"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Proxxon PD230/E

I am considering ordering a PD230/E Proxxon Precision Micro Lathe for sale in my store. The PD230/E is a very small lathe in the size range between the Taig micro lathe and the larger Proxxon PD400. The PD230/E is about ½ the cost of the PD400.

What makes the PD230/E a very nice lathe is the fact it has a powered lead screw as well as a variable speed drive motor. It is a micro lathe on steroids.

I don’t see a reason to own both Proxxon lathes. The PD400 being the machine of choice for me, but there are certainly many hobby machinists who don’t need the bigger machine and are attracted by the lower price of the PD230/E. The attached motor drive, power feed and the complete drive system put it way above the Taig micro lathe in functionality.

The street price for the main machine is $1225.00. Adding accessories will of course push the total price higher.

If I wanted a micro lathe I could modify and/or customize, then the Taig is a great choice. But if I want a micro lathe that is ready to make parts, then the PD230/E is the better choice.

HB2 Bearing Replacement (X – Axis)

Here is how I trimmed the Axis screws for the added thickness of the thrust washers (bearings). They are really being used as washers to keep the screws from impinging on the bearing seals.

I thought I might have to protect the screws when in the lathe chuck but I discovered clamping firm but lightly did no damage. Also the screw nut never gets that far down to each end of the screw. I generally use aluminum cut from a soda can for protection when needed.

I was surprised to see the “juices” leaking from the far end bearing The grease didn’t show while assembled.

The thrust washers turn with the screw shaft. The close up picture shows the washers do not ride against the bearing seals. They actually contact the flange on the inner ball bearing race. So in my opinion they are working perfectly as intended. Note the high quality of the thrust washer finished edge.

All axis screws are barely end loaded. Just barely on the loaded side of touching with zero end play.

After doing all the investigation and testing and more reading, I remembered a drive screw specification I studied long ago that affects how fast a drive screw can or should go in RPM. It all has to do with the end bearings support, screw diameter, unsuported length and preventing vibration. The best set ups are double bearings at both ends for rigidity. The lessons I learned here  on the HB2 are the bearings ARE the most important factor for a good running machine. However, I doubt I need double bearings on each end. HB2’s screws theoretically could run over 3K RPM as they are. I’m not going there!

I have settled in… Continue reading

PD400 in Action

I know some readers just like to look at action shots. So I have thrown a few pictures in here for your enjoyment. This is the Proxxon PD400 lathe and I am making the standoffs shorter that I use on the HB2 router. I installed the new couplers on the HB2 this weekend and I discovered I can bring the screw shaft and the motor shaft closer together using the new couplings.

I needed to remove 3.18mm from each end of the standoffs then extend the threads a bit deeper into the aluminum standoff. That was about 1/4″ overall for you non metric holdouts. 🙂

It was short work and the HB2 is purring  along just nicely. So you see the PD400 does get a little workout from time to time. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that the lathe was about 2 feet away from the HB2…

Metric Thinking

I have been selling some metric tools (Proxxon) and actually using them too. I have discovered it is actually quite easy to work in either metric or SAE (inch) standards. There is no evil in either. I (almost) hate to admit I enjoy metric.

Of course the U.S. general prejudice to metric stemmed from our indoctrination, from what I now view in retrospect, to be a very lame educational system of the time. Post WWII there was a push for the USA to go metric. The requirement was to teach young children to exactly convert through (then) seemingly complex formula from one system to another. Remember, there were no calculators in those day. I could derive the equivalent answer but it made no sense why we would want to do this. The same thinking was crammed into our brains about temperature conversion.

In those days a student was not permitted to question the process but only to do as instructed.

As in learning a new language, it is very cumbersome to convert every word from one language to another. You only become efficient when you start thinking in the other language without the conversion. That is how metric should be understood.

I learned Morse code as a radio amateur. All radio operators will tell you that you do not become proficient until you stop counting dots and dashes and start “hearing” the sounds of letters. The really good can hear words. The very best hear Morse as a conversation.

When using metric hand tools I do not think of what millimeter is equal to in inch measurement. A good mechanic looks at a bolt and can say it is ½ inch or 12 mm, not stopping to think they are almost the same. When cars started using a lot… Continue reading

Weekend Puttering

While waiting for the new stepper couplings for the HB2 to arrive, I decided to do a little house cleaning around the shop. After pushing things around for a few hours, and sucking up what debris I could with the shopvac, I figured I should lube the ways on my machine tools. I can appreciate a one shot lube system as I have to do mine the long slow way. I finished and every machine is operating pretty slick now…

I spent a lot of time detailing out the Taig CNC mill. It is still in wonderful shape after all the machining it has done. That is really a great little milling machine in its size and class. I had to fire it up with the MACH3 in control and it wasn’t long before I was dreaming about the next project I should be running in CNC on that machine. In fact I “air cut” a couple of projects just to give the parts (mechanical and electronic) a little work out. It runs so sweet!

I have added a new Proxxon rotary hand tool to my workbench. I have more than I can handle (literally) but there is always room for just one more. This new tool is the Proxxon Micromot 50/E low voltage rotary hand tool. This is the first one of the 12-18 volt tools I have tried and I am amazed!

I already have and operate the Proxxon IB/E professional 120 Volt rotary tool. It is wonderful and definitely exceeds my two Dremel rotary tools in quality.

The 50/E is about ½ the size and power of the IB/E but is every bit as good. It is lighter, smaller and easier to hold for long periods of detail rotary work. I think I will prefer using… Continue reading

NOTE: Log in is for admin and members only, not required to post comments.