Lathes for < 1" OD parts

  Brooke Clarke 2000 -2007


This was a page I developed when looking for a chucker lathe.  Prior to screw machines, chuckers were the best way of making the same part over and over again.  They have a hollow shaft holding the head stock and it's fitted with a collet system.  The "5C" was the one our shop had at Aertech.  In the shop there was a hand made plywood board about chest high and slopped back so that it was easy to read the printing on the face of all the collets that were held by round holes.  Maybe 50 to 100 collets.  There were stock ones for various diameters of round stock and for common square and hex stock.  In addition a "blank" collet could have a pocket machined into it's face to hold a custom shape. 

Instead of a tail stock there was the chucker turret.  It held a number of tools and every time the lever was cycled back and forth either a new tool would be brought up in line with the collet.  The cross slide was also lever operated.

These typically were used for diameters under 3/8" but I didn't remember the max rod diameter that could be used.

Sequence of operations

The collet was opened by working the left lever. 
A pneumatic ram or spring or manually the long rod stock was feed until it hit the stop on the turret. (this part I'm not clear on).
The collet was closed by working the left lever.
The turret was rotated by working it's lever which would bring up the next tool.  Say it was an end drill.  There would be a way to feed the drill into the work piece and a stop would control how deep it went.  It might be hand fed for a small diameter or lever fed for a bigger drill.
The turret was rotated again to bring up the next tool.  Say it was a tap, the operation would proceed as the prior step.
The turret was rotated again to bring up the next tool.  Say it was to turn a specified diameter.  This could be done be feeding the tool from the end using a lever.
The cross slide might have tools on both the front and rear that could be brought up to a stop with a lever.
The turret was rotated again to bring up the next tool. Say a different diameter was needed closer to the collet.  so the work piece may need to be moved forward so the tool would be a stop in a new location.  The collet lever on the left would be opened and after the work piece moved closed.  The turret cycled and the new cutter used.
The turret was rotated again to bring up the next tool.   Say it was a cutoff tool which could be fed using a lever.

You can see that these are no skill type operations, it's all cycling levers to stops.  The dimensions are controlled by machine setup.  A skilled machinist is not needed.

I don't have a feel how hard the setup is on a chucker compared to a modern CNC type lathe.  So can't comment on their viability today.  But in the days prior to screw machines they were the way to go.

The Enco Turn-Pro Second Operatin lathe looks exactly like the Hardinge chucker.  Better photo in their online catalog page 419.
Vertical Cut-off Slide

567549 Taper-turning machine, A. Petereit, 1896-09-08, - this is a chucker type setup


            HSL Five-Nine Speed Lathe
            1-1/16" bar capacity 5C collet spindle, 3,000-rpm spindle drive, 6" chuck
            capacity, 9" swing. Wide range of attachments and pedestal available.

HLV-H manual toolroom lathe
1-1/16" bar capacity 5C collet spindle, 125 to 3,000-rpm spindle drive, 6"
            chuck capacity, 11" swing, 18" center distance and inch dials. Comes with
            an inch gearbox which allows a thread range of 11 to 108".

Hardinge HC-T Chucker

Hardinge CNC chucker, Bandit II control 8 position turret $5,000


T2 CNC CHUCKER LATHE - only 3/4" hole in spindle




Has the 5-C collets and lever collet closer system.   Didn't check all of them but it looks like they have 5-C collets ready made for round stock in any size up to 1  7/64" in 1/64" steps.


Warner Swasey


New Britain



South Bend - seem expensive

Atlas (Craftsman)

small 3AT colllets not 5C


CQ-1130 - 1.45" spindle bore
GRANITE 1324 -1-1/8" spindle bore $3,295.00 + FLASHCUT - CNC ADD-ON SYSTEM



BDB-1340 BELT DRIVEN BENCH LATHE - 1 3/8" spindle hole
BDB-1340 on Jet web page - 5C lever-type collet closer (321515) - 5C collet set (650014)
Hand Slitting Shears - Could be used for cutting printed circuit boards?

Prazi Masterturn Lathe

SD500 10 x 20" only have .790 spindle hole

Myford - History -

big bore Super 7 does have 1" spindle hole clearance, earlier models did not
Quick-release, lever-operated collet chuck.
Founded Sep 1934.  ML7 introduced in 1946.


Unimat & maximat
Maximat 11 CD - 1.37" spindle hole
Compact 8E - 0.8" spindle hole - no 3/4" collett




798310 Screw-machine, Joseph H Wesson, (bot assigned to smith & Wesson), 1905-08-29, -

Brooke's other Metal Working web pages

12" Bench Top Hand Shear
5C Tool room lathes when working in the Microwave business the shop was full of them
8" Mini Shear Break
Active Storage - shelving and box sizes
Air Tools
Drill Press used with 5C collets
Electric mains power Generators
Farm Hi Lift Jack
Geodesic Dome Connector Plates
Hints & Tips What Goes Wrong
Lathes for < 1" OD parts (5C collets)
Mini Machine Tools (Lathes and Mills) One of my dreams
Fasteners A page made for my own use with dimensions of common fasteners used for product design and for looking at new ideas for products
Measuring Tools Used mainly for reverse engineering
Pocket Tools

  Back to Brooke's home, 8" Mini Shear Break, Mini Machine Tools web page

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