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JBerry

Star Lathe 61626, worth it?

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Hey guys,

Today I have an opportunity to pick up this lathe for a pretty reasonable price locally (€300).

I have no experience with a lathe and this could be my first.

From the pictures is there anything noteworthy missing or damaged?

Anything specific I should check when viewing it?

Thanks so much in advance!

1 Star Lathe.JPG

2 Star Lathe.JPG

3 Star Lathe.JPG

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Looks complete. You will need a motor to run it. Check the lathe bed and make sure it is smooth with no marks in it. Ask what type of work has been undertaken. how old is it? Make sure the collets are in good shape and not strained, out of shape collets are no good.  A fair price I would say. 

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4 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

Looks complete. You will need a motor to run it. Check the lathe bed and make sure it is smooth with no marks in it. Ask what type of work has been undertaken. how old is it? Make sure the collets are in good shape and not strained, out of shape collets are no good.  A fair price I would say. 

Thanks very much OH! I'll be sure to ask how old it is before viewing, and check what you mentioned when I see it.

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excessive clearance in the head stock (wobble) is the bigest problem in any lathe. if thats good -- go for it.  vin
Thanks Vin. Going to look at it in a couple of hours. Fingers crossed

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excessive clearance in the head stock (wobble) is the bigest problem in any lathe. if thats good -- go for it.  vin
If there is any wobble, is it possible to fit new bearings to the headstock?

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If there is any wobble, is it possible to fit new bearings to the headstock?

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These lathes use double tapered hardened steel sleeve bearings that interact directly with corresponding tapers on the spindle. They're theoretically replaceable but practically next to impossible. They can be re-lapped to a certain degree if necessary.

They are incredibly tough and long-lived, and require very excessive abuse over a long time to become noticeably worn. That lathe looks great, great price, and older is better overall when it comes to this type of machine.

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2 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

These lathes use double tapered hardened steel sleeve bearings that interact directly with corresponding tapers on the spindle.

I agree with your remarks.  Offhand I can't think if a more difficult thing to make, to get a taper to mate is almost trivial in comparison to getting the two tapers perfectly mated, and with very fine finish they have to have.   There were lots of lathe makers so many figured it out; It would be great one day get a detailed account or discussion with someone who made these.  There are just a lot of head scratching challenges to machining, grind and lapping that geometry for a perfect fit..

The good news is for probably the 1 1/2 dozen or so I've had apart I've only once seen this form of bearing in poor condition (a Schaublin 70 let run without oil.  sad.  Its on the shelf until I figure out how to remake the bearings).  It was obvious turning it over by hand that there was a serious problem. 

These are hydrodynamic bearing and what happens is the shaft runs on a thin wedge of oil.  There should never be metal to metal contact so they should last forever in theory, which based on the number of 100+ year old ones I've seen, they do.  Good news indeed.  Let them run out of oil though....shame on you.  On that note, regarding care of them,  remove the tension on the belt when not in use and before use, after oiling, turn the spindle over by hand a few times to make sure there is oil all around the bearing.  Let it warm up at slow speeds for a bit (i usually ad oil at that point) rather than turning it on and going pedal to the metal

With bearings in good shape I think that is an excellent deal.  I just sold a Star like that.  It also had the 5 step collets and motor and sold for $1100 Cdn.  I believe that lathe is still offered about 10x that asking price

 

Edited by measuretwice

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Thanks for all the replies folks! I picked it up and it's in remarkable condition, no play at all or even marks on the lathe. Collets are in good shape too. It belonged to a now deceased watchmaker who worked for Girard-Perregaux and then taught at the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology where he first studied. Pretty sure he purchased it when he started studying, around the early 60s I think.
I also picked up a nice assortment of Gravers and two almost complete incabloc part assortments.

Also, does anyone have any idea what the part being held up in the photo is? 3399c154d5794aee56556fc9606ec607.jpg8f959769958d2f612615a1b000b7e712.jpgbcf17f64c73867cb1b0307cd6d9b232b.jpg73cc66d9822e4beb6d67ed4da62196a6.jpg

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Bergeon 30421 are escapement files

The two boxes are the complete Incabloc system pieces split up in there boxes they come with a chart which you use as a reference when it comes to replacing the parts. I know this because I had the identical boxes.

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22 hours ago, JBerry said:

If there is any wobble, is it possible to fit new bearings to the headstock?

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   YES.   thats what we are here for,  best to check it,  save the repair work.   vin

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18 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

These lathes use double tapered hardened steel sleeve bearings that interact directly with corresponding tapers on the spindle. They're theoretically replaceable but practically next to impossible. They can be re-lapped to a certain degree if necessary.

They are incredibly tough and long-lived, and require very excessive abuse over a long time to become noticeably worn. That lathe looks great, great price, and older is better overall when it comes to this type of machine.

    if it is from a Wet climate, may be rusty in side, that is hard to repair.  vin

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    if it is from a Wet climate, may be rusty in side, that is hard to repair.  vin
If it somehow rusted inside the spindle to bearing area, where there is almost 99.99% chance of there being at least oil residue, while remaining pristine looking everywhere else, that'd be odd. But the contact area of these bearings is so massive relative to the actual size of the machine I'd be surprized that just cleaning off the rust wouldn't get it back in service true as can be.

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Thanks for all the advice guys! One more question, anyone have a good beginners lathe book recommendation? Watchmaker's and model engineers lathe by Donald Lecarle seems popular and easy to source

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16 minutes ago, vinn3 said:

  good show ! have fun !   ( ps - i make replaceable vise jaws out  of copper -plate or stock )  vin

  Star machine co.,  still makeing lathes  and CNC equ.,  50 + yrs. in Utah, USA.

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I don't recall what's in there but DeCarle is normally a good source of info. Jendritzky's book is pretty good, I haven't seen it yet but Archie Perkins is a sort of lathe guru so I'd recommend his book without hesitation. I haven't seen any youtube videos that show actual good technique, most are pretty hackish. AWCI has some good videos from Ron DeCorte.

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1 hour ago, vinn3 said:

  Star machine co.,  still makeing lathes  and CNC equ.,  50 + yrs. in Utah, USA.

Where did see that Star in Utah makes lathes or CNC?   The look like a foundry and jobbing machine shop.  Star watchmaker lathes and tools are from Switzerland.

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1 hour ago, JBerry said:

Watchmaker's and model engineers lathe by Donald Lecarle seems popular and easy to source

Its a bit of a disappointing book actually it's mainly just a list of old lathes from various manufacturers and their specifications, but doesn't explain much in the way of using a lathe any other De Carle book I would rate but not that one, there's is plenty on youtube to watch about watchmakers lathes.

Edited by wls1971

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Its a bit of a disappointing book actually it's mainly just a list of old lathes from various manufacturers and their specifications, but doesn't explain much in the way of using a lathe any other De Carle book I would rate but not that one, there's is plenty on youtube to watch about watchmakers lathes.
That's a shame, thanks for the heads up though!

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Star CNC/automatic lathes are Japanese. Slightly confusing as they make a "Swiss" type lathe, which is a type of lathe where the material moves back and forth within the headstock and the tools are stationary with regards to the axis of the work (they move radially).

Star watchmaking tools are made in the mountains next to Neuchatel.

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 8:53 AM, measuretwice said:

Where did see that Star in Utah makes lathes or CNC?   The look like a foundry and jobbing machine shop.  Star watchmaker lathes and tools are from Switzerland.

   i have seen a lot of big lathes marked "star".    they would buy lathes,  rebuild and sell them - often to the same outfit they got it from.  the shop i was in also rebuilt lathes and milling machines.  maybe jewlers lathes,  maybe not.  the instrument shop used jewelers  lathes. so.  that is where i saw Star lathes.  vin

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34 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Star watchmaking tools are made in the mountains next to Neuchatel.

I've been to Neuchatel, such a beautiful part of the world.  One of my kids did a year of high school there.

Anyway, my question.  I gather Star lathes are still made, but boy, are they ever trying to keep it a secret!  Cousins list one package.  Tony's site says the manufacturer is " A. Gentil & Company of La Brevine, Switzerland".   I can't find anything with internet searches.  A bit academic as I don't have a Star now, but you'd think they'd make themselves known - how does one contact them for accessories, parts or a whole boxed lathe? 

 

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