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Member postings for Andy Carlson

Here is a list of all the postings Andy Carlson has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Sent lathe back
21/01/2020 22:57:45

My two pennorth on potential accessory acquisitions...

Not sure what your other vendor will have, in terms of things to go on the spindle the Pratt Burnerd 4 jaw is very nice and that would be my top priority if it is available.

3 jaw... depends whether you rate the modified Emco one that you already have. I have the Pratt Burnerd tommy bar chuck but I find tommy bar chucks a bit of a pain and I'd prefer the Toyo style keyed one.

Faceplate - not an everyday need but probably useful for occasional jobs if you have the opportunity to acquire it.

Collet holder - I use mine very little because the collets are Cowells specific and I only have 3 imperial ones. I plan to fit an ER16 holder when I get a round tuit.

Other than that most things can be had new from Cowells so it's a matter of going armed with some idea of what you want and a price that you could buy it for elsewhere.

Good Luck!

Regards, Andy

21/01/2020 13:16:15

I wouldnt get too hung up over nomenclature. Things did change over time anyway. Most people would call my circa 1978/9 Cowells a 90ME but I'm pretty sure it wasn't called that when it was born. The term '90ME' is quite often used very loosely (ahem... on eBay) to distinguish the backgeared screwcutting model from the CW (clock/watchmakers) and the former HS (high speed) models.

Derek did say M14 x 1.5 so I think he probably meant it. Chucks, faceplates and collet holders do come up on eBay from time to time. I think the name Cowells does add a premium to stuff on eBay though. Sometimes the seller doesn't know that there are two possible spindle threads (or three if you go back to Perris/Flexispeed days), so be careful there.

Of course the big advantage with a Cowells lathe is that you can still buy accessories from the factory (but not M14 x 1.5 chucks). Colin at Cowells will also sell you a new spindle with the M14x1 thread on it if you ask. It isn't cheap but if you do want to go down that route then it would be best to make that decision now before you invest in any tooling to fit the older thread.

FWIW my Cowells has the older thread but I wont be changing because it came with two chucks, a collet holder and a faceplate.

Regards, Andy

17/01/2020 19:45:26

If it was me then I'd be sorting out the electrics to a point where I was happy with them. This is what I've done with three of my lathes (two from eBay one bought privately). It's delaying day when you can use the machine but once it's done it's done.

I'd be wanting an outer casing around those terminals, something like Hammond plastic project boxes from RS or similar. I'd want strain relief grommets on the cables where they enter the outer box so that if the cables are pulled the force is not baing taken by the electrical terminals. Also check the fuses in the plugs - 3A is probably plenty but all of mine arrived with 13A.

For bigger machines I'd want an NVR power switch and maybe an emergency stop button but I dont have either on my Unimat.

I've no idea where you stand if you want to complain to the seller or eBay. The discussion threads I've seen seem pretty rambling and inconclusive on this point.

Regards, Andy

14/01/2020 18:18:27

I thought it was the locking pin for the swivelling headstock but I think that would be parallel, not tapered. Mine is missing so I dont really know what they look like.

14/01/2020 18:12:58
Posted by Derek Allum on 14/01/2020 17:31:13:

Well the lathe turned up today not had chance to test it, not very happy with the wiring as it’s just taped up in places but nothing I can’t sort out , I will make sure everything else is ok first.

I noticed it hasn’t got any chuck tommy bars so if anyone has a spare pair willing to sell please let me know.

I think you have just found the first job for you to make on the lathe then. My first job on the SL was the same.

The electrics on my SL were fine but my other 3 lathes all needed a complete refurb of their wiring before I was willing to start using them.

Regards, Andy

12/01/2020 11:41:15
Posted by Oldiron on 11/01/2020 17:35:57:

In case people do not know Yahoo groups is being shut down by Verizon, Yahoo's new owners.

The Unimat site is being transferred to Unimat. Not a member so not sure of the state of play at this time.

It seems many of the Yahoo groups are transferring to and there is a bit of a backlog at the minute.


I was in the Yahoo group and my account was moved across automatically. As far as I can tell it's all up and running on

12/01/2020 11:38:58

Looks like a nice unit that has been extensively improved. The milling/drilling column doesnt seem to owe much to Emco.

I hope you are very happy together.

Thread: Cut a transverse tapered hole (Unimat milling column)
12/01/2020 09:36:00

Filing the taper is a good idea. I dont think the mount of metal to be removed would be too onerous and hand filing accuracy should be good enough for this job - thanks for that.

11/01/2020 22:13:03

Thanks Michael... but the limitation on bed length applies either way. I think the biggest I could fit in would be 1/2 inch by using a drill with an MT1 taper at t'other end. I'd be thinking in terms of 15mm plus as a sensible size - threaded or otherwise.

11/01/2020 20:59:23

Thanks again all.

I did some better measurements this evening. The taper is 11mm at the small end and 15mm at the big end. It is 8mm long. At each end the hole is counterbored to 17mm. I'm pretty sure it is a 1:2 taper.

I also made a start on the job - just centre drilling and facing each end of the bar that I hope will become the milling column.

While I was there I also checked up on a few questions regarding capacity. The good news is that my 4 jaw chuck has a hole big enough to admit the bar into the chuck body which buys me an extra inch and a half or so of lengthwise capacity.

The Faircut spindle hole is nowhere near big enough to allow this bar in (I already knew that).

There is enough length to allow the bar to be centre drilled using the tailstock chuck but not enough to allow a normal length drill of a suitable diameter to be used in the tailstock chuck. I do have a few 1MT imperial drills that will fit lengthwise (no chuck needed) but having scanned my collection I doubt that any of these will be a suitable tapping diameter to allow me to pursue the separate spigot option with my own facilities.

So plan A remains as before.

PM sent to Ian regarding his cutter collection.

11/01/2020 16:15:17

Michael, thanks for your suggestions. They are perfectly good suggestions but none of the options suggested by anyone is spectacularly less difficult (for me with my existing tools) than the others. I need to pick one and having never so far made a cutting tool from silver steel I'd like to give it a try. I've even found a supplier nearby for the steel so I'll be popping over there to fetch some in the week - makes a nice change from ordering everything online.

Regards, Andy

11/01/2020 14:19:21

Thanks folks. I do fancy the D bit option - it's something I've not done before and I'm usually happy to invest a bit of time if I'm learning something as well. I'll keep the RS cutter as plan 'B' if I can't make the D bit work.

Since the minimum diameter is quite big I'm thinking of extending the small end and putting in a centre drill so that I can support that end with the tailstock during the cut.

Fine tuning the shoulder position as the last op seems like a good plan although I think that roughing the spigot first will reduce the amount of metal for the 'D' bit to remove. I might also do some step drilling to further reduce the amount of work or am I over-thinking this?

Regards, Andy

11/01/2020 12:23:31

Thanks, yes making a new bolt with a matching taper would be an option (although the original uses an Allen key and I've never figured out a way to make a hexagonal hole).

I think the taper is just there to pull the column down into the socket so it probably just contacts with one side of the transverse hole.

The RS cutter quotes 2mm max thickness... which is a bit of a concern since the length of taper needed here is perhaps 12mm or more.

Regards, Andy

Thread: Sent lathe back
11/01/2020 12:14:09

I have an SL and I like it a lot. For small work it is very handy to be able to pull it out of the shelf where it is stored, plonk it on the desk, plug in and go. I've even taken it out and about on occasions.

I fitted mine with an ER16 collet holder which gets used for almost every job on the lathe. The M12 x 1mm spindle thread does indeed make it tricky to source attachments - I used an ARC Euro holder but needed to resort to using another lathe to make a backplate.

There is a set of pictures on Flickr from a chap who made an ER16 holder almost entirely on the Unimat with a very neat trick for cutting the threads.

Or one can be had from these folks... but that loses the advantage of machining the holder on the spindle where it will eventually be used.

Good luck with your Unimat!

Regards, Andy

Thread: Cut a transverse tapered hole (Unimat milling column)
11/01/2020 11:57:50

Any idea what such a cutter would look like? Figuring out the taper is easy but I'm not sure how the cutting edges would look or how to make them.

I had considered making the end as a separate piece and threading it into the main column. That approach has problems too, the biggest being that I would need to make and thread quite a big hole in the end of a foot long bar that won't fit through the headstock. Apart from the steadying challenge, fitting the job, a drill, a chuck and a tailstock into the available length might prove tricky.

So at the moment having the spigot as a separate piece doesn't look like it buys me much in terms of making the job easier so I'm preferring to tackle the transverse hole problem.

Regards, Andy

11/01/2020 11:22:36

I've had my Unimat DB/SL for about 18 months but it lacks the steel column to allow it to be used for milling and drilling. I've tried watching eBay to see if any came up (without the adapter bracket - I already have that) but none have. Mine is the older cast iron model so the milling column fixing is different from most anyway.

Having now got a Faircut lathe in the shed I have the between centres capacity to make a new milling column so the job has been on my 'to do' list for a while.

Having taken the headstock off to see how the bottom of the column needs to look it seems that the job will be a bit tricky (see photo). The 25mm column needs to reduce to 20mm diameter where it fits into the base and needs to have a tapered hole to take the tapered fixing bolt. The hole is about 10mm at its minimum and has a taper that is about 1:2.


I can't put the column on the faceplate and bore it - the column is a foot long so I'm thinking that I need to hold it in the milling slide and use some sort of tapered cutter (or a very strange angled countersink) mounted to the lathe spindle.

Am I missing a better way?

Can such a cutter be had... or can I make something to do the job?

Regards, Andy

Thread: DraftSight no longer free
02/01/2020 19:12:02

If you remember how DraftSight works... it pops up a re-registration form every so often (maybe once a year??). At this point I think it talks to the central site.

It *may* be that the appearance of this form will be the point at which it's game over for each of us. If so then it will happen at some random (and probably inconvenient) time in the future.

Thread: Soldering with tin
14/12/2019 12:45:00

These people smelt their own and make souvenirs from them.

Not sure if they would sell you the stuff 'in the raw' but you could ask.

Worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods.

Regards, Andy

Thread: My Faircut Lathe
03/11/2019 18:00:20

A couple of updates. The first is not so much about the lathe itself but a picture of some actual work that I've produced on it. Inevitably the work involved was some parts for another machine - in this case a stepper mounting for the X axis on my Proxxon MF70


Yesterday was a busy day... in the car driving through the rain rather than in the shed. I had to go up to East Yorkshire on a family errand so took the opportunity to go and see Steve King. Some folding stuff was exchanged for some lathe parts. I ended up leaving with rather more than I planned - almost everything except the lathe bed (I still needed room for 3 occupants and luggage on the way home).



The drive assembly was the main thing on my shopping list... and from that the critical part was the pulleys. I think that most of the assembly is non-Faircut stuff. Surprisingly it came apart today without too much of a fight and after cleaning the pulley casting I found a two digit number stamped into it so I think there is a good chance that this is a Faircut made part - the diameters certainly match the pulleys on the lathe. The red paint looks right too.

Inevitably the bore isn't the same as my existing countershaft diameter so I need to put my thinking cap on and decide whether to make some bushes or build a new assembly incorporating those interesting shaped brackets. Ideally I also want to move to a 7 or 8 inch 'V' pulley for the motor drive (with a single pulley on the motor shaft) to get the speeds close to what Faircut intended. I might just do the bushes for the time being and come up with a new plan once I have sourced the bigger 'V' pulley.


Thread: Faircut Lathe Owner
03/11/2019 17:33:43

I was out in the shed earlier, so here's a photo of the cross slide screw insert in my saddle


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