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Teenage_Machinist
08-29-2008, 01:12 AM
Has anyone here ever tried making or heard of making a tiny lathe along lines of Sherline or Taig?

dp
08-29-2008, 01:21 AM
Sure - http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/lathe1.html

macona
08-29-2008, 01:25 AM
Dont waste your time. A Taig is so cheap and 10 times the accuracy of anything you could build without existing machine tools.

SGW
08-29-2008, 08:18 AM
Around 1971, L.C. Mason, a Brit, wrote a book "Building a Small Lathe." The resulting lathe is 3.5" swing and 8" between centers, with change gears, back gear, and a leadscrew.

Macona is undoubtedly correct that, if you simply want a lathe, it is far more practical and probably cost-effective these days to just buy one. If you want what would probably be an interesting project and the resulting bragging rights when it was finished, though, it would be something to consider.

Alistair Hosie
08-29-2008, 09:16 AM
Making a lathe from scratch,I.E from molten metal etc is a big undertaking. I wouldn't dream of doing it it is (post ww11 technology and ideology).It will end up with blood sweat and tears also costing as much as buying a good little cheap and cheery chinese lathe I agree dont go to all that trouble.Alistair

SGW
08-29-2008, 09:22 AM
L.C. Mason's design uses barstock -- no castings.

camdigger
08-29-2008, 10:39 AM
Fer postage, I'd send you 2 or 3 books I bought detailing plans for DIY lathes. Personally, I gave up and bought a Taig. First of several lathes, actually. The only one that wasn't better value than what I could have build was a clapped out, thrashed war era Herbert? Even that one was a toss up because it was massive and had power feed everything.

If you're determined to build a machine for entertainment and learnig sake take a look at the multimachine built out of an engine block. It takes advantage of existing precise alignment bores and is a surprisingly capable machine.

heidad01
08-29-2008, 02:48 PM
iKrase, I was thinking about making my own lathe a few years ago when I got chip making fever. I do not know about your machining expertise, but my past wish of making my own lathe was primarily because of my lack of experience in machining and metal working.
I have not seen a Taig lathe close by, but have seen quite a few Harbor Freight ones. Stop by any of their stores (just for the sake of looking) and take a look at a 7x10 lathe for about $400 and a 9x20 for about $600 or look through other vendors catalogs for similar size lathes. Now kepp in mind that these are not the pretiest nor the most acccurate (could be made accurate) lathes. However, look also at all the bits and pieces that go into building one. All the handles, gears, electronics, pretty dials, etc. I can go on for ever. The point of the matter is that it will take about umpteen years to make all of those pretty pieces at home and without serious machine tools to begin with. I say this now because I now have a tiny bit of experience in using lathes and mills and what it takes to make an accurate part.
The reason for the long rant is to agree with all other posters that it is not worth the effort to make a little lathe these days. Buy a little one of your choice and enjoy using it. DavidH

NickH
08-29-2008, 03:01 PM
I'd have to say if you want to make a lathe, go for it!

If you want to make things with a lathe forget it!

Making the Gingery stuff is fine as it gets you to the point of having the machinery with which you can make better (decent) machinery.

I looked into it with excitement then saw the products and was unimpressed as I'd used a Boxford screwcutting lathe at school and did not want what was frankly a second rate contraption in my workshop, I bought a half decent lathe and have never regretted it.

Have fun whatever you decide!
Reagrds,
Nick

S_J_H
08-29-2008, 05:17 PM
Well I say go for it, just don't expect to be saving any money over just purchasing a lathe.
I built this small cnc lathe for the challenge and fun of it. Wasn't cheap to do and quite a bit of work involved. Use your imagination. No reason to build that old Gingery relic when you can build something much nicer using modern linear rails.
Steve
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n48/S_J_H/cnc%20bench%20lathe/cnclathe012.jpg

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n48/S_J_H/cnc%20bench%20lathe/Workshop004.jpg


Steve

sch
08-29-2008, 05:43 PM
SJH: right up there with Evan's mill. Very nice. What are the lead screw
covers?

About 15yrs ago I was having a few chunks of cherry trunk that I could
manhandle into the back of my van saw cut into 5/4 lumber at $0.10/board
foot by a home brew sawyer who was in his early 80s. He had a medium
circular saw ~60" in diameter driven by a 6 cyl Cat diesel using a 50gal
barrel as a water reservoir for the coolant. He showed me some of his
depression era productions: entirely home made electric hack saws in
3/4 and 1.5" wide blades and a lathe made out of some 4 banger crank
case using the journals of the crank shaft bearings to support the
headstock spindle and the tailstock off the opposite end crank shaft
support. Used a truck gearbox for the sawmill and some mini gearbox
out of something small and available depression era for the gear shifter
in the lathe.

Teenage_Machinist
08-29-2008, 06:56 PM
Not Gingery style! %^&*(Q! I HAVE a lathe! Idea is to make something tiny that can cut metal. For the work.

RPease
08-29-2008, 11:19 PM
Temper........Temper..........Grasshopper.....

Just a word of friendly advise................You're likely to anger some of the "regular" members and then few of them are going to take you seriously and won't answer "any" of your questions...........

wizard69
08-30-2008, 12:56 AM
I'm detecting a huge amount of negatvity in the thread with respect to DIY laths and the Gingery process. Please don't base your decision solely on ideas expressed here. The fact is you can learn an amazing amount by going the DIY route, Gingery or not.

Part of the equation also has to involve how much free time you have. A lathe is a very basic shop tool that can be used to build a lot of other shop equipment. In my case I purchased a Chinese lathe as I currently am working full time. By doing so I got started with my shop. That lathe is already being used to rebuild or build other tools. And by they way you can save money by building your own or rebuilding old equipment.

When it comes right down to it all good shops should have a casting capability. One thing to consider is that casting allows the production of structors that can't be easily machined on a lathe only shop.

Dave

macona
08-30-2008, 04:35 AM
All good shops should have casting ability???

That means that most of the worlds home and professional machine shops are not good shops???

If you need something cast make forms and take it to a professional caster. Its not all that expensive, even having stuff cast in iron.

Bguns
08-30-2008, 07:10 AM
All good Machine shops (big or small) should have basic Metal Casting knowledge...

+ Ability to make basic (simple, non cored) usable patterns.

I was spoiled and had a Really good machine shop/foundry in High School...

And as you can see by addy, Not everyone has a foundry within say, ~1500 miles...

Just Bob Again
08-30-2008, 07:10 AM
Has anyone here ever tried making or heard of making a tiny lathe along lines of Sherline or Taig?

I've seen a good few. I have some stuff in progress. Not hard if you don't want feeds and threads. Stable base, spindle, slides and ways. The round Thompson-type linear bearings are not generally good enough to cut smoothly. The pockets for the bearings need to be very accurate to get the right preload. They have fewer balls in contact and a smaller contact area. The Deltron or IKO type with flat rails work fine and they're ready to use. Either round or crossed-roller. Use 2 bearings per slide. Surplus, you could probably come up with enough for the carriage and crossfeed and a compound for under $100. I got an 18" slide and a half dozen 4 inch at a flea market the other week. You have a lathe already, cut some rolled 1/2x10 acme screw stock for the screws. Dials and such, I've not found a good source yet. Probably just make them.

A nice spindle is the harder part, I think. I'm thinking I'll make a 5C spindle. Can get a cheap spindex and just use the spindle from that with new bearings. If I want a chuck, I can use a small 5C mounted chuck. Mine will be about a 4 inch swing, 12 inch centers. It will work better than a mini-lathe, but so would a cheese grater.

dp
08-30-2008, 12:54 PM
Not Gingery style! %^&*(Q! I HAVE a lathe! Idea is to make something tiny that can cut metal. For the work.

Ok - then try this one: http://www.modelengines.info/DSCF3540.JPG

:)

macona
08-30-2008, 05:25 PM
South Bend produced a book on building a 8" metal lathe in a home shop. I think Lindsay Publishing sells a reprint.

Rustybolt
08-30-2008, 05:37 PM
SJH. That would make a nice HSM or Digital Machinist article. Very nice.

It isn't arriving, but the journey that teaches.

Go for it. Especially when everyone says it can't be done.

Teenage_Machinist
08-30-2008, 05:58 PM
Linear Bearings? I was thinking more along the lines of a dovetailed bed and gibs. Like Sherline

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 06:45 PM
I find building machine tools very satisfying as an exercise in creativity. Building a small lathe with hand tools is not as easy as the "books" make it sound but it can be done if you have the time and energy.

A few Q&A's that might interest you.

Q; will a home built be as good as a factory made?
A; very unlikely. (unless you are a skilled machinist with larger machine tools on hand to make the parts)

Q; will a home built be cheaper?
A; not likely, even with import costs going up the small machines are still an excellent value. Parts and materials are costly.

Q; does building my own small lathe have any advantages?
A; Yes, construction and engineering skills are learned and improved on.

Q; do I have to custom or hand make every part?
A; No, look around for useful components that will make the job quicker and easier. For example, a cheap import spin index would make an excellent headstock casting. Salvaged parts from old machinery can also be recycled to work on a home built.

Have fun and enjoy your build.

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 06:56 PM
Linear Bearings? I was thinking more along the lines of a dovetailed bed and gibs. Like Sherline

Round ways can work very well and have some advantages for home built construction. The ways on my little round bed machine are superior shafting and the gibs are sprocket bushings.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/XRDclose-ups001Small.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/XRDclose-ups002Small.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Shop%20Photos/PlayStation008Small.jpg

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 07:07 PM
Here is an example of a home built that may be of interest. These photos are of the machine as I found it. I haven't got around to fixing it up yet.

It looks to me that the fellow that built it (whoever he was) did most of the work with a hacksaw, files, drills, and other hand tools. He did however have the most important parts made in a machine shop. (perhaps he had a friend willing to do some "government work" LOL )

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound007.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound006.jpg

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 07:08 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound004.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/Oldhomebuiltasfound002.jpg

wizard69
08-30-2008, 08:16 PM
I still have this feeling that people are missing the point of the Gingery process. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the proceed in realizing a lathe virtually built out of nothing.

As to the quality of the lathe that is clearly under the control of the builder. The reality is that one could easily make a better than purchased lathe. Mainly because it would be tailored to the buyers needs and choice of materials to meet ones economic needs.

It is important though to understand where Gingery is coming from, even acknowledges that the lathe can be improved upon. The point is once you have a lathe you have the basic tool from which you can make other tools or even a better lathe. In essence the Gingery process duplicates the evolution of the machine tool industry itself.

Which comes to the idea of the quality of the machine built DIY using Gingery or any other process. Frankly the end result is up to the user/builder. I have no doubt in my mind that some one could hit micron tolerances on a home built lathe. That might not be on a first generation lathe done in the Gingery manner but there are a lot of good lessons learned from the Gingery process to get you there.

Incidentally I know of at least one incident where a company purchased a bunch of high precision lathes from a single manufacture only to send them out to have the ways, saddles and Gibbs hand fitted be a well known local machine tool rebuilder. That meant hand scrapping and flaking and fitting the parts, parts that looked almost new. There was a pay off and the hand work was certainly justfied. What I'm trying to say is that just because the machine came out if a factory does not imply that it is all it can be. Attention to details, good machine tool practice and a little experience can make a huge difference in the end result.

Dave

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 10:17 PM
I still have this feeling that people are missing the point of the Gingery process. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the proceed in realizing a lathe virtually built out of nothing.

As to the quality of the lathe that is clearly under the control of the builder. The reality is that one could easily make a better than purchased lathe. Mainly because it would be tailored to the buyers needs and choice of materials to meet ones economic needs.

It is important though to understand where Gingery is coming from, even acknowledges that the lathe can be improved upon. The point is once you have a lathe you have the basic tool from which you can make other tools or even a better lathe. In essence the Gingery process duplicates the evolution of the machine tool industry itself.

Which comes to the idea of the quality of the machine built DIY using Gingery or any other process. Frankly the end result is up to the user/builder. I have no doubt in my mind that some one could hit micron tolerances on a home built lathe. That might not be on a first generation lathe done in the Gingery manner but there are a lot of good lessons learned from the Gingery process to get you there.


Dave

Sorry but I must disagree. Aluminum castings are, in my opinion, unsuitable for machine tool construction.

I was one of those fellows that went to a lot of expense and trouble to set up for melting and casting aluminum. I made some castings that looked great but they were not at all suited to the purpose for which they were intended. I thought that I had done something wrong or missed some important point in my studies of the process.

In one way it was a relief when I had to opportunity to closely examine a Gingery mill, shaper, and lathe. My castings were every bit as good. Had I ignored my gut instincts about my castings and went to all the work involved to build a lathe I would have been very disappointed with the results. You certainly couldn't hit "micron tolerances" with the completed machinery that I saw and as far as I could tell there was nothing wrong with the workmanship.

lazlo
08-30-2008, 10:30 PM
Round ways can work very well and have some advantages for home built construction. The ways on my little round bed machine are superior shafting and the gibs are sprocket bushings.

Beautiful work George! I had never seen your home-built lathe before.

Could you explain how the circular gibs work? The adjustment screws seem to set the distance from the gib to the saddle. How do you adjust the clearance between the round shafting the female round way?

G.A. Ewen
08-30-2008, 11:10 PM
Beautiful work George! I had never seen your home-built lathe before.

Could you explain how the circular gibs work? The adjustment screws seem to set the distance from the gib to the saddle. How do you adjust the clearance between the round shafting the female round way?

The sprocket bushings have three holes to tighten them and three threaded holes to push them off off for disassembly. Buy carefully balancing the hold down bolts with the push off bolts you can get a nice smooth sliding fit.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Tools%20and%20Machinery/XRDLATHE69Small.jpg

lazlo
08-30-2008, 11:34 PM
The sprocket bushings have three holes to tighten them and three threaded holes to push them off off for disassembly. Buy carefully balancing the hold down bolts with the push off bolts you can get a nice smooth sliding fit.

Oh, that's cool -- you made Taper-Loc bushings! :)

Weston Bye
08-31-2008, 08:49 AM
Has anyone here ever tried making or heard of making a tiny lathe along lines of Sherline or Taig?

http://www.sherline.com/names07.htm

http://www.sherline.com/images/Contest07Ahmed2.jpg

loose nut
08-31-2008, 10:40 AM
South Bend produced a book on building a 8" metal lathe in a home shop. I think Lindsay Publishing sells a reprint.

You can download it free off the INTERNET, can't remember where I got it but do a search for southbend books, it will show up somewhere.

S_J_H
08-31-2008, 10:49 AM
Beautiful work George! I had never seen your home-built lathe before.
I had not seen it either until now. Very slick looking machine, nice work George!!



Steve

loose nut
08-31-2008, 10:54 AM
Don't forget that all of our modern equipment descends from small handmade lathes and mills that where made with hand tools that were not as good as what we have today by people who had to develop the skills to do the work and without the knowledge the we have now.

Many of the original types (mostly in the USA) had beds and frames that were made of wood with iron bars over laid on it for the bearing surfaces.

It should be possible for a hobby lathe to be made with adequate accuracy if the person has the will.

G.A. Ewen
08-31-2008, 11:34 AM
http://www.sherline.com/names07.htm

http://www.sherline.com/images/Contest07Ahmed2.jpg

That is a fantastic piece of work !!! The four jaw is especially impressive.

Teenage_Machinist
08-31-2008, 12:10 PM
Whoah.
Since I have a minilathe/mill it should not be a prolblem. I am thinking of big bar stock or cast-bar, dovetail bed, boxy headstock.

lazlo
08-31-2008, 12:28 PM
Didn't you say you're on a tight budget? That's a lot of bar stock at $1.60 - $2.00/lb...

wizard69
08-31-2008, 05:58 PM
Sorry but I must disagree. Aluminum castings are, in my opinion, unsuitable for machine tool construction.

[\quote]
Yet are commonly used in the machine tool and special tools industry. That doesn't imply it is an ideal material by any means but is often good enough. Ultimately if you are building a machine out of metal cast iron is a better choice but it certainly isn't suitable for a beginning caster.
[quote]

I was one of those fellows that went to a lot of expense and trouble to set up for melting and casting aluminum. I made some castings that looked great but they were not at all suited to the purpose for which they were intended. I thought that I had done something wrong or missed some important point in my studies of the process.
[\quote]
I'd be interested in hearing about those castings, especialy what they where for and why they wherent suitable. Also did you try them out got their intended task?
[quote]

In one way it was a relief when I had to opportunity to closely examine a Gingery mill, shaper, and lathe. My castings were every bit as good. Had I ignored my gut instincts about my castings and went to all the work involved to build a lathe I would have been very disappointed with the results. You certainly couldn't hit "micron tolerances" with the completed machinery that I saw and as far as I could tell there was nothing wrong with the workmanship.
It appears that you missed what was said in my message which is that the Gingery process can lead to hardware that can hold micron tolerances. This in the same way the machine tool industry evolved into the precision tools we have now. Gingery clearly implied in one of his books that once you have a lathe it becomes the machine from which you can build better machine tools.

Sure the first run at a Gingery machine produces a lathe lacking in features but it is not an unusable machine by any measure. Look at it this way, down in my basement sits a metal lathe, that was sold as a commercial produc,t that has fewer features than the Gingery. Now that lathe was from early in the last century or possibly the one before that (haven't been able to date it) but the fact is people purchased such machinery. Not to far from where I grew up stood the building where Seneca Fall Machine was located and where the Star Treadle powered lathes where built and frankly in some circles where famous. People had no problem buying those even though they lacked many features people take for granted in todays machine tools.

In any event people compare the lathes to Tiag and Sherline and then dump one the use of aluminum in the Gingery machines. I hope some others here see the humor in that. In any event if you follow conversations with people involved in building Gingery type machines you will find that the bed design leave a lot to be desired. That due not to the use of aluminum but rather to keeping the amount of molten aluminum under control for the crucible the whole project was built around.


Also with respect to another posting about a good shop having a casting capacity I was talking about a home shop. Commercial businesses are a diffferent story where specialization takes over. Even people not heavily involved in metal working such as amature telescope makers have found the ability to cast metals to me very useful. Some times pouring metal into a mold is the quikest way to realize a complex part at reasonable costs.

Dave

oldtiffie
08-31-2008, 06:26 PM
The OP's question:

Has anyone here ever tried making or heard of making a tiny lathe along lines of Sherline or Taig?

The answer with which I'd agree most:

I'm detecting a huge amount of negatvity in the thread with respect to DIY laths and the Gingery process. Please don't base your decision solely on ideas expressed here. The fact is you can learn an amazing amount by going the DIY route, Gingery or not.

Part of the equation also has to involve how much free time you have. A lathe is a very basic shop tool that can be used to build a lot of other shop equipment. In my case I purchased a Chinese lathe as I currently am working full time. By doing so I got started with my shop. That lathe is already being used to rebuild or build other tools. And by they way you can save money by building your own or rebuilding old equipment.

When it comes right down to it all good shops should have a casting capability. One thing to consider is that casting allows the production of structors that can't be easily machined on a lathe only shop.

Dave

I like the challenge in the OP.

I did like the response by Dave (wizard69).

I have an open mind on castings and home foundries, but I've seen a lot of very interesting topics and challenges taken up and mastered as well.

Whether I agree or not is of no consequence. If the OP sees it as a challenge then I'd support that. If I knew of anything of significance that may assist in either avoiding or solving problems, I'd tell him.

To the OP:
I guess that as you asked the question that you are very interested in going ahead. In the event that you do, I expect that it will be answering a challenge by yourself to yourself and so will be very personal, will teach you a lot about yourself and will be very satisfying.

Should you not proceed or stop or put it "on hold" at any time, that is entirely for you to decide.

I wish you well.

In the event that you do proceed, please do keep us posted.

oil mac
08-31-2008, 07:32 PM
Once visited a mans workshop, and he had his late uncles home made lathe ,drilling machine, shaper & double ended grinder, The old uncle built them from scrap steel during the years of the great depression on a shoestring budget, they were competently made and did good work, not beautiful swans, but ugly ducklings. On them he built some model engines etc to a good standard & finish.
And the interesting thing was he taught himself a lot of skills & knowledge in machine construction He was not an engineer, but a foundry steel dresser That made the mans achievement even more worthy, Sometimes i wonder if today we dont get things too easy? Me included, when i had a pretty worn lathe i felt the challenge was more rewarding, however times & projects require better equipment from my poverty days as an apprentice. I think also a lot of the forum members are like me machine tool enthuisiasts who treasure their workshop plant out of pure interest & admiration for the firms who turned out such fine & lovely things.

G.A. Ewen
08-31-2008, 11:40 PM
wisard69,

The aluminum castings used in industry are very different than can be produced in the home shop. Start milling, drilling, or turning a factory made casting and then compare it with home foundry castings. The properties are totally different.

From my experience and from the work that I have seen done by others it would take a dozen tries for the Gingery method to "evolve" into a useful machine.

A home shop foundry geared to aluminum can be very useful for many castings that the hobbyist needs. It is an interesting and useful skill to have but the castings are not good for every application.

One of my first castings was for this thread dial,,,,,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/51e8c8c1.jpg

A butt plate for an old rifle,,,,,,,,,,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/Parts.jpg

Hand wheels for my home built lathe,,,,,,,,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/43977684.jpg

Step pulleys for this grinder,,,,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/fa8ab06b.jpg

These castings all worked well for their application but after machining them it was clear to me that they wouldn't be suitable for such things as a headstock, tailstock, carriage, or lathe bed.

b2u44
09-01-2008, 09:06 AM
Seeing that miniature Sherline lathe reminded me of a miniature, homemade, Hardinge turret lathe that I saw a while back. I'm still impressed each time that I see photographs of it.

http://www.mini-lathe.com/Cabin_Fever_2001/CF01_Huxhold.htm

(scroll 1/4 down the page).

Norman Atkinson
09-02-2008, 04:38 PM
I've just come back from where the Emco's and the Unimats were/are made.
So I have missed much of the earlier comment but Austrian beer isn't bad!

My hazy recollections are that L.C.Mason wasn't the only one to write on lathe production as Martin Cleeve also published a design for a home made lathe around 1952 in Model Engineer.Kenneth Hart/'cleeve' also produced details for up dating what was pre-war crap. It's still being used but it is still crap. To add to it all, Tom Walshaw or Tubal Cain wrote of pretty well the origins of where cheap and nasties were produced and sort of jumbled together. I recall the Enox at 10" and the Lane(sorry, friend- not you) and the Zyto along with the early Myfords and some Drummonds.
So it is there - in the book! To go further involves application to the Vatican choir ( or copyright issues) but it is all there!

So there you had it- or but hang on! Isn't a lathe merely a pair of pivots or turns which the Frenchies call 'turns' or 'tours' But isn't this a drill or a mill but
rotated?

I peeked into my workshop- and found an all welded mild steel tool and cutter grinder. With a bit of imagination and a remaining bottle or two of the amber nectar( Osterreich, of course), I could see a lathe!

So fellas, what's the problem? Hein?

Norm

NickH
09-20-2008, 05:32 PM
Content edited for sanity ;-)
Nick