Compact Machining Systems

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My last article in Modern Microscopy mentioned that I was planning to use the adjustable thread lead attachment to make metric threading patterns for my much modified Unimat DB/SL lathe. This follow-up article shows the making of these patterns. First I wish to give some additional background information.

I purchased a Unimat DB/SL miniature, multipurpose machine tool system in 1965 shortly after graduating from Northwestern University where I had been an undergraduate research assistent using machine tools in the student shop to make instruments for materials research. This Austrian made machine tool was the first of its type and very popular at the time, especially because it was affordable for homme hobby users like myself.

I soon modified my Unimat after rigidity and accuracy limitations were discovered. Others had discovered the same issues with the Unimat DB/SL. The competing Sherline lathe came on the in USA market in the mid 1970’s to compete as a far more rigid and accurate machining system. The Sherline lathe can cut all the standard, fine metric thread pitches. EMCO, maker of the Unimat, responded in the late 1970’s with a vastly improved Unimat 3 design.

Subsequently the Unimat 3 was replaced with an asian-made Unimat 4. Subsequent versions of the Unimat 4 are available from many sources, such as MicroMark. About 6 years ago I started designing and making a compact machining system built on a cast iron surface plate. This system is shown in some of the photographs which show making the 0.35, 0.40, 0.45, and 0.60 mm thread pitch patterns unavailable for the Unimat DB/SL. Further design details of this system are shown in my Photobucket album.

Click on any image to view a gallery of full-sized photos. 


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