Turret Lathe for Hobby Use?
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    Question Turret Lathe for Hobby Use?

    Hello, Except for machine shop in high school in the 1970s, I am entirely new to the study of machining.
    I think I mostly understand the value of the turret type lathe for production runs; I am wondering if any of you use one for the home hobby shop. If so, is it because it is a fascinating piece of machinery, or does it have advantages for hobby use?

    Thank You, Brian

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    Depends on how much compatible tooling you already have?

    Depends on your hobby, and the operations required.

    The moment you find yourself drilling, reaming, id tapping, turning a shoulder, and then od threading, and chamfering multiple identical items, for your hobby, it’d be nice to have.

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    If you are strictly a hobbyist I would gravitate to an engine lathe and look at a turret for the tailstock.

    Tom

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    I thank you both for the replies.
    It sounds like making multiples of the same thing is what would justify the turret. One of a kind projects seem to call for the ordinary engine lathe.

    Thanks, fellas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Albin View Post
    I thank you both for the replies.
    It sounds like making multiples of the same thing is what would justify the turret. One of a kind projects seem to call for the ordinary engine lathe.

    Thanks, fellas.
    You've got it in one but I would say that any lathe beats no lathe.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Brian - when you say hobby is your hobby old steam locomotives and cable excavators, or is it watches?

    If your interests are closer to the first, you are in the correct forum, big old dinosaur turret lathes for big old dinosaur machines, even right down to antique cars, etc.

    If smaller, from cars down to watches, Hardinge hand screw machines are quite viable and reasonably fast to set up. I will set up a hand screw turret to make as few as 3 or 4 threaded bushings all the same size. (though probably not set most of the stops)

    A Hardinge chucker has a couple more turret stations and will run larger parts.

    Like has been mentioned, your cost and learning curve will be in tooling up and how to use all the tools efficiently.

    smt

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    A lever cross slide will compliment the turret nicely. An engine lathe with turret tailstock and lever cross slide work well. My preference is two lathes , my regular engine lathe with standard tailstock, carriage etc and a second lathe with the turret setup. That way I have the first lathe for making the turret tooling.

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    Turret and capstan lathes are generally quite worn,sometimes massively worn,with broken parts.They generally have specialized chucks,and dont directly take standard chucks.My advice is never pay over average scrap price for odd machines,and you wont get burned.An engine lathe is a hundred times more versatile for a hobbyist.

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    A turret lathe is terrific for drilling and tapping bar ends, and doing simple diameters. What it can't do is tapers and angles, because it doesn't have a compound, it isn't very versatile for threading because it doesn't have a leadscrew, it doesn't do work between centers without some fiddling around, and they don't have steady rests for long work.

    I get tired of drilling in an engine lathe before the first hole is done, and find myself wishing for my turret lathe. I get tired of roughing in an engine lathe before the first 2 diameters are roughed, and find myself wishing for my turret lathe. But some parts just can't be done easily in a turret lathe, so my solution is to have both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    A turret lathe is terrific for drilling and tapping bar ends, and doing simple diameters. What it can't do is tapers and angles, because it doesn't have a compound, it isn't very versatile for threading because it doesn't have a leadscrew, it doesn't do work between centers without some fiddling around, and they don't have steady rests for long work.

    I get tired of drilling in an engine lathe before the first hole is done, and find myself wishing for my turret lathe. I get tired of roughing in an engine lathe before the first 2 diameters are roughed, and find myself wishing for my turret lathe. But some parts just can't be done easily in a turret lathe, so my solution is to have both.
    Short tapers (and odd shapes)can be done with a form tool in the lever cross slide. Threading can be done with a die in the turret tailstock just like tapping.

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    I miss using a Turret lathe. They are fun to use. Like Mudd says if you have to drill, tap and turn a bunch of parts, they can save tons of time. As a matter of fact I just bid on 4 DV-59 Hardinges.

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    You can also get slides that fit in the turret. The turret is moved into position and the cross slide actuated by hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    I miss using a Turret lathe. They are fun to use. Like Mudd says if you have to drill, tap and turn a bunch of parts, they can save tons of time. As a matter of fact I just bid on 4 DV-59 Hardinges.
    Plus 1 on “are fun” Mr. King.

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    You can screw cut on capstan and turret lathes if they come equipped with the short interchangeable lead screws and nuts that a well tooled up lathe will have.
    Unfortunately these items always seem to go missing if you're buying a used machine.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Tyrone - Do you see them a lot in the UK? I only remember seeing one W&S equipped like that here. It looked like it was set up for one job and would be a lot of work to change to another pitch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Tyrone - Do you see them a lot in the UK? I only remember seeing one W&S equipped like that here. It looked like it was set up for one job and would be a lot of work to change to another pitch.
    Yeah quite a few to be honest. Most " Herbert " turret lathes had the facility along with one or two small " Herbert " capstan lathes. " Wards " were similar. They had a series of short leadscrews you could change pretty quickly along with interchangeable nuts that were double ended with a different pitch on each end. They mounted externally so the whole set up was easy fitting job.
    They were only short screws though so the maximum thread length would be between 10" to 18" long depending on the size of the machine.

    Some had a fly back mechanism so when the saddle hit a pre set stop the whole cross slide flew back out about 5/16" . You wound the saddle back to your start point, put another cut on, pushed the fly back lever in and away you went. Screw cutting for dummies. Just watch out for the lever and your shins !

    Regards Tyrone.

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    I've always liked turret lathes. Great hogging machines. Single point threading is the only thing you can't do without the attachment, which I would guess are getting scarce. A lot better than an engine lathe for a lot of lathe work. Cross slides usually have kick outs which I find really handy, you can almost always have rear tooling, think upside down cut off tool, no chips getting stuck! A couple of boring heads and a box tool, maybe a tapping tool and a die holder and you're good to go!

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    Why is it they always seem to go for a song when youre not ready for em!?

    Ward Capstan 2DS Air Chucker | eBay

    Fricken clean looking machine for 100 quid!

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    Not in the W & S weight league, but Hardinge made boatloads of chuckers with both manual chase threading, and with an electro-pneumatic auto cycle accessory based on the same principle.

    On DSM's tapers can be cut up to about 1-1/2" with a lever actuated topslide/compound; from the front position on the regular lever cross-slide. There's a B & S turret tool here with slide for cutting short tapers, supposedly for parts like (carb) jet needles, but i've never used it.

    Here, fixed that for you:

    My preference is for 3 or 4 lathes ,
    ...my regular engine lathe with standard tailstock, carriage etc and a couple more lathes with the turret setup. That way I can use them all to make tooling for each other to facilitate making more tooling.


    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demon73 View Post
    Why is it they always seem to go for a song when youre not ready for em!?

    Ward Capstan 2DS Air Chucker | eBay

    Fricken clean looking machine for 100 quid!
    That's a bargain. Nice looking machine. I did a lot of work on those machines as a young man. They were a pretty bulletproof design. I'm surprised to see that machine described as a " DS ". I always understood the " DS " stood for " Double Slide ". This was a sort of support brace that fitted onto the front of the capstan ram and the slide ways to stiffen up the capstan ram.

    If you look up " Ward " Turret Lathes on the " Tony's lathes " site there are several illustrations of more modern " Ward " 2DS and 3DS machines where you can see the support brace I'm referring to.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 03-23-2018 at 10:30 AM.


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