Just Do It
At this moment I don’t want to take time away from my wax carving and lost wax casting but I am still enthused about my machine shop activities. Some of that is because I use my machine tools to machine wax models.
I love all my machine tools. It is just so cool to turn things from raw stock into dimensional accurate parts. I am totally hooked. Here is a size comparison of a micro lathe to my manual midi sized lathe. I also love CNC but it is not for everyone. I do not own a CNC lathe.
What really stokes me at the moment are the smaller machines like the Taig Tool products that I sell in my e-store. There is so much that can be done with this size of machine and so many people who really like to use them. It is a great product. The really interesting part is that many owners customize their Taig machines to make them unique. Why not? They use their machines to make parts and accessories for their machines. It is a part of the culture.
The Taig Micro lathe is very popular for custom modifications. It is one of those machines that have no intrinsic value to keep stock like an antique car. Accessories make it more valuable when done correctly.
I wouldn’t actually do it right now, but I can imagine myself choosing the Taig micro lathe and mill as my initial manual tools and modifying them to my needs the way JR Bently AKA “The Engine Man” has done. Yeah, he has moved past Taig brand but he and many others have shown what can be done with small machines tools. His modifications of the tools are inspiring. You see where he started. I’ll never stand next to John’s prolific ability, but I totally enjoy his work AND the work I can do with micro-machines.
My advice to a newbie right now is don’t stand and watch. Buy a Taig or even go to Sherline if you must, but get started in micro machining. You know if you want to do it. So if you do, get started.
I can personally vouch that the Taig products I own (and sell) are of the highest quality for this class of machine. You don’t have an excuse that you need to do more research to make a “good first choice” If micromachining is or going to be your game, you already know the safe place to start.
The key to satisfaction is to know exactly what you intend to make and what size it is. The biggest issues with micromachining occur with the folks who try to make the machines do more than they are capable. We all try it sooner or later, but it has to be the exception and not the rule.