A good metal lathe...

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dirk the piper
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A good metal lathe...

Post by dirk the piper » Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:38 am

What factors about metal lathes are there to consider that might be most important to making tools for uilleann pipes? What factors for a wood lathe are important?

At this point, I'm thinking that I'll use a wood lathe for all the bore work and outside turning, and I'll use the metal lathe for making tools and drilling the tone holes and milling work.

For a metal lathe, I'm currently looking at either the Grizzly or Enco 7x12 mini lathe, or the Jet 9x20 lathe. It looks to me like the Grizzly mini lathe claims a speed range in the low gear between zero and 1100 RPM, but I doubt that it actually does that. I'm going to call them to find out. The 9x20 usually has six speeds between about 130 RPM and 2000RPM.
I have a friend who is willing to sell me his old South-Bend lathe, but that one will take a lot of work for me to find the right tooling, and would end up costing more, too. If anyone has advice on the new lathes, and whether they are up to the job, I sure appreciate it.

Here are some links for specs on those two types of lathe.
http://www.wmhtoolgroup.com/index.cfm?a ... &iid=11017
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cf ... mber=G8688&

All the Best,

-Dirk
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:52 am

I checked on the little Grizzly. It actually comes with a 3/4 HP DC motor, and they claim it really is infinitely variable speed from 0-1100 RPM.
-Dirk
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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John Mulhern
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Post by John Mulhern » Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:01 pm

Old South Bends have a pretty good reputation. The one's I've run have been fine machines & even included 5C collet setups. What kinda tooling issues does it have? If it's local & in decent shape, it may be the better buy if shipping & future resale value are factored in. Ways usually wear in the area immediately next to the chuck...so if the carriage feels tighter as it's moved toward the tailstock, that could be a problem, and should be investigated in further detail.
That 7" Grizzly lathe look's a bit short on center distance @ 12", the Grizzly 9" x 19" might be more equivalent ( or superior ???...dunno) compared to the Jet . Ya might ask (and search) the machinist forums about the Jet 9 x 20. If you buy a new one, try to get a steady rest...I noticed it's standard on both the Grizzly & Jet.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.craf ... king?hl=en

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ubb/u ... =forum;f=1

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe/ (Yahoo membership required)

http://www.makeitsimple.com/sections.php?artid=14 (potential problems to look out for - 14" Jet lathe customer)

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:20 pm

Hi John,

The old southbend seems is a good lathe. This one is at least 70 years old, and seems pretty tight despite the grooves in the ways near the head stock. It has no steady or follow rest, and only a simple tool post. I would also have to rework the belts to the motor, since it has three speeds between 350 and 500 RPM, which the owner and I checked with a strobe.

-Dirk
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John Mulhern
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Post by John Mulhern » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:20 pm

That seems a very narrow spindle speed range. I wonder if that could be addressed with a pulley change??? Also, does it have a back gear? If it's reasonably priced, I'd say go for it...snag that mutha! :mrgreen:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/southbendlathe/
(Yahoo South Bend lathe group)

Jonathan_P
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Post by Jonathan_P » Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:13 pm

What size is the South Bend? There's 9", 10K (the lightweight 10"), and "heavy 10", as well as 13", 16", and 24" swing models. Here's a good place to learn more:

http://www.lathes.co.uk/southbend/index.html

The Yahoo group that John Mulhern mentioned is a trove of good information, too.

I have a 1951-era 9A model with a 42" bed, which gives me 24" between centers. It's a very nice little machine, really well-built and solid.

I just built a strong plywood steady rest for mine, using inline skate wheels that I filched from my daughter's outgrown rollerblades. I'd be glad to give you my drawing if you're looking at a 9" model.

Parts are readily available both from Leblonde (the successor to South Bend, which went bankrupt a couple of years back) or on eBay. Every week several machines are parted out there, and you can buy just about anything you can imagine that your machine might be lacking.

If you're thinking of using collets for reamermaking (as I am) rather than a chuck or dog-and-faceplate, the 9" machines can handle a 3C or 1A collet setup, which is 1/2" max. This should be adequate for making UP chanter reamers. The 10" models can handle 5C collets, which go up to 1-1/16".

A standard 6-speed SB has speeds ranging from 50 to 680 RPM, with three belt pulley steps and the backgears. (Look for the lever at the back left end, and disengage the bull gear pin behind the chuck before engaging the backshaft to access the slowest speeds.). Mine also has two pulley steps on the countershaft, giving it 12 speeds ranging from 50-1270. Adding this double pulley is very easy, and not expensive.

If your friend's machine is reasonably priced, you'll have a hard time finding a better lathe.
Jonathan

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Post by billh » Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:19 am

Hi Dirk:

From what I've heard over the years, the SouthBend _is_ a better lathe. Depends of course on condition, etc.

Of the new lathes, the specs on the Jet look more like what you would need for pipemaking. In fact you could easily do the wood turning on it too, with the range of spindle speeds to 2000. You might want to be careful about roughing square timber on it though, because with a gearbox drive, the impact loading could eventually damage the teeth.

Others will no doubt know more about the actual reputation of the Jet.

Bill

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:37 pm

It's a tough decision, but I'm having a hard time finding all the parts I would want for the old Southbend-made Montgomery Ward lathe. I think the old lathe is a 9", and it seems as solid as a tank, even though it was a little worn by the head stock. It only has a simple tool post and a 3-jaw chuck. No steadies or any other tools.

David Quinn, do you have any experience with the Chinese-made 9x20 lathes to share with us? I'm leaning toward going the route of the new lathe, simply because I can get things like a milling attachment, toolpost grinder, an improved cross-slide compound, and steady and follow rests for it, without having to go dredging for them or making them myself. I'm planning on just using the metal lathe for making reamers and for drilling tone holes and simple milling jobs on the chanter. I use the wood lathe for all chanter boring and reaming, and all outside turning.
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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Post by Jonathan_P » Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:34 pm

dirk the piper wrote:I'm having a hard time finding all the parts I would want for the old Southbend-made Montgomery Ward lathe. I think the old lathe is a 9"
It appears that the Wards lathes were 10" swing, and were made by Logan, not South Bend.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/logan/index.html
http://www.lathe.com/models.htm

Logan Lathe is still in business as a division of Logan Actuator:

http://store.lathe.com/index.html

Parts are pricy, but available.
I'm leaning toward going the route of the new lathe, simply because I can get things like a milling attachment
Where have you found a source for accessories like this? I'm considering adapting an inexpensive milling attachment to my South Bend, but the only one I have found is the Palmgren 250, which has gotten mixed reviews on the SB Yahoo list.

http://www.palmgren.com/palmgren/p-mt-l ... hment.html

After a brief search, I've also found this Grizzly unit:

http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2005/main/509.cfm?

But I'm suspicious of the quality.
Jonathan

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John Mulhern
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Post by John Mulhern » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:24 pm

Dirk, here's Martin Preshaws tone hole drilling set-up....and Davids suggestion of a vernier on the lathe for setting positions is an excellent one.
http://www.unionpipes.co.uk/images/mp_drill.jpg

Your mention of a tool post grinder sounds intriguing. They're a bit messy on ways, but it would be interesting to see how well one would grind a reamer edge. Re: lathe tool holders...why not get a used KDK or Aloris (or even Chinese clone) on Ebay?

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:52 am

Jonathan,

A source I have found for some of these attachments is littlemachineshop.com:

milling attacment: http://www.littlemachineshop.com/produc ... uctID=1681

toolpost grinder:
http://www.littlemachineshop.com/produc ... uctID=1275

John,

I'm thinking of trying a tool post grinder for making pre-hardened reamers. Who on the list has tried that?

David's "Pipes and Pipemaking" CD ROM shows his vernier method for alligning tone holes. I suppose that would work for Martin preshaw's drilling attachment as well. David uses a milling attachment for the drilling. I'm going to try that method as soon as I can. Thanks for the suggestion on the tool holders, too.

There are so many different ways to skin a catfish...

-Dirk
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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Post by billh » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:54 am

dirk the piper wrote:It's a tough decision, but I'm having a hard time finding all the parts I would want for the old Southbend-made Montgomery Ward lathe. I think the old lathe is a 9", and it seems as solid as a tank, even though it was a little worn by the head stock. It only has a simple tool post and a 3-jaw chuck. No steadies or any other tools.
Getting other engineering chucks to fit should not be a problem, unless the thread on the spindle is very very odd.
... I'm planning on just using the metal lathe for making reamers and for drilling tone holes and simple milling jobs on the chanter. I use the wood lathe for all chanter boring and reaming, and all outside turning.
I don't see how you would use the wood lathe for reaming unless you had a way to reduce the rotation speed down to 100 RPM or below.

Bill

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:58 am

Hi Bill,

Yes, getting the rotational speed down on the wood lathe is what I'm planning to do. This will be done via an infinitely-variable speed DC motor and a cotroller for it. At some point, when time and funds permit, I'm going to install one of those on the metal lathe too, whichever metal lathe I end up getting. It's not too hard to find good DC motors on Ebay these days.

-Dirk
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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Post by billh » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:14 pm

dirk the piper wrote:Hi Bill,

Yes, getting the rotational speed down on the wood lathe is what I'm planning to do. This will be done via an infinitely-variable speed DC motor and a cotroller for it. At some point, when time and funds permit, I'm going to install one of those on the metal lathe too, whichever metal lathe I end up getting. It's not too hard to find good DC motors on Ebay these days.

-Dirk
I dunno that much about DC motors, don't you lose torque when you do that? Not sure but whether you'd want more torque, rather than less, for reaming.

Bill

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dirk the piper
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Post by dirk the piper » Fri Oct 07, 2005 3:26 pm

Hi Bill,

Here is a link to some writing that I found which explains the concepts involved in making it run with a bit more torque at low speeds: http://truetex.com/servomod.htm

The basic idea is to turn a DC motor into a servo motor, or buy a servo to begin with. I think the controller pulses power into the motor at longer intervals instead of running lower voltage and limited current at slower speeds. People on the minilathe user groups have been buying treadmill motors off of Ebay for modifying their lathes.

All The Best,

Dirk
I'm a piper, you're a piper, he's a piper, she's a piper - wouldn't you like to be a piper too?

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