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Peerless lathe: Good or not?

D.P.

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Aug 23, 2018
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Hello everyone,

I acquired a peerless lathe a few years ago and decided that I should start to try and learn to turn parts on it. Especially staffs. I figure once I can manage that much, I'd open up at least a few more possibilities with the types of work I can do.

The lathe itself seems to work just fine so far and I was able to turn down a small piece of brass with it using the current cutter mounted to it. Ended up taking the motor and spindle apart and cleaning everything. Might have to do it again though as it's been over a year since then and the oil I used congealed into a thick goo preventing me from removing the tailstock without having to fight it.

Basically is a lathe like mine useable for the task, or should I look for something else? It's not one of the swiss lathes most of the classes I looked at talked about. It came with a cross-slide(no idea if right tearm or spelling) instead of a t-post. Also the tailstock isn't like any of the others I've seen pictures of. It accepts collets and a draw bar, but I've no idea what the micrometer is for or how I would drill with it. The bed, headstock, and tailstock are all matching serial numbers so I guess it's meant to be together.

I'll need a t-rest and gravers at least to start turning staffs I think, but what else will I need?

As far as machining experience goes, I have very little. I have a taig lathe I use to polish pivots on clock wheels and making bushings, but that's about it. Have used the milling attachment to drill holes in things a few times.

The lathe just says Peerless on one side then Mosley on the other. Takes regular 8mm collets. Not sure what other accessories will fit the bed on it if I can find any still.

Thanks again!

IMG_20220112_173056.jpg IMG_20220112_173150.jpg
 

Dave Haynes

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Sep 12, 2000
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I just sold my Levin to a friend in the UK. I can tell you that the lathes are not what's expensive, it is the good collets and attachments that drive up the price/value.
 

MrRoundel

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Dec 28, 2010
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That Peerless looks pretty nice to me. It's great to have a cross-slide (Take if from one who never owned or used one. :)). The prices on those are out of this world these days. Heck, it even looks like you have a collet-holding tailstock. That's a plus too, methinks. I suppose it'll boil down to what you want to do with it, and in what kind of volume. Maybe Jerry Kieffer will check in with his suggestion. I know he's a user, and big fan of, Sherline lathes. Good luck.
 

DeweyC

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Feb 5, 2007
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That Peerless looks pretty nice to me. It's great to have a cross-slide (Take if from one who never owned or used one. :)). The prices on those are out of this world these days. Heck, it even looks like you have a collet-holding tailstock. That's a plus too, methinks. I suppose it'll boil down to what you want to do with it, and in what kind of volume. Maybe Jerry Kieffer will check in with his suggestion. I know he's a user, and big fan of, Sherline lathes. Good luck.

I agree. I think that lathe looks pretty good. Just buy "real" collets (not chinese or "starret" and try to buy only one brand because one maker's 12 is another maker's 13). Likely WILL cost more than the lathe and cross slide. Use Peerless, Levin, Derby, Boley. But once you get the setup complete, it will always be worth at least what it cost you. Buy a set complete if you see one.

I forget, does the Peerless key off the center slot? If so, this makes it different from other WW lathes; but I am not sure it imposes any limits. It may increase the chance your HS and TS do align. BTW, your collet holding (?) TS is reversed and needs a drawbar. I do not think I saw one with a micrometer depth adjustment. That could be helpful.

A collet holding tailstock is nice but not essential. Many WW lathes have been switched around so often the TS does not align with the HS making it almost useless. I do have one Levin that is as original and I use it to drill micro holes with 2/100 mm carbide drills, but that took many years and lathes to find.

A T-rest should not be that expensive.

I would suggest getting a Permanent Magnet motor with speed control (I use the Sherline motors) and use a foot control to turn the lathe on and off.

About crosslides. I use mine quite a bit. It is ideal for marking out lengths and for making precision turnings. I often use it to make staff blanks which are then finished in the turns. I put a loupe over my dials so I can easily see the graduations on the upper slide. I set the top to zero, come in with the bottom slide to get a cut, measure and then use the top slide dial from there.

I also painted my deck white to make it easier to see. Did the same with my T-rest.

Just make sure your slide is adjusted to be "just free" so that it does not grab. Also, always take up backlash (every screw has it) when you set the cutter. More in Archie Perkins.



IMG_1042.JPG

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D.P.

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Aug 23, 2018
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Thanks for the replys!

I am considering getting a sherline lathe and mill just because it seems to have the most support for in accessories. Or at least the mill because I can setup for gear cutting, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time now. Didn't think it or the taig we're accurate enough for turning staffs or anything that small. From reading past posts on the forum, it seems quite a few have managed it on the Sherline at least.

As far as collet's go, there's a metal pin or ridge inside the headstock that makes the collets go in the same way every time. All the collets have a slot in them.

Figured I put the tailstock on wrong. The end with the micrometer on it is where the collets seem to key into however. All kinds of confused about that part.

Dave's watch parts looks to have tool rests ATM as well as collet's n things. I paid very little for the lathe so I'm not very much money into it right now. I just hate having things I can't use.

Books n tools are my next move then.
 
Last edited:

DeweyC

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Feb 5, 2007
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Thanks for the replys!

I am considering getting a sherline lathe and mill just because it seems to have the most support for in accessories. Or at least the mill because I can setup for gear cutting, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time now. Didn't think it or the taig we're accurate enough for turning staffs or anything that small. From reading past posts on the forum, it seems quite a few have managed it on the Sherline at least.

As far as collet's go, there's a metal pin or ridge inside the headstock that makes the collets go in the same way every time. All the collets have a slot in them.

Figured I put the tailstock on wrong. The end with the micrometer on it is where the collets seem to key into however. All kinds of confused about that part.

Dave's watch parts looks to have tool rests ATM as well as collet's.

When I mentioned "key off the center slot" I was referring to the HS and TS. The WW standard is for these to key off the prismatic sides of the bed. I think (?) the Peerless uses the bed center to key them via projections under the HS and TS. This would save it from the rampant mix/match of standard WW lathes and may well have kept the original HS nad TS together meaning they would align correctly.

This fact alone would make a Peerless more interesting to me than the standard WW offerings today. Because it was an oddball in regards to the WW standard it was never highly valued. But that oddity may well make it one of the more attractive offerings today.

Would still need checking, but I think the odds are in your favor.

And yes, all collets are keyed. There are some who advocate removing the key (driving pin) from the headstock. But that that key not only ensures the collet is located in the headstock, it DRIVES the collet. Removing the HS key means you have to tighten the collet excessively to drive it by friction. Bad machine practice.
 

D.P.

Registered User
Aug 23, 2018
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Looking at it, I'd say your spot on. I took the TS off and turned it around the right way. Trying to jiggle it side to side I can't feel any movement at all, even though I'm sure there's got to be some play. Boggles the mind how they managed to make things that precise.

IMG_20220114_130745.jpg IMG_20220114_130922.jpg
 

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