Save me from myself (tips for beginner)
Hi all, I'm sure that what I'm asking has been covered ad-infinitum, but I'm hoping nobody minds going over a few obvious tips one more time for a beginner....
I just did some horse trading for an old Craftsman Mk 1 12" lathe. The lathe is complete and comes with an extra motor, 6" 3 jaw chuck (I also have a 5" 3 jaw and 4" 4 jaw that I inherited) and a full set of change gears, but with minimal tooling and no manual. I'm going to have to do some shopping and tool fabrication before I do anything else I think. I'm hoping that I can use the lathe to make a few automotive and bicycle parts and do a little gunsmithing if everything works out.
Anyway, aside from the obvious tips like "read the manual", I was wondering if anybody had any advice to give. I'm thinking of maybe beginner mistakes that you might have made and can save me from. I've heard that the craftsman lathes aren't super rigid and you have to keep the tool relatively close in to the tool holder to prevent it from catching and breaking parts. My question is "what else do I need to know?" I'm very mechanically competent, but lathe work is new to me, so I could use all the friendly tips you guys can give.
Also, the lathe ID tag is missing. Is there any way to ID the exact lathe model without the ID tag or S/N?
Last edited by hal9000; 04-24-2012 at 02:01 PM.
If new at running a lathe, pick up a copy of How to Run a Lathe by South Bend Lathe Works, should be lots on ebay. (170674668254).
First published in 1914 it is still relevant in running basic lathe operations etc.
Last edited by MaxHeadRoom; 04-24-2012 at 02:34 PM.
Don't leave the key in the chuck......ever!!
Thanks Max. I found a pdf copy online for free (I like free!) I'll have to peruse it over a beer this evening.
Leaving the chuck key in is one of those dumb things I'd be likely to do... might even have done it once (or twice!) in my drill press to my everlasting shame.
I'm kinda new also. There are some excellent videos on you tube. I think he goes by MrPete88, has some good basic videos.
hope this helps,
I have a Clausing 100 MK3 that I think is closely related to your lathe. Mine has timken tapered bearings so I did not lube it as well as I should have-- it has not been damaged but I feel bad that I wasn't aware of the lubrication points on the headshaft. It has 4 points that get more lube than required but I feel better about it now, in fact most people would say the machine is swiming in oil but I like it that way.
Maybe join the Atlas Crafsman Yahoo site they also have all this stuff in
file section, Also as said but Ill correct it >> get on Utube type in MrPete222
then join his channel its free. All you want to know is there.
I'm not sure if I'm even up to the basics yet, and this might be very obvious, but grinding your tools anywhere near properly makes a huge difference.
Hey thanks guys! I'll have to check out the youtube videos.
Also while I'm thinking about it, I recall reading something about HSS being more "appropriate" than carbide tools on the old craftsman lathe's due to the speed they run and their less than completely rigid nature.... I don't know any more than that so if anybody could explain, that would be great.
Last edited by hal9000; 04-25-2012 at 11:15 AM.
I would advise starting with HSS tools. Some of the inexpensive carbide tools tend to be easily chipped and not very sharp. Carbide is very hard and can stand high speed with the resulting heat. Since it may not be very sharp, it works better when run with high speed and heavy cutting. Since it is somewhat brittle it breaks or chips very easily if the cut is not smooth and continious. Small lightweight lathes tend to flex under load and that can cause 'chatter' where the tool cuts, digs in, breaks out, and cuts again. That will generally quickly ruin a carbide tool.
Light lathes work much better with very sharp tools. Just remember that the tool must touch the work only at the very top cutting edge, not below it or on either side of it. In other words, it must have 'clearance' in order to 'dig in' and do any cutting. The cutting edge generally needs to be very narrow, but a real sharp point tends to break. A blunt point with a sharp top edge is a decent basic starting point.
Get started, be careful, have fun, and learn what works and what doesn't. Always be guided by manuals and good advice but don't over-complicate things.
Last edited by Don Young; 04-25-2012 at 09:46 PM.