Mini-Lathe Modifications and Tooling

My mini-lathe is the Axminster Sieg SC2. It is made by Sieg Industries and is a 7x12 lathe. I bought the lathe in December 2011 (just before Axminster put the prices up by 20% - phew!) and this was my first experience of metalworking.

In general, I've been really happy with the mini-lathe. I've had a few minor problems though:

  • The main control circuit failed after about 3 months; Axminster replaced this under warranty (very quickly) and I've had no problems since, but it did worry me a little.
  • One of the saddle shear plates (that prevent the saddle from lifting from the bed) broke. A friend had a stash of some appropriately sized gauge plate (which is stronger than the cast iron that the original was made from), so I used the original as a template and made two new plates with the pillar drill.
  • The leadscrew support arm that fits inside the apron and prevents the leadscrew from binding when the half-nut is engaged snapped into two pieces. I ordered a new one from Axminster, but they had none in stock so had to get them from China. This took a while, but I was able to make a new one (albeit slightly bigger so I had to remove the leadscrew cover) to tide me over until the new one arrived.

Generally, I find the lathe very good, although I've made quite a few modifications to the mini-lathe to make it easier to use and more capable. If I were starting from scratch, I would consider the most important jobs to do to would be to add a tailstock cam-lock and a leadscrew handwheel. The QCTP would probably follow fairly swiftly on, but you can certainly get by with the four-way toolpost that comes as standard.

Mini-Lathe Pages

  1. Tailstock Mods: a selection of modifications to the lathe tailstock.
  2. Swarf Shield: a simple shield to protect the carriage gears from swarf.
  3. Leadscrew Handwheel: accurate control of the carriage position.
  4. Dividing/Back-Stop/Spindle-Crank: a simple toolkit that is a dividing head, back-stop and spindle crank all in one.
  5. Spring Centre: a simple tool for aligning taps.
  6. Small Modifications: some very simple lathe modifications.
  7. New Handwheels: to make the machine feel much nicer to use.
  8. Tool Post Drill: for cross-drilling while dividing.
  9. Tool Stands: simple storage for taper tooling.
  10. Thread Alignment: 3D printed gauges for aligning the top-slide for threading.
  11. Simple Milling: centre-height milling on the lathe without using the z-axis.
  12. QCTP: a very simple but very robust quick-change toolpost for the mini-lathe.
  13. Dial Gauge Mount: a neat little multi-use holder for a dial-gauge.
  14. Lantern Chuck: for turning small screws.
  15. Tangential Toolholder: the best turning tool there is!
  16. Threading Banjo: an easy way to set-up gears for screw-cutting.
  17. Dog Clutch: threading made easy.
  18. QCTP Mk2: a new and improved quick change tool holder.
  19. Tangential Toolholder Mk2: an even better turning tool holder!
  20. Tool Holder Storage: handy storage for tool holders.
  21. Chuck Spiders: 3D printed chuck spiders.

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