Seeing The Light
I am showing off my personal Taig Micro-lathe and some of the minor improvements I have made. I haven’t done any super detailing but it seems everyone modifies their Taig Micro-lathe to the way they like it.
It is an older version and NOT exactly the same as the one being sold today. I wrote an article when I first obtained this lathe, so I won’t go into detailed coverage here. The biggest change is the carriage on the new lathes are extruded rather than cast, a much nicer looking detail improvement.
I like the motor on the left rather than behind the micro-lathe. I don’t want swarf thrown all over it and there is the carriage clamp screw on the back side of the carriage I have to get to. The compound tool holder (not shown) sometimes has to stick out the back for angle cuts. Also the motor switch is far more accessible in this position.
I also like how easy it is to make accurate motor belt adjustments. Other owners can do it their own way. The motor base is a homemade copy of one shown in Nick Carter’s web site. I used to buy from Nick (including this lathe) until I became a Taig dealer myself. He is a good guy!
The motor is a Dayton 6XJ07. It was supposed to be TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled) but the shaft end cover is open in this motor. I have checked the Grainger catalog since and I see current motor with that number are totally enclosed. I like the large diameter of the motor and therefore the larger mass rotor, as it provides more inertia (like a flywheel) when taking a cut with the lathe. Tiny compact motors can’t provide the same stored torque. Think about it. It not a critical detail but I think it helps.
I haven’t tested, but I think the heavy duty (larger) 90-100 Volt DC variable speed motors would be very satisfactory. I have no real need for variable speed (yet) but I never say never.
I have done many wood pen body turnings with this lathe with absolutely no problem.
I raised the base of the micro-lathe with a block of aluminum. I also added some black lever handles for some of the screws that need constant change. The handles are the kind that is spring loaded and the handle position can be set wherever desired. This was a great improvement over cap screws. There is one lever screw you can’t see on the back of the carriage.
The second picture shows I have installed a magnifying light over the lathe. This is my latest experiment. I bought the light for other purposes but found my hands blocked the lights when doing hand work. I really don’t like the strobe effect of florescent lighting over rotary tools but I am willing to test this set-up. That large magnifying glass really shows a lot of close detail when doing micro machining. Without me needing to get my face very close to the work. So can I work with the trade-off? I will see. The light is also not extremely bright (I have been spoiled by my wax carving jewelers light) but seems to be adequate for normal lathe work. (Like I said, I have been spoiled.) I need to do more real work to make a decision. It’s not like it is a life time commitment…
Taig micro-lathes are simple but elegant and totally customizable, which is half the fun of owning one. They also will do very accurate work when you understand how to use them within their size limitations and your eyes are not too old. 🙂