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Thread: Newbie needs help with mini-lathe

  1. #31
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    May 2019
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    lugnut: I agree. All you guys have been very helpful. However, I thought that there were a lot of "mini" machines here since it's a home shop forum. I guess I'm in the minority.

    Ringo: Yes, I'll try that with a dial indicator.

    BCRider: Thanks for your extensive reply. It's all starting to make sense now.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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    There is actually a good portion of the posters here with mini lathes and mills. And since it is a hobby there's no such thing as a "wrong size of machine". Just limits due to size that aim the user towards projects that are in scale with the machines. A lot of great projects can be done on small machines. So don't ever let yourself feel like you don't deserve to be here or that folks won't be interested in what you're doing on your smaller size machines.

    As you learn more and start making things on your mini lathe you might find that you want to upgrade at some point to a different size or nicer quality level. But a lot of folks have taken on the challenge of making their mini lathes into fine pieces of gear at a small size with improvements and upgrades of various sorts. YouTube is full of videos of what they have done.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Minnesoa
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    Hi,

    Despite appearances, there are plenty of us that have benchtop lathes and mills. I have an 8x14 from the dreaded Harbor Freight, (and no QC gearbox heaven forbid!), and a G0704 mill from Grizzly. The truth is, even if you owned a 18"x144" 8000lbs lathe - the advice would be the same. The same principles apply no matter whatever country of origin or size. Some of us can just take heavier finish cuts............The talent to run the machines comes from the operator, not the color of paint.

    So pull up a chair and enjoy and learn from all who are here.
    If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    San Antonio TX, USA
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    2,572

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    oh boy, my first lathe made the OPs look like an engine lathe It's a great way to learn good technique (unforgiving machine) in a safe-ish environment (machine isn't going to kill you).

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Estonia
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalee100 View Post
    Hi,

    Despite appearances, there are plenty of us that have benchtop lathes and mills. I have an 8x14 from the dreaded Harbor Freight, (and no QC gearbox heaven forbid!), and a G0704 mill from Grizzly. The truth is, even if you owned a 18"x144" 8000lbs lathe - the advice would be the same. The same principles apply no matter whatever country of origin or size. Some of us can just take heavier finish cuts............The talent to run the machines comes from the operator, not the color of paint.

    So pull up a chair and enjoy and learn from all who are here.
    Could not agree more ! A small machine actually let's you feel the process in much more finesse and forces one to be inventive and optimized. I feel that one can learn more quickly and more effectively this way. The only drawback of a smaller machine being that bigger workpieces simply can not be fitted into the machine.....but about all else can be bypassed with a little bit of inventiveness and "macgyvering".
    As a fact I used to work on a big 3 ton brute of a lathe in the early days of my career. To be honest the shear power and massive rigidity of the thing actually hid a lot of small important details from me. It would just plow through the metal without giving much feedback about the tuning being optimal or not. As a result I learned the basics, but a lot of the finer details escaped me. Only using a smaller machine would eventually reveal them and open up a totally new level of understanding and challenges.

    The safety acpect of a smaller unit can also not be underestimated. I recall that during the big lathe period I had the most deadly and stupid habit of wearing the lab door access card around my neck on a harness and though I tried to be meticulous about removing this noose before engaging in any machining I still managed to leave it there a few times. Only after being reminded by the clunk of the card tangling from my neck and hitting the toolpost was I woken up to the gravity of the situation. I was lucky, but make no mistake, that machine would not have hesitated taking my soul given the chance.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ringo View Post
    My guess would be to put a dial indicator on the face of the chuck, and push/pull/jerk on the chuck looking for endplay.
    I had chatter problem with my Logan, and when I indicated the face of chuck I saw movement.
    I setup the head bearings properly and all is fine now.
    I placed a dial indicator on the face of the chuck and I push and pulled in every direction possible and the needle didn't really move. Maybe, +/-1/4 thousandth (+/-0.00025").

  7. #37
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    Jun 2008
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    Toronto Ontario Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by devils4ever View Post
    I placed a dial indicator on the face of the chuck and I push and pulled in every direction possible and the needle didn't really move. Maybe, +/-1/4 thousandth (+/-0.00025").
    One point which has not yet been mentioned is that EVERY interface can bring the possibility of unwanted movement or play. If you have the ability and means to replace the compound( or maybe you call it the top slide as I do) with a plain block and mount your toolholder to that, then it might help you to do so. You really only need the second slide to turn tapers , with small lathes tool positioning can be done easily by moving the saddle. Hope this hint helps someone. Regards David Powell.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    227

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    Quote Originally Posted by devils4ever View Post
    I placed a dial indicator on the face of the chuck and I push and pulled in every direction possible and the needle didn't really move. Maybe, +/-1/4 thousandth (+/-0.00025").
    OK sounds good, now move the indicator to the outside diameter of chuck and look for play that direction.
    if it passes this test, then the next time you get chatter you know to look at your carriage/tool/post setup.

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