Mini Lathe Tips

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Shinhoto, Oct 5, 2018.

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  1. Oct 9, 2018 #21

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

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    Make a vase if you like, but consider this:
    Even a complex engine has many small and easy parts to make.
    Start making those parts in raising order of difficulty and you will learn. The engine you mentioned is a Diesel. Very experienced modeler have tried to make scaled down versions of Diesel, as far as I know, all failed because of the injector issue. You may want to revise your plans. People learn to crawl and walk before running the marathon.
     
  2. Oct 9, 2018 #22

    dkwflight

    dkwflight

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    Hi
    I have learned the achievable accuracy is mostly in the operator,
    This is how a good machinist is able to turn out good work on old worn out machines.
    I found alignment issues in my Mini(7 x 12 lathe ) which I was able to correct.
    Once your machine is in alignment (the axis of the spindle in line with the bed) you can do fine work on a small cheap lathe.
    No matter which lathe you buy you will want to learn the lathe and how to compensate for wear in the lathe.
    SO get one and start learning!
    Dennis
     
  3. Oct 9, 2018 #23

    clockworkcheval

    clockworkcheval

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    For good measure I have put your question to a couple of very experienced horologists and watchmakers in our group. They all told me that in their first year of training they had to make their parts on a small manual watchmakers lathe, driven either by hand with a bowstring or by foot. After a year they were deemed to have developed enough feel for materials, feeds and speeds to be allowed on the motorized lathes.
     
  4. Oct 9, 2018 #24

    Dalee

    Dalee

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    Hi,

    That's a pretty big bite to take starting out. But it's possible if you work hard at learning. And there would be help here for sure.

    Since you do have size restrictions, a 7x lathe sounds like it would be the ticket. They might not be glamorous, but many, many homeshop machinists do incredible work on them. You can too.

    Materials are all around you. One of the perks of model machining is not needing 20' bars of stock. Little pieces of materials can be found all around you that you can repurpose. Look for a local machine shop, bring some pastries and enjoy the riches of drops you now have access to. Even eBay can be a steady source of small bits and pieces.

    Get your lathe, and post some photos!
     
  5. Oct 9, 2018 #25

    GreggA

    GreggA

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    if your doing small steam engines go sherline, Its a nice machine. I have a Chinese lathe 7x10 but its nothing to be proud of...I have worked a lot on getting it tuned up but head stock alignment is still out and the tail stock doesn't lock in the same position twice. Im so tire tired of trying to make it a REAL lathe I have just given up and accepted that it is what it is. You get what you pay for.
     
  6. Oct 9, 2018 #26

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    If this is the case I’d seriously consider budgeting a lot of money for tools & tooling before you get a place to build a shop. Honestly I’d start with a good chest type tool box.

    Most of the machining related tools I currently have I managed to obtain over the last couple of years largely used at auctions. Some newer stuff has been purchased as bills allow.

    In any event a tool box puts you into a mindset of putting the tools away properly. Initially you won’t need a lot of stuff. The short list includes a set of calipers, 0-1 & 1-2 micrometers, a 6” scale, some files, wrenches and screw drivers suitable for the lathe purchased, safety glasses, and a machinist handbook!

    If you are an old person magnifiers and good lighting become very important.

    In any event the point is this random set of tooling can be expensive new but required. Used can sometimes save you considerable money. Further what you need increases over time, for example the above list says nothing about precision measurements of bore diameters.

    Oh I forgot you will need cutters of some sort for the lathe.
    Lots of people work without a dedicated shop. The real question here is can you dedicate a small bench or table to the lathe? If you can one of the Sieg 7 x XX lathes would me a good fit. If not about the only viable solution I can offer is a small watch makers class lathe, a Taig or Sherline, mounted to a board that can be sat on a table when it is to be used and packed up when it isn’t. In my opinion the 7” lathes from Sieg are too big to be used like this. Being able to dedicate a bench can make a huge difference in lathe usage.
    Actually it is pretty common for those new to machining to make tools and accessories for the lathe as part of the learning process. Die stocks, punches, scribes, edge finders, screw jacks are all examples of common tools made early in the learning process.
    One thing to consider; most of the watch makers class lathes do not support screw cutting out of the box!!!! I personally would rather have that capability but that does put you into a larger lathe. Which also puts you into a dedicated work bench of some sort.

    So maybe your best bet is to evaluate where you could put this lathe. One guy has his lathe on top of a roll around toolbox. That does mean standing at your machine to operate it though. A roll around tool box might be the right compromise for a limited space deployment.

    To get some online info about the Mini lathes try Micro Marts or Little Machine Shops web sites for details on the variants they have. If you have a bench for it I would seriously consider the longer variants.

    One more thing a bench grinder likely will be required. Garage sale finds can be good enough to get started.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2018 #27

    DJP

    DJP

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    Without an enclosed and vented space for a workshop you will track bits of sharp steel and grinding dust into the living area of your house. Fumes from cutting oil will also need to be extracted to the outdoors. Be cautious about storage of flammable liquids. In my opinion, you should focus on getting workshop space first then get the machines that cut metal and throw swarf around the shop. Renting space may be an option and you may find other machinists who will share their knowledge at the same facility.

    A thought for your consideration now that machine brands and models are being discussed.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2018 #28

    packrat

    packrat

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    Good things to think about..and if you start to grind HSS tools for the lathe inside the apartment or house
    that mint be the end of your lathe work in the house, if the wife finds out and they always do....
     
  9. Oct 11, 2018 #29

    fej53

    fej53

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    I feel your pain. I am about in the same situation. For years I have been trying to talk myself into buying a Shopmaster Patriot 3 in 1 CNC machine. But I can’t really justify spending over $6,000 for something to play with. I have just about convinced myself to buy one of the Chinese 8x16 lathes off of EBay. I know they don’t have the same capabilities but the $1,000 price tag is a lot easier to handle. Now if I could just get life to cooperate and stop throwing so many challenges at me I will do it. It just gets me cause I know they really only should sell for about $500. They were about $750 last winter, now with the tariff tax added on they are $1,000.
     
  10. Oct 12, 2018 #30

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    I’d avoid any sort of 3 in 1 machine, very frustrating devices.

    As for life getting in the way I’m not sure I will ever have the cash to get everything I want into a shop! Just this year had a new roof put on the house, need a furnace and then old age medical issues. Buying used only helps so much as some of the small shop hardware and tools are hard to score. This especially when you are still working and don’t have the time to dedicate to finding the stuff you need. In any event hang in there andoook forward to the good days.

    As for the high prices on Chinese stuff, I really believe the government had to do something here to change the attitude in China. The Chinese are great people but their government has been very predatory with respect to trade. Plus they still haven’t addressed many social ills especially the treatment of workers which sadly is pretty horrible.

    The interesting thing here is that we may actually start to see manufactures in other countries start up to fill the gap. The labor will not be as cheap but hopefully treated a bit better. We might even see some return of manufacturing to the USA.
     
  11. Oct 12, 2018 #31

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

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    I suspect metal chips in bare feet cause more issues than grinding dust. In any event you are right in that a hostile wife can lead to problems.

    I’m not sure of the original posters living situation but one nice thing about a roll around toolbox or stiff metal cart is the ability to move the equipment to a room without rugs, onto a patio or even a driveway. You still need to clean up well but it can leave the wife with far less to complain about.

    By the way I’m lucky in that I have a decent cellar to setup shop but in but that still leads to issues with dust and fumes. Especially wood working dust. I’d love to have a garage or better yet a dedicated shop but that looks like a dream at the moment.
     
  12. Oct 13, 2018 #32

    wgpeters

    wgpeters

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    Find Hansen has built several model diesel engines.
    For example:
     

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