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Well, technically it should be lathes.

In 2019 I bought two lathes. A small engineers/model makers lathe - the Emco Compact 5 and then a little later in the year a Lorch 8mm watchmakers lathe.

The Emco is a self contained unit weighing about 30kg - it has a motor built in and just needs to be situated on a flat surface, plugged in and away you go. It also came with the optional milling attachment which was one of the reasons I bought it - being able to mill surfaces is something I was pretty certain I would want to be doing.

Here it is:




This year I managed to pickup from ebay the splash guard and tray. This is essential given the amount of bits that come off the metal or plastic as it is being machined and I'm really pleased I got it.

I have mounted the whole unit on a piece of 40mm thick oak work surface, cut (now) to just fit the footprint of the lathe. I can then mount this on my Workmate and while heavy, I can pick it up to move it around.

Initially I mounted it on a much larger (1m x 0.7m) piece of oak that I also mounted a large vice and a bench grinder to. This was a great idea in principle, but weighed a LOT - in fact so much that I could barely move it let alone actually lift it.




For the last 4 weeks or so I have been playing with this lathe, understanding how it is setup and works and more importantly learning how to achieve a (relatively for a beginner) good standard of cut & finish.

I have bought various diameters of acetal / delrin rod, and also some aluminum and brass rod. I also bought some very nice carbide tipped cutting tools.

This is the first thing I made (on the right)




its a crystal press die - it's a bit bigger both in width and depth to the one I use the most (on the left). I had fun making this using the boring tool and the parting off tool.

Next I decided to re-finish one of a set of cheap aluminum dies (that are so badly finished I hardly ever use)




I used the same techniques I had on the delrin, just taking a bit more care (in case I tried to cut too much metal in one pass)




I took the opportunity to bore the recess deeper, good for those very high profile bezel/crystal assemblies.

I then bought a 2nd hand set of metric taps and dies. There is something very satisfying cutting a thread ....




The Lorch 8mm lathe is a different kettle of fish. It came in a wooden box with dozens of little metal parts.




It didn't come with a motor - needed to drive the belt that drives the pulley in the open headstock.




which I stripped and cleaned




it is a thing of precision & beauty




but in order to use it I had to find a motor. After a lot of research I chose a Multifix motor which has controls for Forward and Reverse and a variable speed from 0 to 3500rpm.

I bought some 5mm HSS rod, cut off a small section with my hacksaw (HSS is very hard!!) and set about trying to turn it. At the time I was using some 2nd hand gravers that I'd bought - assuming they would be sharp enough. They weren't.

So ... I learned how to sharpen a graver....




this was not my first attempt. With a sharp graver I was able to turn HSS.




this was me just practicing and learning. I have a very long way to go with this. My plan is to focus on this during Autumn & Winter (when it will be too cold to work in my shed - I will bring the lathe indoors).

With this in mind I have just completed making a small base to mount the motor and Lorch lathe.

I cutdown the large oak work surface (yep - there's a common theme here) and cut two T slots into it with my router (I bought this router when my son was doing his GCSE woodwork, 18 years ago!!).




then I made these (on the Emco) ....






all the practicing I've done over the last 4 weeks made this relatively easy and fun. I used the milling machine to cut the slot in the top of the bolt.

And this is how it goes together











I can slide the motor to tension the belt, then lock it in position by tightening the bolts I made.

Here it is in the 'workshop'.




all ready to play ...............
 

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That's very nice work!

I had been going back and forth on buying a watchmaker's lathe the last few years so the last month I managed to buy two Lorch junior lathes one in great condition but with few attachments and one quite used but complete set. I am still in the process of learning how to use them so I have still long road to cover.


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Simon- was wondering if the lathe could be used to clean up the sealing surfaces on a pitted case where the case back screws down. I have always thought the lathe would be the appropriate tool for this kind of work.


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Simon- was wondering if the lathe could be used to clean up the sealing surfaces on a pitted case where the case back screws down. I have always thought the lathe would be the appropriate tool for this kind of work.


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So glad you’ve mentioned this, I’ve thought the same thing in the past. Wonder if any adjustments would be required on gasket or caseback if the sealing surfaces lapped down.


Amazingly interesting Mr Simon!


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I have removed the pitting from a lot of case backs in the past and the case would be no great problem either but I suppose it would depend on how much material was removed to clean the face up.

Simon- was wondering if the lathe could be used to clean up the sealing surfaces on a pitted case where the case back screws down. I have always thought the lathe would be the appropriate tool for this kind of work.


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450436


450437


450438
 

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With a lathe and a selection of materials, you'll never be bored again. So many uses!

Here's a recommendation from my experience. 3 jaw scroll chuck is quick and simple to use, but there's always some runout. Pick up a 4-jaw independent chuck and DTI setup. You can dial the work in to nearly zero turnout when required. Also some type of collet setup can be very useful too.

Glad to see you're enjoying it and building your lathe skills.
 

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Very impressive, I'm jealous! Having started my working career, many moons ago, with a 5 year apprenticeship as a scientific instrument maker/technician, I really miss the ability, before I retired as a design engineer, of being able to use the lathes and milling machines in my spare time at work. I would really like a small lathe at home but sadly I have nowhere for a workshop. :cry:
 

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I find the independent 4-jaw good for irregular shapes but I use soft jaws in a 3-jaw a great deal of the time as they can be machined in situ which guarantees the work your holding runs true to your setup and does away with any runout.

With a lathe and a selection of materials, you'll never be bored again. So many uses!

Here's a recommendation from my experience. 3 jaw scroll chuck is quick and simple to use, but there's always some runout. Pick up a 4-jaw independent chuck and DTI setup. You can dial the work in to nearly zero turnout when required. Also some type of collet setup can be very useful too.

Glad to see you're enjoying it and building your lathe skills.
 
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