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Milling on a mini lathe

Milling on a lathe -cj18a content

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Nick Welburn27/12/2020 18:15:02
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I’ve got my new lathe and a Stuart kit on the way. I’ve looked at a few videos and read the Harold hall stuff on building without a mill. It strikes me that a vertical axis table on the mini lathe should do most of the cuts and if angle adjusted should make drilling the steam ports pretty easy?

the not thing stopping me is they don’t seem common place? Can I be schooled in the error of my ways?

JasonB27/12/2020 20:10:45
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There's many a fine model been built on just a lathe with vertical slide and that was the usual way for most model engineers until he advent of reasonably priced small benchtop mills. The Stuart designs can be done with a vertical slide it's just that it takes a little longer to set things up and cuts have to be a bit lighter than you could do with even a small mill.

If Youtube and the internet had been about 40-60years ago there would be plenty of videos and sites showing the vertical slide in use.

SillyOldDuffer27/12/2020 20:44:52
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Full of optimism I bought a milling slide for my mini-lathe and found it so frustrating I started saving for a proper milling machine straight away. Milling slides work better on big lathes than small ones.

It's not that milling slides don't work, it's their limitations.

  • Small capacity and short travel.
  • Awkward work holding - most things have to be bolted or clamped to a tiny table
  • Low rigidity: work moves during cutting because the set-up is bendy. Lathes aren't designed to cope with milling forces, for example anything that tends to lift the saddle.
  • Tempting to hold the milling cutter in the lathe's ordinary 3-jaw chuck, but it creates a lot of overhang and isn't secure compared with a collet. The cutter can pull out of the chuck and into the work.

So fair amount of trouble setting-up to make everything rigid, and then only light cuts over short distances are possible. Better than filing, but in my opinion ²⁄₁₀ compared with a real milling machine.

Dave

Nick Welburn27/12/2020 20:45:05
98 forum posts

I don’t think I could have asked for a better answer. The what and the why. I’ll be getting one ordered up!

Pete.27/12/2020 21:23:20
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Someone gave it 2/10 and that was your trigger to order one? indecision

old mart27/12/2020 21:41:52
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The comments are valid, but as Jason said they do work and produce good results if you are treating them gently. A good and cheaper start for your milling. Later you will be looking at your space and budget with a dedicated mill in mind. A lot of people start milling this way, I have the vertical milling slide for my mini lathe, it is not easy to use, but I have the use of two mills when the Covid restrictions ease up.

Iain Downs27/12/2020 21:45:42
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Can I advise caution.

The milling table offered by Amdeal (one of the CJ18A suppliers) is intended for the ML7 as I read it.

The Myford lathes, I believe, have T slots on the cross-slide specifically to attach things such as milling slides to it.

The CJ18A does not and I think you might be struggling to attach it in any other way. For example the top of the cross slide is both narrow and quite thin. I would not like to try and drill and tap for bolts.

Just to be clear, I don't have a Myford, I do have a CJ18A.

Iain

Nick Welburn27/12/2020 21:46:17
98 forum posts
Posted by Pete. on 27/12/2020 21:23:20:

Someone gave it 2/10 and that was your trigger to order one? indecision

When I replied there was only one post from Jason. I’m still reading up and trying to understand. But on balance £50-£100 for a slide vs £500+ for a mini mill seems worthy of further investigation.

but like I say I’m a total newbie. I can weld and spanner a bit. I’ve built a couple of cars and a house. But the lathe and metal turning is new.

Pete.27/12/2020 22:08:21
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I haven't seen vertical slides for £50, could you link?

Pete.27/12/2020 22:13:11
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I just had a look on ebay, the vertical slides available for £50 are tiny, they have 40mm of travel, how do you attach your work to something that small?

Nick Welburn27/12/2020 22:26:45
98 forum posts
Posted by Pete. on 27/12/2020 22:13:11:

I just had a look on ebay, the vertical slides available for £50 are tiny, they have 40mm of travel, how do you attach your work to something that small?

Here’s one. **LINK**

I don’t know how to attach work to it. I’m here trying to understand if this is my answer

not done it yet27/12/2020 22:29:53
6520 forum posts
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No idea of versatility, condition, ability, etc, but there is an amolco on the ‘for sale’ section. No idea if that is a solid price, or negotiable, for that machine.

Reading ‘ between the lines’ of posts by both JB and the OP, a vertical slide is not necessarily a good way into milling - particularly for an inexperienced starter (even on the lathe).

To the OP - undoubtedly there have also been many less than ‘fine’ model been made with just a lathe and vertical slide - even by those with a reasonable amount of experience. The machine is advertised at £350, so not too many multiples of a new vertical slide which only scores 2/10 by SOD (with first hand experience of one on a mini-lathe).

With an (expensive?) set of castings you might well want to see how you fare with the turning parts, before considering whether to progress immediately or wait until extra funds are available for an easier milling option. Just my thoughts on the matter.

Nicholas Wheeler 127/12/2020 22:36:57
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Like Dave, I bought the vertical slide for the mini-lathe as I didn't have space for a mill. Most of my work was on car parts, but it was so limited in space, clamping and size of cuts that I quickly bought a matching mini-mill and lived with having to move it around on the workbench to do all of my work.

I've since bought a bigger lathe to improve my productivity(I can't accept that hobbyists don't have time constraints) and would have done the same for the mill, but I really don't have space for one. I did keep the slide, and have made an adapter to fit it to the WM250 lathe, so I could attach a milling spindle. That's because I would like to build a simple clock, and it seems to be the simplest setup for various wheel cutting operations.

I do have most of the parts to convert the mill to CNC, and that's intended as a productivity increase rather than making difficult parts. Standing at a machine cranking handles for ages just to cut a simple feature on a part, let alone initial roughing out, is just tedious drudgery. Automating those all those sequential cuts while I do something else(which doesn't even have to be engineering) would be far more sensible. I will need to come up with a quick way of bolting/unbolting it to the bench though!

Edited By Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 27/12/2020 22:37:29

Pete.27/12/2020 22:46:32
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The cheap ones have a 50mm x 90mm table, completely useless, don't waste your money, the £100 ones are from India and China, having just looked, and not knowing anything about these, the ones claiming to be real myford ones are £170 including post, they make a point of not being the Indian or Chinese variant, probably a reason for that.

50 years ago, people were using them on myfords, not Chinese mini lathes, there's a size difference.

Michael Gilligan27/12/2020 22:49:12
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Posted by not done it yet on 27/12/2020 22:29:53:

No idea of versatility, condition, ability, etc, but there is an amolco on the ‘for sale’ section.

[…]

.

The Amolco machine was more commonly sold as an ‘attachment’ ... but that one appears to be the stand-alone mill

See: **LINK** http://www.lathes.co.uk/amolco/ [two pages]

Honest, no-nonsense engineering from Mr Mole [I have the drilling machine]

... I agree it looks worthy of serious consideration.

MichaelG.

Nicholas Wheeler 127/12/2020 23:30:25
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Posted by Pete. on 27/12/2020 22:46:32:

The cheap ones have a 50mm x 90mm table, completely useless, don't waste your money, the £100 ones are from India and China, having just looked, and not knowing anything about these, the ones claiming to be real myford ones are £170 including post, they make a point of not being the Indian or Chinese variant, probably a reason for that.

50 years ago, people were using them on myfords, not Chinese mini lathes, there's a size difference.

The mini-lathe takes up less space than a Myford, but its swing is the same. The vertical slides are similarly sized too.

Pete.27/12/2020 23:48:49
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Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 27/12/2020 23:30:25:
Posted by Pete. on 27/12/2020 22:46:32:

The cheap ones have a 50mm x 90mm table, completely useless, don't waste your money, the £100 ones are from India and China, having just looked, and not knowing anything about these, the ones claiming to be real myford ones are £170 including post, they make a point of not being the Indian or Chinese variant, probably a reason for that.

50 years ago, people were using them on myfords, not Chinese mini lathes, there's a size difference.

The mini-lathe takes up less space than a Myford, but its swing is the same. The vertical slides are similarly sized too.

According to machine mart, the basic mini lathe weight is 40kg, the only info I could find just now said about 200lb for a short bed ml7, maybe an owner could confirm, but that would make it over twice the mass?

JasonB28/12/2020 06:59:22
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What's the weight got to do with it, I made a Stuart 10V on a Unimat3 half the size of a Mini-lathe and the Minnie in my Avitar on a 4" ctr height lathe (on Myford) with a vertical slide.

Unless the OP has splashed out on a set of 5A or larger castings which I doubt then the S50 and 10 series that the typical beginner buys can be done on very small machines and without a mill and the parts that need to be machined on the V.slide are within it's 40mm of movement. Cutters only need to be 1/4", 1/8" so hardly heavy cuts. and longest cut is about 1/2".

Also worth noting that in the Harold Hall articles mentioned by the OP Harold does not even use a vertical slide, just a lathe and bench drill, any milling is simply done with the small items held to the top slide with the tool post removed so it's stud can be used for a clamping bar. So a vertical slide will be a big improvement over that.

As for mounting the small V.slides like the one in the link you can make use of the top slide mounting screws so just take off the top slide and screw on the vertical which will also be able to swivel or make a simple mounting plate that used these screw holes.

 

Edited By JasonB on 28/12/2020 07:57:44

Ron Laden28/12/2020 07:48:51
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Nick, don't overlook Ians point that the CJ18 (my first lathe) doesn't have a T slotted cross slide so you will need to work out a way of fixing a vertical slide. I, m sure it's doable but thought I would highlight it before you purchase one.

Ron

JasonB28/12/2020 08:02:15
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We best not mention those members who manage to do quite large items of work on their small V'slidessecret

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