Different lathe..... CNC teach?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by lazylabs, Jul 6, 2013.

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  1. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

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    I posted a while ago aobut trying to go CNC. I have finally moved and had to get rid of my leblond in the process. I am now starting the lathe shopping process again. I am thinking about going with the hybrid CNC teach like a TL1/2 or harrison alpha previously recommended. If I can't find a good used one of those I might have to just go back with a manual lathe.

    So in the time since I last asked how many guys have tried the types of lathes I mentioned above?

    What are your experiences with the various imports?

    If this gets a rant on U.S. vs imports I will just delete the thread. I will stipulate that with a time machine of the correct carrying capacity I would go back 40 years and buy an awesome U.S. steel eating monster.
     
  2. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    Southwest Trac makes one, and somebody makes one that uses the Prototrac box. I have not seen this conversion in person. But hear it works well. The Southwest machines are fair. Accuarcey is not all that bad, but are not what I'd call overbuilt in anyway. A hard wreck gets expensive. Their chucking system sucks, and recommend buying the optional stuff. If you can find a nice used Clausing, you way ahead in the game. My favorite hand lathe right now is the Colechester. A very well made English built lathe that is surprisingly accurate. If you find a used one, these machines rebuild well.

    I agree with you and the time machine! I'd buy a solid state Monarch Series EE with the ten inch chuck, or a tool room grade Monarch hydraulic. Be set for life!
    I'd also look for a K&T MM600 machine center, and cut a new action in about thirty minutes everytime I hit cycle start!

    By the way the first hand lathe that I ever seriously ran was an American. Not a bad machine. But a few months later I got sent to the tool room. Being the bottom of the totem pole I of course got the lathe that nobody would run! I ended up with a genuine "war finish" LeBlond hand lathe. Nobody ran it much; if at all. Reason why was that the frame was a special casting made for a woman to run! It sat lower to the floor than the other lathes (probably six to eight inches). The Tail stock took some getting used to as it worked backwards. I had no problem holding one thousandth or less with it. The old men I worked with came over to see how I was doing and had a good laugh about it (I had no problems with the low profile). Then the next day they showed up with tools and touched up the compound and the cross slide gibs, and took all the back lash out the lead screws. The old lathe ran like a top, and I was easily holding sizes that the other guys over there thought were impossible on that machine. The following weekend the guy I worked for sent his painters over and had the machine completely repainted in a light grey color (it was actually a funky looking green). It was like getting a brand new machine!
    gary
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013

  3. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Haas lathes are made in the USA. Look at the TL1. Plenty shops using them.
     
  4. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    take any Hass machine apart and you'll find that it's assembled here. LeBlond Makino may still make engine lathes in Ohio (they also bought Monarch Sidney in Ohio). But as far as I know the Hardingh bench lathe is all that's left, other than Bardens & Oliver. Hardingh may sell their smaller slant bed lathe with conversational programing. The market is small for tool room quality lathes anymore, as they've largely been replaced by smaller CNC lathes like Okumas. The hottest CNC lathe is a slant bed Hardingh. Nothing will run with them and stay together very long, and nothing has their built in accuracy (24" a minute with a .0005" in a foot accuracy. Pretty much all use the same control these days, and it's a stolen copy of the K&T Gemini.

    The best lathe for tool room work, that was also CNC was the older American Panther series. Pretty much like all the others except that it used a differential resolver to setup touch off points as well as new null points. Were not really built very heavy, but for what most people would use them for they were great machines. But on the otherhand they didn't do so well in a production operation. Main issue with them was the clutch packs in the head stock. Not too bad coming apart, but a serious bear to put back together due to they way the set up their spacers
    gary
     
  5. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Just open your wallet and buy a new Mazak slant bed.:D

    BTW, Haas and Mazak are offering special financing plans now.
     
  6. 230grRN

    230grRN Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a used Haas TL1 this spring to help speed up my gun making and all I can say is I should have done it sooner. With that said I wouldn't give up my manual 13x40 Clausing/Colchester either, its just to handy to have the manual around.

    There are some things I don't like about it but they are mainy related to the fact the I have been using and running production slant beds on my day job and when you get used to all the bells and whistles it is hard to want anything else, but cost for me was the bottom line (if cost wasn't a problem it would have been a Mori Seiki)

    As far as using the intuitive, conversational, or teach programming I can't comment on to much, as I use it very little, I mainly write programs for everything I do, probably more out of habit than anything.

    Another thing to consider with the Haas is the fact that parts are relitively easy to get and service is available pretty much available anywhere you may live do to the fact that they have a such broad dealer/service network.

    If you have any question feel free to PM me.
     
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to do production machining the CNC is great. if you are going to be gun Smithing
    I would recommend going with a REAL good conventional Lathe.

    To me the CNC machines require two much set up time for doing a single job. But when it comes to mass producing parts the CNC machine is the ticket.

    So in my opinion your intended use would dictate which to get.

    Ether way, a good machine is worth the money.

    Good Luck

    J E CUSTOM
     
  8. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    just don't get sucked into renting one like a car!! We rented a Gleason hob back in the mid 1980's and the fees were $69K a month! Plus we had to fix it when it went down.

    A few years back I got a ticket in the mail to meet friends of mine up at the Chicago tool show (the big one!). I already had a couple tickets from my boss and engineering to go look at this wild looking machine centers than G&L and Ingersoll Rand were doing. Looked right out of Star Wars! Anyway Dave wanted me to look at a Hardingh slant bed lathe while I was up there. But I also had a list of machines to look over and schedule a test run. On the second day I got to see the G&L monster cutting landing gear struts for Douglas aircraft. Was amazing, but also a nightmare. Later in the day I got my first look at that Hardingh and saw it cut parts out of pretreat 4xxx series. The machine was literally screaming, and did all sorts of ops (had live tooling on X1 & X2 cross slides, and a motorized tail stock steel). What caught my eye was that the machine had the only pickoff attachment that worked, that I'd seen in ten years or more! It had a full hydraulic bar feed unit that was built like a tank. Dave planned on doing nothing but Thompson Rod on the machine, and I had my doubts about that! So he bought the machine for the ripe sum of $226K (I saw him write the check!). While we were there Pontiac came in and bought 52 of them! And about a half hour later Ford bought 28 of them. Love to had that sales commission! Dave bought the extended warranty package, and had them set the machine and align it (bar feeders can be a bitch) . Hardingh came in about once every 90 days and checked it out for two years. Downtime was slightly above zero in all that time (he ran the machine 16 hours a day, six days a week). In five years he changed the z axis ball screws once each. One cross slide ball screw (X1). Tighten the spindle bearing group once. The machine was paid for in the first 12 months, as it ran that well. It just ran that well! After about 30 months Dave calls me up to ask me what kind of specs we were getting off our live tooling machines, as it he'd never used it on this machine. I said we were seeing .004"/.005". He got about .0025". I was stunned! But the real killer was the $226K Dave spent! A comparable Okuma was well over $300K and wouldn't run near as well. Before the first year was up Dave had two more machines on order, and a little later bought two bigger ones. Even later he bought an even bigger one.
    gary
     
  9. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I know where a very gently used Clausing is setting that has a GE Dynapath control on it. Bet the machine has less than 250 hours on it, and is nearly as clean as when it was shipped! Owner will not part with it for love or money. Yes they are that good!

    Years back I got a call from a guy that had three Monarch EE lathes that he wanted rebuilt. Easy enough, but his machine were the older tubed drive versions. He wanted to install a Eurodrive in them to replace the tubed spindle drive as parts were hard to come by. I advised him against this as I'd done this conversion once in the past. Machine just didn't have any power, but was deadly accurate (well under .0005"). It was hard to make a .05" cut in mild steel with that Eurodrive! I'm surprised that nobody does an AC Pulse Code servo conversion for them.
    gary
     
  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    JE, the TL-1 has handles on it, just like a manual engine lathe. The difference is, you can either write a program if it's something that will be a repeat job (like chambering) or you can enter "instructions" into the memory along the way as you operate manually (if your programing skills aren't the best). Or, it can be operated like a manual machine for a "one off". Heck , the one I'm around has a quick change tool post on it, just like the Summit I seem to drive alot and the one on my gunsmithing lathe (the one on my lathe is a smaller series tool post). If I was to have only one lathe for gunsmithing, it would be a manual machine as that TL-1 has a 16" swing, which to me is larger than need be for any gunsmithing tasks I do now. Faster? Yes, to a point (ever operate a manual machine that has rapid traverse on it, like some old horizontal mills?). The CNC can return to the start of a pass quicker than any human could 'role the carriage' and reposition a tool for the next pass, but, we are all still limited by SFM, the difference being in the ridigity of the machine. A teach lathe would be the ticket for contouring barrels, but who does that anymore outside the barrel makers. For chambering it could (and should) be programed with a "peck" cycle for clearing the cuttings. I chambered a .264 Win Mag yesterday on my maual machine (13" x 40") and decided to time myself with the stop watch. 72 minutes from the time I placed the barrel in the chuck to 'dial it in' 'till I removed it, ready to install on the action and test fire. That's fast enough for me, and I can do that "extra" small work that much of gunsmithing is (I still have to put my ER-32 collet holder in the chuck, sometimes, for the 'small' stuff on my 13 x40). A CNC production machine (like the SL-20 I set-up and operate at times) with a tool turrent isn't the same as a "teach" lathe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  11. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys!

    How about a Victor DCL? I have reasearched it quite a bit and there are a couple used ones that don't seem like they have been hammered on for around $15k.

    I plan to use it in manual mode quite a bit and that seems to be where the teach/conversational machines are setup for. I just thought with the price of those coming down and the price of straight manual machines going up that it would be handy to have the option of being able to try some autopilot stuff.
     
  12. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to ask........ Tricky.. what kind of actions you making?
     
  13. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Thanks shortgrass. That would definitely make a difference if I could chose which way I could use it.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  14. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    not making any, but did try this out once for the hell of it. Cut them on a Monarch HMC 200 (maybe a 250). The actions were basicly Remington 700's but with a longer bridge and a smaller and relocated ejection port. Cycle time total was less than forty minutes with two setups on a home brew fixture built from a plate with four sides on it like you often see fixtures made of (just had it laying around on the shelf, and made the rest of the parts to fit it). The machine with the setup was capable of having eight actions going at the sametime. I did change the barrel thread to 1.062-18TPI because I had six brand new spiral taps that were a class three fit. I'd have rather single pointed the threads, but really just wanted to see if it could be done. Threw them all away after I was done, as I didn't know if they were safe to use or not (used a bar of Versalloy with a ground finish of 1.374". Didn't drill & tap the scope base screws and tapped the others by hand.. After all this was done the bolt raceways were wire edm'd (I never paid much attention to how they cut them as anything done with an EDM is fuzzey to me. I later figured out a way to broach them very accurately, but never tried doing it. If I was serious, a slotter would have been the easiest way to get it done (and very strait)

    Like I said the idea was an experiment to see if it could be done, and then to see how accurate one could be machined. It came in a tick less than .0015" error, but with a small issue at the bottom where the trigger group resided. The spiral tap was run into a bore that was roughed in with a series of core drills after first punching a hole in the stock. Then with about .050" stock left it was bored with a single point tool in an adjustable boring head. I did have to modify the nose of the tap a little bit, but had zero problems with the chip string or when the tap was reversed. One thing I did change from the Remington action was to make it a single shot style, but I also left extra stock in there to hand polish the feed ramp into the chamber. I never went past this stage, and never built the bolt. Interestingly a buddy of mine at the sametime was making new bolts out of 4150. His first one was for a 700! He later tried to make one for a 788, and got very close, but don't think he ever got it quite right. His 700 bolts worked very well, and I know he used one in his 7mm STW. After I was done with this experiment, I gave all my tooling to a couple guys, and what they did with it I don't know. I even went so far as to give them a copy of the program (written for a GE 1050 control). Keep in mind there never was any plans to ever shoot a round in the actions. I just wanted to see if it could be done, and I knew where two HMC's were setting and not being used about fifteen years ago.

    In that same area was a third HMC that had two B axis tables on it. Looking back, a guy could be cutting four or six actions on one tool block, while loading and unloading another set on a second tool block on the other table. The guy who wrote the program pointed out that you could make some serious changes in the action using "mirror image programing". I said never! I already knew that some of the worst wrecks I ever saw were from mirror image programing. Liked to have had those machines as they were in great shape. They sent them to the auction in Ohio!

    Could have just as easily cut them on an Okuma Lathe, and finished them out on a Bridgeport or a Monarch VMC. But was hard to get idol time on one of these machines. The slots for the bolt looked hard, but after thinking about it for a week, it was easy (took about an hour to cut each one). Never could quite figure out a good way to locate the base screw holes, and I didn't care much anyway.

    gary
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
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