Toolmakers lathe

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by karlmansson, Feb 28, 2017.

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  1. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    I live in an apartment and so space is a very limiting factor. My father on the other hand has been getting more and more as us kids have moved out. He has been talking about getting a precision toolmakers lathe for some time now and I'm sort of in it with him. At this point I think my understanding of these machines has surpassed his and I try to aid him in what to look for. He has an old Myford with a bent leadscrew lying around without much tooling for it and no base. So he's looking to get something useable.

    I found an old Boley toolroom lathe at an online auction in Sweden the other day. It was similar to a 5LZ but still different in many ways. Came with a comprehensive set of collets and gears for thread cutting. 15 instead of the standard 25 for the 5LZ. The machine weighs close to 800kgs though as everything is cast iron and he didn't like the look of it. Lots of grime and some surface rust. I tried convincing him that for the price and accessories it was still a very good fixer upper (about 1300 dollars). He decided to pass on it, I even came close to buying it for myself but I have no place to keep it.

    This leads me to the question at hand: do you gentlemen have any suggestions on what to look for? I hear Myford in general is popular. And Altas. I'm looking for a metric machine that is well thought out, takes collets and is easily equippable. Should I avoid plain bearings? Are they harder to service/replace than rollers?

    Surface rust on a machine this size, how much of a complicating factor is it?
    On this machine the rusted surfaces were the ones people had touched a lot. Outside of chuck, handwheels etc. The bed looked terrible at first look but I think it was just grease and dust. Still, 800kgs is a lot to move around and moved around it would have to be until his workshop is completed. That lathe is gone now though so I'd just like some pointers on what to keep my eyes open for!

    Best regards
    Karl
     
  2. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2011
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    Hi Karl,

    It helps to know exactly what type of jobs he would like to do , in order to recommend a size. You mention thread cutting. If he wants to do alot of it, then a QCGB would be very helpful. I have an Atlas 618 and occasionally have to cut an imperial or metric thread, and it is a pain to change all the gears manually.

    Spindle bore size can be important, again depending on the types of jobs. And the bigger the lathe, the more expensive the accessories.

    David
     
  3. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    #3 karlmansson, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
    Thanks for the input David! I tried pressing him for a little information on what he thought he'd do with it and suggested he might do some vehicular repairs and bike repairs on a larger lathe to which he replied "What? Oh no, not car stuff...". He's being a bit cryptical but he's said he'd want it more for "fine mechanics". Which I interpret mostly as anything between clock stuff and bicycle repair. It's going to be a hobby lathe but he likes robust old equipment. Although he did find the Boley to be a bit too chunky... He's a HAM radio guy too and I think he has in mind to manufacture parts for that.
    I intend to borrow it at some point for case making for wristwatches. He was very keen on getting a Schaublin 102 that popped up recently but sold the same day, if that gives you an idea of size and bore size.

    Karl
     
  4. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

    Mar 29, 2011
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    I gather old lathes of the sort of size and specifications you may have in the back of your mind are very difficult to find. A metric Myford may be a good choice, as you can also still get the accessories and there is a large second-hand market in the UK at least.

    If the lathe is to be used in an appartment, the maximum floor-load may be an important consideration. I gather most residential buildings have a maximum load of 500 kg/sqm, which would have ruled out the Boley.

    Do you know Tony Griffiths' site: www.lathes.co.uk ? It makes you drool, but unfortunately most of the machines are not made anymore. However, flicking through it help you to shape your ideas and then you can look in a more targeted way on the second-hand market.
     
  5. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Thank you wefalck!

    No, the lathe is to be used on a concrete floor I think. It will be at his house, not mine.

    Yes, I am aware of lathes.co.uk, it's a great site! I wa however surprised to not find the Boley lathe offered on there. Not that it is of much relevance anymore but if someone could identify it I would be curious to know what it was. It doesn't have the "apron" as the 5LZ does. Otherwise it's a similar bed length and center height.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  6. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Alright, he intends to useit for "fine mechanical service and prototyping, electronics related application primarily in the HF area, microwave and such. Antennas, filters and connector housings.". Still no word on sizing though. It sounds very small. He would probably get away with something as small as a Schaublin 70. Or of similar center height. Any suggestions?
     
  7. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Would thread-cutting be part of the job-description ?
     
  8. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Probably. If he doensn't have using taps and dies for everything, and I don't think he does, it would include cutting threads for connector seatings and other things.
     
  9. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Thread-cutting capability would rule out the smaller Schaublins unless you can find one of the really expensive screw-cutting attachements that drive their top-slide.

    The same applies to any of the so-called bench-type lathes.

    I gather you would end up with one of the Chinese-made lathes that are sold under various brands or a PROXXON one, if you don't go, indeed, for Myford. There are virtually no European manufacturers of small engine lathes, except, Myford and PROXXON anymore.
     
  10. Moebius

    Moebius Registered User

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  11. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Ad 1: https://www.bergeon.ch/ ... they used to have production sites at various towns/villages around the Swiss Jura, but I could imagine that now they also produce overseas. There was/is a cluster of tool-makers around Le Locle.

    Ad 2: https://www.boley.de ... same provisa with respect to actual production sites; they used to be located in Esslingen, but now seem to have their headquarters in the major city nearby, in Stuttgart. The story of Boley vs. Boley & Leinen vs. Leinen seems to be quite complicated.
     
  12. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi wefalck,

    Would you count the Cowells 90ME as too small? It has screw-cutting capabilities.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  13. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Oops, forgot these guys. They make good stuff. Visited the production site once ...

    However, the Cowells 90ME essentially is a glorified watchmakers lathe (the 90CW) with a 50 mm centre height. Prices are considerable.
     
  14. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi wefalck,

    I won't disagree with the point about the prices, they are expensive but they're very solidly hand-built and fitted to very close tolerances. However, the 90ME doesn't accept collets as standard, (although there is an adaptor available), it accepts various chucks and has amongst other features a cross-slide, lead screw, back-gearing, screw-cutting ability, auto longitudinal feed, and is a very capable and accurate small lathe. I don't regard mine as a watchmaker's lathe by any means, that role is filled by my 6mm Lorch. By the way, in case you're wondering, I didn't buy it new, I'm not that rich!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  15. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    That's a good point about the 90ME, that it doesn't take collets, while the 90CW takes the standard WW collets. Before I got my Lorch WW-kit with screw-cutting attachment, I thought about talking to them to see, whether one couldn't have the 90ME with a 90CW headstock ... or even better a backgeared 90ME headstock with a collet-taking spindle.
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi wefalck,

    The collet adaptor for the 90ME is part R17.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    This must have been added, after I last looked several years ago. In any case it is not for the WW-collets.
     
  18. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Karl
    No one Lathe will do everything in a general purpose home shop.

    For a larger Lathe I would suggest a Emco Maier Maximate Super 11.

    http://www.lathes.co.uk/emco/page6.html

    It will take standard tooling for this type and size of lathe as well as out perform almost all others of similar size and weight.

    It will perform all work down to and be seamless with a Sherline/Cowells size machine.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  19. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    #19 karlmansson, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
    Thank you for all your input gentlemen!
    He finally decided to go with a restored Blomqvist BS600K. He had one at work for a long time (he's a medical engineer) and has something of a relationship to them. This one happened to be in very good
    shape and was repainted in its original colour. My father had real problems passing it up.

    It has a quick change gearbox and metric leadscrews. It is essentially a modified South Bend 9" lathe manufactured in Sweden. The "K" designation means "kullager", ball bearings. This one has a set of collets and a lever closing headstock as well, a bit unusual if I'm not mistaken. I think it will suit
    him well!

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    This is not a BS600 after all. The 600 doesn't have the gear box. Not sure exactly what model this is or how relevant it is to people outiside of Sweden. Eller vad säger du Skutt? :)
     
  21. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    For 30K or more the last time i checked their prices on a Bergeon lathe it better not come with chopsticx but at least it looks stronger than the typical euro lathe.
     
  22. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Not really sure what you are replying to here Firegriff...? The above lathe is not a Bergeon but a Blomqvist. Swedish made. It's 90cm between centers,
     
  23. geo.ulrich

    geo.ulrich Registered User

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    nice lathe ,I hope it runs as good as it looks
     
  24. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Nice lathe! I wish that I could afford one.
     
  25. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Yeah, it wasn't the cheapest one around but considering the amount of work the previous owner put into it I'd say it was fair.
    My dad has been talking about one like this that was really nice they "got away" so strangely enough it had sentimental value right off the bat.

    He says I'm welcome to use it so hopefully I can get back to you with a report once he gets it up and running.
     
  26. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Yep, looks like a nice piece of old-time engineering. The Norton-gearbox will be useful, when you frequently cut threads.

    A lever-collet closer usually indicates a production lathe, meaning that you can open and close the collet while the lathe is still running. The multiple carriage stop also points in that direction.
     
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