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lathe duplicator


karincorbin
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A lot of the people who have been around for a while will have heard mention of the Anker Lathe Duplicator.  It is actually still being made.

 

Pete Boorum used to sell them but I don't know if that is still true,...chime in here Pete :)

 

You can also get them and the replacement cutters used in them through Penn State Industries

 

  https://www.pennstateind.com/store/universal-duplicator.html

 

I don't know if anyone is still offering the little brass tempates Anker used to make for replicating various kinds of miniature objects but they are not super difficult to make yourself from brass stock. Sometimes I have even made templates from plywood when I needed to turn larger objects that top tower roofs on buildings.

 

 

 

 

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As far as I know Pete buys the Penn State duplicator and sets it up to the right height for use with the Taig lathe for the lathe packages that he sells.

I have one of them but have stopped using it as I prefer the turning method that I learned from Bill Robertson. I am in the process of having my duplicator set up for use with the Proxxon wood lathe for use at our Johannesburg club, being able to do quick and easy turning at the club widens the scope of the classes we can teach.

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Karin, when you last mentioned the Bonnie Klein lathe, I was doing some searches on eBay and someone had previously sold a lot of the templates on eBay recently.  I have some and some from Jack Blackham, but I've never used them.  However, I am wondering if the templates are an application for a laser. Even if I can scratch the surface of the template with a laser at least I would have an accurate line to cut to.  I wonder if I used non-annealed brass, cut out the templates and then annealed it if this is the way to cut templates.

 

My scribing skills need to improve dramatically.  But I truly enjoy turning.  Everyone should have a lathe!

 

Elga, your posts about your club are very encouraging - perhaps I'll make another attempt to round up lathes locally so we can have another scratch built furniture project.  It seems that our club doesn't do them unless I am the organizer.

 

Tamra

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Tamra, I usually print my template and use double sided tape to fix it to the brass, saw it with a jewellers saw and use files to refine it. Then I turn a prototype and if I feel it needs more work on the template I just file away where needed a little bit more.

The brass strips from K&S are perfect for this and you really don't need to anneal the brass for making templates.

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Karin, when you last mentioned the Bonnie Klein lathe, I was doing some searches on eBay and someone had previously sold a lot of the templates on eBay recently.  I have some and some from Jack Blackham, but I've never used them.  However, I am wondering if the templates are an application for a laser. Even if I can scratch the surface of the template with a laser at least I would have an accurate line to cut to.  I wonder if I used non-annealed brass, cut out the templates and then annealed it if this is the way to cut templates.

 

My scribing skills need to improve dramatically.  But I truly enjoy turning.  Everyone should have a lathe!

 

Elga, your posts about your club are very encouraging - perhaps I'll make another attempt to round up lathes locally so we can have another scratch built furniture project.  It seems that our club doesn't do them unless I am the organizer.

 

Tamra

Tamra, you could use the laser to cut templates out of acrylic or mylar and then place them on top of the brass strips and scribe along that pattern. Lasers are very useful for making templates that can be used to transfer lines or locate where holes are to be drilled, etc. Most people think they are just for making an object itself but that is just one phase of how they can assist in the making of miniatures.You can purchase sheets of clear material suitable for template making in the quilting section of stores such as Joannes and other fabric stores that carry quilting supplies. But truthfully the good old fashioned method of gluing a paper pattern onto a piece of metal is hard to beat in terms of less cost and less effort.

 

if you were going to go into actually manufacturing templates for sale then that would be an entirely different approach rather than a personal need use of one or perhaps two templates of the same design. Basically don't overthink things by turning to technological solutions when low tech does the job just fine and does so in much less time than setting up machines and calibrating them to get accurate results.

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I think I can use acrylic for templates for me... but I don't know if they would hold up for a club meeting - as we have 15-25 members at any given club meeting.  Since I've never used them, I just assumed you should always make them from brass for turning ... I think acrylic would be very useful for pin routing.

 

Well, since I don't have a duplicator for the taig or unimat, I suspect making templates is not going to help... but I could make templates for a pin routing app.  I'm not sure that creating a template on a laser to pin route a leg isn't more efficient for me to get more consistent results...

 

I do really appreciate the conversation, as Karin, you have really opened my eyes that a laser can be used for more then making kits.  As a general rule, I don't sell miniatures; most people require that they are finished before they purchase them... ;).... I just want to make minis for me and reel in and keep our miniature club viable locally.

 

Tamra

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If laser cutting I would not be making small detailed patterns for pin routing or for lathe duplicator patterns using acrylic plastic as it is too brittle and any small details will be prone to fracturing off when used as a guide template. I would instead use Acetal plastic ( one trade name for it is Delrin) as it is far more durable for repeated use. Plus it has another big advantage, it is self lubricating meaning it will reduce friction. It is great stuff for jig making and is laser friendly. However it does cost a lot  more than acrylic. Fortunately for me my friend I share shop space with uses a lot of it so I have an always available supply of  scraps for making things such as templates for a lathe duplicator.

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I can purchase acetal plastic from USPlastics. It is available in 1/16", 1/8", 3/32", 3/16", 1/4, 3/8" etc, etc...12" x 12" sheets and bar sheets.  I anticipate that this plastic has more of a nylon feel to it.  Obviously for lathe templates you need a material that fits in your guide,  But for router jigs do we need a certain thickness of material?  I think 3/8"  would give plenty of stability for students. 

 

 

 

Tamra

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For the DIY members, the instructions for the Anker Duplicator are available on eBay for $7.99 with free shipping.  The instructions indicate it can be used with the Anker or Dremel lathes. 

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Tamra, a laser-cut plastic template will easily survive a few pieces of turning (unless of course like Karin says, it has tiny pointy bits sticking out).   Laser-cutting is so easy that you could make an acrylic template for each club member with less than a minute laser time each.  Each club member would set up their own template in the duplicator.  If you do that, I would incorporate a flat into the template so that when the template is set up correctly it generates a known diameter (1/4" for instance).  

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The local makerspace is charging $1.50/$2.00 per minute for members/non-members for the laser cutter .  I'm scheduled for next Saturday to check out the equipment.

 

<Lightbulb> Perhaps I should use MDF for router templates?  MDF is plentiful in scrap.  Has anyone used MDF?  I need to make a decision this week on what I want to cut out... back to the books to find a project for club.

 

I would love to see the duplicator in use at a Guild School Seminar.  I don't think that I would need to use one for my projects, my porch post exercise proved to me that I can get acceptable results and with more time on the lathe, I am optimistic my skills will improve.

 

But I do think a lathe duplicator is perfect for my mini club.  I think I'll pick a project that is geared for using the dremel as an overhead pin router... like an apron for a desk or table.

 

Tamra

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Making templates for duplicator is easy. Regular hobby brass sheet is usually hard and can be cut with a jeweler saw.  I use steel strap banding for my templates. I draw out the pattern on paper and then glue it to the metal and use my dremel tool with abrasive wheel to get the general shape and finish of with files and jeweler saw.  You do not need to anneal the brass. The most important thing is that the follower is the same diameter as the cutter. I prefer a pointed cutter and follower with the sharp point of the follower just slightly dulled with a stone.  I have also used styrene, model plywood and even very stiff cardboard (tablet back) for templates. I give the cardboard several coats of spray lacquer to harden it up. It is usually good for ten or so runs.

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I can purchase acetal plastic from USPlastics. It is available in 1/16", 1/8", 3/32", 3/16", 1/4, 3/8" etc, etc...12" x 12" sheets and bar sheets.  I anticipate that this plastic has more of a nylon feel to it.  Obviously for lathe templates you need a material that fits in your guide,  But for router jigs do we need a certain thickness of material?  I think 3/8"  would give plenty of stability for students. 

 

 

 

Tamra

You don't need 3/8" thickness for Delrin laser patterns a 1/4" is sufficient as it it is a very strong material. But one thing to note the edges of any laser cut material are done at an angle so there is going to be only a narrow edge riding against the guide post in pin routing or  the bearing in a router bit meant for pattern work. Therefore if you are going to be using it as a template over and over again for production work use the original laser cut pattern to make a duplicate pattern with your pin router and then use that duplicate for the production work.  That way you will have a true 90 degree edge and it will hold up a much longer time with the wear and tear of repeated use.

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Oh well, I like being old fashioned, I really prefer making miniatures by hand, doing it the CNC way seems so like I can just as well just do a design and have it send of to a factory to make all the parts...and maybe even have a robot put it together...mass production, I get so much joy out of the hands on way of making stuff.

I used a duplicator in the beginning because I had no idea on how to turn by hand...now that I do, the feeling of accomplishment in getting a very fine result is great, CNC, I will always feel that I didn't really make it but that the computer did.

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Niels, I'm glad to see the alternatives for desktop machining.... and until AI becomes a reality, someone still has to program the machine.  I think the automation debate will continue for a long time in miniatures.  A true handmade miniature - would that include no machining at all?  Geoff W is the only class that I have taken that had no machining in class... but I'm sure he used a table saw to cut my initial pieces as part of the class prep.  Geoff is the kind soul where I learned that I could really make a fine miniature with hand tools, specifically a jewelers saw... I am still amazed by that experience. 

 

I can understand the advantages of machining miniatures.  It lowers my cost of goods sold, after I got my initial payback on the reduced labor costs.  In terms of time spent and programmed turnings it creates very consistent results... I see two road blocks. Cost of software CAD/CAM and CNC Controller and the inability to use the software, so for now I'm still working on baby steps of just using the lathe!

 

So instead of machining a template to make duplicate parts, are you drawing the design in software?  or scanning the design into software?  I assume both are available options.

 

Thanks for posting the YouTube Video...

 

Taigtools introduced a new Desktop Milling package (at least they updated their website in the past year as I have become a pretty frequent visitor) and the Full CNC lathe is $2,995.00

 

But Package #3 (about everything you need) is a $528.60. Obviously the user can purchase other software to help lower that cost.  It would cost each of our club members $26 to purchase this lathe and share one if I could get 20 of them to participate, and I think I would struggle...

 

Tamra

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I am in the process of thinning out many of my not used any more tools. My Anchor duplicator is one of them.

It originally came with a Dremel lathe attached but that was worthless so I bought a Unimat and adapted it to that lathe.  From there it was adapted to my Sherline and later to a Taig. I no longer use a duplicator. I prefer to free hand my turnings with the hand wheels or with a wood tool rest and gravers. If any one is interested in acquiring this, message me.

 

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post-35-0-24826200-1454362714_thumb.jpg

 

 

Also while digging through unused tools I found this little adapter for holding square stock in the lathe for turning.  It fit the Dremel but I made and adaptor to adapt it to the Unimat thread (that adaptor went with the Unimat when I go grid of it.  I have used it in a regular three jaw lathe chuck but do not need it any more.

 

post-35-0-28394800-1454362728_thumb.jpg

 

post-35-0-54649600-1454362741_thumb.jpg

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I purchased a used CNC Sherline Mill and Sherline lathe as well as a CNC rotary base a couple of years ago but have not gotten around to setting them up as I have been working on projects that I don't need them for. Seattle is a good town for finding this type of thing on craigslist as the mechanical engineering students at the University of Washington often get involved in it for making class projects. Since these machines are in the labs at the schools in both high schools and at the University they get early on experience and then purchase their own. After a few years they move on to other things or to bigger and better machines so these lightly used ones show up on craigslist.

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