Quick question about lathes

cstan

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I've been realizing for a while now that my little 'Peerless' lathe just doesn't cut it. (Ha Ha pretty funny). Seriously though, for polishing pivots and cutting brass it works adequately; but try to cut steel and it just bogs down. I hate to invest in things to improve it such as a cross slide, a steady rest, a decent tail stock, or a bigger motor (it has a 'Singer' sewing machine motor now), if ultimately I need to get a new one anyway. I've had my eye on a 'Sherline' 4100. I want to stick with something that is common, and replacement and supplemental parts are readily available. My questions: Is this a good idea or is there a better one? Is 'Timesavers' the way to go? 'Merrits' is more expensive. Is there a better place to purchase one? I went to the 'Sherline' website which is cheaper then 'Timesavers' but I figured the 'UPS' shipping at $187. Could this be right? There is a place on the internet 'DiscountCampus.com that has a decent price and shipping is only $.01, plus they include a whole bunch of other things free. Has anyone ever heard of them?
I did a search on this forum on 'Sherline' and started reading and will probably finish sometime soon, I just figured I could get a condensed version.

Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Charlie
 

Tinker Dwight

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Hi
I bought a Sherline years ago before I ever thought about clocks,
while they were still sold through Sears as Craftsman tools.
Over the years I've used it for all types of small turning. I originally
wanted to build a small heat engine. Never did that though.
To do clock stuff, you'll need to get a good set of collets as well.
I think for the price it is a fine tool.
Tinker Dwight
 

Pete Almquist

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You know when I wanted to start my own clock shop I asked my mentor who is a master clockmaker which lathe to get. He asked me in return how serious I was about getting quality equipment. I had been looking at a Sherline lathe and for the price it seemed pretty decent. He wasn't too impressed but you ought to see his shop. Eventually I was able to find a nice Derbyshire lathe with a halfway decent set of 10mm colletts. I also found a more complete set of colletts as well as a nice compound cross-slide, etc. I was able to buy them used at a pretty decent price. So for what I would have paid for a new Sherline lathe with a few colletts I now have a professional quality lathe with the accessories I need to do pretty much everything shortof cutting gears. One of these days I might spring for those accessories too. Now might be a good time to find a good deal. The advantage of 10mm as opposedto the 8mm lathe is the colletts get big enough to do pretty much any clock repair and is still precise enough to do watch repair if that's your thing.
 

Rob P.

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I don't have a mini-lathe because I can do most of my hobby work on the big Southbend lathe I have access to. However, if I was "lathe-less" I would consider one of the 7X12 mini lathes (or even the bigger 9X20) from Asia. These lathes will turn the smaller diam shafts and are sufficiently strong enough for most steel parts for clocks. There are "upgrades" for the 9X20 lathes which most feel are important to do prior to heavy use. Reverse tumbler, 4-bolt cross slide mount, etc. Lots of hobby machinist web sites have the details and designs for these "upgrades" for free.

The Little Machine Shop has all kinds of stuff for these little metal lathes like tool bits, collets and closers, and other things. You can get the lathes from Enco, Grizzly, Harbor Freight, Jet, and other suppliers.
 

R. Croswell

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I have an old Sears version of the Sherline lathe. Sherline parts fit. One nice thing is that the Sherline lathe takes a 3-jay chuck and has enough guts to turn most anything that will fit. Not a bad choice for general clock work. If you buy new it should be the same regardless of where you get it. If you buy used, Sherline has the parts you need and I think they will be around for a long time. Disadvantage is no compound slide and you rotate the head to make angle cuts. Getting the head back true center to center is time comsuming. An advantage is that there are lots of accessories available........wish I could afford all of them!

RC
 

moe1942

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I have a Taig lathe and it is equal to the Sherline only less costly. I rarely usey WW lathe anymore.
 

wefalck

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I am powering my Lorch, Schmidt & Co. WW-lathe with a Sherline drive unit. Within the limitations of a round-belt drive I can do pretty much everything in (preferably free-turning) steel I want. One has to take light cuts, so it takes longer.

wefalck
 

MShaw

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just a quick comment. Sherline does offer a compound slide as an accessory.

Malkin Shaw
York, Pa.
 

R. Croswell

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just a quick comment. Sherline does offer a compound slide as an accessory.

Malkin Shaw
York, Pa.
Yes, they do indeed! Just saw one listed on-line but it looks like it would limit the tool holder options due to added height. Would still be a nice accessory to have. I still think Sherline is one of the best choices for the price for general clock work - partly because of the extensive line of accessories. I also like the tail stock design better than some others as well as the location of the feed screw.

RC
 

Tinker Dwight

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Hi
I have one of their ( Sherline ) thead cutting gear sets.
It works but requires careful tending to get it working
right. It is not as good as many larger lathes would have.
Still, I have no general complaint with the rest of the
lathe. The Tiags are slightly larger and many people
like them as well.
Tinker Dwight
 

RJSoftware

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I think that you should first accomplish cutting steel on your watchmaker lathe. For me, I found that my watchmaker lathe ran much too fast with little torque strength. The solution was a countershaft which reduced the turning speed but granted stronger torque.

Seriously, I went from grinding powdery dust using carbide because my hss steel gravers would just dull and quit cutting back to using the hss gravers and watching them peel steel...!

Incase you do not know, when the gravers make steel dust and not peelings it is not cutting properly. The graver is chattering and heats up and quits cutting right away.

From some post from expert about feed and speed, finally the light bulb came on for me. Also, I had bought a lathe speed indicator and that helped me to realize my speed was too high. Even at the lowest speed pulley settings.

But before that I put a rheostat (like your sewing maching pedal) and thought that I could slow things down that way. But what happens then is just the motor slows and exponentially so the torque disappears.

You need slow speed but good torque (strength).

So the countershaft was definitley the answer. Also wanted to mention that with the countershaft the weak little sewing machine motor is pleanty strong. I can set the bands on lightly which also saves the bearings of the motor and lathe.

RJ
 
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cstan

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Interesting RJ. But then there's also the problem of having to buy a full set of collets which will probably only fit my 'ww 8mm' head stock and not any new lathe I may buy in the future. There's no cross slide which makes it difficult to be accurate while cutting. No tail stock to speak of. No tool holder. No steady rest. After buying all of that I'm halfway to the price of a new modern lathe with all those things included. That's assuming that all of those things are still available for my lathe. I don't want to throw good money after bad. I'd rather make the investment now and have a lathe that will grow with my business. I think my 'Peerless'es days of growth are over. I could be wrong. That's why I'm here.
Charlie

Anybody ever hear of DiscountCampus.com?
 

RJSoftware

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Ah well I see what you mean, that does add a wrinkle to the situation. I assumed you had most the basics. Obviously then your on the right track. Hope to compare notes with you as I am now in process of getting watch/clock repair buisness going.

RJ
 

al_taka

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Here is the taig site for all of their products.
I didn't know about their compound slide until looked for it this morning.
http://www.taigtools.com/c1200.html

To use my set of 8mm collects I purchased a taig ww complete headstock. Whenever I need the precision, I swap the headstocks in a minute.

If you don't have a set of ww collets, don't buy the taig standard collets, get the Taig ER16 full set along with all the inbetween sizes. The collets will then overlap each other in size so your able to grab any small size material you come across.

I'll create a video today to show you how I setup the motor arrangement.
 

R. Croswell

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I'll add one more point for consideration. The lathe (assuming you will have just one) will likely be used for things other than just turning pivots and making small bushings. It will also likely be used to make some special "tools" or fixtures or special punches, etc. I don't own a watchmaker's lathe but I would expect that turning out larger parts such as a main arbor bushing for an American kitchen clock from a 3/8 brass rod (a common task in clock repair) would be more challenging on a watchmaker’s lathe do to the limitation on what size stock can pass through the head. On a small lathe like the Sherline that would be a simple 5-minute task.

If space and money permit, the ideal situation would be to have more than one lathe, otherwise one should consider which size and type of lathe will be able to perform the widest range of anticipated tasks.

For me the choice was easy - I got the big old South Bend for $25 about 45 years ago and the little Sears/Sherline was a gift from a friend. Now if someone would just give me one of those neat little Sherline mills! It might be worth mentioning that the Sherline lathe and mill appear to share a lott of common parts which might be another brand consideration.

RC
 

Jerry Kieffer

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I think that you should first accomplish cutting steel on your watchmaker lathe. For me, I found that my watchmaker lathe ran much too fast with little torque strength. The solution was a countershaft which reduced the turning speed but granted stronger torque.

Seriously, I went from grinding powdery dust using carbide because my hss steel gravers would just dull and quit cutting back to using the hss gravers and watching them peel steel...!

Incase you do not know, when the gravers make steel dust and not peelings it is not cutting properly. The graver is chattering and heats up and quits cutting right away.

From some post from expert about feed and speed, finally the light bulb came on for me. Also, I had bought a lathe speed indicator and that helped me to realize my speed was too high. Even at the lowest speed pulley settings.

But before that I put a rheostat (like your sewing maching pedal) and thought that I could slow things down that way. But what happens then is just the motor slows and exponentially so the torque disappears.

You need slow speed but good torque (strength).

So the countershaft was definitley the answer. Also wanted to mention that with the countershaft the weak little sewing machine motor is pleanty strong. I can set the bands on lightly which also saves the bearings of the motor and lathe.

RJ
RJ
Without getting technical.

If you were ever in the area and stopped by to play with various types of machines side by side, I suspect you may have a different point of view in a very very short period of time.


Charlie
Discount Campus has sold various brands of equipment over the years. I have heard no complaints with this company but any company who has been in business for awhile will probaly have some..
However if you check new manufacturer dealer listings and they are on the list, you then may get assistance from the manufacturer if you had a issue since it was on their list. At least more than I have ever gotten from an individuals recommendation.

Jerry Kieffer
 

cstan

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Thanks Jerry,
I think that if I go with the 'Sherline' I'll go with 'DiscountCampus'. Still not sure if I want to go with the 'Taig' or not. Any preferences on your part.
Charlie
 

Jerry Kieffer

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Thanks Jerry,
I think that if I go with the 'Sherline' I'll go with 'DiscountCampus'. Still not sure if I want to go with the 'Taig' or not. Any preferences on your part.
Charlie

Charlie

Personal Preference per your request

I have three Taig lathes except one is a very early one that really should not count since it is a collector item.
The Taigs are seldom used except for Optical (Glass ) work that I understand they were originally designed for in favor of the Sherlines.

The quality of the Taigs is similar to Sherline but they lack the following factory features when compared to a Sherline

(1) A Variable Motor,

(2) Leadscrew calibrated hand wheels on all three axis.

(3) Rotating headstock.

(4) MT spindle and tailstock.

(5) No effective method of aligning spindle/tailstock in ALL directions. (Optional on the Sherline)

(6) Factory threading options.

(7) repeatable tailstock (Fine for general machining but not consistent enough for micro machining on my machines)

Personally, I find these features imperative when considering capabilities and efficiency. Many of these items seem to be popular modifications by Taig owners, but again personally, I am more into working on projects than purchasing a project. Especially when you consider the cost difference between the two machines is minimal. In addition Sherline offers a larger selection of accessories.

But then again, only hands on experience on each machine side by side will determine what is best for you as an individual, if its between these two machines.

Jerry Kieffer
 

Jerry Kieffer

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Charlie
Actually I see that I missed one of the more important differences between the machines in regard to Horology. Sherlines adaptor system allows the use of both WW and 8mm collets allowing a wider range and mixed brands. They also provide for this same collet flexibility thru out the accessory line including Milling machine accessories. This allows for collet transfer critical to a wide range of machining operations.

Taig only offers a WW headstock with a smaller spindle hole unless you purchase an additional WW only headstock as mentioned by someone earlier.

Jerry Kieffer
 

wefalck

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How good is the concentricity, Jerry, of the Sherline adapter ? It is essentially just a sleeve between the MT Spindeltaper and the B8 cone. It may be possible to bore out the cone in situ to ensure concentricity, but I wouldn't hold the cone there. I would consider this mainly an emergency option, rather than an everyday work solution.

Actually, I made similar adapter from B6 to B8 by taking one of the Sherline blank collets and boring it out for the B6 cone. I then cut off the threaded part to be just left with the cone sleeve. The threaded part then received an internal thread for the B6 collets to serve as an adapter for the draw bar. Perhaps one could/should do the same with a blank MT collet in the headstock of the Sherline lathe. However, one should remember that this sleeve is not hardened.

wefalck
 

Jerry Kieffer

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How good is the concentricity, Jerry, of the Sherline adapter ? It is essentially just a sleeve between the MT Spindeltaper and the B8 cone. It may be possible to bore out the cone in situ to ensure concentricity, but I wouldn't hold the cone there. I would consider this mainly an emergency option, rather than an everyday work solution.

Actually, I made similar adapter from B6 to B8 by taking one of the Sherline blank collets and boring it out for the B6 cone. I then cut off the threaded part to be just left with the cone sleeve. The threaded part then received an internal thread for the B6 collets to serve as an adapter for the draw bar. Perhaps one could/should do the same with a blank MT collet in the headstock of the Sherline lathe. However, one should remember that this sleeve is not hardened.

wefalck
Wefalck
Sorry I did not respond, but I am on vacation so this will be short.

Personally I have not had issues with quality adaptors mounted in good qaulity MT spindles. Both must of course be clean. I prefer hardened and ground adaptors on large equipment because of the possible deforming of the adaptor under heavy loads. I rotate the adaptor in the spindles until I find any sweet spot and then mark locations for future installation.

I prefer unhardened adaptors in small 4" size machines because of possible increased accuracy. In a normal situation you have bearing/spindle/ collet/ mounting runouts. With unhardened adaptors you can take an in place light cut and eliminate adaptor/spindle runout. You must of course mark the adaptor/spindle for future installation. In the case of small machines, the loads are not great enough to effect the accuracy of good quality unhardened adaptors that allow greater accuracy from in place machining. In the case of Sherline and this is all covered in the adaptor instructuions.
Surprisingly I have not had any durability issues with unhardened adaptors in small machines. I have some that have been used three hours a day for the past ten years or so with no accuracy problems. If I did, I could simply replace it or take another light cut.

Most of my WW/8MM mounting accuracy issues comes from collets and mounting stock in collets. I have an exceptionly accurate 8mm Levin Levin lathe that I use as a standard. When I have an issue I attempt the same setup in the Levin and if I have the same issues, I know it is a Collet/stock issue. Almost every time I have had mounting accuracy issues it has been collet/stock related.

Jerry Kieffer
 

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