The Taig Micro Lathe is a small desktop sized lathe manufactured in the USA. Taig has a home page at:
I choose the Taig lathe because I could buy individual pieces of the lathe as I needed them. I started out with the basic lathe headstock & bed, the cross slide, the milling attachment, and the collet set. I bought a 1/4 HP motor at the local Grainger store, and I bought the tailstock, and larger four jaw chuck at a later date. This piecemeal approach enabled me to get a taste of precision machining with minimal investment. The Taig works better than I ever imagined, and it is a very nice machine.
I bought my Taig lathe from Nick Carter. Nick is an authorized Taig dealer and has an extensive web site devoted to the Taig lathe. Nick also offers a discount for Internet orders and is extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
Nick's Taig pages:
Machining With the Taig Lathe
Hard at Work!
Miniature lathe tools I made for cutting bearings & axle holes
The top tool measures .06" wide at the tip and is used to cut center section of the round bearings. The bottom tool is a boring bar used to bore out the inside diameter of bearings and axle holes. The diameter of the axle is only .1575", so I had to grind a verrrry small boring bar to fit inside.
I started out using carbide lathe tools before I got the Taig lathe because they were:
a) pre-ground and sharpened
b) relatively cheap & available
c) I didn't know any better!
I was fortunate to have been able to visit the Taig factory, and while I was there the owner suggested that I use high speed steel tools for turning brass instead of carbide tools. Naturally he was right, and I am glad I took his advice. I bought some used high speed steel tools, a bench grinder, and learned how to grind tools. A new carbide tool can cut very nice, but the slightest chip on the cutting edge causes problems. I bought a half dozen used high speed steel tools at the local used tool store for $1 each. All of the used tools had different shaped tips on each end, so I wound up with 12 tools for $6. The used tools were a great "teaching aid", because I could just re-sharpen them until I got the hang of what shapes worked best for my Taig & the different raw materials. Brass cuts a lot different from steel, and aluminum is quite bizarre. A freshly sharpened high speed steel tool cuts brass like a hot knife through butter, and they are very easy to grind & re-sharpen.
A good tutorial on lathe tool sharpening was written by the folks at Sherline (another small lathe manufacturer) and can be read on line or downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat pdf file. Between reading (and re-reading) the Sherline tutorial and practicing on my used tools I finally figured out the grinding angles that work best for me. Tiny parts require tiny tools!
Sherline sharpening tutorial HTML version:
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Last update Jan 3, 2002