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Are mini lathes available for hobby lens making/repairing?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:34 am    Post subject: Are mini lathes available for hobby lens making/repairing? Reply with quote

I wonder if there are relatively cheap, table size metal lathes available on the market.

I would like to make myself custom lens barrel parts, mounts etc.

maybe something dedicated to watch makers.

I would be also interested in making micro screws.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a small hobby lathe for such work - but not for screws and threads.
In school I worked with professional grade lathes. There my fear was the limit. With my hobby lathe the machine is the limiting thing. It would take me a lot of time to get much metal away, so sometimes I try to buy tubes or such to avoid the need to work for hours to get the material for an adapter or such away. But for small work it is great.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It needs quite some experience, but doable of course. A good lathe costs certainly some $$$$,
and considering what my mechanic charges me, not worth it IMHO Wink


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are even affordable hobby CNC machines these days, so I'd assume you can get competent hobby lathes too. Besides Horologists, you might investigate scale model/train/toy makers.
On the other hand, it probably would be cheaper to pay a professional for a limited run - but that of course depends very much on the labour costs of your country! In Australia I guess it would cost at least $50-100 per hour or more.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Model makers metal working lathes are around but IMO excessively expensive (IIRC £500+ used)
Screw threads are often a much easier prospect. Hand worked taps & dies will deal with those until you get up to the sizes for filters.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teemō wrote:
There are even affordable hobby CNC machines these days, so I'd assume you can get competent hobby lathes too. Besides Horologists, you might investigate scale model/train/toy makers.
On the other hand, it probably would be cheaper to pay a professional for a limited run - but that of course depends very much on the labour costs of your country! In Australia I guess it would cost at least $50-100 per hour or more.


In the eastern countries of Europe you can get adapters made (based on good drawings) for around $30-40 / pc


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
Teemō wrote:
There are even affordable hobby CNC machines these days, so I'd assume you can get competent hobby lathes too. Besides Horologists, you might investigate scale model/train/toy makers.
On the other hand, it probably would be cheaper to pay a professional for a limited run - but that of course depends very much on the labour costs of your country! In Australia I guess it would cost at least $50-100 per hour or more.


In the eastern countries of Europe you can get adapters made (based on good drawings) for around $30-40 / pc


It's great when a manufacturing industry is locally sustainable. Here, it would be a high hourly wage (many technicians and skilled trades can earn as much as lifetime Engineers, Architects, certain Doctors etc. and sometimes more) and that's certainly not a bad thing - just for your pocket. I'd guess it would take at least an hour or two for an adapter - you know, preparation, cleanup, measure twice - cut once, polish, plating. I'll inquire about it when I have a problem... I'm pretty creative with CAD software. Twisted Evil


PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Internet search?


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=hobby+lathe

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/hobby-lathe


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Try Internet search?


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=hobby+lathe

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/hobby-lathe


It may come to you as a surprise, but the internet is not ever intelligent. It is better to ask precise questions to experienced people who can answer in an articulate way.

I do not trust advertisements and non fully pertinent opinions.

Thee was a famous italian who built on this a fortune, blathering of "internet collective intelligence".

Mostly bs, since the internet reflects the world and it glories and miseries, with all that lies in between, including tons of mediocre ideas and opinions, half truths, or simply blatant errors

Human factor is ever crucial. Ask the right people, what i ever do. I assure you that I listen carefully and humbly when I find a competent person.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To all: i have a good friend who is a pro but he didn't even know of this hobby stuff. And pros are so busy they won't listen to hobbysts or small scale people. My area, eastern lombardy, is famous for mechanic stuff. There are plenty of small scale industries.

They would look down on you (gently) or answer mechanically they could do stg in a year or two, maybe, etc.. when the soccer tem wins the World Cup ahem.

Also lenses are a totally unknown field and these people really do not like the idea of working on something new, when they have just no time for satisfy regular demand.

I also approached a faculty teacher at our engineering faculty, you may imagine the results.

Actually pros will tend to stay away from hobbysts, they would treat you like an old nagging aunt ....

In any case any hobby is costly. I have a source for used machinery and I already got some at decent price, seventies discarded stuff that is still sound working.

An old pro machine can be bought with a few hundred euros or even less, the only downside is the waiting time, they pop up every once in a while and they sell swiftly.

After all I once owned a 120 libs power hammer ... it sold well when I couldn't use it anymore


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought about a pro machine, but I could not bring it down to the room, cause they likely weight 1000kg or more.
My Rotwerk 350 weight about 45 kg :-/
It seems to be something like this Sieg C2:
http://www.mini-lathe.com/mini_lathe/reviews/sieg_sc2/sc2.htm

Sometimes I think about a hobby CNC lathe. There it would not bother much to work with such a low power / stiffness machine. But the CNC planning would be often quite time consuming as well, and quite exact work. With a normal lathe I do a lot of measurments and testing between single steps, and could work quite exact this way, have made some press fit parts.

When I was young I was at a school where I learned to use many of metal work machines, like lathes, saws, drills, milling machines, planing machines. This helped me much for my hobby work now, and for my professional work in camera constructio as well.
Those sayety warnings on the machines should be better understood and followed Smile


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZoneV wrote:
I thought about a pro machine, but I could not bring it down to the room, cause they likely weight 1000kg or more.
My Rotwerk 350 weight about 45 kg :-/
It seems to be something like this Sieg C2:
http://www.mini-lathe.com/mini_lathe/reviews/sieg_sc2/sc2.htm

Sometimes I think about a hobby CNC lathe. There it would not bother much to work with such a low power / stiffness machine. But the CNC planning would be often quite time consuming as well, and quite exact work. With a normal lathe I do a lot of measurments and testing between single steps, and could work quite exact this way, have made some press fit parts.

When I was young I was at a school where I learned to use many of metal work machines, like lathes, saws, drills, milling machines, planing machines. This helped me much for my hobby work now, and for my professional work in camera constructio as well.
Those sayety warnings on the machines should be better understood and followed Smile


Thank you.

Having been trained as a bladesmith I understand well security concerns, esp with electrical powered tools, they can also play dirty tricks to experts.

I'm considering linux CNC at this point, I have a deep linux experienxce and I could spend more drawing than anything else.

https://www.linux.com/learn/how-control-cnc-machine-your-linux-desktop%20

http://linuxcnc.org/

http://www.grzsoftware.com/users/linux-cnc/

Linux may be installed also on a very old pc I have stuffed away in a cupboard in a very short time.

With careful planning and possibly a used hobby CNC machine set up would be quick


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took a year-long course in hand and CNC mill and lathe over 20 years ago. About 12 years ago, I finally bought myself a milling machine and a lathe. The lathe I bought is one of these fairly common Chinese made 9x19" models. It's big enough for light machining and small enough for precision work.

The problem with these small micro lathes is they don't have the necessary mass for removing much metal in a single pass. Even my 19", which has a fairly heavy cross slide (probably 10 or 12 kg), will bounce around some if I try to hog off too much in one pass. You need a pretty big shop-size lathe for any sort of serious metal removal. But if you can get by with a few thousandths with each pass, then yeah a micro lathe can be very handy for a photo hobbyist.

Micro Mark is a good place to find this sort of stuff. Here's one of their listings. This little thing costs more than my 9x19" did:

https://www.micromark.com/MicroLux-7x16-Mini-Lathe


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bghomofaber wrote:
visualopsins wrote:
Try Internet search?


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=hobby+lathe

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/hobby-lathe


It may come to you as a surprise, but the internet is not ever intelligent. It is better to ask precise questions to experienced people who can answer in an articulate way.

I do not trust advertisements and non fully pertinent opinions.

Thee was a famous italian who built on this a fortune, blathering of "internet collective intelligence".

Mostly bs, since the internet reflects the world and it glories and miseries, with all that lies in between, including tons of mediocre ideas and opinions, half truths, or simply blatant errors

Human factor is ever crucial. Ask the right people, what i ever do. I assure you that I listen carefully and humbly when I find a competent person.


Okay, whatever. I was only addressing the part of your initial post "I wonder if there are relatively cheap, table size metal lathes available on the market."


PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is probably gonna be one of your best bets for a "cheap" table top micro lathe. Grizzly's been around a long time and some of their stuff is junk, but a lot of their stuff is actually quite good. This little lathe looks to be decent enough. Only 6" between centers, though. Geez, that is tiny.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/4-x-6-Micro-Metal-Lathe/G0745

This one might suit you better. 12" between centers.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/7-x-12-Mini-Metal-Lathe/G8688

This is more or less the one that I bought. Mine is the 2003 version. I bought it on sale from Harbor Freight for about $650.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/9-x-19-Bench-Lathe/G4000


Last edited by cooltouch on Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:56 am; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Are mini lathes available for hobby lens making/repairin Reply with quote

bghomofaber wrote:
I wonder if there are relatively cheap, table size metal lathes available on the market.

I would like to make myself custom lens barrel parts, mounts etc.

maybe something dedicated to watch makers.

I would be also interested in making micro screws.


I've been considering adding some metal-working capacity, but my thinking is I need a micro mill, not lathe.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:11 am    Post subject: Re: Are mini lathes available for hobby lens making/repairin Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:

I've been considering adding some metal-working capacity, but my thinking is I need a micro mill, not lathe.


It all depends on what sort of work you'll be doing. The way I see it, if you want to have a complete metal working setup, you're gonna need both. Tell you what, though. After several years of using both, my mill has seen a lot more use than my lathe has. But when you need a lathe, there's no substitute. You can substitute mill work with a set of files, and perhaps a drill, if necessary.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Are mini lathes available for hobby lens making/repairin Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:

It all depends on what sort of work you'll be doing. The way I see it, if you want to have a complete metal working setup, you're gonna need both. Tell you what, though. After several years of using both, my mill has seen a lot more use than my lathe has. But when you need a lathe, there's no substitute. You can substitute mill work with a set of files, and perhaps a drill, if necessary.


Some of the lathe work could be done with a mill and a rotary table. But yes, not all lathe work, and likely not with the same precision.
At the moment my mill need some service, mainly adjustment of the x-y table. But I think I love the work with a mill a bit more than the lathe, because the moving mass is smaller. On the lathe the lens housing or other things I made several times loosend and crashed. On the mill this happens too, but the speed of the workpiece is smaller.

I am thinking about a bigger renovation of my room with my mill and lather, perhaps I could ake both better to use. At the moment my lathe is in front of the mill, so the mill is not easy to use.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back before we moved, when I had a shop behind my garage, I had my lathe inside the shop and the mill outside in the garage. The lathe fit on top of one of my benches just fine, but the mill took up too much space. When I bought the mill, I decided to get a good one, one that I could convert to CNC later if I wanted. That's why I decided to go with one that has a rigid dovetail column. I bought it from Wholesale Tool. Interesting, they're still selling the exact model I bought back in 2003:

http://www.wttool.com/index/page/product/product_id/14840/product_name/RDX+Geared+Head+Mill+%26+Drill+with+Rigid+Dovetail+Column&update_continue_shopping=true

It's a decent mill, for a Chinese one. But man-o-man is it heavy. Some seven hundred pounds!

I'm not all that knowledgeable about the subject, but I believe that if your mill's ways are getting worn you can add in shims to tighten up the clearances. Mine has these wedges that can be moved in and out to adjust the amount of slack or tension it has in either the X or Y direction. For me, the biggest issue was making sure the Head was trammed to the table. I had to buy a special tool just to adjust the head's tram. Glad I have it now, though. I don't tilt the head very often, but when I do, I need to I know I can get it trammed back to true.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
seven hundred pounds


That what stops me - I have nowhere to install a power tool of that size, and desktop CNC mills of the kind that competes with higher end 3d printers do not impress me all that much.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:
cooltouch wrote:
seven hundred pounds


That what stops me - I have nowhere to install a power tool of that size, and desktop CNC mills of the kind that competes with higher end 3d printers do not impress me all that much.


Really? How big is it? Dad's mill fit easy in a 3x5 space includes place to stand & operate.

There's no doubt a Makers shop in your area that probably has 3d & CNC capability. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_culture