Advice on choosing a mini lathe



I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that the information on Axminsters website about hardened slides is inaccurate. warco, amadeal, and "some" of the chester conquests (not super conquests) were/are from factory/s in/around/under Real Bull. As a norm, RB did hardened ways and stuck a sticker at the end of the bed to confirm this. Rest are not marked as such.
Ketan.
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By the way, when I wrote my earlier comments, I was unaware that Real Bull went out of business earlier this year. Some other small sub- contractor may have started making and selling a "similar" product.
Ketan at ARC.
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Thanks very much for all the comments about my choice of an AET super C3 lathe: http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Lathes/Model-C3-Mini-Lathe
Here's my revised list of accessories from further down that page:
Super C3 Digital Speed Display C3 Milling Attachment C3 Face Plate 160mm C3 Face Plate Clamping Set
I'll also need: A good drill chuck and arbour - Ketan at ARC says to contact him, which will do.
Chucks: Everyone seems to want to add larger chucks to these mini lathes, but Is that instead of or as well as the one supplied? I'd like to machine a 3-jaw chuck to be super accurate and think I'll need a 4-jaw chuck before too long. What's the "C3 100mm Backplate for 3 & 4 Jaw Chucks - Steel" & "C3 100mm Backplate for 3 & 4 Jaw Chucks - Steel" for?
Digital readouts: My lathe is for indoor use so low temperatures won't be an issue with digital readouts. Will I gain something from "getting used to the dials" before fitting a digital readout system? I'm wondering about fitting a different digital readout system that will easily convert for computer control if I decide to go down that route. Is there something out there that would make a good manual digital readout but would still be a good choice to connect to my PC later?
C3 #94 + #107 Brass Gibs Set: So is there any point in getting these?
Alan
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Scrim wrote:

http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Lathes/Model-C3-Mini-Lathe

A suggestion - buy a cheap set of ER20 collets (27, ebay) and a MT2 ER20 chuck (16) instead of a drill chuck. Costs a bit more, but works a lot better.
Also buy a couple of MT2 end mill holders to fit center drills in the sizes you will be using. Much quicker to just change MT2 fittings in the tailstock than changing a bit in a drill chuck or collet, and they are shorter too; thus more rigid, and you can fit in longer workpieces.
You'll need MT2 and MT3 dead centers, plus a dog or two, cheap enough. A MT2 half center is useful, as is a MT2 revolving center.
Now buy the C3 Face Plate 160mm and C3 Face Plate Clamping Set.

The standard 80mm three jaw which comes with the lathe is a bit too small. You can however get by reasonably well with that and a 100mm independent four jaw (for which you will need a backing plate).

That's possible up to accurate, but probably not to super-accurate - for that collets are needed. Though I have my 3-jaw set up to hold work to within 0.01mm TIR :)

Yep.
They sound like the same thing? They are adapters used to fit 100mm chucks onto the standard minilathe spindle, which is made to take 80mm chucks, not 100mm chucks.
Do you need steadies? Depends on the work you do, if it's long or thin then probably yes. I don't have them myself and can usually get by without, but very occasionally I wish I had the one I'd need.
If you've got enough money, buy an ER32 collet chuck which fits on the spindle (about 35 @ AET) and a set of ER32 collets (about 85 @ Chronos, Vertex set). ER32 collets with a face-mounted chuck will take up to 20mm dia work, which will also go through the headstock, a big plus.
If you haven't got enough money for that, then buy a cheap MT3 ER20 chuck (16, ebay) to fit in the spindle and use with the cheap MT20 collets you bought, above, for use in the tailstock.
For small work, up to 13 mm, even cheap ER20 collets are much better than the 3-jaw. They are probably more accurate, they grip better and they are much less likely to mark the work.
Now buy the C3 Milling Attachment and Super C3 Digital Speed Display, if you can still afford them.
But remember, you will need to put quite a lot aside for tooling - some people say the same as the cost of the lathe.
No, I'm not kidding at all. Just a couple of quality carbide indexable tools can set you back 100. Then you need drills, reamers, boring tools, etc etc etc.
Do you need a stand? A bench?

Yes, a lot. :)
And you may very well never buy digital readouts. They are handy if you can't remember how many turns of the dial you have made, otherwise ...

Not the usual ones, which fit where the dials are, afaik they are no use whatsoever for CNC.
You can use glass scales for both manual and CNC, but that's a whole different story (and price range).

I wouldn't bother at first. If you find you need them later it's no problem (but not likely either).
-- Peter F

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Thanks very much Peter. Lots to think about. Is there much difference between indexable tools? Isn't it mainly down to the quality of the insert? Alan
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Ketan Swali wrote:

My minilathe came with one of these. You use it with long thin stock, much like a live (bearing) center.
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