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Mini lathe (and mill) discussion.


I’ve been using our mini mill/ lathe combo at work the past few days and it’s really making me want to get something for home.


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My little Unimat is too small for everyday cutting but is perfect for little model airplane parts I believe. Now to convince myself to buy a bigger lathe which I have little need for. One of these days......


Taking this time to get the shop put back together after the french drain work. About 12 years ago I bought the steel to made a table for the lathe and the mill, figured this would be the right time. The frame is 2"x2"x1/8" box tube with a 3/8" thick table top. The lathe is now 7" higher than with the stand supplied with the lathe while the mill is 6" lower. My back would get sore when working extended time on the lathe and the mill was just too high with the supplied stand. Both supplied stands were basically bent up sheet metal so the new table is much more robust. The table houses the previous lathe stand for storage. Looking to get a 44" double bank 8 drawer tool chest to fill the remaining void, just can't figure out what color to get. Attached is a before and after. Sorry the Champ is in the way of the before photo.
The DRO works great on the lathe and I when ahead and ordered a DRO for the mill. The machine line up now looks like mill, lathe , drill press, 12" disc sander. 5" metal cutting band saw, 14" Delta wood band saw ( Relocated from garage, new but currently broke), the scroll saw and drum sander are located in the corner (rarely used).
Took two days to make the table and the third day to get it downstairs, leveled and fastened to the new concrete. That's working alone, a helper would have been nice but we are social distancing as you are well aware. I borrowed a mag based drill to drill the mounting holes, what a time saver.

IMG_0705 Lathe Milll.JPG


Why do you need a lathe you say?
I bought a 14" Delta Model 28-276 band saw a long time ago, it spent the first 5 years in the box in the garage, finally got a round to putting it together about 5 years ago, there was no room in the workshop so it stayed in the garage and was only used when the the smaller band saw wasn't up to the task. It made a lot of noise and racket and I always assumed it was because it was never mounted properly.
Well today I mounted it in the shop and now the noise and vibration are much worse. The solid mounting is now magnifying the vibration. Removed the blade and it was better, still making some vibration however. Figure the problem is with the top wheel. Removed the wheel and discovered the bearing were stiff, order new ones online, 6202 bearings be here in few days. Damaged the seals pushing the old bearing out so I wasn't sure if in fact they were the problem. Thought I'd check the balance or the top wheel, got out the oversized prop balancer I found at flee market sometime time ago. The shaft for balancer is 5/8" diameter, so I set up the balancer wheels and put the 5/8"shaft through the 35 mm bearing bore on the top wheel, it was very clear there was a balance problem here. Got do this right, so now what. Push the bearings back in and all I need is a 15 mm shaft, that's why you need a lathe! Turned a piece of 5/8 stock down and when to work. The first shows the factory balance, the 2 - 3/8" diameter drills at 2 o'clock. I pocked through with a 1/2" drill at 3 o'clock. Second photo is the flip side where I used a 1/2" on the heavy spot. Balanced just like prop so it doesn't stop in the same stop.
Decided it was wise to check the bottom wheel. OK remove the bottom wheel, it has a 20 mm bore. Why do you need a lathe you ask? To make a 20 mm x 5/8" bushing. The effort to balance the bottom wheel is shown in the third photo. With the wheel mounted the vibration is improved. In both wheels the factory balance holes and mine are in the same spot, it appears they just didn't go far enough. Hopefully all works out when the new bearings arrive, I will let you know.
Here is a link to the saw on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00006JZZS/ states 9 spoke precision balanced wheels. One thing for sure, they are 9 spoke!



Mill, bigger lathe. Bigger lathe, mill. What to buy first............................
A lathe is more useful in my option but sometime you need the mill, so buy both! I would start with the lathe however. That PM 1030 or whatever it was looked like a great machine to me.


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I have the money, just cautious with being a business owner and they need room. I have one available space at a warehouse I own that I should rent but thinking about making it into a big hobby room.


Made this power feed for the mill from a windshield wiper motor some time ago, no speed control.

Found this 60 amp PWM motor speed control on EBAY. Now have speed control between 25% to 100%. Surface finish is much better. Motor will stall less than 25% output.

Power Feed.jpg


Picked up this ER32 collet set at Banggood for $55, reduce from $129. I have been looking at these for sometime now. This popped up on an advertisement, fractional 1/8" to 3/4", MT3 mount. Have the holder mounted in the mill, don't expect I will need to ever put a chuck or end mill holder in since these will grab anything .080" to 3/4".


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