Request for suggestions

Hi everyone,     I intend to have myself initiated in model (I.C.) engine construction.     As a first step, I need a lathe. Will a taig/peatol do? What about a
Unimat 3/4? How long will pass until any of these become too limiting? Do I need threading capacity wright away? Are the respective milling attachments enough for the milling that is needed? Can I use dividers with these lathes?     Thanks in advance for any help. Regards,
Marcos
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The nature of the questions that you ask suggest that it might be dangerous for anyone to reply to you.
Try looking at www.lathes.co.uk, there were some helpful articles there, also look on the cheapy website, for despite the owner's propensity for infantile outbursts in this and other NG, he does have some useful articles on the site.
The best advice I can give you is to join your local model engineering society where you will find no end of the sort of help and guidance that you need (and quite often info on the availability of second-hand lathes)
You might take this, wrongly, as an unhelpful reply; if you were to do so, then you would be mistaken. The cost of setting up with a lathe is 2 to 3 times the cost of buying a new one.
The best approach is to buy the complete workshop contents from a widow. I did that for 600, 4 years ago. A friend of mine did it two years previous to me for 500.
Try buying the book, "The Amateur's Lathe" by L.H.Sparey, publisher "Nexus Special Interests" ISBN 0-85242-288-1, priced about 11. (NO idea about the price in Guilders).
Also look out for piles of old editions of "Model Engineer" and "Engineering In Miniature"; there is a section on the cheapy web site for piles of old magazines.

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When you are looking around at lathes, check to see what accessories are included. You might find that Peatol, and similar, don't have as much included as a larger machine, and may end up costing you more than you expected.
As Airy said, join a local society, or at least find somebody who can give sound advice. I'm a beginner and would have been lost without a willing and experienced mentor.
You could do worse than look at Ebay for measuring tools. Prices can be cheap, but you need to be careful about what you buy. Again, seek the advice of an expert.
Cheers Mark

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I have been taken to task over my opening comment.
What I meant to say was that use of lathes by the uninformed novice can result in much damage to yourself and also to the lathe. Very much an area where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!
The lathe is a very powerful and flexible tool. But it is not idiot-proof, especially when using the lead screw when, without due caution, the cutting tool can be driven into the chuck.
(I engaged the lead screw when the saddle lock was screwed down, resulting in a gear box that keeps jumping out of gear, and a broken saddle-lock. Not a good thing to do on an obsolete lathe for which replacement parts are unavailable!)

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wrote:

Take up woodworking. As far as "not being idiot-proof", woodworking machinery is _far_ scarier than metalworking.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 15:49:53 +0100, Marcos Kurban

No.
A lathe is a huge investment. Lathes are cheap, the tooling isn't. Whatever you spend on day one is a mere fraction of what you'll inevitably pump into it before that long.
Taig / Peatol / Cowells are nicely made. They have that to offer and their internal build quality is streets ahead of the rest. They're accurate and you have a hope of them staying that way. But they're still far smaller than anything I'd want to limit myself to. As a second lathe to a big Harrison, then maybe.
I've never seen a Unimat that didn't bend and wobble when I _looked_ at it. If you can turn a crankshaft out of light alloy, then go for it. But there comes a time when you _have_ to make something awkward that needs a heavy cut. And the Unimat just can't do it.
If you have the space, get yourself a '50s / '60s Colchester or Churchill. Then you _know_ you're sorted. I wouldn't go any earlier, although I doff my flat cap to the chaps with pre-war flat-belt Drummonds and wartime Southbends who turn out good work on them. S/H industrial kit really is your friend when you're buying machinery.
Assuming you're buying new, Emco or Warco aren't bad. They're not great either, but they do the job. Modern kit means lots of features, but you tear your knuckles on the square corners and they do _not_ last. Expect to find really shoddy short-cut manufacturing in things like gib strips. They don't adjust, or they don't hold the adjustment. They work, they're cheap, and for small volume work they'll even last for what you need. But it's not a lathe you'll put real mileage on without wishing you'd got something better.
I'd axoid Boxfords. Not bad kit, but nearly all of them are ex-schools and they took a real beating. Myford 7s are like wearing a sign saying "model engineer, please rip me off". And they're too small for much fun.
For a really small lathe (and I have to ask why a small lathe can be a good idea, when there's minimal cost saving to it) then the Little Yellow Job from Machine Mart (and others) isn't bad. I mean the 12" between centres / 7" swing one, not the even smaller 10" / 6". In contrast their "mid size" blue thing is an abomination. The only slide travel is via the leadscrew ? You're joking !
As an aside, I'm unimpressed by lathe mounted milling heads. They might work, if they're a separate milling head mounted behind the bed. But if you've just bought 1/2 a real milling machine and put it in the most awkward place, why not buy the tables as well and get a whole separate mill ? The "Machine Mart Blue Meanie" though, with the PTO-driven head is a joke. There's no reach, so the only thing it can work on is a little stub held in the lathe chuck.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 15:49:53 +0100, Marcos Kurban
Marcos,

You might want to look at something a bit bigger - like the Myford ML10. I believe Myford have stopped making them now, but still support them, so you would be looking at getting a second hand one. It is a good sturdy lathe with good capacity for smaller model engineering work, and it also works with nearly all of the Myford accessories for the ML7/Super7 lathes.
Here's the write up in the lathes.co.uk web pages
http://www.lathes.co.uk/myford/page4.html
If you get a choice, go for the later models with the roller race headstock bearings since the lower speed on the original model can be a bit limiting for small diameter work. However, the original model with the plain steel/cast iron bearings is fine if speed isn't a worry - my original ML10 is over thirty years old and I haven't had to touch the headstock bearings at all.
Also look for one with the long cross slide modification which gives a lot more elbow room, especially if you want to use a back tool post. If you can't find one, Myford can supply the conversion kit.
I've seen second hand plain bearing ones going for about 500 and upwards. The Speed 10 and Diamond 10 ones seem to start about 700 and upwards, but these prices usually include chucks, etc.
Jim.
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