Went to an estate recently and ended up with an Elgin #4 lathe from @ 1917. The lathe is in very good shape with more attachments than I have ever seen from a lathe. I have included a teaser shot of the lathe.
For more pictures of the lathe, here is the link.
Now for the problem. The lathe only came with one collet (a 1/16"). when I measure the collet, it is .589" with the shank dia. That puts the collet to be either a 3os or a 3ss. The only place I can find them on the internet is at hardinge and they want $280 a piece. So is there any chance of finding collets at a decent price? If not, is there a market to part the lathe out? Hate to break up a beautiful piece of history. What are the thoughts?
Have the spindle reground for a more common collet?
It really would be a shame to part out such a nice old machine, The guys over at the historical site, would be delighted with it, You have there a very fine example of an instrument makers/tool makers precision lathe & an attractive looking ,historical machine tool.
Do you really need to go down the road of spending a great amount on collets? for work at home how about getting a couple of backplates made for small three &four jaw chucks, And have a go at making collets for her For the occasional task at home do they need to be hardened and ground ? Another thought is one of the modern collet chucks, again on a backplate, &one can buy reasonable modern collets for a lathe of that class, i would not like to butcher inside her spindle for modern stuff, as these were made to tremendous accuracy.
15mm = .5905"
Lorch are 10mm or 20mm. Schaublin the same I think.
But there's going to be one of the German lathes - Mikron, Boley, Weiler, Leinen - that does a 15mm collet.
Oil Mac, thanks for the reply. Yes, I really don't want to butcher the lathe up. When I first brought it home, the spindle was gummed up and wouldn't turn easy. After a shot of wd, it will spin for 10 seconds with a flip of the finger without any detectable play. It is missing some of the parts for the line shaft. As for making chucks, the spindle does not have threads and any parts would have to have a collet shaped pin on the back. Right now just trying to figure out how much work it will take to make it usable.
Last edited by techonehundred; 12-18-2010 at 04:15 PM.
Please don't modify that lathe, that is a piece of history. I have a c. 1950s Elgin second op lathe and they are well built. Post it on Practical Machinist's Antique section and someone will be able to tell you more about it and maybe a source for collets or someone may want to buy it and you could use the money to buy a more practical everyday lathe.
I sorta agree with sell it to a collector and use the $ for a practical lathe (practical to YOU). That said, I think you need to exactly identify the taper. We need more dimensions on the collet such as: rear thread dimension, OAL, angle of closing taper.
Schaublin does make a W15 collet. The shank dia. is 15mm, OAL is 58.3, seating angle is 15-degrees. The OD at the front, large end of the taper is 20.2mm. I guarantee your drawbar will not fit the thread Besides, the cost will still be quite significant---though I sincerely doubt 280$ apiece.
Sorta curious as well... Many of the really early plain bench lathes used a proprietary taper on the tailstocks as well. Does yours fit a standard Morse or not? If not, that's your "other" problem.
I'd just make an adapter so you can run some other type of collett.