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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Test chips with the C4 lathe

Two words: Eye protection. Really, this thing makes chips fast and not just bogging sounds like the old C2 lathe I had. Here is a nice comparison photo of the old C2 lathe that I had and the new C4 lathe that I now have, both mounted on the same table in both pictures. Have to find a place or build a stand for the drill press, as it is a good thing to have when the mill is reserved.

I whipped up a quick test to see how much better this new C4 lathe is compared to the C2 that I previously owned. I found a piece of steel scrap from my material box that measured about 60 mm in diameter. The only tool that I had ready for this test was an old but sharp HSS turning tool measuring 7.5 x 7.5 mm, so I had to shim it up 2.5 mm to get to about center height.

I used an RPM of 150 which means about 28 m/min surface speed. The recommended speed for HSS in steel is about 25-30 and with coolant, but I did this test dry. I touched the workpiece and dialed a depth of cut of 1 mm and engaged longitudal feed. The feed was 0.15 mm per revolution, so something between a roughing and finishing cut.

As the tool came to contact with the steel bar I could hear a small bogging sound in the RPM but at the same instance the motor grunted more power and chips started to fly around. Hot blue chips on to the table, the floor, over me and that was the point I withdrew the cross slide and cut off the feed.! On the old C2 lathe steel would have been a problem and basically anything with a 60 mm diameter, but this machine barely noticed that there was something in the way of the cutting tool.

The other test I conducted was a drilling test to see how big drill bit can be used safely in to solid steel workpiece. The tailstock has a #2 Morse taper and biggest drill I know for that size is 24 mm in diameter, so I used that size drill bit. The tailstock ram is better than in the old C2 lathe as it can hold a Morse taper with the tang in place. But there is no slot in the end of the ram for the tang to go in to, so there is a risk that a little bit loose tool can turn in the taper.

I set the RPM to 350 to provide about 28 m/min cutting speed and I had no pilot hole in the test piece. The tailstock tended to come loose from the lever lock but when I kept it in place the drill went in nicely and the machine power was more than adequate to drill the hole.

After drilling I noticed that the tailstock ram was a little bit stiff and revealed that the small M6 grub screw that acted as a "key" was a little bit bent. No wonder under that load, but have to put a new screw in there.

I can't wait to get my new Multifix Aa type quick change tool post and to modify the DNMG carbide insert holder to a 12 x 12 mm size, as it originally is 20 x 20 mm. I already milled and surface ground the height to about 11.90 mm, but the width is still to be done. The turning insert holder cost me 68 EUR plus 36 EUR for 10 pieces of DNMG 110404 inserts. This holder I bought from the German eBay seller cd-tools.

Frank J. Hoose Jr. at did also a nice review of this C4 lathe which you might find interesting.

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