taig lathe mods.

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by tracker, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. tracker

    tracker Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    104
    0
    16
    retired naval aviator
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I am thinking of picking up a taig lathe to help in watch and clock work, and I would like to know what modifications others have made to the basic lathe that have helped them in the hobby. I would also like to know if taig makes an adapter that will hold 8mm collets from a watch makers lathe? Thanks Carl.
     
  2. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    May 31, 2005
    2,733
    397
    83
    Male
    wisconsin
    Country Flag:
    Tracker Name??

    The Taig Lathe is an excellent quality Lathe, however it is not designed for or well suited for watch work. At one time Taig offered a WW collet spindle but it has been discontinued.
    The Taig Lathe was originally designed for the optical work and seems to be best suited for that task. Or at least that has been my experience and is the only tasks that I do on mine.

    Prices are now at a point where it is more practical to purchase the competition that will not need modifications for general machining.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  3. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,584
    124
    63
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I understand that the motors (I believe a 1/3 or 1/4 hp is required) are an extra expense.

    Ron
     
  4. saskjoe

    saskjoe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2011
    278
    1
    18
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
  5. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    22,596
    386
    83
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have a Taig lathe and wish i could get the drawbar for the ww collets. One day i guess i will get more collets for my peerless lathe, a watchmakers lathe. My motor came from Lee Valley, that i have on my Taig, its plenty big and lots of power.
     
  6. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    682
    64
    28
    Male
    Tulsa, OK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Carl,
    I have used the Taig lathe to build and repair clocks for over 10 years and it works great. It is probably not the best tool for watch work.
    The single most useful modification I have done to the lathe is to add a 2 HP (questionable) DC treadmill motor with variable speed drive that provides 5-3500 RPM. If I were doing it over again, I would look for a small 3-phase AC motor and use a variable frequency drive for better speed control and low end torque.
    Other handy additions are putting a better handle on the tailstock feed and obtaining a second headstock for use as a milling spindle. I also drilled 12 holes around the headstock pulley and added a sliding pin for indexing and locking the spindle in place.
    Allan
     
  7. emhitch

    emhitch Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 17, 2009
    97
    1
    8
    medical device design engineer
    pittsburgh, pa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Tracker, I have had my Taig lathe for 5 years now and I am very pleased with it. The Taig lathe is not an appropriate lathe for watchmaking as others have said, but in my opinion, it has served me very well for clock-making and clock repairs. I use the ER16 collets and did purchase the milling attachment. I also really like the A2Z quick change tool post. The most significant and beneficial improvement I made was the variable speed motor from Sherline. I also made a custom variable speed foot control using a foot control from Harbor Freight Tools and a 5K wire wound potentiometer. 480.2461.jpg taig 1.jpg taig 2.jpg Some photos are attached for illustration. Good luck with it!
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jun 14, 2008
    3,001
    673
    113
    Male
    Magnolia, TX
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I am in full agreement that the Sherline motor and controller is one of the best improvements that can be made in powering small lathes. I have used them on several small lathes and mills. One change I recommend is adding a forward reverse switch into the controller. It is easily done, there is room in the controller to do it, just requires a bit of proper wire and a double throw double pole center off switch, available at Radio Shack and like places. Here is a Sherline motor and controller in use on a Derbyshire vertical 10mm mill
     

    Attached Files:

  9. emhitch

    emhitch Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 17, 2009
    97
    1
    8
    medical device design engineer
    pittsburgh, pa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Jim, yes I too installed a forward/reverse switch; a definite improvement for sure. The only comment/concern I have regarding the installation of this switch is that it does void the Sherline warranty. Sherline has published detailed instructions here
     
  10. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,584
    124
    63
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    So would a basic Taig lathe Miniature (with 1/4 hp motor) and a Jacobs chuck be all I would need to get started?

    Ron
     
  11. John Echternach

    John Echternach Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jul 27, 2003
    157
    0
    16
    Tracker: I have been using a Taig lathe for 14 years for clock repair and comparing it to my friends Sherline or typical "Watchmaker's Lathe" it is an equal. At the time it was half the price of the Sherline with more features and half the price of any used WM lathe on ebay that had far fewer features than my Taig. I recently made a very small arbor for a French clock using my cross slide with a graver adapted to the tool post. Easy to do and allows you to make fine, accurate cuts to better than 1 mil.

    I used it in the NAWCC Lathe course and it surprised everyone, especially the instructor. I routinely measure the cuts to be accurate to at least 1/2 mil. I modified the Taig woodturners rest (approx. $28) and resized it to make a graver rest. It worked just fine.

    I have no idea what the cost comparison is today but it is worth comparing.

    I did buy it without a motor and adapted a salvaged DC treadmill motor from the dump.

    John Echternach
    South Strafford, Vt.
    #0159010
     
  12. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    May 31, 2005
    2,733
    397
    83
    Male
    wisconsin
    Country Flag:
    Ron
    This is a complicated question that requires more considerations than is practical to discuss here. The quick answer to your question is "No".

    To make a long story short, it depends on you, your standards and requirements for a Lathe.

    If it is only to be used occasionally with the most basic of machining practices, then just about anything will do.

    If you compare a Taig Lathe to other lathes where a Graver is used, then Johns comments are right on. However, what was not mentioned is that when using a Graver, what comes off of the lathe for the most part is determined by the skills of the person using the Graver and not so much the Lathe itself. For most people, Graver skills can take years to develop.

    Lathes such as Sherline, Taig, Cowells etc. are designed as machine tool Lathes but are not created equal in regard to capabilities.
    While a Graver for example is limited for the most part to OD turnings, its capabilities/accuracy is very limited when compared to a properly designed and equipped machine tool lathe with lathe tooling mounted in a tool post.
    The procedures used to to create these capabilities have been perfected over the last 150 years by manufactures to the point that they only require minimal time and skill to master.
    Again, to make a long story short, to achieve efficiency and a wide range of capabilities, the following Lathe features are about the minimum required on a small manual machine tool lathe.

    (1) An efficient variable speed motor with high torque at slow speeds.

    (2) A Headstock spindle with a wide range of available Chucks, Collets (WW for Horology) face plates etc. If you can not hold it, you can not work on it.

    (3) Same for the tailstock with the addition of alignment adjustment in ALL directions for maximum accuracy if required.

    (4) Leadscrew control and hand wheel calibration on all three axis for maximum control and accuracy. (Carriage, slide and tailstock)

    (5) Tool post options for a wide range of tool holding capabilities.

    (6) Threading attachment with a wide range of thread pitches and hand operation where delicate highly accurate work is required. Used for many procedures other than threading.

    (7) Compatibility and tooling interchangeability with a similar size Milling Machine that may be purchased in the future.

    On a machine tool type Lathe , capabilities have more to do with the lathes capabilities than the operator. Skills are more easily perfected than any deficiencies of the Lathe itself.

    For Beginners, I always suggest taking educational classes before the purchase of any equipment. The NAWCC school of Horology offers workshops on both machine tool Lathes and the use of Gravers on a watchmakers Lathe. Its always better to find out what works for one as an individual before purchase rather than after.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  13. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,584
    124
    63
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thank you Jerry for a very detailed response. Your suggestion about taking a course is a good one but it would have to be online or DVD. I am in Nova Scotia, Canada and there is virtually nothing near me and the closet NAWCC Chapter for example, is Montreal, 12 hours drive away. In the meantime I will be considering your list of suggestions as I become more knowledgeable about what I think I need. At the moment I would put my skills as a clock repair person in the beginner category. I would be using a lathe for pivot polishing and burnishing which is is currently the limit of my skill level and then go from there.
    Ron
     
  14. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    May 31, 2005
    2,733
    397
    83
    Male
    wisconsin
    Country Flag:

    Ron
    I can certainly understand being isolated from a support system. I frequently have students that are in the same boat.

    One additional thing to keep in mind when this is the case, is that Machine tools will be used for many things other than ones hobbies, becoming a lifestyle as they are mastered.
    As such, it is even more important that they have not only have adaptability and capability, but the capability to utilize effective and efficient procedures requiring the least amount of skill development.

    I often see beginners purchase several machines based on low price only that will not function as a unit or do what is required. In some cases, they spend years attempting to develop skills to manipulate these tools in an attempt to do what is desired without ever succeeding. Again they often spend more money on several machines than a single efficient machine that will outperform a collection of inefficient machines.

    If evaluating a lathe for Horological use, I would suggest that your first study a typical movement. Then work out in your mind how you would machine each part requiring lathe work on the machine that you have in mind. This should include holding the work pieces and the tooling used. If you are able to do so, then that machine will be worth considering.

    If you have a machine in mind, check to see if the manufacturer has an instruction guide for their tools.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  15. David S

    David S Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    7,201
    246
    63
    Male
    Professional Engineer - Retired
    Brockville, On Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Ron do you have a specific model of Taig lathe that you are considering?

    David
     
  16. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,584
    124
    63
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Yes David. This one.

    Ron
     
  17. David S

    David S Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    7,201
    246
    63
    Male
    Professional Engineer - Retired
    Brockville, On Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Ron, Kevin West here I think may have that model. I know that he works at Lee Valley. Perhaps he will chime in.

    As Jerry has mentioned you really have to think long and hard about what your present and future needs will be, especially if you think that you may like to get a small mill someday. Having machines with interchangeable accessories is very valuable.

    However if finances are a restriction and you want to enjoy more of the hobby than what you can do with hand tools, one has to make some compromises.

    In the 70's when I started doing light machining, there was no internet and my "tooling world" was the local classified and hobby store. Knowing the owner he offered to get me a Unimat DB200 starter kit at his cost. Now I would in no way suggest that this is even close to the Sherlines or similar Taigs, I sure did a lot of nice work with it, and was able to get lots of accessories. I didn't even know Sherline existed back then, and probably couldn't have afforded it anyway.

    So again if for the foreseeable future budget is an issue, perhaps there are others here with that model of Taig or something similar in the more affordable range that could comment.

    David
     
  18. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    22,596
    386
    83
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Ron, pm me or just get in touch i will do my best to answer your questions on the Taig lathe.
     

Share This Page