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Elgin Lathe

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  • Elgin Lathe

    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?

  • #2
    Learn to make collets.
    North Central Arkansas


    • #3
      Have the spindle reground for a more common collet?
      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


      • #4
        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.


        • #5
          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.
          Richard - SW London, UK, EU.


          • #6
            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, 05:15 PM.


            • #7
              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.

              Jon Bohlander
              My PM Blog


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  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.


                  • #10
                    I'd just make an adapter so you can run some other type of collett.


                    • #11
                      Ok, before this gets out of hand, I guess I wasn't too clear with my posts. I am a big history buff, and I really don't see myself modifying or building a new spindle. I bought the lathe to save it from the scrap pile, and I have two others, so I did not expect it to be my main lathe, but I was intrigued by the large number of accessories.
                      I was hoping to find some collets, but if I cannot, I would rather sell to a collector or someone who will use it.

                      As for the tailstock, it does not have a morse taper(well, I guess it could be a morse 0, but I don't have anything to check that.), but it did come with a couple of adapters that fit the tailstock.

                      As for the collet, Here are the dimensions that I can measure. I don't have a thread mic or wires to measure the threads properly, but here is what I have. I am using dimension locations and letters corresponding to diagrams in Machinery's Handbook. I am using a caliper so it could be +- .002"

                      A. 0.589"
                      B. 2.150"
                      C. .500" measured on caliper. actual depending on class of thread etc.
                      It is a 26 pitch thread.
                      bevel. Minor dia. .589" Major Dia. .879" Length of taper 0.400
                      Only text on collet has "H Bros." (Hardinge?)

                      This is what I know so far.


                      • #12
                        For a lot of information on collet identification, and for collet types used on various machines, see:




                        • #13
                          Originally posted by techonehundred
                          After a shot of wd, it will spin for 10 seconds with a flip of the finger without any detectable play. Anthony
                          I am assuming when you say "wd" you mean WD-40. This is not a proper lubricant. By all means disassemble, clean and properly lubricate that spindle.
                          For collets try Dashto:

                          Ed P


                          • #14
                            I'm up for some pain.. How much do you want for it..??


                            • #15
                              Moe PM sent.