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Hello from Alfreton!

Help please !

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John McCallum 110/12/2019 14:11:42
29 forum posts
10 photos

I have just bought a Mini lathe and I’m getting on with it quite well except........., I’m trying to face a 4” billet of Aluminium and cannot get a smooth finish, just chatter marks. I have checked the settings of the Lathe and all seems OK . I have tried both HSS and tipped tools but to no avail. If any of you can help I would really appreciate it. Any thoughts please make them simple, I’m 74

Brian Wood10/12/2019 17:19:21
2202 forum posts
37 photos

Hello John,

Maybe I am stating the obvious but you said billet so I hope you are using tailstock support and not relying on the grip in the chuck.

Some aluminium can be 'sticky' try using paraffin or WD40 as a cutting lubricant, it will assist in getting a turned finish. HSS is better suited to aluminium but is must be sharp

Don't cut with too deep a feed, that will just induce chatter, and try varying the turning speed to find something the lathe likes so that you produce turnings.

Regards Brian [I have a few more miles on the clock than you, but what does that count ! ]

I don't suppose I have covered all bases, but from similar problems made on the forum before these things are the ones that have most beneficial effect.

Brian H10/12/2019 17:56:39
1671 forum posts
109 photos

Hello John, the advice from Brian is sound but if you'd like me to pop over and see you, no problem as I live just the other side of the M1 from you,

If you look at the green banner at the top of the page, you will see a tab marked "Inbox". If you click on that then you will be able to send me a private message with your address and 'phone number and the message will not appear in this thread.


roy entwistle10/12/2019 19:26:08
1187 forum posts

Try cutting from the centre outwards


Neil Wyatt10/12/2019 19:57:02
17970 forum posts
709 photos
77 articles

Hello John,

Welcome to the forum. I read your thread title and thought "Alfreton isn't that bad..."

A couple of thoughts:

Use some sort of cutting fluid.

Sharp tools.

Make sure the speed is fairly slow, even with aluminium, try 200rpm or less.

Put a bar in the chuck and pull on it to check there isn't any play. If there is, tighten the rings nuts at the back of the spindle a little and check again.

Check all of the different slides are well adjusted.

It may be that you just have a 'sticky' alloy, do you know what one you have got?


John McCallum 110/12/2019 20:39:15
29 forum posts
10 photos


Thanks very much for the messages and advice.

I will try to put the points raised into practice and report back.

Thanks again


David George 111/12/2019 07:05:50
1253 forum posts
438 photos

Hi John welcome to the forum. Another local member I am just across the border in Nottinghamshire at Sutton. So if you need any help ask. There are a few around here who help each other if we get stuck.


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