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Thread: Thinking about a Mini Lathe

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master

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    No on the industrial machines the pin is in the coupling between the gear box and lead screw, On our 14 X 60 monarch lathes it was a 3/16 pin from leaded steel on these small lathes that would be sized down to maybe .020 dia. I know of one high school shop the instructor replaced them with deralin pins. Students sheared a lot more but a lot less broken tooling and other damage. Those plastic gears aren't that expensive usually, and are a good safety.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy
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    Plastic gears:

    The set comes with two metal 20 teeth gears (the smallest). My normal setup us to run these driving 80 teeth gears to get the slowest available feed.

    I have inadvertantly driven the carriage into the locked down tailstock a couple of times.

    The machine bogged down and I turned it off or disengaged the feed. There was no damage, the plastic gears were strong enough for these brief overload conditions.

    During normal turning, the gear loading will be very low.

    The plastic gears should last a lifetime unless there is excessive abuse.
    Last edited by P Flados; 01-10-2019 at 11:25 PM.

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy
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    Metric Lead screw:

    When you set up gears to do single point threading, the lead screw and the gears combine to give you your options for pitch.

    For single point threading, the normal "turning gears" (slow advance for the carriage) are removed and specific gear combinations are installed to get the desired thread pitch. Note that the gear change out is tedious process with lots of "trial and error" adjusting to get them to engage properly. With a metric lead screw, the normal gear set does not even get real close to standard imperial pitches. If you get a 21 tooth gear or a 63 tooth gear (these can be hard to find) you can get pretty close most of the time.

    If you plan to do lots of single point threading for imperial threads, I would not only get a lathe with an imperial lead screw, I would get one with a threading indicator (too complex to discuss at this point). Single point threading is real handy for larger sizes, but is not needed for the small stuff where a good tap and die set will take care of what you need.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    NI’ve been thinking about one of the imports. Which one is the best bet? I’m in the thousand dollar range, but would like to spend less of course and could go a little higher if it would make a real difference.

    There’s not a lot of detail that I can find on those for sale. Such as how long a piece you can turn or the diameter.

    I also wonder about the power of the motors. 500 or 600 watts is not that much?

    With a drill chuck in the tail stock how big can your work be?

    What to do? What to buy?

    Thanks
    Within your price limit that little lathe looks ok - the 38 mm spindle hole will get you out of a lot of trouble (or into it )
    I bought a small lathe several years ago with a bed long enough to work a barrel (just) but the through hole is only 22mm - I have done a lot of work with it - great for small jobs - I inherited a bigger machine last year but still use the small machine at least as much (more often).

    You will likely spend at least the cost of the lathe on tooling and bits n pieces over a period of time
    The low power just means small cuts - stay with sharpenable carbide tools rather than tungsten tip stuff - I would buy a small cheap grinder (smaller the better) and a dedicated wheel for grinding carbide tools.

    you need
    Dial indicator
    6 inch digital caliper - you will use that a lot
    a small micrometer (up to one inch)
    centre drills
    a decent live centre
    good quality drill chuck (keyed not keyless) with the correct MT spindle for your lathe tailstock and dont use it for anything else!
    a good quality set of drills - high speed steel - up to half inch

    things I have never used on my small lathe
    knurling tool
    parting off tool (hacksaw does fine)

    Stuff I use way more than I ever imagined
    C20 ER20A 100L Collet Chuck Holder Straight Shank for CNC Milling
    14Pcs ER20 1/16"-1/2" Spring Collet Set For CNC Milling Lathe Tool Workholding
    This setup was an impulse buy - cant believe how indispensible they have become - holding small parts - bullet shells - can grip a cast bullet - turn it - not leave a mark on it. --- all up was under fifty bucks AU$.
    Last edited by indian joe; 01-11-2019 at 01:20 AM.

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy McFred's Avatar
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    Whatever you do get a quick change tool post (Aloris, Phase II, whatever) in either OXA or AXA size. They're worth their weight in gold IMO.

    I prefer steel/iron to plastic when it comes to gear train. Learn from others' mistakes to prevent crashing the machine and you'll never have to worry about what's the machine's weakest link.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master

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    I ordered a lathe today. A 10x14 with a 550 watt motor. Now I am looking at accessories. I think I will need a four jaw chuck. I see some advertised, but they say self centering. I thought the object of four jaws was so you can adjust it. What are they talking about? If I want to get a larger one, do I neeed an adapter plate. Also, how do I know I am getting a good quality drill chuck for the tail stock?

    Thanks

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The self centering 4 jaws are used more on wood lathes. You will more than likely need a mount plate for the new chuck Look at bison, Buck. Also if the are any used equipment vendors near you check with them. As to drill chucks, Jacobs and Albright (sp) have been standards in industry for years. The chuck and mount may also be sold separately. You will need to know what morse taper your machine has in the tail stock. For tool posts a good quick change unit with several holders is handy and useable.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a Harbor Freight 7x10 about 4 months ago. With 25% discount with tax etc., I got it for just under $450. I wish I had known that they had d 7x14 for $50 more. The real working size of a 7x10 is about 4". It is big enough for making reloading dies but THAT IS ABOUT IT. I got a 3/4" chuck for the tail stock so...as long as the bit is not too long, I can fit a lot in there. The head stock has a 3" 3 jaw chuck. Again, big enough for reloading dies but the the through hole is only 5/8" in the head stock so, very limited on what can be long. Otherwise, it sure beats not having a lathe. Good to learn on. Fun. But again very limited.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

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    Are you sure the whole is too small in the head stock and not just the whole in the chuck? I understood it was the whole in the chuck not the head stock that was limiting. If you got a bigger chuck, you could pass a larger diameter through it.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    I used soap and a brush to lather my face for shaving. Lather has no place in shooting, reloading, or machine work. A lathe, as mentioned by other respondents, is used for turning and threading, not lathering, lathing, or latheing.
    As I was lathering my face, my lathe was spinning and the lath on the wall was beginning to fall off. I got so frustrated I got up and said "see you lather... dude"
    AKA hans.pcguy

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    I bought one of the HF 7x10s a few years ago as a return for about $240. It was missing the gear set which cost about $25 for the whole set. Shortly after, I bought a 14" bed and a 5" 4 jaw chuck from Little Machine shop. The 14" bed doubles the usable work space. The 5" 4 jaw is a bit much weight so I would recommend a 4" instead. The through hole in the head stock is around 3/4" but can be opened up to .812 or a bit more which is big enough for a TC fat barrel. The stock 3 jaw chuck only has a 5/8" hole. I have a set of carbide tool holders but much prefer HSS tools

  12. #32
    Boolit Master

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    Too a certain point, your chuck may only be a couple inches thick and that would be the limit of length to match the hole in your chuck. The spindle diameter is your limiting factor. Whatever the ID of the spindle is your maximum size. You definitely should look into a four jaw independent chuck. A self centering (scroll) four jaw chuck is a real nifty thing to have if you turn tubing or a lot of square stock but it's advantage is in speed, you can do the same with an independent it just takes more time for the set up and the scroll isn't even close to being as versatile as the independent. If your new to the game, dialing a four jaw in is the first thing you may want to practice. When I started, I couldn't dial in a four jaw if it meant going to jail. A friend suggest that I only used a four jaw chuck until I understood the concept. For 6 months I used nothing else and now even square stock is about a two minute job.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

    ― Confucius

  13. #33
    Boolit Master Randy C's Avatar
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    GregLaRoache I'm curious where and what kind of lathe did you buy I would like to read up on it. You said it was A 10x14 with a 550 watt motor.
    Thanks Randy C

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check