Perhaps I am missing something in this whole thread.
Just when did Hardinge leave 5C for 16C?
What do you mean by "not feeling adapters for collets" ?
Hope you are not talking about what Hardinge calls "collet in the spindle" or something'nuther.
Yes perhaps, but certainly not to a point of it making a difference!
If you cannot dial in a typical A-something spindle nose to a 5C collet chuck to a .0002 or less TIR, then something is a piece of garbage.
The only "dedicated" 5C I know of is Hardinge, but the drawbacks are huge!
Obviously not an apples to apples comparison but with Bison 5c collets in a Hardinge 16c adapter in my CHNC I'm usually getting 0.01mm TIR or lower, in my Emco Turn 325 it's much higher (not collet in spindle though) and in my Haas OL-1 which is 5c direct into spindle I get more like 0.01mm - 0.02mm TIR.
The argument that direct 5c is going to be better by default doesn't match up with my experience, I'm sure a Hardinge 5c spindle in my CHNC would be even better but would it really be noticable on any of the work I do? Probably not. Would I miss the ability to throw a bigger bar in now and then? Definately yes.
On the note of CHNC tooling I frequently run 3 or 4 tools on each station and don't tool change at all, it pretty much runs as a gang tool lathe. I recently got hold of a square 4 station top plate and that should give me a few more options, I plan to leave some of my regular setups on one of the sides so I just have to index around when I need to run a job, handy!
Also if you're getting a CHNC look at how the air is set up for the turret, as I got mine the stop cushion would bleed air constantly, I changed the hoses a little so that the stop cushion only receives air when it is indexing which has cut air consumption drastically. There may be a reason you shouldn't do that but it's been working for years for me.
"if you're getting a CHNC look" , it's on the trailer in my driveway. 11 hours driving, 3 hours loading, and a mig welder and 500 cash and it's mine.
I bet I'll be hitting you up on the how to for that air change.
Sounds like a bargain if it's all running, hopefully you have saved it from a Home Shop Harry ruining it with rubbish stepper motors and Mach 3, mine hasn't been trouble free but it has definately been worth what I paid for it and that was quite a bit more than you've paid.
When you are needing tool holders for saving space on set ups, take a look at these Hardinge numbers:
CC25R Right hand turning
CC33- 5/8 or 3/4
CC30 double tool holder- This one works good for me with a bar stop and cut off blade on the same holder.
In the past these tool holders have been reasonably priced as the CHNC is still in production. I use a lot of these on my Omniturns with the 1/2" tool height.