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Jeff Krieger

mini lathe recommendation for making buttons

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The lathe is only the first expense, the tooling can add up quickly and in some cases can cost more than the original lathe cost.

On 10/29/2017 at 8:42 AM, Jerry Pasewicz said:

I use an Emco Compact 8.  Some of the small lathes mentioned here will work fine for making buttons, although not for more serious restoration or making cutters effectively.  The Sherline is a hobbyist lathe, I will not refer to it as a toy, but I would certainly be more than justified doing so.

 

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I would personally advise against a Unimat because I have one. Too much play everywhere. For $1000, Craigslist and Lady Luck are your friends. Or maybe you can go with Sai Gao's jigs.

If you decide to go against that advise, let me know because I have one that I wouldn't mind selling. Mine comes with a ton of addons and extras. I can tally the items if you think you'd consider.

cheers,
Cosmin

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For bow making most of the tooling needed can be made quite simply using blanks of high speed steel and if he goes on to making frogs etc, the cutters for doing Parisian or plain eyes etc.. can be easily made on the lathe using silver steel or drill rod (which i think its called in the US) . Most lathes come with a chuck of some sort .Collets are helpful but even these can be made from a simple suitably diameter thin tube with a saw cut through one side.

there are plenty of used lathes around of all sizes and they often come with a heap of tooling .

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On 10/29/2017 at 12:39 AM, carl stross said:

They're rubbish - no Camlock. Get a Harrison. :)  Then get a Pratt-Burnered EC chuck and set of collets. :)  Though the small Myford cyl grinder is a beauty - wish I had one.

What do you mean 'no camlock'!

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Hi Jeff,

I strongly recommend looking up the Taig lathe.  They are made in the USA.  Very high quality .  They are small ,  but versatile ,  and incredibly capable little machines.   I have had mine for many years now .  I use a Lentze variable speed drive  and and can get forward and reverse  , at many different speeds.  They are made in Pheonix , Arizona.  They are not expensive.  If you are anywhere near Oregon look up Nick Carter's Taig lathe site.  It is full of information,  and shows hundreds of modifications and uses for the Taig.  As Nick says  ....  I like the style and utility of these wonderful little machines.  They have their limitations  ,  but any good workman can do wonders  if they understand their limitations.     Nick is a really nice guy  and will always answer any questions promptly and knowledgeably.    

He has numerous pictures of Taig users and their modifications of their lathes.  They dont come with a lead screw but you can put one on if you wish.   They are accurately made machine that work within fine tolerances.    They are excellent for beginners and accomplished machinists.   I dont think any luthier  should be without one.  

Regards.....  

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On 11/4/2017 at 2:29 AM, Chris S said:

Hi Jeff,

I strongly recommend looking up the Taig lathe.  They are made in the USA.  Very high quality .  They are small ,  but versatile ,  and incredibly capable little machines.   I have had mine for many years now .  I use a Lentze variable speed drive  and and can get forward and reverse  , at many different speeds.  They are made in Pheonix , Arizona.  They are not expensive.  If you are anywhere near Oregon look up Nick Carter's Taig lathe site.  It is full of information,  and shows hundreds of modifications and uses for the Taig.  As Nick says  ....  I like the style and utility of these wonderful little machines.  They have their limitations  ,  but any good workman can do wonders  if they understand their limitations.     Nick is a really nice guy  and will always answer any questions promptly and knowledgeably.    

He has numerous pictures of Taig users and their modifications of their lathes.  They dont come with a lead screw but you can put one on if you wish.   They are accurately made machine that work within fine tolerances.    They are excellent for beginners and accomplished machinists.   I dont think any luthier  should be without one.  

Regards.....  

Thanks for all of these suggestions. I ordered a Taig micro lathe and will follow up on it here after I work with it. Nick was extremely helpful in helping me choose which one to order for my needs.

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18 hours ago, Jeff Krieger said:

Thanks for all of these suggestions. I ordered a Taig micro lathe and will follow up on it here after I work with it. Nick was extremely helpful in helping me choose which one to order for my needs.

I'm really pleased you decided to get one of these lathes. 

You will not be disappointed.    I have used mine extensively. 

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I purchased a Sherline 4400 for the SCVMW bow makers workshop with George Rubino.     Because the Sherline factory is relatively close by I was able to go inspect the machine.    Mind you we are not building Sherman tanks here, we are looking at violin bow buttons, bushings,  some tool making.     I found the 17" bed more than adequate for our purposes.   For a "hobbyist" tool, it was extremely "tight" and has worked fabulously.  We bought a few accessories as well like the four jaw chuck to go with the provided 3 jaw, and x,y table.   I seems extremely durable and has served us well so far.    If you need more versatile tooling capabilities then go for the more industrial brands.   But for our purposes it is a fine tool.  JB

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You cannot buy a cutter to cut the button collar from machinery suppliers.  You might be able to buy a custom made one from a bow maker, but most likely you will have to grind your own from a high speed steel blank.

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I am not sure what the ring closet to the stick is because I don't specialize in bows but I think I know what you mean.  

High speed steel is probably a good suggestion. But always consider that you can grind all sorts of shapes from old files 

too. Small needle files can be ground into some specialized shapes.  If you are using them for wood you can get away 

with more than you can with steel or other metals.  These ground files can be inserted into the tailstock chuck . There is an awful 

lot of improvising that can be done with lathes. I always do and I really don't worry about feed rates and angles and many of the things 

that require a technical background. Steel requires a precision that wood does not. Experience will show you. I often use plastics too.

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17 hours ago, Jeff Krieger said:

Do you know off hand which cutters you purchased? I am trying to find out what to use to make the cut in the ring closest to the stick.

I believe George makes his own cutter for this task.

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22 hours ago, Jeff Krieger said:

Do you know off hand which cutters you purchased? I am trying to find out what to use to make the cut in the ring closest to the stick.

HSS 1/4" x 2 1/2" right hand facing tool

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On 12/12/2017 at 3:00 PM, Jim_B said:

 Because the Sherline factory is relatively close by I was able to go inspect the machine...    I found the 17" bed more than adequate for our purposes. 

Sorry I didn't get the long bed too. Would have been handy a bunch of times.

I also live near them. Took my mill in to be looked at for backlash I couldn't dial out. They replaced a spacer on my long out of warranty machine for free.

In their prep room, they had one of their lathes ready to ship that was set up with a custom six foot bed for a medical manufacturer.

Something about making catheters.

Ewww......

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Hi All - I recently copied these to another member - maybe they're worth sharing.

- for the traditionalists

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=tightropetb&p=foot+powered+lathe+making+violin+pegs#id=1&vid=2a3042073c53a5f88c44598572fc43a2&action=click 

- for the machinists and jig-makers

https://lifehacker.com/transform-a-power-drill-into-a-miniature-wood-lathe-1593744668

and now one just for for David Burgess - the manly approach to making a sound-post..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM32kvXaX0s

 

enjoy - edi

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I wonder how many of the old bowmakers had 'proper' lathes. I can well imagine that some just used a toolrest of some sort on the foret, and a few chisels and gravers. It's not difficult work, and watchmakers for example do a lot of hand turning on far more troublesome materials.

 

Sometimes when a button ring is broken off you see that the ebony was shaped with files.

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