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HomeMini CNC MachineSmall cnc lathe turning steel S1214, drilled with stub drill & bored...

Small cnc lathe turning steel S1214, drilled with stub drill & bored with CCGT carbide insert


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Parts in S1214 Free Machining steel are drilled, with a HSS stub (screw machine) drill then bored out using a Sumitomo FC type CCGT insert and turned with a 35°FC insert before being parted off.
The FC denotes the chipbreaker used, these inserts have a rake of 15° and a ground cutting edge which is very sharp.
Asked to make 800 of these parts, I set it up to use 2 lathes. Both lathes are Hercus PC200 cnc lathes, made in Australia, they are fairly old now. One has analogue electronics and is run by a PC using DOS software. The other has later digital electronics ans is run from a PC using Windows software.
One has less spindle power than the other so it will not make as many parts, but whatever it gets done will be a bonus. The one I expect to complete the most parts is setup with a 5C collet closer, the other uses a 3 jaw chuck. Parts were Zinc plated before delivery to the customer.
To see specs for these lathes go to benchtopcnc.com.au You may also like to visit Hercus Benchtop CNC Users group on Facebook.
A little history of these lathes
Manufactured by Hercus in South Australia, these lathes were sold to many educational facilities and to countries all over the world. They were sold in the USA under the name of Rockford Pro 2000. An industrial version of the PC200 is the Novim, which comes with an industrial enclosure for coolant capture.
The lathes began as a “Computurn” model which used electronics by a company called ANCA. These lathes were stand alone cnc lathes, a small version of what might be found in industry.
These were replaced by lathes which had a Hercus control system and used an interface card in a desktop PC to connect with, and control the lathe.
These lathes used the same castings but their appearance was much changed as they no longer contained all the controls for the lathe. These were now all in the PC, apart from a small Pendant which offered some controls when in Manual mode.
Early PC200 models used a CAD/CAM software that ran in DOS on a PC that had an ISA slot (long discontinued on new PCs) and had analogue electronics. The 8 tool turret option on these lathe was operated by a small motor and gearbox and used shot pins to lock the tool in position.
As PC operating systems were upgraded, Hercus released Windows CAD/CAM software. These machines still ran analogue electronics. The last version of the machine used digital electronics and used 32 bit Windows based CAD/CAM. Both these machines used a turret with a motor and worm and worm wheel drive. Options for all these lathes included a Leader air chuck with no through hole, an air operated collet chuck, a 8 position tool turret, a tailstock, a QC tool post and a coolant pump.



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  1. Really enjoyed watching, I was thinking of selling my lathe and going with a small cnc. I'm 69 and retired and don't need the heavy lifting. I want to stay busy with projects. It would be great to make some money doing so but knowing my situation and health I should be happy just to stay busy. Great videos you put out. Merry Christmas

  2. You have probably heard this one before but if you want to reduce swarf to manageable dimensions get a small drum and make a simple ball mill. Even if you chuck a couple of large river stones in for the ball you will still reduce the swarf to a manageable size.

  3. I used to operate a Britan Repatition lathe 30+ years ago….Face-Drill-Tap-Knurl-Chamfer-Part and repeat… Thumb wheels for Vernier calipers, 2000 off at a time!! almost drove me to drink 🙂

  4. haha i think the swarf problem has not much to do with the material but with the expirience you have working with it. i always hated turning aluminium because of the swarfs and i really like 1214 because it chips really well 🙂 but i guess part of the problem is being underpowered.. if you can push steel harder it also chipps better. cool vid 😉

  5. Questions:
    Do you need to man the two lathes when they were producing parts?
    Do you need to feed the stock when a part is finished?
    How long did it take?
    (Sorry in advance if I ask any dumb questions!)

  6. People asking how you kept from getting bored. After each one gets finished you go Cha Ching he made money on each one being finished. Probably anywhere from 2 to 5 dollars profit from each one.

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