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Emco Compact 5 - complete newbie

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brett slater28/05/2022 15:44:41
5 forum posts

I'm a keen modeller but have never really done any metalwork until now . I 've just bought a second hand emco 5 with milling attachment and a set of ER collets plus the holder that looks like it should attach to the drill press. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove the drill chuck - could someone help me out please ?

Also can anyone recommend a good book to help me get started - at this stage even the terminology is new to me.

I'm sure i'll be adding more daft questions as i explore the new toy !

Hollowpoint28/05/2022 15:56:23
473 forum posts
58 photos

Remove the drill chuck from the lathe or milling attachment?

Mill - screws off

Lathe - morse taper, just wind the handle back and it should eject itself.





Edited By Hollowpoint on 28/05/2022 15:56:49

Thor 🇳🇴28/05/2022 16:31:09
1628 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Brett,

 Welcome to the forum. I have a PDF of the manual if you are interested.


Edited By Thor 🇳🇴 on 28/05/2022 16:50:11

Y C Lui28/05/2022 16:37:58
61 forum posts
31 photos

In the internet era, not too many people go to books. Youtube is more popular


Edited By Y C Lui on 28/05/2022 16:38:32

Jouke van der Veen28/05/2022 20:19:51
174 forum posts
17 photos

Hallo Brett,

There is a radial hole in the mill spindle, above the chuck. You place a long (dovel) pin in that hole and a second pin in one of the key holes in the chuck. By squeezing by hand the two pins together the chuck will come loose. The chuck has M14x1 RH thread. A manual for Emco Compact 5 will help you a lot. Mine is in German.



brett slater29/05/2022 09:52:06
5 forum posts
Posted by Jouke van der Veen on 28/05/2022 20:19:51:

Hallo Brett,

There is a radial hole in the mill spindle, above the chuck. You place a long (dovel) pin in that hole and a second pin in one of the key holes in the chuck. By squeezing by hand the two pins together the chuck will come loose. The chuck has M14x1 RH thread. A manual for Emco Compact 5 will help you a lot. Mine is in German.



Perfect thats done it - the collet holder is now attached !

brett slater29/05/2022 09:57:02
5 forum posts
Posted by Thor 🇳🇴 on 28/05/2022 16:31:09:

Hi Brett,

Welcome to the forum. I have a PDF of the manual if you are interested.


Edited By Thor 🇳🇴 on 28/05/2022 16:50:11

Thankyou for the offer. The lathe actually came with the original manual but it only covers the lathe not the milling attachment.

Howard Lewis30/05/2022 13:55:38
6104 forum posts
14 photos

Welcome to the Forum.

Lots of books on general use of a lathe.

L H Sp[arey, "the Amateurs Lathe"

Ian Bradley "The Amateurs Workshop" is more general workshop, but is still good on a lathe.

Harold Hall "Lathewoek"

Dave Fenner, David Clark and Neil Wyatt have all written books, about the mini lathe., rather than the EMCO, but the basic principles are the same. The difference will be in the specifics of what is located where and what does what.

Any lathe will obey the same laws, needing a sharp tool set at centre height, and fed at the correct speeds and fed rates for the material being worked.

If you are a complete newbie, become familiar with the lathe and how to use it by making small tools and accessories, before launching into anything expensive. The tools (Centre Height Gauge, Tap Wrenches, etc ) that you make will allow you to learn the basics, and will be useful for years in the future.

There are some very knowledgeable EMCO users on here.




Edited By Howard Lewis on 30/05/2022 13:59:06

Graham Meek01/06/2022 10:59:28
473 forum posts
300 photos

Emco used to produce a Handbook for Students and Teachers. It was called "Basic Technical Information and Practical Applications of the Unimat 3, Universal Miniature Machine Tool"

Although the Unimat 3 is smaller than the Compact 5 (C5). The C5 shares many of the design features of the Unimat as well as the across the bed dimensions.

This book covers a lot of things simply. From how to use / read a Micrometer & Vernier. Through drawing techniques and projections, to how materials are made and the various cutting angles to machine them. As well as an explanation of the various elements of the lathe and milling machine.

It is in my opinion a good starting point and many of my apprentices over the years have found it useful.



brett slater03/06/2022 16:06:43
5 forum posts


Thanks for the tips - I'll have a look at some of these titles if they're still available.

At the moment I'm dismantling, cleaning and lubricating the machine as i think its been sitting in a shed for a couple of years unused. Once thats done i'll pick a small project just to familiarise myself with the working s a nd see how it goes from there !

brett slater12/06/2022 19:47:39
5 forum posts

Having spent some time cleaning/dismantling etc I've realised there are a few things that i need to add to the machine and I'm hoping that someone can help with this. in terms of where i can source the parts...

Firstly a milling table, do i need an Emco original or are there other suppliers whose products could be attached ?

Ditto for a back plate.

A collet chuck for the lathe itself, again are there generic makes that i could buy for this, should i look at a one that attaches to a back plate or directly to the spindle ?

I seem to be missing some of the black screws that are used to attach the 4 jaw chuck to the spindle - do these have some sort of generic designation ?

Thanks in advance !

John Olsen13/06/2022 05:37:28
1250 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

I don't know whether or not the original Emco table is still available, but if it is not, then one approach would just be to get hold of a piece of aluminium plate maybe 10 to 12 mm thick. Drill holes and counterbore for the holding down screws, and drill and tap holes as needed to hold jobs down. When it gets too many holes, make a new one.

The original chucks i think don't actually use separate backing plates. They can be made if you want to fit other chucks. I may be awry here, my own one is a Unimat which has the screw on chucks. The backing plate for the Emco 5 chucks might be easier to make since it does not need screwcutting.

The original Unimat collett chuck came with a backing plate and the chuck register side was a little oversize, you turned it down to fit the register on the chuck body which in theory gives a perfectly accurate chuck. They probably did the same thing for the Compact 5 and again, the backing plate would not be an impossibly hard task for a learning exercise. It is very handy to have a collett chuck for the lathe since it will hold round stock true. Also vital for the milling attachment for holding milling cutters.

I think the chuck attaching screws will be allan screws, eg with an internal hexagon drive. They are used elsewhere on the machine, and so it would be worthwhile picking up a small stock in a variety of lengths. They also come in handy with the milling table. They will be M6 as far as I know. If you do get hold of an original milling table you will want some T nuts to suit and that would be a good beginners project.



Graham Meek13/06/2022 11:06:21
473 forum posts
300 photos

Many of the spares and accessories are still available new at Emco Holz & Hobby in Germany. Prices I have found are cheaper than second hand off Ebay. Delivery is about 1 week on average, but depending on where you live in the world, carriage may be a problem.

Allen capscrews for holding the chuck are M5 and come in various lengths, 20 mm long for the Faceplate, 25 mm for the 4 Jaw chuck and 30 mm for the Original 3 Jaw chuck. The Collet chuck lists 10 mm long M5 Hexagon headed bolts



Martin Connelly13/06/2022 11:16:34
2137 forum posts
222 photos

For collets a simple start would be to use a square collet block in the 4 jaw chuck you have said you have. It will also be a useful addition to your tooling if you proceed to making a dedicated collet chuck at some future date. You will need a dial test indicator (DTI) and suitable holder for setting it up but this is something you will need anyway if you do not have one yet.

Martin C

Jouke van der Veen13/06/2022 12:14:00
174 forum posts
17 photos

Separate from the manual the Emco Compact Spare Parts List, including exploded views, is a very useful document.

You can find all the parts with their part numbers in it and dimensions of screws and bolts as well.

You will find it on the Internet.

Emgee13/06/2022 12:51:09
2426 forum posts
290 photos

Hi Brett

If you want to go along the route of making your own backplate to mount non Emco chucks you may find useful copy of the drawing I did for that purpose. Material used was cast iron and the chuck was a Pratt front mounting.

emco 5 chuck backplate front.jpg

emco 5 chuck backplate back.jpg

emco 5 3j chuck backplate.jpg

You can check the XY co-ordinates for drilling the fixing holes as shown in this video **LINK**


Howard Lewis13/06/2022 17:07:34
6104 forum posts
14 photos

Not an EMCO owner, but if you wish to make a backplate for any chuck, within reason, once the embryo backplate is a good fit on the Spindle ( Not much point in proceeding if it isn't ) The face and register can be turned to suit the "new" chuck that you have.

With a well fitting Backplate, turning the OD and the face should ensure that they are respectively concentric with, and square to, the lathe axis, and a snug fit in the female register of the incoming chuck.


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