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WeekendMiniaturist

Sherline & Taig are currently sold in the USA and abroad, and you can turn metal and wood and are excellent for scale modelers and give great flexibility.  You can use Sherline accessories on the Taig lathe when you understand the required modifications.  

You can buy a "mini" wood lathe from normal wood working manufacturers from Jet, Delta, Craftsman, Micro-mark, etc, etc.  They are called  "bench" models and "mini" lathes because they are on a bench or a rolling tool chest, vs. standalone pieces of equipment.  While it isn't impossible to turn metal on a wood lathe, the speed of the lathe is one of the biggest factors, as you must slow it down to turn metal... but turning something really small on my jet mini lathe, while it is small, turning a 1" scale spool for thread just seems easier on the Taig, vs the Jet.  I can do it on either lathe, but collets for a lathe are fabulous, and when you add it all up, I just get much more flexibility with Taig then I do with my Jet mini.  

I am pleased with both.

I have purchased almost all of my equipment from local auctions, Craig's list or on eBay.   Even though I am purchasing used equipment,  I'm still fussy about what I buy and am patient with my my tool acquisition, so I use our skill to examine details when I buy equipment.

Sherline has a lot more on ebay then Taig - why? I don't know.... I missed a Taig at a local estate sale by about 10 seconds to acquire another Taig lathe, if only I had darted down those stairs faster then that guy!

If you are on a budget, avoid lathes that are not mfg today;  the greatest expense in my limited experience with any lathe is in the accessories.  Give yourself the most flexibility and buy current equipment.  My 3rd lathe was a unimat... the community is excellent, but chasing down a WW spindle for turning with a collet is quite a treasure hunt for a reasonable price.   A year later, I am still not sure which collet goes into my WW spindle.... I haven't used it yet... strange? Yes?  and Yes it is true...might be a clue to my crazy nature of my tool collecting.

While I do not want to offend anyone in the miniature community, I would never recommend a dremel lathe.  If you are ever in Northern Indiana in the summer, I will be glad to let you try my dremel lathe and will let you experience why it is the worse money I have ever spent on a piece of equipment.  They are cheap today, but save yourself a lot of aggrevation, you can't hold anything on the headstock and accuracy is much more challenging then it should be.  It was the best experience I ever had setting myself up for failure.  My husband told me to not to buy that, and I bought it anyway. He was right. I was WRONG.  I shouldn't have bought that lathe.

I know we have FMF participants with Sherline lathes, so hopefully they will chime in and tell you what they like about their Sherline.

My turning confidence improved dramatically after I took classes at Guild School... I use my Taig and Jet mini lathe, and I do genuinely try to spend at least 3-4 hours  with one or the other lathe on the weekend, it is fun to turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have eight Proxxon tools, two of them being the PD 250/E metal  lathe which is priced at around 1,300 USD, and the DB250 wood lathe priced at 220 USD. Proxxon is a German company and build high quality tools. I have never had any tool failures.

Guy

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Gail Geiger

I highly recommend a Sherline lathe. Made in America, good quality, many different models and accessories to choose from. Good company support. You can turn both wood and metal. Don't buy a cheap one because you will just have to turn around and get a better one later and you will be happier with the reaults. 

 

 

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

If you do not already know which is which kind of the lathe, 

A metal lathe uses a cross slide and a tool bit inserted in a tool post.

A wood lathe uses a tool rest and a hand held cutting tools, or lathe chisels.

At the present I would explain that the difference between lathe chisels, chisels and carving tools is the angle of cutting surfaces.  Normal "chisels" are flat, lathe chisels and carving tools are made of various flat and round tool steel.  I did not look up these definitions, so perhaps more seasoned miniaturists will add to the conversation.  I'm not that far ahead of you - as my quest began in earnest in 2015.  Jewelers Gravers, used for engraving metal, can also be used as miniature lathe chisels.  In the unimat forum, one of the members indicated I should learn to sharpen before I got to use a lathe; it was excellent advice, but most of us learn to use a lathe first, and then we learn to sharpen when the tools get dull - and unless you have family member that is great at sharpening, this is the time to find a good community resource!

 

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MeezerMama
On 9/30/2017 at 5:26 PM, WeekendMiniaturist said:

A metal lathe uses a cross slide and a tool bit inserted in a tool post.

A wood lathe uses a tool rest and a hand held cutting tools, or lathe chisels.

In miniature, both wood and metal can generally be turned using either metal-turning techniques (cross slide & tool post) or wood-turning techniques (hand-held cutter), or a combination of the two.

Both the Taig and the Sherline can be used either way, with the proper "attachments".

Be advised that while the Proxxon tools are excellent, they are calibrated in millimeters.   This might or might not be an issue for you.

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=43104&cat=1,330,50260

This page has two photos with the Taig set up for wood tool rest and cross -slide.

Yes, MM comments definitely helps clarify this forum thread-->I have used the Taig's cross slide with a tool bit for wood, and then after I have the proper dimensions turned on the spindle, I switch to the tool rest and lathe chisels and graver's to create the details.

And while the rest of the Woodworking and Metals world would know about using each kind of lathe, miniaturists switch between the two types of turning with ease... collets for my jet mini lathe are not as easily available as collets for the Sherline and Taig lathes, metal lathes have collets as standard accessories, except for the BEALL collets, I haven't seen a lot of collet options for benchtop woodworking lathe, but admittedly I'm not looking for them as I am quite happy with the Taig.

If you are using instructions that are written in the US system of measurements, using a SAE measurement lathe is easier.  It was hard enough for me to learn to think in 10th, 100ths, and 1000s of an inch, converting it to mm would be truly not fun for my old brain.

The calibration wheels on a metal lathe, are very helpful.

The Unimat lathes are also metric, not just the calibration, but everything else is metric... getting a 4mm square bar to replace your chuck key for a 4 jaw chuck - was NOT a quick run to the hardware store - I had to mail order it.

 

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