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Help me pick a bench top turret lathe?

HikeKing21

Plastic
Joined
Oct 27, 2023
I have a friend with a Schaublin 70, which I would love to find if I could here in the Midwest, but it seems like hens teeth around here.

So my question is, if I need a benchtop lathe for small parts making, for musical instrument tuning machine parts, can you all help me identify what platform that is out there might be my best option?

I need to be able to do small batch production of parts, and in each piece I need to:

1. feed bar stock to a predefined length
2. Size to needed diameter
2. Round end
3. Dish 1/2” from end
4. Part

Then I need to set up for a second operation on the rear side:

1. Bore to width and depth
2. Peck for drill hole
3. Drill hole
4. Tap hole

The Turret on the schaublin, plus the tool holder that has very handy depth stops for the long axis work, is so attractive…

Are there any benchtop platforms that readily have a turret and production style lever carriage with depth stops that I could find and put together?

Thanks!
 
The 70's aren't too common. Lots more Schaublin, Micron and Habegger 102's out there. I run 3 of the Habegger 102's for lots of oddball stuff. The 5c head 102 is the go-to lathe for me for ones and twos. There is any amount of 5c tooling available. If you're determined to spend ages looking for a Schaublin lathe, then chase down one of those. The other 2 I have are W25 machines and it's a pain finding cheap tooling for them. Rivett also made a decent turret machine; I bought one from a member here a few years ago, again with a 5c spindle. Nice iron.
 
I have a friend who has a Schaublin, but it’s not for sale.

So, I’m looking for the next best thing that also is easy to tool up for without spending time hunting for tool holders and carriages, etc.

In terms of lathes I can find tomorrow on craigslist, like old atlas bench tops, are they worth considering? I’m a mill guy, so trying to learn what is decent on this side of machining.

Thanks!
 
. . .In terms of lathes I can find tomorrow on craigslist, like old atlas bench tops, are they worth considering? . . .
You know the saying, 'any lathe is better than no lathe', but I'd have to be really, really desperate to go with an Atlas...
You didn't mention the material you use, but .020" is a deep cut for an Atlas in steel, and unless you're working plastic or aluminum, making anything could take all day.
 
This one here:


He's near you - from your post sounds like you're in MO.
 
Right, I just heard back that this is like a 1600lb lathe.

I am working with steel, but small parts. Like 1/4” diameter round stock.

The DV 59 seems like a beast.

What else should I look at?
 
Hi HikeKing21:
1600 lb is not a beast...it's a piddler as turret lathes go.
You need some mass to resist the forces of a deep cut, so you can't really escape that reality, especially with a turret lathe.
Turret lathes typically take much heavier cuts than engine lathes do...if you have a box tool set up on the turret, it takes the part right to diameter in a single bite, even if it's a 1/2" cut.
Similarly, turret lathes use form tools extensively and, depending on their shape will chatter like a bastard if there isn't a good solid bit of cast iron behind them.
Turret lathe threading tools cut a thread in a single bite...even coarse threads, commonly with a self-opening die head like a Coventry or a Geometric.
This takes some horsepower and the torque that goes with it.
You need a rigid casting to handle that torque...something flimsy like a Sherline will rip itself to pieces if you try to cut a 1/2 NC thread in a single bite, even with brand new chasers in the die head.

When I cut a 1/2 NC thread on my Sherline I take it in tiny nibbles, and even when I single point a thread on my Monarch 10 EE I take it in little nibbles.
My Monarch weighs almost 4000 lb and it's still a tiny lathe....probably less weight than just the headstock casting alone on an American Pacemaker.
I can form turn on it but not like I could on a proper turret lathe.
A Schaublin 70 is around 90 kilos so 250 pounds or so.

So you need to decide what you want...turret lathes are fast but not very versatile.
Engine lathes are versatile but not very stout (by comparison to the equivalent swing turret lathe)
If it were me...I'd only consider a turret lathe if you intend to make a very small variety of parts but you want to make a whole lot of them (thousands).

Even then, I'd personally opt for a CNC lathe if my goal was production...even if it's a wimpy little CNC conversion and just accept that I couldn't take a big cut with it.
CNC lets you make a part with a bazillion little cuts if you want to, and it does it autonomously without form tools and box tools and die heads and all that other crap.
You can be off doing other things or having a nice snooze while it does its thing.

Sherline makes a CNC version of their lathe...it's a toy and will never, in its wildest dreams be a Schaublin for quality, but if you're making musical instrument parts it might be as much lathe as you ever need, and they're cheap, available, and you can get about every accessory for them you'd ever want.

If you want real lathe productivity, a 5C gang chucker like my SNK Prodigy is the cat's ass for basic parts in this size range...it can't do what the equivalent sized Swiss lathe can do but it can do a lot.
But it's also 4000 lb and is way way overkill if you want to make a hundred parts a month accurate to within 0.002" or so.
I typically make a couple of hundred musical instrument sized parts in a morning on mine.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
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Look into a WADE 94.



This is a cabinet style. I have a bench style 94 but have not fitted a tail turret (it's been under the bench for 25 years ;-)

Nice compact machines

eta

The one have is 5c in the spindle,
 
"The DV 59 seems like a beast.
What else should I look at?"

Yep, a schaublin 70. With the turret, with the cross slide, and all the schaublin collets, and all the schaublin turret tooling. AND a bench And a drive for it.

Best of luck with all that. You are rich, right?

Compare: motivated seller. Has turret AND collets - 5C btw. (go ahead and compare schaublin 70 collets with 5C collets, cost and availability wise)

Do yo need a bench for the dv-59? Nope. Do you need a separate drive for the DV-59? Nope. How about the turet tooling? Compare contrast cost/availability on this stuff. Ask yourself, do you want a high end teeny turret lathe that will eat you alive, money-wise, or do you want to crank out parts.
 
Hi HikeKing21:
1600 lb is not a beast...it's a piddler as turret lathes go.
You need some mass to resist the forces of a deep cut, so you can't really escape that reality, especially with a turret lathe.
Turret lathes typically take much heavier cuts than engine lathes do...if you have a box tool set up on the turret, it takes the part right to diameter in a single bite, even if it's a 1/2" cut.
Similarly, turret lathes use form tools extensively and, depending on their shape will chatter like a bastard if there isn't a good solid bit of cast iron behind them.
Turret lathe threading tools cut a thread in a single bite...even coarse threads, commonly with a self-opening die head like a Coventry or a Geometric.
This takes some horsepower and the torque that goes with it.
You need a rigid casting to handle that torque...something flimsy like a Sherline will rip itself to pieces if you try to cut a 1/2 NC thread in a single bite, even with brand new chasers in the die head.

When I cut a 1/2 NC thread on my Sherline I take it in tiny nibbles, and even when I single point a thread on my Monarch 10 EE I take it in little nibbles.
My Monarch weighs almost 4000 lb and it's still a tiny lathe....probably less weight than just the headstock casting alone on an American Pacemaker.
I can form turn on it but not like I could on a proper turret lathe.
A Schaublin 70 is around 90 kilos so 250 pounds or so.

So you need to decide what you want...turret lathes are fast but not very versatile.
Engine lathes are versatile but not very stout (by comparison to the equivalent swing turret lathe)
If it were me...I'd only consider a turret lathe if you intend to make a very small variety of parts but you want to make a whole lot of them (thousands).

Even then, I'd personally opt for a CNC lathe if my goal was production...even if it's a wimpy little CNC conversion and just accept that I couldn't take a big cut with it.
CNC lets you make a part with a bazillion little cuts if you want to, and it does it autonomously without form tools and box tools and die heads and all that other crap.
You can be off doing other things or having a nice snooze while it does its thing.

Sherline makes a CNC version of their lathe...it's a toy and will never, in its wildest dreams be a Schaublin for quality, but if you're making musical instrument parts it might be as much lathe as you ever need, and they're cheap, available, and you can get about every accessory for them you'd ever want.

If you want real lathe productivity, a 5C gang chucker like my SNK Prodigy is the cat's ass for basic parts in this size range...it can't do what the equivalent sized Swiss lathe can do but it can do a lot.
But it's also 4000 lb and is way way overkill if you want to make a hundred parts a month accurate to within 0.002" or so.
I typically make a couple of hundred musical instrument sized parts in a morning on mine.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
Marcus,

I like how you think. I was trying to avoid the need for a CNC lathe for a while, but maybe I should just go for it. I have an 8,000 lb VMC, mostly just wanting to avoid having to rig another big piece of equipment in until I have to. A turret lathe would let me make the couple of parts I need.... but I'm a cnc guy at heart, and maybe I should just suck it up and find one with a sub-spindle for my front and back operations and call it a day.
 
I have Levin lathes and a Levin turret and lever cross slide. They cost a lot more than an old Hardinge, but they are made to mount on a bench and are quite small. The collets can hold up to 5/16" bar.

Much more affordable, but similar to a Levin, I have a 1940's Gilman bench turret lathe that takes the same size collets as the Levin. The bed is 18 inches long and the swing is about 4.75 inches. It has a lever collet closer, six position turret with 1/2" tool holes and an extra lever feed tailstock that holds the same collets as the headstock. I have not looked, but I expect I have a Derbyshire lever cross slide that will work on the Gilman. A previous owner cleaned and painted the Gilman, but I have never used it. As far as I can tell, the ball bearing headstock is smooth and the turret works like it should.

Larry

Gilman 10mm 1.JPG

Gilman 10mm 2.JPG
 
Hi again HiKing21:
If you have a VMC, you can do an awful lot of turning on it pretty easily.
Buy a shitload of ER collet chucks and just load up the tool carousel with blanks.
Once you've run one carousel full, just load up the second set of toolholders with blanks and hit cycle start again, running the second carousel full while you unload the first set of collet chucks and load up new blanks.
Make a simple gang plate you can pop in the vise with all the tools sticking up vertically.
Use stubby left hand boring bars instead of stick tools for your external turning

Before I got my CNC lathe, I did all my CNC turning on a Haas Minimill and some of it was not simple turning.
I programmed everything by hand... drawing the shape in Mastercam Mill and drawing the toolpaths in a separate colour, then picking off the coordinates manually.

Everything except single point threading was easy but none of it was particularly efficient to set up or program.
I didn't care, I made good money anyway and it was a cheap and effective solution
So for external threading I bought a couple of Geometric die heads with all the chasers.
I still have them.
Internal threading was done with taps sticking up out of the gang plate and using the rigid tapping cycle on the Minimill.
I had a bunch of straight shank ER20 collet chucks set up on the gang tool plate for centerline tools, like drills, taps, and reamers.

This is all not very hard to do and may solve your immediate problem until you decide whether a CNC turning center can be justified.
I ran this setup for a couple of years before I bought the Prodigy on Ebay for $13000.00.
I never looked back but I had the paying work to make the machine worthwhile.
At 13 grand it was a no-brainer.
I got the ability to bar feed, I got the ability to single point thread, and I didn't have to half stand on my head to see what I was doing.
I could run a whole day's worth of parts unattended.
I bought Mastercam Lathe to simplify my programming.
All is good.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
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The Taiwanese Quick Tech machines are great if you can find one. I picked mine up from 8k Australian and should have offered 2k. Here is a link to someone making trumpets using one. Nice and small footprint easy to run and great quality.
 








 
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