My new/old Star 8mm lathe

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by rstl99, Sep 25, 2017.

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  1. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Oct 31, 2015
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    I now own a watchmaker's lathe.
    A Star 7a kit (still made in Switzerland and sold by places like Cousin's):
    Star Watchmakers Lathe
    The kit was shipped from out of town and I spent the afternoon cleaning and inspecting the collets and various components. About 25 collets came with it, all of them in good condition.
    I took apart the headstock (had not done that before but it wasn't too complicated). The mating surfaces on the cone bearings look good, no worrying scoring or other damage. I'll rub a bit of fine 600 grit paper for good measure, oil, and put back together.
    A few minor issues (a small chip off one of the pulley edges; one missing oiler cap).
    The seller also provided a motor that needs a power cord but otherwise should be good to go I'm told.
    I look forward to getting the lathe to spin and try my hand at hand graving.
    Eventually, I'll be on the lookout for a good cross slide but don't mind learning to hand turn, which is a good thing to know anyway, and something I can use on my swiss turns.
    I'll also be on the lookout for some chucks.
    I attach some photos of the disassembled headstock.
    Cheers.
    --Robert
    IMG_0106.JPG

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  2. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    p.s. I only paid a small fraction of what a new Star 7a would cost, and got an extra dozen collets and a few other pieces, and a motor, so I feel I did ok. Now to learn how to use it well. I've read a lot but nothing like learning by doing!
     
  3. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Some photos of my Star lathe after cleaning it up, taking apart and inspecting the headstock. Yes, I'll need to take it apart again to insert the belt!
    Not sure how old it is, but it looks good! The original design of this lathe is in the 1950's, but it's still being made and sold today, as I pointed out earlier.
    --Robert

    IMG_0003.jpg IMG_0005.jpg IMG_0007.jpg IMG_0011.jpg IMG_0018.jpg
     
  4. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    A few more pics for your viewing pleasure.

    IMG_0008.jpg IMG_0009.jpg IMG_0010.jpg IMG_0012.jpg IMG_0016.jpg
     
  5. Moebius

    Moebius Registered User

    Jan 3, 2009
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    Nice pictures btw, thanks !

    Still very happy to see a Star lathe.

    There's one thing missing (not so important, but useful at times), the small "steel pin" that goes into the indexing lever for the pulley.
    You may ask for the missing parts/cost to Star, they have these spare parts, since they're still able to service these lathes.
    If you provide them the lathe S/N, they can give you a manufacturing date.
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    Now you have the lathe running, you can make that missing pin yourself. May I ask why you've supported the tailstock end of the bed?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Graham, as you say that missing pin may be one of the first projects for the lathe!
    Good eye in picking out that missing piece, Moebius. I actually asked that question to Mr. Gentil, more as a way to see if they do provide spare parts when needed. They look like a nice little factory in a nice little village in the Swiss countryside. I'm kind of surprised they're still around, but maybe they sell a lot of these lathes (and other tools) through Cousins, Horotec, to various horological schools, etc.

    Graham, I only supported the tailstock to take the pictures and have the lathe sitting level, since it's not presently mounted to any bench. I need to get the motor sorted out and figure out a good mounting method for both. A new journey of discovery for the coming winter.

    All the best,
    --Robert
     
  8. trim

    trim Registered User
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    Sweet lathe! I love my similar Lorch, although it is very much older.
     
  9. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    thanks. Gotta love these old lathes, meant to outlast us if looked after well.
    I just put a pair of brass handles on the sides of my box, I found it awkward to lift the box without any handles at all. Less chance of dropping it that way. I also put a stay on one side of the cover, so it would stay up when fully open, rather than want to flop all the way back. Not sure why star didn't put some of those finishing touches on the box, but I like it better this way.

    IMG_0002.jpg
     
  10. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Finally got around to setting up the lathe on my old watchmaker bench. Daniel's face is there to keep an eye on what I do... They make a good pair. And the Star lathe went on the same spot where an old watchmaker had his lathe before. I attached the motor at the back and the lathe spins nicely. I had to take the AC motor apart and reverse the innards so it would spin the right way for the lathe. Now to get my graver situation sorted out (proper handles, sharpening) and start trying out some turning on some brass parts to get the hang of it.
    I'm using Singer Machine Oil for the spindles (viscosity 10) because Mobil Velocite is unobtainable in reasonable quantities where I live. I may order some online as I find the Singer oil rather "light". It flows through the spindles and pools up in the flat part of the headstock beneath the pulley. Maybe that's normal, or indicative I'm running the lathe "too loose".
    Anyway, all part of learning and becoming familiar with this nice instrument.

    IMG_3502.jpg
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    Can you get Castrol Hyspin E5 where you are? It's a good alternative to the Velocite. It could allow you to close up the clearances on the headstock a little, but you should expect to have a certain amount of oil flowing through to flush any contamination away.

    Are you going to use George's suggestion for graver handles?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Graham,
    Sadly, Castrol Hyspin seems to be even rarer than Velocite in these parts.
    I may need to buy a litre from someone on ebay or something. I can get a 5 gallon can of the Velocite locally, but that is way too much oil for such a little lathe (or I can start a sideline selling litres of it on ebay :)
    As you say, some oil flowing through is not a bad thing. And for the little that I use the lathe at this point, not a big issue for now.
    I see George suggests pencil-type handles. That would be my preference, if I can get proper sized dowel, and especially the metal collars for the end. The almost endless looking around for parts and supplies gets a bit tiring... I suppose that's part of any significant hobby, learning where to source these things locally. At least the internet can provide almost anything, for a cost.
    Cheers.
    --Robert
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    The metal collars aren't essential if you can't source anything suitable, but the dowel is the important part.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    By the way, a couple of days ago, at a clock repair course I am attending, I had a chance to try out the teacher's EMCO Unimat 3 small lathe. I was impressed with the quality of the Austrian-made machine. The teacher said he bought it new 30 years ago and never had any problems with it. One recently sold locally, but at the time I was focused on getting the Star. Anyway, with the cross slide, 3 jaw chuck, and drill chuck in the tail stock, I found the Unimat very easy to use and can see the learning curve on such a lathe would be must shorter than on a more traditional lathe like the Star. I suppose it all depends what one uses it for. The Star no doubt has advantages over the Unimat (for high precision work for instance), and the latter may be more useful for making tools or working on somewhat larger clock parts. Getting a cross-slide for my Star, or a 3 jaw chuck, will not be a cheap exercice. Then again, most watchmakers that I see on the net have more than one lathe, and use each for different purposes. So maybe in the future I'll look for a suitable Unimat if one comes around again.
    But in the meantime, I want to continue to get properly setup to work on the Star and see how far I am able/willing to go with that kind of tool. So I appreciate your help and advice in that regard.
    Cheers.
     
  15. Dushan Grujich

    Dushan Grujich Registered User

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    G'Day Robert!

    If I may suggest, for a larger lathe I would advise buying EMCO Compact 5 instead of Unimat 3.

    I bought my Uni 3 in 1981 IIRC, and am I quite happy with it, but if I were to buy it again I would go for Compact 5. They are still in production and spares are available, not so for Uni 3. Also, Compact 5 can serve as your toolmaking lathe, it is screw cutting able with change gears, and has provision for attaching vertical drilling/milling column, the same one Uni 3 has.

    My 2d on the topic.

    Cheers, Dushan
     
  16. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Thanks Dushan, for the recommendation on the EMCO Compact 5, sounds like a worthwhile type for me to look out for.
    Best regards,
    --Robert
     

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