Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit


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Thread: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

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    Default Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    Hi guys

    I'm embarking on another project, this time I want to build a CNC Lathe. Space is a huge issue for me now with the small area I have available now filled with 3D printers and a CNC'D RF31.

    This is my first foray with a servo motor, which is another issue entirely. It's AC, 10k rpm and 0.5kw and it's a very good price, although I haven't bought it yet. I want to machine 50 Dia x100mm aluminium on this machine at the most.

    So, I need advice on a small footprint lathe to get working on. There are loads of emco unimat sl lathes available to me, while this is ideal from a size and price point of view I have my doubts about the rigidity. I know as they are they would have trouble, but that's down to the existing motor which is going to be replaced.

    My question is, will a little unimat work or do I need to look for something more rigid? Any suggestions?

    Thanks

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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    I'd be concerned about rigidity on something that small. I'm sure it will work, but you'll have to take very light cuts. I'm also not sure what brands you have available in the UK, but the 8x14 lathes from harbor freight/lathemaster aren't very large and are pretty beefy for their size. I have one that i've cnc'd and I'm pretty happy with it.



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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    Thanks - this sort of thing? https://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch...the-93212.html

    I'll try to track down something similar. We can get Chinese lathes for about £500 but I'm pretty sure (from previous experience) even with their cast beds they'll be worse than a 40 year old unimat. I'll have a look and see if there's anything like Rong Fu around.

    EDIT:
    This sort of thing is available from Machine Mart - Can't help but feel that if I can get it for £600 from there then I can probably find the un-rebranded version cheaper if I can figure out what it is. I'm sure it's the same lathe as the harbor freight.

    https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cl300m-metal-lathe/



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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    My understanding is that there are more Denford Orac's to be found in the UK than in the States. So if I lived in the UK, I'd set my sites on finding one. It is similar to the Enco 8, but feels more compact because it does not have the hand wheels and gearbox hanging out. While substantially larger than the machine size you mention, it also would be a whole lot more capable. Take account of the time it will take for you to dial in a non-cnc'd lathe, and then consider how much better the machine will be without all that effort if you just start with something like the Orac.

    I have found one here in the US and am thrilled with the quality of the machine. Given that it started off as a CNC machine, there are many advantages to using one to start with as everything is easily upgraded. It was made in an era of much better iron and steel, and they were not likely pressed to cut corners to keep the price at rock bottom. Love mine.... it's like a prized jewel.

    Chris L


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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    Quote Originally Posted by datac View Post
    My understanding is that there are more Denford Orac's to be found in the UK than in the States. So if I lived in the UK, I'd set my sites on finding one. It is similar to the Enco 8, but feels more compact because it does not have the hand wheels and gearbox hanging out. While substantially larger than the machine size you mention, it also would be a whole lot more capable. Take account of the time it will take for you to dial in a non-cnc'd lathe, and then consider how much better the machine will be without all that effort if you just start with something like the Orac.

    I have found one here in the US and am thrilled with the quality of the machine. Given that it started off as a CNC machine, there are many advantages to using one to start with as everything is easily upgraded. It was made in an era of much better iron and steel, and they were not likely pressed to cut corners to keep the price at rock bottom. Love mine.... it's like a prized jewel.
    for what it's worth, that looks to be very similar to the manual 8x14s you can get. But yeah, if you can find one of those that looks like a great way to go!



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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    Quote Originally Posted by datac View Post
    My understanding is that there are more Denford Orac's to be found in the UK than in the States. So if I lived in the UK, I'd set my sites on finding one.
    +1 on that! Find yourself a decent ORAC, get one of the exciting new Centroid Acorns to retrofit it around & you'll be all set. You'll need the Acorn's high resolution encoder input for good threading, true CSS & rigid tapping. Acorn CNC controller, Step and Direction 4 axis CNC Control board with ethernet communication.DIY CNC kit

    Milton in Tennessee ya'll!


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    Default Re: Small Lathe Suggestions for CNC Retrofit

    If you can find one in the UK, get a Prolight 3000. If possible, make sure you get the original control box and computer (or at least the control card from inside it - proprietary and required). I have one, and its very good. The whole machine is only 3 ft long, including full enclosure and all (heavy, at ablut 350 lbs, but worth it). If it needs retrofitting, I second the Centroid Acorn system for the controller - in fact I have one in hand for the retrofit of my second Prolight 3000...



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