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Thread: Looking for jewelers lathe
08-16-2009, 03:10 AM #1
Looking for jewelers lathe
I forgot to state that I am also looking for a jeweler lathe and tools as well as watchmaker lathe. Thanks
08-16-2009, 04:10 PM #2
There have been several on craigs list Syracuse,Rochester ,Binghamton ,scranton over the last several weeks
08-16-2009, 04:40 PM #3
Jewelers lathes seem to be common on eBay and sometimes Craigslist. IMO, the real usefulness of a jewelers lathe lies in the accessories and if you can't get those, the lathes are of little value. A reasonable collection of accessories can be very difficult to find. Since they appeal to collectors, the prices of poorly equipped lathes far exceed what they're really worth. The price of fully equipped lathes can boggle the imagination. If I were doing that sort of work, I'd get a Sherline instead.
08-17-2009, 04:20 AM #4
I have a couple dozen watchmaker or jeweler lathes I would sell, and lots of the expensive accessories and chucks. I also have several of the slightly larger ones that are sometimes called instrument lathes.
So what do you think is the difference between a watchmaker lathe and a jeweler lathe? I have been collecting them since 1958 and have never learned the difference.
08-17-2009, 04:27 AM #5
Forget Ebay, buy a nice setup from an individual (like Larry) or tool dealer. A well equiped watchmakers lathe will set you back a bunch but it's worth paying more upfront for as complete a setup as you can find.
Also, if you're serious about clock/watch making, I wouldn't bother with Sherline - it's cheap hobbiest junk (in my opinion)
Larry - do clapped-out watchmakers lathes become 'jewelers' lathes at tool dealers?
All the Best,
08-17-2009, 04:52 AM #6
08-17-2009, 06:53 AM #7
08-17-2009, 07:19 AM #8
08-17-2009, 07:57 AM #9
Watch/jeweler/instrument lathes do not come with screw cutting ability, or even a slide rest. All attachments and tooling is sold separately. Levin, Derbyshire and a few other watch/jeweler/instrument lathe makers sold screw cutting attachments for their lathes. The attachments are incredibly rare, and I don't think even one watchmaker or jeweler in ten thousand ever bought one. I had to build my own, actually in a batch of ten while I was at it. They did not sell very quickly. Cutting tiny screws is not a common task for watch repair people or jewelers. When I was repairing watches, I was always able to find a replacement screw among my spare parts. I am sure it was even easier back when you could buy new genuine factory screws from your material jobber.
The 7 and 9 inch bench Lathes, like the Hardinge Cataract lathes, had similar screw cutting attachments, and they are also extremely rare. I only have two.
08-17-2009, 08:13 AM #10
Rich, it's a common reaction, but the Sherlines do remarkably well at the scale they're designed for. I set up several where I work to cut miniature leadscrews of over 200 TPI and about 0.04" diameter and they've been doing it well for a couple years now. My machinist friends along with vendors laughed until they discovered their CNC equipment couldn't make parts of sufficiently high quality for our needs, compared to the Sherlines. The secret is in the setup, the "secret sauce" as my boss likes to say. The other day I caught our machinist making a part on one of the Sherlines instead of our HLV. I gave him the obligatory grief and he admitted it was just better suited to what he was doing.
BTW, I agree that the OP should buy a fully equipped setup from an individual here, rather than eBay.
08-17-2009, 08:39 AM #11
08-17-2009, 09:16 AM #12
Rivett 608 always uses his Sherline for his celebrated and accurate miniatures. He just finds that little lathe more convenient than his Rivetts. I've known him for many years,and have been in his shop.
I don't use a Sherline myself,but they seem to do o.k.. As small as they are,the Aluminum extrusions seem quite strong enough.
08-17-2009, 09:49 AM #13
I don't care if Sherline equipment is junk or not, because it feels like junk. This is why I don't have any. Their mills are especially 'orrible.
Back the OP - I have a Unimat SL1000 with the 8mm WW watchmakers spindle that I don't use anymore. I'm in Philly, so you're welcome to come by and see my clock shop & look at the unimat.
08-17-2009, 09:58 AM #14
Todd, I can't give you the precise recipe on line, but general idea is to use standard Sherline components to create an adjustable box tool that both supports and cut the work. The screws we make are over an inch long, so the material is very flexible. I should also add that anything nice to machine is verboten here- they have to be stainless. At that point it's of no relevance how good the bed of the lathe is (though it's better than everybody seems to think) and all that matters is how good the gearing and lead screw are- according to our SmartScope inspection system, that rolled leadscrew and aluminum gears are way better than they have any right to be. Understand that I also go through a new Sherline with a fine tooth comb before it can be used in production. Almost no CNC machines have the ability to set up a follower that moves rigidly with the tool yet still allows the tool depth to be adjusted independently. Even the best bushing type screw machines can't hold the tolerances we need on this small a part. There are CNC tool/cutter grinding machines that can probably do it quite nicely, but they're way over $250K and not very common around here.
08-17-2009, 10:41 AM #15
08-17-2009, 12:16 PM #16
Geez Todd, I thought I gave a reasonable description of a proprietary process without giving away the farm. It assumes, of course, that the term "adjustable box tool" is meaningful, since the concept isn't that common anymore. The important point is that all the things people pick on the lathe about are rendered unimportant by the nature of the setup. BTW, I can't think of anything all that wonderful, in terms of precision, about a jewelers lathe, unless it's a Levin, and the price of those is beyond all reason. Most jewelers lathes are pretty crude affairs. 20 years ago I replaced the bearings in a Levin spindle and I think the pair was close to $500 back then.
08-17-2009, 03:56 PM #17Most jewelers lathes are pretty crude affairs.
Perhaps you're confusing clumsiness with crudness. I've never liked WW pattern lathes because the beds are too large and get in the way when doing fine work by hand.
Levin? Oh please, way, way overpriced. Is a $30,000 Levin 100X better than my $300 Stark #4? Not in a million years.
08-18-2009, 07:23 AM #18
08-18-2009, 10:15 AM #19
You really need to define what you need the lathe to do, and what you expect out of the lathe, to get useful info.
The comment on one of your posts about that the lathe must be square....????
A watchmakers lathe is a pretty good tool for what it is supposed to be able to do, an instrument lathe is good for other things. Either could end up being called a Jewellers lathe...
If a Sherline will suffice, get a Sherline (or a Taig, roughly comparable). Do you want to make waxes for rings and bracelets, or do you need to be able to turn pivots for replacements on pocket watch restorations?
No point in spending a metric pile O money on a machine to replace capability that could be had for far cheaper. Appropriate use, and all that.
I have a Marshall WW Pattern lathe, that came with a decent selection of tooling, including a nearly full set of collets, a three way cross slide, a 3 jaw chuck and a bunch of other goodies, that I bought for just over $100, several years back. It's a great tool, grossly underused in my case, but when it works best, I use it. No it's not for sale at this time.
I have seen some nice Schaublin 90's and 102's used as instrument lathes, as well as assorte old American makes. Most of the stuff one might do in jewellery or goldsmithing, if it was machine work, could probably be best be done on one of this style lathe. Accessories are key, and will make up the bulk of the cost, no matter what technology level you buy in at.
Look at the www.lathes.co.uk site. Check out the smaller Schaublin lathes, The various WW (Webster-Whitcombe, IIRC) Pattern lathes, look at the Lorch watchmakers lathes and instrument lathes. Look at the Hardinge Cataract style bench lathes too.
You can spend a few years income on a pile of accessories for any of these. It's better to have a pretty good idea what you need, vs. what you thought you needed, lest you pay a great deal out on something that either you cannot use, or you cannot do with what you wanted to do.
Having seen firsthand, some of the very fine work done on Sherline equipment, I have no doubts that it is possible. They are not in the same class as the likes of Levin, but they do not claim to be, or charge as much, either. They may fit your needs.
08-24-2009, 07:34 PM #20
Oh yeay. No matter where I go, there's no escaping Todd & Rich, the anti Sherline, anti jeweler twins. They hate anyone using a watchmaker's lathe for anything other than watches & clocks, and they hate anyone using a Sherline for watches & clocks. There's just no winning with these cranky old bastards.
-Todd, just put the fact that you hate Sherline, Joe Martin, and anyone who may or may not have ever worked for Sherline, suggested Sherline machines as cost effective alternatives to your super-duper accurate machines, owned a Sherline, or ever touched a Sherline right in your signature.
...Then you wouldn't have to repeat yourself quite so much.