i'm having a terrible time finding a great deal on a used desktop lathe. i currently own a taig mini-lathe, though i am looking for something with closer tolerances, a few more features, and that is able to cut harder materials such as steel.
my first choice has been an emco compact 5, followed by either a compact 8 or a prazi masterturn 5x12. can anybody help me out?
also, if anybody else knows of any resouces at ALL for any USED or CHEAP emco accessories, i'd be extremely appreciative. ...i'm also looking for an emco 4- jaw chuck, or any fitting alternatives.
I have no problems cutting steel with a Taig. More features would be nice, of course, including power feed and threading. The major thing is having properly sharpened bits rigidly mounted. The tolerances are also up to you as a user.
I've got a Compact-5/CNC, and like it -- once the carriage gibs are backed up with some metal (the plastic gibs wear too fast near the tightening screws, and not at all over the rest. I made some backing plates of aluminum, with counterbores for the screw heads, and it has made all the difference in the world.
I've not used (or even touched) a manual version of the Compact-5.
A Compact-8 would be better, of course, in that larger is more rigid and will handle larger workpieces.
They don't seem to exist. Even on eBay, they normally command premium prices.
For which size lathe? I finally found one for my Compact-5/CNC on eBay, but it took a long time.
the main reason why i'm looking for a premium desktop lathe isn't only for the listed reasons, but also because i NEED a 2nd machine for a 2nd location. i figured that i'd pay the extra money to make an investement to be able to cut with less tinkering and with more available features, as well as a 'out of the package' more accurate machine. my taig is cutting nicely, but i'm also attracted to certain convieniences that these premium lathes offer ...i have yet to test out the taig with anything harder than ebony and hard plastics.
i am specifically interested in a 4-jaw chuck for the emco compact 5. i've found one resource who's selling their manual compact 5 for a reasonable price, but not a GREAT one w/o a 4-jaw chuck and live center, which i need. i'd rather not have to go shopping after i've made such an investement (by my flimsy standards).
i've tried ebay for about a month now and have come very close to finding a few great deals, but all sellers are from the states, making s&h and customs adding about 20-25% increase in price, thus eliminating the deal. any canadian sellers would be awesome.
I think that you'll find that the Taig does work nicely for mild steel and most other metals. (Mine also has more speeds that most of the others do, unless you get a variable-speed motor drive.)
But the warning about rapid wear of the plastic gibs probably still holds.
BTW -- in terms of "desktop" lathe -- the CNC version of the Compact-5 will take up most of the desktop, with the chip tray and box of electronics mounted behind the chip tray. I have no idea how the compact-8 would fit on a desktop, but I would consider it to be a better machine overall. (Not that the Compact-5 is bad. It is a very nicely made little machine, other than the above-mentioned problem with the plastic gibs. My fix for those seems to have done the job, as I have not had the play in the carriage re-appear after I fitted the metal backing plates.
[ ... ]
Hmm ... you could consider doing what I did at first for my Compact-5/CNC -- I modified a Taig 4-jaw. Remove the jaws, clamp it reversed in the 3-jaw (with reversed jaws), and turn a recess in the back 40.00mm diameter by about 4mm deep. While you're set up, bore out the threads which mount it on the Taig spindle.
Then, drill and counterbore four holes between the jaws for the mounting screws. What I did was to mount a dividing head on the drill press, on an X-Y table. (A mill would be nicer, but I didn't have one a the time.) Carefully position it so the 3-jaw chuck held in the dividing head's jaws centers one of the mounting holes under the drill spindle. Then remove the 3-jaw, and replace it with the 4-jaw, and drill the first hole. Then use the dividing head to rotate it 90 degrees, and drill the second, proceed similarly for the third and forth holes, then you can remove it from the drill press, and use a piloted counterbore to make the recesses to accept the screw heads. You may have to buy some more metric screws of an appropriate length for mounting the chuck. I've found that when buying more than four screws, I usually do better to buy a box of a hundred from MSC, instead of paying the hardware store prices for individual screw -- especially at Home Depot. :-)
There are other ways to transfer the radius of the mounting screw holes from the existing chuck to the new one, but they are made more complex by the need to produce a pattern of four holes, instead of the three used to mount the 3-jaw chuck.
If you don't have a dividing head, perhaps you have a friend who does, who could help in the drilling of the chuck body for the mounting screws.
I still have (and occasionally use) that modified 4-jaw from the Taig (and I bought a new replacement for the Taig for a *lot* less than the cost of an Emco 4-jaw. I now have the Emco one, but it took several years of watching eBay, and it still was not that inexpensive.
Is there a Taig dealer near you in Canada? Or for that matter, what is the customs situation for things shipped from the UK? There, the Taig is known at the Peatol, and I suspect that the prices are similarly attractive.
[ a suggestion to use the Taig 4-jaw chuck snipped... ]
I'm in a similar situation. Lee Valley Tools has the taig for about $85 (82 or 89, can't remember) but that will be plus tax (17% here in NS) and postage for the original poster if he's not near an outlet. Little Machine Shop sells a 4" 4-jaw with a backing plate for the chinese 7x8/10/12/14 that'll take both the 4-jaw and the original 3" scroll chuck, for about $120 US including postage to the Great White North. There will be some extra chages for gst and paperwork fees but even so, with the canuck buck doing so well against the bush buck it looks like a better deal.
I've been looking on ebay for a few months now; the 4" 4-Jaw is a buy-it-now for $59 but there's ebay shipping and won't sell to anyone outside CONUS etcetera.
We had a prazi where I used to work. It was bought for some engineer that had to have it. What a piece of junk!. It was nearly useless and poorly constructed, hard to use, wore the plastic and fiber gears quickly. The motor was a TEFC and the air intake would suck all the chips in and blow them into the motor and gear box. You could not disengauge the lead screw and the only way to move the carrage was to crank the leadscrew a million turns. Pure crap.
Certainly not. I have an old Enco (not Emco) which I bought back around 1978 or so for my old Atlas/Craftsman 6x18" lathe, and which I moved to the Compact-5 when I go it.
I have also purchased a *very* nice one by Royal (from MSC) which has two tapers and a short straight -- so it acts both as a normal sized live center, and (with a bit of tool relief from the straight section) as a bull-nose taper as well. Granted, it was not cheap, but I have not regretted it, and normally use that in preference to the Emco (which was still a pretty good quality in those days.)