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Looking for a very small lathe.

Suggestions and recommendations

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Ady106/10/2020 17:47:55
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4128 forum posts
576 photos

If you can get a cowells then get it

The good one, the ME version I think it is

question: If cowells went bust tomorrow, would you regret buying their lathe

JA06/10/2020 17:51:30
1055 forum posts
54 photos

I doubt if they will go bust soon. I am told that they have not been so busy for sixteen years.

JA

peak406/10/2020 17:52:31
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1318 forum posts
147 photos

It it's of any interest to someone, There's both a Pultra 1770 and a Cowells 90-ME for sale in the classified section of Tony's website.

http://lathes.co.uk/advertphoto/200722-pultra-1770/

https://store.lathes.co.uk/adverts/for-sale/cowells-90-me

Bill

Henry Artist06/10/2020 21:48:54
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120 forum posts
46 photos
Posted by Cornish Jack on 06/10/2020 17:42:31:

I have Cowells, Pultras, Taig, Unimats 3 and SL and two watchmakers lathes. In terms of useability, the Cowells heads the list, followed by the Unimat 3. If I were in your position, with no financial limit, I'd go for the Cowells (new spindle 14 x 1) ; with limited, but reasonably deep pockets, I'd look at the Sherline (local clockmaker has the extended bed version and swears by it).

rgds

Bill

Thank you for your suggestions Bill.

The Sieg C0 is the latest incarnation of the Unimat 3 (or 4?) and thus accepts Unimat lathe accessories. Interesting that the Cowells has a M14 x 1mm spindle. As well as a 3-jaw I also have a 4-jaw and ER25 collet chuck for the C0. I wonder what other Unimat bits and pieces fit a Cowells?

I have considered the Sherline and Taig (Peatol) lathes but (currently) consider the Cowells a more practical choice though I am happy to be persuaded otherwise (or at least my bank account would be).

Andy Carlson06/10/2020 23:12:41
313 forum posts
124 photos

+1 for Cowells. Not that your lathe choice is a democratic vote

Mine is circa late 1970s and I like it a lot. The Taig/Peatol and Sherline are also decent machines but being in the UK, it seems less of an uphill struggle for me to have something from this side of the pond. I do use backgear on occasions on the Cowells which neither the Sherline nor the Taig has. I also do thread cutting - which I think is possible with Taig and Sherline but not sure if they need more bits to be bolted on.

With an M14 x 1 spindle you have an absolute hatful of workholding choices there. Cowells now do a different (DA?) collet system I think. I've seen good words about it but have no experience myself. You could use ERxx if you want - for example Arc Euro do ERwhatever holders and part machined backplates for M14x1.

Toolpost wise the standard one takes 6mm or 1/4 inch tooling but Cowells do a little QCTP to suit.The rear parting toolpost is also well worth having.

The tapers are modified MT0 - modified in that they use the thin end so you need to buy centres and tailstock chucks from Cowells. Some people fit standard MT0 bits but they stick out too far and look awful.

I think my biggest qualm is with the plain bearings which need topping up with oil. Said oil eventually seeps out into the middle or either end of the headstock.

No idea what the lead time is for new orders but sounds like it may not be short.

On a more subjective note, does anyone else think the Taig looks like it was designed by a committee?

Good luck, whatever option you choose.

Henry Artist08/10/2020 09:10:56
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120 forum posts
46 photos

Thank you Andy Carlson for your very helpful comments.

And thank you to everyone else for generously taking the time to answer my questions.

Hollowpoint08/10/2020 10:43:17
355 forum posts
37 photos

I'm a bit of a collector of small lathes. I have a Unimat SL, Emco 3, Sherline and a Cowells. 😊 I've also played with the proxxon. My opinions:

In sheer terms of quality the Cowells wins hands down. Parts and accessories are available new and second hand. The only downsides are the older models have m14x1.5 spindles which is harder to find accessories for and the cost is quite high.

The Sherline comes second in terms of quality but is let down by poor parts/accessories availability in the UK. (Not so in the US)

The Emco 3 is joint second, quality is reasonably good though not quite as good as Sherline. Parts and accessories are readily available. Not much of an upgrade over your C0.

The SL is last, one for the collector really. It is entirely useable and parts and accessories are plentiful. Just not as rigid and therefore useable as the others.

The proxxons are nice and are similar in quality to the Emco 3. Parts and accessories are fairly easily available but overpriced IMO. You can find the same lathe badged as Toyo, Record and Manix.

One other to consider might be an Emco 5. Which sits just under a mini lathe and above your C0 in terms of size.

Frances IoM08/10/2020 10:52:33
941 forum posts
27 photos
I have both a Perris the early version of the Cowell's ME90 but without the backgears etc though I started on my own mod for this but given the size a collection of dies + taps seems easier.
Also have the Taig/ Peatol - interesting little machine but only has rack and no leadscrew to move carriage tho the original owner had removed the former and jury rigged a simple leadscrew - I replaced the rack and started on adding a leadscrew - there are some mods to add one otherwise screwcutting impossible

Edited By Frances IoM on 08/10/2020 10:53:02

Roderick Jenkins08/10/2020 14:37:53
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2002 forum posts
524 photos

Clickspring on YouTube uses a Sherline for his smaller work. His accuracy and finish appear to be exemplary.

Rod

Colin Heseltine08/10/2020 14:50:48
506 forum posts
181 photos

I also have a Cowells ME90. I upgraded this from the M14x1.5 spindle to the M14x1 spindle so as to be able to move accessories around between my Cowells lathe and Cowells Mill. I can also use them on Aciera F12 and a BCA.jig borer. Also have M14x1 adaptor for the Myford.

I think it is a well made machine. I have in fact upgraded both the mill and lathe to have DRO's on all axis's.

Colin

peak412/10/2020 13:30:36
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1318 forum posts
147 photos

Whilst this may not appeal to Henry, anyone in the market for a Pultra might be interested in this advert on Facebook

The seller's name isn't that common in Sheffield, so may well be associated with a well recognised local machine tool dealer.

pultra.jpg

You can't see from the screenshot, but it's a private group, so you would need to join, or PM me with email & phone No. and I can pass on a message

Bill

Edited By peak4 on 12/10/2020 13:31:42

Phil P12/10/2020 14:41:39
705 forum posts
175 photos

Well I never

That is the very lathe that my late father restored many years ago, he sold it before he died probably around year 2000.

I often wondered what became of it, now I know. If I didn't already have one of my own I would buy it back in a flash.

Whatever possessed my dad to paint it bright yellow I will never know, but it makes it stand out from the crowd.

Phil

Michael Gilligan12/10/2020 15:57:04
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16990 forum posts
753 photos
Posted by Phil P on 12/10/2020 14:41:39:

.

Whatever possessed my dad to paint it bright yellow I will never know, but it makes it stand out from the crowd.

 

.

Perhaps he coveted a Clarke CL300M devil

MichaelG.

.

Frivolity aside ... it’s certainly worth a look !

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 12/10/2020 15:59:52

peak412/10/2020 16:11:52
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1318 forum posts
147 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 12/10/2020 15:57:04:

Frivolity aside ... it’s certainly worth a look !

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 12/10/2020 15:59:52

If anyone has a Facebook account, and is looking for machinery, it might be worth joining the group.

The Pultra I mentioned earlier is actually from a respected dealer.

Bill

Phil P12/10/2020 17:17:58
705 forum posts
175 photos
Posted by Phil P on 12/10/2020 14:41:39:

Well I never

That is the very lathe that my late father restored many years ago, he sold it before he died probably around year 2000.

I often wondered what became of it, now I know. If I didn't already have one of my own I would buy it back in a flash.

Whatever possessed my dad to paint it bright yellow I will never know, but it makes it stand out from the crowd.

Phil

Having had chance to look at the other stuff on Facebook from this dealer, it turns out he is selling around sixteen machines that used to belong to my late father, I guess the chap who bought them from my dad must have died and this is his workshop now being cleared out.

Phil

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