Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Newbie's Tool non-gloat (modest tool, no pictures)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    246

    Default Newbie's Tool non-gloat (modest tool, no pictures)

    Hi all,

    In another thread, I mentioned I would be looking at a small lathe sometime next year and likely ask the group's advice.

    Well, a friend had a Craftsman 618 "lathe" with a 4 jaw chuck, clean ways, and a full set of perfect gears for sale at a price I couldn't refuse. So I have something to play with and learn on, and it just might be big enough to meet my very modest needs. If not, I'll have a very good idea of what I want when I get a "real" lathe, and will probably keep this one around for small jobs. (Meanwhile, I have a friend who has been showing me around a lathe on his 20x40? Victor about 5 minutes away).

    So far, I've stripped it down, cleaned off and oiled moving parts, put it back together, aligned the headstock, and put on a motor with VFD (the pulley setup was not original and did not offer a wide range of speeds). I'm pleasantly surprised and very happy with the results - it now cuts very nicely with no apparent taper. Some accessories for tooling are in the works, including a cute quick change tool post.

    If anyone has suggestions on helping make this lathe even better I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. In particular, I would love to get a recommendation for an inexpensive 3 jaw chuck (spindle nose is 1"x10tpi) and any thoughts on whether some sort of miniature collet system might be worth pursuing (e.g. ER25, which has been done on a 618).

    Thanks for reading,

    Tait

    p.s. I'm not sure all the things I will want to do on the lathe - I anticipate wanting to use it to make small screws and tapering some pins for knifemaking, some hinge posts, tooling for the mill (and, for that matter, the lathe), and home maintenance tasks. When I got my mill, I thought I would only be using it to slot stuff for my knifemaking hobby but have done more OTHER stuff with it than knifemaking, so I'm not really sure how I'll end up using the lathe...
    Last edited by Tait; 09-30-2011 at 09:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    856

    Default Chuck

    Stay with the four jaw chuck as a good chuck probably would exceed the value of the lathe.
    JRW

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Sequim, Wa.
    Posts
    494

    Default

    JR's point aside, I would go for a 3 jaw chuck, but spring for a chuck with 2 piece jaws. The 2 piece jaws will allow you to make up soft jaws that you can use to hold parts that need better accuracy than your standard hard jaws. Typically as good or better than a collet. If your on a tight budget go for a plain back model and make your own backing plate. Any decent 3 jaw would be fine, there's no need to spend extra for a "Set True", but I have to admit that having one would be nice if you can afford it..
    I think you'll find a movable carrage stop that will let you mount a 2" travel dial indicator to measure carrage travel will be the cat's meow when you want to turn to a shoulder(s). And they are easily made from a chunk of AL (as are the softjaws).
    I guess the point is, you can spend hundreds or even thousands on all sorts of goodies for your lathe, but realistically most of them you can make yourself, inexpensively, except for the cost of your time, once you have just a few basic items.

    edit: If I had to buy a budget chuck today, this is probably what I'd go for:
    http://www.travers.com/skulist.asp?R...inPrice=$99.99
    But, if you can wait, outfits usually have sales on chucks several times a year. (usually Bison, but other brands too.)
    Last edited by Scottike; 09-30-2011 at 12:06 PM.
    I cut it twice, and it's still too short!
    Scott

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
    Posts
    8,978

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J. R. Williams
    Stay with the four jaw chuck as a good chuck probably would exceed the value of the lathe.
    JRW
    There is nothing wrong with the Atlas 618 lathe. It is a very capable machine, and, in good condition, can bring a good price.

    3" or 4" 3 jaw chuck would not be a bad addition, but you will not find a chuck in this size range with two piece jaws. The collet chuck would also be an asset if you anticipate much work in the size range ER25 collets cover.
    Jim H.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Sequim, Wa.
    Posts
    494

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JCHannum
    3" or 4" 3 jaw chuck would not be a bad addition, but you will not find a chuck in this size range with two piece jaws.
    Check the link in my post.
    I cut it twice, and it's still too short!
    Scott

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    1,571

    Default

    Scott. Only over 5" on Phase II. http://www.phase2plus.com/details.as...AIN_BACK&id=36
    There IS one make I know of, but they are $600-700. The Rohm ZGU-101795 (Cast Iron) and ZSU-101796 (Steel). Models like the 4" Bison do offer another option if soft jaws are necessary. You can buy sacrificial jaws made from plain 1018 steel with the rack cut in them. You use them in place of the solid jaws.

    This is all a tangent, though. Don't get flustered by thinking you need it, Tait.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    246

    Default

    Thanks, this is helpful!

    I'm wanting to do a few things for which the 3 jaw will be nice. And, my wife was asking what I wanted for Birthday/Christmas. So a Phase II will likely be on the list. Otherwise, the 4 jaw chuck works OK for everything I need to do right now. (I am a TOTAL beginner - I haven't even tried threading yet!)

    The reason I'm asking for other suggestions is that if I wait until I need it for a project, I don't then want to hold up the project waiting for a sale... so I'll be watching for sales on ER collet sets (along with the other things for the mill I'm watching for...).

    Thanks all, additional suggestions would be welcome!

    Tait
    Last edited by Tait; 09-30-2011 at 01:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Lafayette Indiana
    Posts
    1,361

    Default

    Before diving in, do yourself a favor and make a want/need list of the basics first. Then remember that with machines you also need measuring tools and other "support" equipment. As suggested already, with machinery you can make quite a few items that will only improve your capabilities. Quite often fabbing your own tools/tooling is as rewarding as finishing those other projects you bought the machines to support.

    As always, I suggest people visit a library or two, as well as the used book stores that still exist. Quite often your local library wont have very much of a metalworking selection, but many have a free "interlibrary loan system" where you can pull books from potentially millions of libraries worldwide, and I think you would be surprised the extent of books available free bc of this. I was never much of a "reader for pleasure" until I began reading books related to the trades. Strange how this hobby has turned this young man's life around.
    "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lower SE Michigan, USA
    Posts
    1,263

    Default

    Little Machine Shop has a 4" 3-jaw chuck and an adaptor (backplate) for your lathe spindle. See: http://www.littlemachineshop.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    north bay area
    Posts
    4,073

    Default

    I have a 618 in nice condition with a fair bit of tooling and its a great little lathe in it's boundaries.
    There is a Yahoo Group for 618 lathe owners.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •