Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Update on the Progress of the Lathe Project

I have been quite busy with other stuff lately so I haven't really spent as much time as I would have liked on learning to use the lathe.  But, so far, I have done a few small projects, mostly with positive results.  Now that I know what the lathe can do for me, it would be hard to live without one.  It is, of course, not without lots of frustration.  The learning curve is steep, especially since I had no prior experience with a lathe.  Below is a very condensed summary:
  • The 1/4 horsepower motor is not powerful enough to do quick, smooth deep cuts.  It often stalls when making what I consider reasonable thickness of cuts.  Boring a larger hole or making a parting cut could take a long time and this simply drives me crazy.  I have to remind myself that the Taig Micro Lathe was designed to make small parts and I need to be patient.
  • The lack of thread cutting capability as a default feature on this lathe is now a small annoyance.  I actually have a need to cut threads, and it's more often than I originally thought I would need.  Outfitting the Taig Micro Lathe II with thread cutting feature would mean an expensive upgrade (for me).
  • The small size of the lathe is one of the best features.  It sits on a small desk with space to spare.  That, alas, is something of an Achilles heel.  This means working with anything larger 3 inches in diameter is difficult.  Also see point #1.
  • It's hard to describe the feeling when a project is completed.  It's a feeling that should be experienced.  A sense of purpose, accomplishment, and the whole process was therapeutic. 
So far, I have used the lathe to help convert a few lenses to work on Sony E-Mount, from very simple turning of the lens barrel to actually making parts.  The pictures below shows few of the lenses I have done.  One thing I have learned, is that drilling and tapping small holes and making them aligned perfectly is no easy task without proper tools.

Three Amigos - Konica 45mm f1.8, Argus Cintagon II 48mm f2, and Minolta Rokkor-PF 45mm f2.  The Konica and Minolta lenses share the same 12-17mm focus helicoid for focus.  Both uses an M42 mount I savaged from old lenses to mount to the helicoid.  If I could cut threads, I would have no need to use old parts, because eventually, I will run out of them.  The Cintagon II modification is only partially successful.  It works, but not well.  You can see extra holes on the part that I made.  Those are mistakes :) I think I will get rid of its original focus mechanism and use a helicoid for focus instead, or converted to L39 or M mount.

In all, I really enjoy using the lathe to make lenses work better on my camera.  Hopefully my skills on using it will improve and the conversions will look and work better in the future.

Bokeh - Minolta Rokkor-PF 45mm f2 (from the AL rangefinder) & Sony A7.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Yu-Lin, I have been checking out your work for a while, I am also in Toronto and I also have G.A.S. lol, I just realize that you got your own lathe and mounting lenses by yourself. I am really interested to see how it works, also I have a lot of old rangefinder camera which doesn't work but their lenses are still good, also own a lot which still work but I am not using them.... Do you mind if we can exchange emails, so I can send you some photos and see if you can mount those lenses for me and how much you will charge? Or I can sell them to you cheap like 15-20 dollars each so you keep it? I just don't want them to sit there not using them. If you don't mind, lets talk and work it out! ( Of cause I hope you will at least do couple for My email is