Enco turret lathe

I just made an offer to buy an Enco turret lathe. I don't have much information on it.

Is it correct that these are used to machine parts in runs too short to justify CNC production?

Also, can a turret lathe be used as a regular lathe would be? Or, is it used more for drilling, chamfering, and other operations to the ends of short pieces and parts?

In other words, is a turret lathe a versatile general purpose tool? Or does it occupy a narrow niche for producing a narrow range of parts?

Stated another way, is this something ANYBODY would be glad to have in a small machine shop? Or a pink albatross? Hope this makes sense.


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I just googled this newsgroup and find ample previous discussion about this. Therefore, unless you want to re-visit the nuances of turret lathes I think I've learned what I need to know.

Gracias! Vernon

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On Mon, 6 Oct 2008 20:28:17 -0700 (PDT), the infamous Vernon scrawled the following:

A turret lathe in a pink albatross? Huh?

Reply to
Larry Jaques

That's a cross between an albatross and a flamingo. They're very popular lawn ornaments in Florida. (It was a shipment of lawn flamingoes that had all the legs broken in shipment.)

-- Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress

Down here in Texas the proper nomenclature for that yard ornament is "flaming albigross".

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On Tue, 7 Oct 2008 09:10:13 -0700 (PDT), the infamous Vernon scrawled the following:

I love it! That describes most McMansions built up here.

Reply to
Larry Jaques

These days -- yes. At one time they would have been used for full scale production -- unless the workpiece was small enough to be handled on an automatic screw machine -- which is an automated turret lathe more or less.

That depends. My 12x24" Clausing came with a bed turret (6 stations) and no tailstock -- but it had full threading gearbox and leadscrew (never used for threading because the threading dial was still stored in one of the drawers in the pedestal.

But I was able to pick up a used tailstock to fit it from an eBay auction.

And it had the standard cross-slide and compound.

However some lathes are made to *only* be turret lathes. The turret moves along the bed under machine power (not hand cranking the spider) and thus engages the leadscrew -- or just a key-slotted shaft to derive power for its operations.

This kind would not have a threading gearbox and half nuts in the apron.

It would probably have a special cross-slide without a compound, but with multipile T-slots for mounting things like turret toolposts in the front and inverted parting tools in the back.

The answer is "yes" or "it depends".

Well ... I am glad that *my* lathe (with a matching serial number on the bed turret) can be converted back and forth. I usually use it as a standard lathe, but some projects (when I am making a lot of something small) just cry for the turret. The workpiece is barstock (usually brass for what I make) fed through the spindle and supported outbound of the spindle in a tubing to keep it from whipping.

Turret lathe tooling can certainly speed things up. For example, a "box tool" can reduce 3/4" to 5/8" in a single quick pass. The turret ram then withdraws and the next time it comes forward, it cuts a 5/8-27 thread full depth in a single pass using a Geometric die head. Next cycle knurls the 3/4" OD using a T-headed knurling tool in the turret. Next cycle drills the center, and the next cycle taps the drilled hole with a releasing tap holder. All running at a constant speed of about 500 RPM. Then the cross-slide grooves the OD at the shoulder to undercut the end of the thread slightly, and then parts off the part to drop into a steel wire basket (hot, y'know). Then feed the stock to contact a depth stop on the turret and off to make the next one.

But I don't think that I would want one which is *only* a turret lathe, unless I were going into longer production runs than perhaps 80 threaded adaptors (one 6' length of 3/4" diameter brass rod).

So -- find out whether the one you are looking at is easily convertible, or is stuck as a turret lathe only.

And also ask yourself whether you need/want to make small production numbers of something.

Note that the turret on that lathe allows me to make the part which I described much *faster* than the Compact-5/CNC could -- even with me using a Taig to do two other operations on stock which was already sawn to near length in a third setup in a horizontal bandsaw.

Good Luck, DoN.

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DoN. Nichols

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