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Thread: lookin' fer a lathe - it came!

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    i'm really interested in getting a lathe. i've done some research on the net, and searched the cpf archives, but haven't been able to find any information i am looking for.

    what i need is a small lathe that can turn small flashlight bodies (similar to something like the, oh, the mclux lets say). it must also be able to do reflector-like turning (something like, the mcflood for instance). i would primarily be using this for making heatsinks though. i don't have a lot (any?) applications for this outside of flashlights. also, it must be able to do threading (i think?) and knurling would be great too.

    ok...here's the crappy part. i have around $350 [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] if i find a lathe that is close to that ($600 or less?) i might be able to convince (see: threaten, bribe, blackmail, hypnotise) my dad into paying the difference.

    what am i looking at here? a dream? am i correct in assuming this cannot be done for my price range?

    ok, if i get a lathe, what else do i need? knurler? threader? special "bits"? special chuck? special drill? centering tools? special lubes? special anything else? also, i will need to by the chisles.

    i have used wood lathes in shop class, so all i know how to do with them is turn mallets. (what a crappy assignment...) i know nothing other than that...

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Rothrandir,

    One of the great things (NOT)about our current society is it's indifference if not scorn for folks who work in machine shops and make things themselves. Many schools don't even have shop clases or facilities any more. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] Before you try to find a cheap lathe somewhere, I highly recommend you see if you can take a shop class at a community college if possible. You should try to get some hands on experience first before you dive into such an undertaking. Some folks like to cut chips and some don't. Find out which of these you are. My lathe was originally sold in Sears, probably back in the '50's if you can believe that. We've come a long way since then; just not sure where it is we're going.

    - Don

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    Flashaholic* yclo's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Sharp thingies are called tools I think...

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    The sharp "stuff" is called Tooling

    Hint - the tooling is going to cost you more than the lathe!

    Knurling is HARD to do, particularly for a small lathe

    The cutting reflectors is your hard requirement. There is basically 3 ways to do it:

    1) some sort of parabola turing fixture - you'd have to figure out how to make it

    2) Making a drill bit that is shaped like the reflector, and drilling in

    3) CNC (computer Numerical Control) - how most pro shops would to it

    I will second what Don says - take a class - in fact, then you get to use their lathe

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by McGizmo:
    Rothrandir,

    ... My lathe was originally sold in Sears, probably back in the '50's if you can believe that. We've come a long way since then; just not sure where it is we're going.

    - Don
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Don,
    Which Atlas/Craftsman do you have?

    I've got the 3990 - aka 12"x36" on the cabinet stand - the "Commercial" model - nice lathe. I've got the turret tailstock, and the lever collet closer. I'm retrofiting a 3rd party bed turret for it

    Do you actually turn the tri clusters on it? If so, have you converted it to CNC? If not, how are you turning the ball heads/locline ends? I'm doubting a form tool for rigidity reasons, particularly in the stainless

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    Flashaholic* sunspot's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Look at Ebay for lathe's.

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    i have used a lathe in shop class in high school, and was pretty good, i don't however, have any metal experience.

    most of my projects would be heatsinks, and i might make a few small flashlights (no don, i don't plan on selling mclux knockoffs).

    at the age of 17, i don't think i can get into a class, and most certainly not one that will fit my schedule. in a couple months, i will be 18, and still have school and other things to work around, after that, i will probably be moving...

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Sure you can get into classes, I took several such classes at local and remote colleges while still in high school. All it takes usually is that you meet with the professor and convince him you're capable and not going to be a danger to yourself and him and a note from your parents [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    I've also begun studying up for metal lathe work, there is a LOT of info on the various mini-lathes on the internet, but for a start you could hit this:

    http://www.mini-lathe.com/

    And I think that your price range will be right on, you can probably get a new one of the smaller variety for $300, but for a little more you could get a used or even new version of a little bit larger and more capable one. But also remember that you need a lot of other tools and equipment to actually make anything. Lots of investment in time and tools before you can actually do much.

    Good luck, and please be careful and methodical and take your time planning before you apply a tool to anything spinning!

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by James S:
    ...All it takes usually is that you meet with the professor and convince him you're capable and not going to be a danger to yourself and him and a note from your parents [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">well, convincing him might be a little more difficult than you think. in shop class (sophomore year) i had the misfortune of mixing a thum and a disc sander. i was using the ds to sharpen a scraper, and the blade got sucked in between the table and the sandpaper, it sucked my thum in and i pulled it oult squirting blood...the result:

    this is after it grew back. (it took off the entire top a little past my first knuckle. all my nail and nailbed had been ripped out, and the bone was sharpened to a chisle point. after 2 surgeries and a couple years, it now looks like this.

    also, as if that wasn't bad enough...the next year i was doing something on the tablesaw (at home this time) and i used a dowl to push a piece away from the blade, apparently my hand got sucked in and i got a nick(sp?) on my finger, not too deep, but it required stitches and i could see the fat gooping out [img]graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

    actually, hand problems run in the family...dad, uncle, grandpa. it's a family curse.

  10. #10

    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    My dad is a machinist and I followed his foot steps with machining by building paintball guns. My 2 lathes (9"x36" Southbend and a 17"x120" Lablonde) were both made in the '40's. You can find good deals at used tool houses. I used to have a mill from Grizzly (www.grizzly.com) and pretty nice for the price. Their lathes are probably out of your price range, but for the price you get a good deal and parts are easy to get, even though it's made overseas.

    The little Craftsman lathe that McGizmo has is a good one, good for doing what you want to do. I do agree with him in taking some machine classes at your local college. Machining metal is different than wood...

    Good luck in your search and welcome to the machining brotherhood.

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by McGizmo:

    One of the great things (NOT)about our current society is it's indifference if not scorn for folks who work in machine shops and make things themselves.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">So true, and the pay scales reflect that.

    Rothrandir, a class 1st would be the way to go I believe,
    enjoy.

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    Flashaholic* NightStorm's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Rothrandir,

    See if this fits your needs:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=33684

    I understand that shipping is free for orders that exceed $50. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Nice number on the thumb, by the way. [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    Dan

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    thanks dan, i like that one. but as to whether or not it fits my needs...i have no clue. hopefully someone can come in and tell me if it can do reflectors and possibly knurling.

    the thumb there is nothing, you should have seen it when it happened!

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by Charles Gallo:
    ........
    Don,
    Which Atlas/Craftsman do you have?..........

    [/QB]
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Charles, I also have a 12x36 bench mount Atlas. No turret though [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    I bought a specialized SouthBend 9x24 turret lathe for $500 last year and after a couple of days of dissassembly and re asembly, found that the turret is shot! [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    I got more than my money's worth in collets and extra tooling but what a bummer. Seems that this guy did almowt all of his work with forming tools and used the turret for drilling. I don't know how he trashed the turret and he is in his 80's and said everything worked fine.........

    I don't make the tri-clusters; have the work done by a sub contractor after I made a few protos and finalized on the design. I do have a great radius cutter that allows for balls and concave up to 2" diameter. The tool fits on the Aloris style tool posts and is real sweet. I can cut balls in Ti, no problem; just takes time. It was made by Holdridge but then they bough out some other radis cutters I guess as the one I have isn't shown in any catalogues any more. It has a big dial for sweeping the cutter and works great!

    - Don

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by McGizmo:
    ...snip... It was made by Holdridge but then they bough out some other radis cutters I guess as the one I have isn't shown in any catalogues any more. It has a big dial for sweeping the cutter and works great!

    - Don[/QB]
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Holdridge cutters are nice. I was just wondering about the lockline mount

    Charlie

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Charles,

    I guess I'm confused. I thought you were asking how I cut the ball shape that fits into the Loc-Line socket. I cut this ball shape with the Holdridge Radius Tool.

    - Don

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    wow, thanks for the links guys, i just went through them fairly thouroughly and they seem (they are both the same model) exactly what i want!

    329.99 plus free s&h is a good deal right?

    is there anyone else who would recommend this lathe? also, the is the site percadan supplied a good and honest place?

    ok, assuming i decide to order from this place, of the items listed below, what should i get.

    don and others who may be concerned with my safety...my dad can do everything from plumbing, to electircal, to anything else. he quite literally built our house. i'm not saying this makes me a natural, but at least he might be able to help me.

    another thing i might need...cheap crap aluminum to goof around with...

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    Flashaholic* yclo's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    What about this one?

    http://www.clisby.com.au/LatheMetal.html

    Very cheap, but does it have all the basics?

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    oh, yclo's link also reminded me of more lathe experience i have had...
    when i was in elementary school, i had a platic lathe that ran off 4aa bateries and converted into a strang scroll-saw type thing and a drill press. it was barely enough to turn balsa wood [img]graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

    i'm not new to tools you see if all honesty, i am completely competent with the scroll-saw, band-saw, table-saw, oscilating spindle sander, belt sander, drill press, table-mounted routers, planer, jointer, i am also fairly good at turning wood, and i am o.k. at the disc sander(although it is about my least favorite tool) i am also good with all kinds of handtools.
    don't worry, i'm compatent..

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by Rothrandir:


    .....another thing i might need...cheap crap aluminum to goof around with...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Find a machine shop and ask if you can get some bar ends. They will likly give them to you.

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by McGizmo:
    Charles,

    I guess I'm confused. I thought you were asking how I cut the ball shape that fits into the Loc-Line socket. I cut this ball shape with the Holdridge Radius Tool.

    - Don
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I thought the lockline shape wasn't really a ball (tells you the last time I LOOKED at lockline), but more like - gad how to describe the shape - a parabola? AKA not constant radius, particularly in the end towards the neck - sort of a ball on the end of a parabola - I was wondering about THAT part of the curve

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    try the metal mini-lathes and combo mill/lathes at Grizzly
    and also Micromark

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    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    thanks danial, the grizzly is the same as found in the other link, but bigger...too bad it is $$$ more [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] the micromark page had a similar looking one for $500, but it was out of stock.

    thanks for the suggestion dan...now that i think of it, my dad knows someone that works at pny (a metalworking place)

    is the lathe from harbor refurbished? what about the clisby? which is better?

    please hurry, it is taking all of my considerable willpower to not buy some flashlights with this money!

    oh, and i suppose none of these will be able to do ti right? not a big deal really, i need al for ls mods...

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Rothrandir, The mini-lathe site I linked to is ALL about that lathe and it's brothers and sisters. It has links to other web sites about spinning (yes, you can do it on that lathe) and knurling (yes, you can do it on that lathe) but you'll need a knurling tool [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] And lots of good info on anodizing and such. Very very interesting stuff. The only specific limitation of the tool is how long and how wide a piece of stock you can put in it. There are other limitations like the depth you can drill into the center of something and the like, but you can find more info on the mini-lathe site.

    There is a very large community of people using those lathes and they often build their own tools like the knurling clamps and quick change tool posts and such.

    However, I'm not sure I'm comfortable recommending it to you... Perhaps a nice safe career as a CPA or something in hotel management would better preserve your digits!

    [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Rothrandir,

    If you look around you can find good used equipment. I have been very fortunate to grow up with a father who is a machinist. When he retired
    he went looking for his own equipment. He now owns two lathes, an Atlas (from the 50's also) and a smaller craftsman,a bridgeport mill and a surface grinder. He got about 200 end mills, parallels and other accesories with the mill so it was a very good deal.

    Don is right, learning how to use this equipment is paramount. It's the only way to produce quality work. Not to mention keeping your fingers attached to your hands.

    Although this product MIGHT suit your needs,
    It is very small and limits the work you can do on it.

    cheers,
    Kev

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    Flashaholic* NightStorm's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Originally posted by Rothrandir:


    is the lathe from harbor refurbished?what about the clisby? which is better?
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">No, its brand new [though Harbor Freight does have reconditioned lathes, they tend to be full size industrial units]. As for myself, I would steer clear of Clisby. You may notice from the picture, the lead screw appears to be hand-turned. If this is the situation, it would be nearly impossible to do accurate screw threads. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    From what I have seen so far, the General Machinery [Harbor], the Grizzly and the Micro-Mark are all basically the same lathe, differing only in distance between centers, switch gear and options. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the bed ways were cast in the same factory in China. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    For additional items at Harbor Freight try here:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/

    Or here:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/search.taf

    Dan

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    thanks dan. they have some great stuff!

    i gave the link to my dad, to see if there is anything he wants to throw in if (when?) i order.

    please guys...is this lathe i should get? i think so...does anyone think i shouldn't get it?

    as i said before...it takes a lot of will power to not put this money into a mclux and other tasty lights...

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    thanks for all your help guys, i just ordered the lathe from harbor.

    hopefully i'll be turning out flashlights by the end of the month [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  29. #29

    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    I have the Grizzly 7x12 mini lathe and i find it to be a great little tool. Granted, it is not a prewar southbend, but it's thoroughly adequate for small machining operations like flashlight bodies, and other stuff.

    The grizzly version of the mini lathe seems to be getting the best reviews of all the iterations of the product. Also, grizzly as a company is pretty good to deal with.

    Good luck with your purchase and remember, its not the size of your lathe... it's how you use it that counts!

    -Dan

  30. #30

    Default Re: lookin\' fer a lathe - it came!

    Hi Roth,

    Do take the time to propely set up your lathe as described at http://www.mini-lathe.com/ .

    Also, you will need 5/16" tool bits for use with the tool holder on that lathe. They can be hard to find in stock some times, and 1/4" can be used with a shim.

    Since your just starting out, you may want to consider carbide cutters, or one of the pre-grinded tool bit sets MicroMark sells. Properly shaping high speed steel bits on a grinder can be more work than using the lathe sometimes; but sounds like your dad may be able to help you out there.

    Also, I would recommend you get a copy of the Machinist Handbook, which is the bible for metal properties, thread cutting, etc.

    Good luck, and take your time; it's not all going happen over night.

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