Tuesday 11 November 2008

New Toy

The company that I have worked at for 25 years gave me a long service award recently. I could choose anything worth £500 so I chose this small lathe / drill / milling machine combo. The tiny watchmaker's lathe I have been using up to now is not really big enough for RepRap parts. This should be just about right.

A combo like this is a bit of a compromise and only recommended if, like me, you have limited space. It gives me a lathe, pillar drill and milling machine in a small footprint.

I also bought accessories with my own money, which came to about another £300 :-
  • Cutting tools - essential.
  • Compound cross slide - for cutting tapers.
  • Drill vice - to hold things on the cross slide when milling or drilling.
  • Tailstock chuck - to drill down the axis of round things.
  • 4 Jaw chuck - for turning square and irregular shapes.
  • Milling chuck and collet set - to hold milling bits.
  • Wiggler - for finding centres and edges when milling and drilling.
  • Die holder - for tapping threads.
  • Headstock centre - for turning between centres.
I have also made a couple of accessories with HydraRaptor. The first is very simple: a t-slot cleaner for removing swarf from the cross slide's t-slots.

That saved me about £2.80.

The second object is the biggest thing I have RepRapped so far. It is a cover to go over the chuck to make it easier to turn by hand when tapping. It took over 7 hours to build and weighs 77g.

Here it is installed :-

I haven't used it yet but it feels like it should work well.


  1. Congrats on your new toy!
    Are you going to convert it to CNC, or leave it as a manual machine?
    Either way, I hope it gives you good service.

    Best Regards,

    Ursine @t gmail d0t c0m

  2. Would you mind to take pictures of the accessories?

    Maybe even a small walktrough or tutorial how to use them.

    Im completely beginner in the lathe domain but Im really interested.

    Thank you in advance,

  3. nophead: could you write the model?
    or a link to the company's website?

    Im googling more than two hours now for Clarke metalworker, but cant find yours model.

    Im thinking about a bit. But cant find anything similar here in Hungary.


  4. Hi Larry,
    I may CNC it someday, I have plenty of random stepper motors. It does have significant backlash so I would have to compensate for the that in s/w. I expect EMC2 can do that.

    In the short term I want to add digital scales to it, which will make it much more easy to use.

    Hi Khiral,
    The lathe is CL250M and the mill CL251MH. I bought them from Chronos Engineering Supplies, link.

    The price for the lathe was less in their eBay shop. The Clarke lathe is also available from MachineMart. Still more than I paid for it but they had a special offer in the summer where it was cheaper, but I just missed it. Their site has the manuals.

    Another make which looks identical and is cheaper is the cobra from Chester UK. I only found that afterwards.

    You can buy the lathe only cheaper from Axminster, and ARC Euro Trade.

    They seem to be compatible accessory wise. I shopped from all but Chester to get the best prices and all the parts fitted. I don't know if the milling attachment can be fitted to the SIEG C1. It might not have the four tapped holes in the bed to accept it.

    I will blog the accessories and their uses for you soon. I am not an expert though.

  5. nophead: thank you very much!

    > I will blog the accessories and
    > their uses for you soon. I am not
    > an expert though.

    You know more about lathe then me. So I can learn from you.


  6. So are you going to tell us how you managed to print those three flat lintels on your chuck gripper?

  7. Well I expected the Skienforge infill in the direction of bridges to sort it out but it didn't seem to do anything.

    I printed it anyway. What happens is that the outline spans the gap. The infill then sticks to the outline, messily. The next layer gets supported by the mess and comes out pretty much right. I then cut the mess hanging down off with a penknife. You can see in the first picture that half the top layer is missing.

  8. Ah! Now I know wht I am looking at!

    Interesting! So the outline spanned the gap, more or less.

  9. Yes the outline spans the gap because it is supported at both ends. Obviously it makes a chord instead of an arc but with that object the difference is negligible.

    If the infill was parallel to the outline it would also span the gap but that is difficult to arrange when you have three gaps, which are arcs, in three different directions on the same layer.

    In this case some of the infill zigzags bonded horizontally to the outline so were suspended like planks in a rope bridge.

  10. That's a SIEG chinese machine (the lathe is SIEC C1 & the mill is SIEG S1 indeed)
    the combo itself I don't know how it's called but just look on alibaba.com & you'll find any SIEG's model. Axminster & CLARKE are just overimposed marks by traders as there are many other around the world . The machines simply ar SIEG machines coming from Shangai PRC . Regards .

  11. Hi, did your chuck cover work? wouldn't mind one myself as I have the same lathe. Sealey have took over this design now, so if you ever need spare parts for for Clarke they can supply :)

    1. Yes it is more comfortable to tap with. It could do with a little clearance as it has got tighter over time. I think ABS shrinks slightly as it ages. Perhaps a job for a face plate and a booting bar.

      Thanks for the info on Sealey.

  12. Good news. I've just had to buy a new timing belt for my lathe, best price was from machine mart (in the UK) - they used to carry the CL250m and clearly still carry some common spares :)