want to do, at least not do everything well......that is how I have ended up with 5 mills and 6 lathes in my shop of one person....
     
  3. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

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    SB, IMO the issues have more to do with whether one is trying to do production work vs. the odd project for a small time restorer or hobbyist.

    I would also argue that your choice of strategy depends more on the degree of accuracy needed and how serious your projects are, rather than how many times or how long you will use the tools. Sometimes, you need the best tool, even if you just need to use it once. If you cannot manage it then simply have someone else do it for you.

    Actually, the less time you have on hand, the higher the quality of you should aim for... because you don't want to waste the time you do have. I think you'll agree, time is worth far more than money and one should avoid filling one's time with frustration and bad or mediocre experiences. With more important decisions also come the need to do more planning. So your approach with this thoughtful inquiry is wise and avoids the pitfalls of rushing and "diving in".

    To make up for the perceived lower rigidity - take more care to consider what material you are cutting when you set up and carefully align the tool. When in doubt, make lots of passes, taking shallow cuts. I would also keep the cutters as sharp as possible and use cutting fluid wherever practical to keep the edges cool and keen. That was also good advice from Sterling about upgrading the gib to a (suitable grade of) brass. Check run-out before doing any important fine work.

    IMO, the Sherline is a very useful, versatile and affordable lathe for the low volume clock/watch restorer. However, I think it should also not be your only lathe if you have serious projects.


    Michael
     
  4. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    It's unrealistic to compare an airliner to a machine tool in the use of aluminum. The main criteria in designing aircraft is weight that is the number one reason that aluminum is used in aircraft. Anyone that has watched the wings of an airliner on takeoff or in flight will recognize the flex of aluminum. In a machine tool the (generally) number one criteria is rigidity and the ability to dampen vibration. Rigidity will translate into when you move a slide .001 it will move .001. The ability to dampen vibration is important to be able to hold a high surface finish, and to maintain the position of the slides during a cut. Other reason that machine tools are made out of cast iron is iron is dimensionel stable that means that when you make something like a lathe bed out of cast iron it will be stable today and it will be stable 100 years from now. Aluminum on the other had is an unstable material as soon as a piece of aluminum is made it will start changing. This is especially true of something like an extrusion. Extrusions have a lot of residual stress in them from when they were made. If you were to measure the alignment of an aluminum lathe bed today and then measure it ten years from today it will not be the same size and it will not be straight.

    This all goes back to what I said in an earlier post you can only do the best work with the best tools and this statement is most true if you are a hobbyist that wants to make something. A hobbyist doesn't have the time to learn how to overcome the limitations of poorly designed poorly made tools.
     
  5. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

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    BTW, I never found it necessary to mill out steel parts to replace any of the aluminum ones, although I easily could with my large mill. I've probably passed beyond 1000 hours run time on the Sherline, and I have never needed to adjust the headstock preload.
    But like I said before, having the much smaller Wolf Jahn is certainly a convenience.

    ...And speaking of convenience, something that I don't think has been brought up even by those who have and use multiple machines is the damned set-up time. Set-up time just KILLS me! But having more than one lathe offers the great advantage of cutting down set-up time as you develop machine preference for specific jobs. So, funny as it sounds, you really can't have too many machines!:D
     
  6. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

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    Todd, for the last GD time, the Sherline lathe beds are STEEL. They're STEEL, Todd. STEEL. While some components of the Sherline ARE in fact extruded aluminum, the beds themselves are...

    STEEL!

    You've injected your tunnel-visioned opinion into this thread (and others) so much that it's gone beyond amusing and is now just downright annoying.
    You do NOT have the original poster's needs at the center of your opinion. In fact, you blindly disregard them. Here's an example:
    The gentleman has stated that, realistically, he only has about ten years of clock repair left.

    I propose that you stop wasting his time and ours. Better yet, I'll send you an extruded aluminum Sherline part and you can take precise measurements every day for ten years so you can prove you're right.

    -Give ya something constructive to do.:rolleyes:
     
  7. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    #57 Todd W, Jul 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
    Sterling:

    While the bed itself might be steel the substructure that it depends on for alignment is aluminum. My opinion is based on a lifetime of working with precision machine tools, I know what works for both professional and what works for hobbyists. poorly made tools won't work for either.


    And where do you get off telling me what I can and can not post?
    Todd
     
  8. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

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    What substructure is that, Todd? -The cast steel chassis??

    Your opinion is lacking one key part that makes it subjective:

    ANY experience using a Sherline lathe.
     
  9. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    #59 Todd W, Jul 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
    They must have changed there design, the one I looked at years ago had a aluminum extrusion for the bed and substructure. By your name and information in other posts you are a silversmith. So you are using your Sherline to make thing like finials and knobs? or have you ever turned tool steel?
    Have you ever had to make a part that had to fit something else? or be made to size +/- .0005?

    As for experience using one no, I have ask to try out the ones on display at the Toledo model engineering show and was told no if I wanted to try one I could buy one. When they are shown making parts they are always very careful to only machine brass aluminum or 10L14 which is a steel you can cut with a pocket knife.
     
  10. Richmccarty

    Richmccarty Registered User

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    I keep mentioning aluminum simply as a standby really. Personally, The Sherline equipment just feels cheap to me. This has nothing to do with how well they work. I buy machines for my shop that please me. I like the touch and feel and look and results I get from the machines I have.

    Also, because I have extensive mechanical experience, I was able to kit out my shop with nice older machines for much less than new. It's just me, but I think part of being a good clockmaker is being good at fixing things in general. The Barker mill I have is nearly new and cost me $300. Of course, I had to drive to the industrial surplus place (actually a used swiss screw machine dealer) and put the mill together myself. The guy had a room with about 5 or 6 Barkers in it, and just let me loose to make my own from any the pieces I could find/remove. Had I ever taken a Barker mill apart before that? No! Was it a lot of fun? Yes!

    All the Best,
    Rich
    The best tools in the world are your hands. Or your hands with that brain thing in the middle
     
  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    How accurate are Sherline tools?

    this is what Sherline has to say about accuracy and the like. by the way, their lathe beds are forged and ground steel, not extruded aluminum....and I don't have or use their lathe or mill but I have in the past....
    When someone asks what is the accuracy of a machine, it is actually a rather loaded question. The more you know about the subject, the more difficult it becomes to answer. I can easily turn a diameter close to the chuck on the lathe within .0002" (2 tenths of a thousandth of an inch). Does this mean the machine is built to that tolerance? No, but it does mean the lead screw is accurate*, the cutting tool is sharp and properly shaped and the diameter I am cutting is large enough not to deflect. In many cases, the accuracy of your method of measuring has as much to do with the accuracy of your parts as the machine you are working on.
    * NOTE: Sherline's leadscrews are precision rolled and are accurate to within 99.97%. Rolled threads are much more accurate center to center than those cut with a die or single-pointed tool.
    The tools we make are as accurate as you can build them without expensive grinding and heat treating. We have well over a million dollars invested in state-of-the-art CNC machine tools and tooling to mass produce accurate parts. To increase the accuracy less than 1% would increase the cost by a factor of 10. This simply wouldn't be cost effective for the average consumer of our products. The jump from our $475 lathe to a $5000-$8000 lathe of similar size yields only a minor increase in accuracy, and could result in a loss in versatility, as few other machines offer the combination of features and complete system of accessories available from Sherline.
    When asking about the accuracy of the machines, what is really being asked is, "what kind of accuracy can I expect to achieve in the parts I make on these machines?" When you look in our new catalog at some of the examples of the parts made on Sherline machines, you can see that, in the hands of a good craftsman who knows his or her machine, the parts that can be produced are as accurate as you will ever need. You will find that most problems associated with making very tight tolerance parts are not caused by the machines but rather are the result of the level of craftsmanship of the operator. As your technique improves, you'll find your machine keeps making better and better parts.
    Even if the machine were "perfect", other things can affect accuracy. For example, the "spring" or deflection of the part you are making and the deflection of the cutter also affect accuracy. Taking all this into account, it is still not uncommon for a good machinist to be able to make parts accurate to within a thousandth of an inch (0.001") or less on our tools. Keep in mind our lathe is a small engine lathe, not a jeweler's lathe. If you are a hobbyist, the Sherline lathe for under $500 will be plenty accurate and many times more useful than the most expensive jeweler's lathe made, as they are designed for different purposes.
    Keep in mind also that while you need a big machine to make big parts, it is much easier to make accurate small parts on a small machine. In addition to the advantages of being able to sit down and get close to your work, the smaller machine will give you a much better "feel" for delicate work than a large machine. For example, it is very easy to break extremely small drills if you don't have some feel for how fast to feed them. A large machine simply cannot give you the "touch" you need for doing delicate work.
     
  12. Sterling

    Sterling Registered User

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    Years ago? You keep coming around the Sherline booth every year to heckle Jerry and you never noticed this major difference?

    And just why is that, BTW, Todd? Just why do you find it necessary to hang around the Sherline booth like a bad smell at every opportunity?
    Seems kinda strange to me.

    I have used my Sherline to turn a variety of things in a variety of materials for the silver smithing, including finials & knobs. But my Sherline is primarily used to turn venturis and emulsion tubes, as well as to drill fuel and air jets for the carburetors I modify. These components are potmetal, cast aluminum and brass. I mill linkage and throttle shafts on the lathe, as well.
    I have never had a need in my profession to fabricate anything to a tolerance of 5 ten thousandths of an inch. But if I needed to, I know I could do it on a Sherline.
    "Very careful"? Really? And who are they manufacturing these lathes for? Joe Watchmaker, or Joe Lunchbox?
    If you're a professional watchmaker and you need to rely on a lathe that will give you a lifetime of service cutting tool steel to 5 ten thousandths of an inch tolerances, you'd have to pretty much be an outright IDIOT to consider the Sherline as a primary tool for that application, now wouldn't you, Todd? So... -congratulations to you for seeing through that big smoke screen at the Sherline-Fulla-Sh!t booth??

    -Or is it just plain reality that Sherline manufactures a line of affordable products geared towards hobbyists and part timers?

    JC you are thick!:bang:

    Have the last word, Todd. I'm done here. I wasn't one of those who complained to the moderator, BTW, but next time you muddy up a thread with your nonsense, I surely will be.
     
  13. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    #63 Todd W, Jul 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
    If people want to waist there money on a poorly designed poorly made tools I really don't care. Watch and clock people are the cheapest people on the planet. Given the choice between a finely made tool for $1000.00 and a poorly made one for $950.00 they will go for the $950.00 every time.

    But if somebody want advice on what they need to do precision work I will add to the discussions, that is my area of expertise. By your reply you have told us the type of work you have experience doing has nothing to do with the class of precision work that clock making falls under. So who is the one that doesn't know what there talking about?

    And where do you get off telling me what I can and can not post?


    Todd
     
  14. Richmccarty

    Richmccarty Registered User

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    That's fine as far as it goes, which isn't very far. A part timer with that kind of attitude will always be a part timer.

    I am a professional restorer and want people to think so when thay visit my shop. Almost everybody comments on the Stark #4 lathe that I bought for $300. Why? because its beautiful, makes you want to use & touch it.

    Can you get passionate about extrusions, plastic and bicycle bearings?

    All the Best,
    Rich, GradBHI & West Dean College
     
  15. Hayson

    Hayson Registered User

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    Hey Shut. I told you you'd get good advice on the tools forum :).
     
  16. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    #66 the 3rd dwarve, Jul 28, 2009
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    I have been reading this thread with interest. The members have a wide knowledge of “machine tool expertise” ranging from none to way more than I’ll ever have.

    That being said I would like to add my $.02.

    I have done a lot of things in my career and spent about 20 years in the plastics field as a manufacturing/design engineer mostly for molds. I first had the opportunity to learn the use of machine tools somewhere around 1975 it has been a great learning experience ever since. I spent 7 years with a well known US writing instrument company as their tooling design engineer. During that time I built, staffed, and managed the mold building/repair tool room. Everyone in the company called it “the high tech room” and with good cause. MAYBE you can do excellent work on less than excellent equipment but it is exponentially easier to do excellent work on excellent equipment.

    I once asked on this board if anyone else had centerless ground their arbors instead of turning them. No one replied. I used to centerless grind clock arbors on a “Ded tru” centerless grinder to a #8 finish with concentricity to 4 decimal places with little effort. I don't have that particular piece of equipment at my disposal anymore.

    I am fortunate to have a Hardinge HLV-H lath to do my clock work. It’s not all that pretty and it’s a stand up to work with it model. I wouldn’t trade it for any 5 others. Put a glass of water on the head stock and wind it up to do small work without the smallest ripple in the glass. This is a big machine that will make a small part with ease and extreme accuracy. For drilling small holes I use a XACT micro-sensitive drill feed adaptor with an Albrecht chuck. Nice piece of equipment that anyone who has a lath should look into.

    Before you can begin to select a machine tool you need to try and think of every job you might ask it to perform. You will not think of them all because before you get a tool you do not know how much more you can do with it than originally planned. Once you acquire a new tool you will soon be finding some new task to put to it so the possibility of pushing its envelope could quickly come upon you. Most importantly, make the most of any and all opportunities to see, touch, and hopefully make some chips with as many different tools as possible.

    While money is always an object, buy the highest quality you can. I believe it’s better to have one piece of high quality tooling than 5 lesser pieces. I just can’t stress this enough. Because you have no experience with machine tools it will be hard for you to make an educated decision. Please don’t take that as a slight. It’s just going to be hard for you to learn about them without being in an environment where you can actually have some one show you the basics and then make some chips your self. There has been a lot of mis information put forth in this thread. Take your time and do not buy anything you do not get a chance to try using yourself.

    All this from a guy who has used a Moore #2 gig grinder to finish clock plates.
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    LOL - yes you were right on! :)
     
  18. Jeff Hamilton

    Jeff Hamilton Registered User

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    Todd,

    Can you tell us the name and where to buy that great $1000 lathe?

     
  19. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    I can do that Jeff but I worn you it will involve doing some actual work. You check eBay every day, you check Craig's list every day you hunt on the Internet boards that are frequented by the machine shop people you get to know used machinery dealers and let them know what your looking for. The $1000.00 Schaublin came off a machine shop Internet board. The man that had the lathe was in Maine and didn't want the hassle of shipping it I was the only one that would step up and drive to Maine to pick it up. For my trouble I got a very nice lathe with a double lever cross slide, turret tail stock, drop down threading atachment and a cut off slide. The $900.00 Schaublin came from a machine tool dealer in Boston this is a tool room lathe that came out of the Buliva watch co. It has a screw cross slide and tail stock and variable speed drive. I also got a 10mm Derbishere elect with compound and tailstock from this same dealer. I just missed 2 Schaublin 102's on the local Craig's list. For the $500.00 I could have had another tool room lathe and another hand screw machine.

    High quality machinery is out there you just have to put in some effort to find it.

    Todd
     
  20. Ray Fanchamps

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    #70 Ray Fanchamps, Jul 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
    When someone asks about machinery, that should be the focus of the response.
    If someone is coming here actively promoting a machine for which they receive compensation they need to make that clear. Even if that compensation is unrelated to this Message Board activity.

    Having said that, the reverse needs to be clear too. It is obvious we have a user with clear and strong opposing opinions with regard to a specific product.
    Such an opinion needs to carry with it supporting argument focused only on the logic supporting the conclusion. If a user has a problem with the individual or the company take it up with them. It's not part of our conversation.

    Moving forward here and in future discussions focus on the question. Get the person seeking assistance the help they need. Stay away from the personal stuff or expect it to be removed.

    Thanks.
     
  21. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    My opposition isn't to Sherline or Jerry Kiefer but to the whole field of poorly designed poorly made tools of which Sherline is the most well known. There is a whole group of lathes that the only criteria in there design is low price, they were designed to be sold to people who have never done metal work before and have no idea what the requirements are for precision machine work. When such a person buys one of these lathes and trys to do fine work they are quickly going to get frustrated at its inability to do the level of work required in watch and clock making. And that will be the end of there interest in clock making. Discursion of tool that are better suited to the making of candlesticks for a doll house have no place here.

    Todd
     
  22. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    Todd W,
    Did your Schaublin lathe come out of the Bulova watch plant in Providence R.I.? That’s where my #2 Moore gig grinder came from. We paid $20,000 for it with all kinds of tooling including 3 high speed heads and the rare low speed head. The Moore technician that came in to set it up said it was the nicest used #2 he had ever worked on.
    I bought it directly from Bulova when they closed the plant in the mid 80’s. I was also able to buy some diamond lathe tooling for $.10 on the dollar. I should have bought more.
    The Schaublin 102 would make an excellent lathe for clock work as would the 70-80.
    There are definitely some great deals out there on tooling, especially now when everyone is cutting back. I have found that the better quality stuff has usually been taken well care of and can be a super deal. I recently bought a Harig 6inch surface grinder with Teflon ways and a Pope spindle in excellent condition for $300 off of Craig’s list.
    I see the biggest problem for new guys like shutterbug is that they do not know what to look for when hunting for used equipment.
    If anyone lives near me and would like some help picking out machine tools sent me a PM and I’ll put some time aside for you.
     
  23. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Todd, I have a couple of questions for you. Have you ever made a clock? Do you have any idea what the design tolerances were in 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and even 20th century clockmaking might be?

    I do not own a whole Sherline, I have, but I like Levin modern square head lathes better. But then again the Sherline is a few hundred dollars, and a similar Levin features wise is over $20k.

    I have seen some magnificant work done on a Sherline. Dollar for dollar a beginner can do a lot worse. Lets talk Chinese made lathes and mills for awhile. They aren't that crappy extruded aluminum stuff that you find so distastefuil....
     
  24. Richmccarty

    Richmccarty Registered User

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    I can answer that question having studied traditional English clockmaking. The answer is that, in general, very little precision is actually needed or required with clockmaking. There are a few critical things, but all of it can be handled with pretty simple tools if you have the hand skills.

    Especially before early-mid 18th century, clocks were made with simple dead-center lathes (turns), simple dividing/wheel cutting engines, and hand tools ( casting & forging too ) and most of those things would have been made by the clockmaker himself.

    Rich, GradBHI & West Dean College
     
  25. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Rich, you win the prize, the tolerances on many antique clocks are very loose, most all could have been met or even greatly exceeded by very (by today's standards) sloppy machines. I greatly prefer Schaublin, Hardinge, Levin, Aciera, Bergeron, and the like machines. I have owned them all. But, for all the wheels and gears and other parts I machine they are all overkill to actually make duplicates of the old parts. I have also owned a couple of 18th century wheel cutting engines, a couple of 18th century lathes, an early rounding up machine, so I do have an idea what they had to use. I have only ever cut 3 wheels on a period wheel cutting engine, I did it as a demo for a historical association. i don't care to do it again, at least not if I hope to cover my expenses....
     
  26. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

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    There appears to be a mis conception here that I would like to comment on. I do not subscribe to the idea that a beginner should be content with cheaper less accurate equipment. In many ways the opposite applies.
    A beginner needs all the help he can get while a skilled and experienced craftsman knows how to overcome some of the problems budget equipment will create. Besides, using the tools is half the fun and good tools just feel nice to use.
    I would never advise a beginner to start out with something not up to the task. Lathe, screwdrivers, or anything else he might want to use.
    My first small lathe was a Super Adept and every job I did on it was a battle. I now have a 8mm Lorch for small work and there is no comparison. The Lorch feels lovely to use and you want to use it.

    Having said all that do not imagine that you can not achieve a considerable level of precision with just hand tools.
    Hand made does not always mean a thing is low quality.
    You just have to work out how to go about it.
     
  27. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

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    #77 Todd W, Jul 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Did your Schaublin lathe come out of the Bulova watch plant in ProvidenceR.I.? "[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Jeff:[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I don't know which plant it came out of. I bought it from Boston machinery in Boston this is also where I bought a nice Derbishire elect lathe.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]You are certainly correct about bargains. As American industry goes through great changes there is a lot of manual machinery being put on the market. This is one more reason not to waist your money on poorly designed poorly made tools. There is just too much high quality out there at give away prices.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I don't know how long ago that #2 Moore was sold for $20,000.00 but I have seen two #2 Moore jig grinders sell in the last six months at auction the most either of them went for was $3000.00 It rather sad to see these shops close up and go away but it dose give guys like you and me a chance to pick up some fine machinery at give away prices.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Todd, I have a couple of questions for you. Have you ever made a clock? Do you have any idea what the design tolerances were in 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and even 20th century clockmaking might be?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I do not own a whole Sherline, I have, but I like Levin modern square head lathes better. But then again the Sherline is a few hundred dollars, and a similar Levin features wise is over $20k.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I have seen some magnificant work done on a Sherline. Dollar for dollar a beginner can do a lot worse. Lets talk Chinese made lathes and mills for awhile. They aren't that crappy extruded aluminum stuff that you find so distastefuil.... [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Jim:[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I am working on building the John Wilding regulater from the book. My background is more in precision machine work plus I am also working on making some watches on a semi production bases.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]You don't have to spend 20K for a Levin lathe there were a lot of Levins made over the years and they are out there to be found for less than $1000.00 When I bought the Schaublin at Boston machinery he had a Levin D style with Levin compound lever tail stock and a Swiss made 6 jaw chuck for $900.00. And to compare a Levin to a Sherlin feature wise is just silly.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Let talk about Chinese lathes, You have two classes of lathes coming out of Chine the first are made for Boley to Boleys specifications these are of high quality and carry a corresponding price. The second ones are the ones you see on eBay when these were first listed they were about $300.00 for the basic lathe compound and collet holding tail stock (no motor) I looked at them before writing this post and the price for the basic lathe is up to $450.00 to this you have to add collets motor speed control and whatever else you need to do the kind of work you want to do. For this you get a lathe that is made out of actual metal. Where the Chinese lathes fall down on is fit and finish. The slides are tight there is no feel to them. So you can take your time and rework the slides so that they have some semblance to a machine tool but why? I have read that when you get one you need to take it apart and get all the foundry sand out of it. So you are in affect buying a kit. [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In the end none of these cheep lathes wether they be the ones made in this country from aluminum extrusions, plastic molded parts and bicycle bearings. Or the ones from Chine that are not quit finished have any value for what you spend. You price out one of the extruded ones or the Chinese ones or a quality made lathe on the used market you are going to have to spend about $1000.00 to get set up to make parts. That just seems to be the price of admission. How you spend it is up to you.[/FONT]

    Todd
     
  28. piedmontg

    piedmontg Registered User

    Jun 14, 2009
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    I am just venturing into “micro machining”. Two reasons – one I have a collection of over 150 clocks most of which need some work (why I joined this site), and second I like building models the smaller the better at this stage. I do not like heavy stuff any longer.

    For about twenty five years I was in the live steam hobby building steam locomotives so my shop consists of a 15” Colchester, 12” Clausing, Myford Super 7B, Vari Speed Bridgeport, Clausing 8530, assortment of drill presses, Norton Surface Grinder, and nice woodworking shop. Now these may not be the best highest quality stuff in the world but I did OK. I think my most challenging project was a cross compound Westinghouse locomotive air compressor. Most of the shop equipment was built up to its current state ie kept selling and finding better stuff. So even though I am not a professional I have rebuilt and reconditioned a number of machines and sort of have an idea of what macines of differnt "breeding" can do. I have used both a Hardinge and a Monarch 10EE both really nice.

    About three years ago I was working on a small part and thought about a smaller machine. I have attended many NAMES and saw the Sherline stuff. Always figured it was just not too useful. Well for a Christmas present I bought the Sherline lathe (my first actual new machine tool ever!) and started using it for this and that. It has defiantly found a home in my shop. Within its working parameters I can do a number of things much easier and some setups allow moving parts in the chuck to other attachments which I like. Speaking of attachments Sherline has a bunch which is a plus. I purchased the mill about a year later and am just finding some unique uses.

    So from a model builder of many years using some heavy duty equipment I would give the stuff a thumbs up. As for any professional or other use I cannot comment. Time will tell how much I really use the Sherline equipment but I think they will grow on me. One other item - whatever you end up purchasing buy even better tooling than you think you can afford.

    Bob
     
  29. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    How do people here feel about Taig lathes??:confused:
    I have nothing to do with the Taig company, even though i work for Lee Valley that sells this lathe.
     
  30. StephanG

    StephanG Registered User

    Jun 24, 2007
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  31. deloid

    deloid Registered User
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    After watching the series of DVDs on the taig lathe then the Sherline lathe from smartflix I would, without a doubt, go with the Taig.

    My problem is that I need something more robust for other non clock activities so a Southbend 9 would be my preference.
     
  32. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2009
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    Wow - this thread was both informative and entertaining!

    I now find myself in the exact same position as the OP. I have met some very nice and a famous clockmaker who states his clock can easily be made on Shereline equipment. The reason I'm popping this thread back to the top is that enough time has passed and i wanted to see what the OP ended up doing and if there were any regrets.
     
  33. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Feb 5, 2007
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    I own and use equipment that includes the gamut from a 102 lathe with all the trimmings to a Horia Dead center; with all sorts of stuff in between.

    Several years ago Jerry helped me overcome my bias that Sherlines "must be" toys. They most decidedly are not!!! It turns out the lightness of the feel on the Sherline mill is precisely what you want for watchmaking. I use it for everything from milling squares to making blanks for spring detents. Jerry had shown me how easy it is to make a true full thickness fly cutter out of square tool bit blanks on the Sherline mill. When I showed the results and described the process to instructors at the Wostep school in Neuchatel, they giggled at the elegance.

    You dismiss Sherline at your own expense. It is used quite a bit in industry; when it gets clapped out it is treated like any expendable tool (and a watchmaker will never reach that point). Almost any accessory you want is readily available (and for sure get the rotating column and the sensitive drilling attachment) for a VERY cheap price.

    The screws and scales are accurate and if you buy it new there will be virtually no backlash (although every machinist habitually uses proper technique to eliminate its impacts).

    FWIW, although I use the Sherline lathe rarely (Jerry and I have come to the point that we understand that turning balance staffs with a slide rest vs. a graver is a matter of personal preference, either technique can be efficient based on operator experience), I used it to finish a lead screw I made for my Schaublin slide rest.

    I have been recommending the Sherline Mill over a milling attachment for the ww lathe for years. It is much more stable and you can do anything that can be done with ww milling attachment at a lower cost; then you also have a machine that can do much more. Just buy a ww bed, cut off a chunk and mill a flat on the bottom (need a big mill for this). Then mount it on a tooling plate and mount that on your mill table. Now just mount your headstock on the Sherline and off you go.

    Unless you just bought equipment from the sale of the school at St. Paul's Tech. College last week, it is very hard to find old equipment in good condition. It is not like on the 80s and 90s when everyone thought mechanical watches were dead and machine shops were converting to CNC.

    The days of finding a Levin 10mm with everything Levin made for $4K are long gone. The significance is that a complete package increases confidence that the seller knew how to use the equipment. Today there are very few opportunities to buy a complete run of collets from one maker, let alone a complete lathe package. And given that sellers are leaving that auction place, I can't even think of where I would look for used equipment these days.

    Having said this, I do not use the Sherline exclusively. I often cut gears on the 102 or on a bench top horizontal mill. But if I had to, I could do everything I need on the Sherline mill except of course for turning. And with apologies to Jerry, I still do prefer gravers and even the sliderest of the 102 or Levin. But then, I have them to hand.

    Ask yourself: "Do I want to spend the time and money to search for non abused old equipment (AND the needed accessories) or do I want equipment and accessories in new condition I can use today?" And even for balance staff turning, remember, 40 years manufacturers were NOT turning balance staffs by hand; they were produced on 102 based lathes with rigidly held cutters. And if Jerry can use the Sherline lathe to cut a staff, so can you. It just means there is a different skill set that needs to be mastered than learned by those of us who use a graver.


     
  34. Watchfixer

    Watchfixer Registered User

    Jun 11, 2011
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    Hi DeweyC, What is this equipment you are using (you referred this 102...) What is this machine equipment: lathe, or table mill and what brand made this? Reason is I searched your posted and only came up with one post that you responded in this thread.

    Reason is I wanted to know so I can start somewhere to a point where I can make small clock & large watch someday.

    Much appreciated and cheers, Watchfixer
     
  35. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Feb 5, 2007
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    I just took 30 minutes or so to carft a reply and the sytem logged me off and I lost all that was written. Needless to say I lost the mood; sorry.

    You can see soem of my setups (although it has not been updated since 2008) at my website; go to the shop tour and the photoseries pages.

    Apologies; maybe I will be less annoyed tomorrow.
     
  36. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2009
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    From everything I've read I agree on the Sherline and plan on getting one. Mill or lathe is still the open question for me and most likely will end up getting both at some point. I have a Peerless/Marshal that works flawlessly and so I was thinking of getting the mill first to cut wheels. I plan on making Alan's clock and Bill Smith's clock and thinking I could use the peerless to turn the arbors and pullers for thoses clocks. Any flaws that you can see in this plan?
     

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