Larger Companion to HLV-L (Manual Lathe)?
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  1. #1
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    Default Larger Companion to HLV-L (Manual Lathe)?

    I've owned my HLV-H for over 3 years now and it is the cornerstone of my very small one-man workshop. As much as I liked my Schaublin (plain turning 102N), the Hardinge is a huge leap in versatility with no compromise in accuracy.

    Sometimes I have to put off potential projects because they are too big for the HLV-H. Ironic since it is the largest lathe I have ever owned (I started 20 years ago with a tiny Sherline).

    In particular I may have the need in the future to accurately turn long aluminum tubes, diameter up to 4", length up to around 42". I need to be able to face both ends of the tube so that they are square to the tube axis.

    This would be for making collimator objective tubes, very similar to refracting telescope tubes.

    What are some good choices for manual lathes with larger capacity that the HLV-H, having good build quality and good accuracy. I don't quite need HLV-H level accuracy on the large machine, but want better than generic Chinese lathe level.

    I'm thinking older pre-CNC era American iron, like the larger Monarch lathes, but know next to nothing about them. Will certainly consider European and Japan/Taiwan machines as well.

    Thanks for your advice!

  2. #2
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    The HLV-H is a good accurate machine. One thing about the chip bed, when cutting even small pieces of stainless the strands can become so long and entangled that the cutting operation has to be stopped and the stuff brushed away. A two piece way and a deep chip pan would only be attainable on something bigger.

    Graziano is something to investigate. Have seen several in a one man shop, one being rebuilt. SAG12, SAG14, etc. I was told that when he saw a Graziano cutting a 1/4" stream of chips he had to have some of those machines.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinematechnic View Post
    In particular I may have the need in the future to accurately turn long aluminum tubes, diameter up to 4", length up to around 42". I need to be able to face both ends of the tube so that they are square to the tube axis.

    This would be for making collimator objective tubes, very similar to refracting telescope tubes.
    JMNSHO, but... I'd call it DAFT to find, then dedicate, space, power, rigging-in, and investment in general, for a heavy lathe. "Heavy" because.. it would need a "gross length" of a six to eight foot bed in order to provide for workholding, intermediate support, as well as 48" or so of useful traverse, traverse for a full-run of cut.

    Add with good-enough "surviving" condition (unlikely!) or assuredly restorable and then also ACTUALLY restored - "integrity" to be able to do such light tubes to a high degree of accuracy .....

    When .....they are only a "may have" need. EG: old Hendey, "tuned up", maybe, old SB not b****y-likely.

    "And then..." Big Dawg could sit idle most of the year even if/as/when you DO proceed?

    Either way, that's the sort of work you find a capable third-party service and have them do them for you instead. Think about it. Precision delivery of Aluminium tubes? "Somebody" already tooled-up and expert AT it does this all-day, every day as THEIR "Day Job". It just isn't all that rare and exotic of a NEED.

    For a(ny) "Small Shop", OTOH? Too many sizes of work. Too little money and space.

    Or was that too many women, too little time?

    Old Age as it is, I'm no longer sure it makes any difference as to "tubes up to four inches" and having to "face" both ends!

  4. #4
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    We have a 1956 HLV-BK as our small / collet lathe, and a Takisawa TSL-800 as our larger / chuck lathe. I dunno if we have ever run a chuck on the Hardinge, we go to the Tak when we are dealing with stuff over 1" diameter. My only complaint with the Tak is that the draw tube diameter is pretty small in relation to the chuck size. Other than that, the Tak is pretty nice, though from an operator's perspective, it's a "traditional" engine lathe and doesn't have the benefits of e.g. the infinitely variable carriage speeds and the trivial threading operations of the Hardinge.

    We have the same Mitutoyo DRO on each lathe (obviously the scale lengths are different).

    We run Aloris AX toolpost on the Hardinge and BX on the 'Tak.

    The Hardinge runs off an RPC, the Tak off a 5HP Hitachi VFD.

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    Always just want bigger devices

  6. #6
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    Plenty of lathes available in our neck of the woods, though you might have to leave Maine.

    Seems to me you're looking for a medium duty lathe with a longish bed and a steady rest. The Monarch is a fine lathe, but heavy duty, with a motor, space and electrical requirements to match.

    A new England search for lathes turns up two real candidates: This Andrychow in Auburn, spendy and heavy and this Clausing 15x50 (lighter) in CT. Also a Monarch in Boston, but it's a monster. Leblond Regal might be appropriate, too.

    A 16" South Bend could work, too, if it were only for occasional use, but I get the sense that you want something a bit more modern?


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