Unimat Lathe Review Guide: Emco, Sherline & Mini Lathes for Sale

The Unimat lathe is a machining lathe for table top use, and is great for various wood and metalworking functions. These lathes are used to work wood or metal into whatever uniform shape you’re trying to attain. It can be used both to drill and cut metal or wood.

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Emco introduced the Unimat lathe in 1954; the Unimat 3 replaced the original in 1976. Parts for the Unimat-3, as well as accessories and manuals, were discontinued when production of this lathe ceased in 1977. The Unimat DB, DB200, SL and SL1000 are the common Unimat lathes to be found on the market now; their parts and accessories are all interchangeable, making for a very convenient ease of conversion between machines. Unimat lathes for sale can be found easily online.

A relatively small machine, the Unimat lathe can fit into the garage of a beginner hobbyist as easily as it will in a professional’s workshop. Its incredible versatility makes the Unimat lathe a must have for both the professional and amateur wood- or metal-smith.  The Unimat performs all the machining functions a machining tool is commonly used for, from drilling to milling to grinding to polishing; the possibilities are virtually endless. Whether you’re into making furniture, jewelry, watches or guns, the Unimat lathe makes your job easier, faster and more precise.

Unimat Lathe Parts and Accessories

There are several different parts and accessories that come with a Unimat lathe, and can be found for sale throughout the internet as well as in stores. Some parts and the specifications thereof for the DB and SL series’ of your Unimat include:

  • Headstock – the headstock rotation of the Unimat Lathe is a convenient 360 degrees. Its spindle bore takes .250 inches and feeds .625 inches.
  • Tool Rest
  • Spindle – has a runout of .0005 inches.
  • Saddle
  • Motor – the motor of this lathe runs at one tenth horsepower.
  • Manual Belt
  • Lead Screw
  • Knob Key
  • Tailstock
  • Bed

The overall dimensions of the DB and SL series’ of the Unimat lathe with all parts is 14 ½ inches by 4 inches by 5 inches, and it has a total weight of 30 pounds. Unimat lathe belts are relatively hard to find, but they can be found for sale on websites such as ebay.com or unimat.homestead.com.

Unimat lathe accessories include such things as a screw cutting tool, the Master Thread Ring (part 1271.) This accessory is positioned behind the chuck and the thread is reproduced on the working piece by means of sliding a cutting tool along the round upper bar. Emco offers a mechanical slow speed kit, which is a bracket that is motor mounted and has an extra pulley; this kit is necessary because cutting screws requires a much slower speed than normally achieved with the Unimat lathe. They also provide an electric speed control for the motor.

A saw bench assembly accommodates blades of reasonable size; a long-bed wood turning kit that contains a drive center and turning tools and bed rails that are extra-long are some more of the convenient accessories the Unimat lathes can use. Parts 1050 and 1311 are a planning attachment and a headstock raiser, respectively. A routing attachment, dividing attachment and collet holder among many others are also among the accessories to be found that make the Unimat lathe such a versatile machining tool; you can order a few extra accessories like 3-jaw self-centering drill type chuck, reverse tool bit, 4-jaw independent chuck, center 6 piece drill set, dial indicator and so many more.

Mini Lathes

Mini lathes are machines that are particularly helpful tools if you are just starting out with your woodworking craft or hobby. It is a very ideal tool for all those who are thinking about creating simple woodworking projects, or those who are training to learn the craft. The spindle acts as the basic center of a mini lathe and comes in non-standard and standard sizes as well as different bed capacities. These are very important factors when determining what size mini lathe you’ll need. Another additional aspect to consider is the adjustable speed offered by mini lathes; if you need to use your mini lathe to sand materials, you’ll need a much higher speed than you would in, for example, carving wood. Different projects require different speeds and sizes in your mini lathe.

Sherline Lathe

Around thirty years ago, when Sherline lathe was first introduced in the market, the use of its extruded and rigid components meant that miniature machine tools no longer were just toys for the production of simple hobby projects. They are now considered as the serious machine tools they are, built especially for producing small, precisely accurate parts. Since their inception, many ways have been found for improving the utility and accuracy of these lathes. The introduction of the CNC machines in the production facility has also highly improved the overall accuracy of the Sherline tools, as seen at http://www.sherline.com/packages.htm.

Sherline lathes perform a variety of tasks whenever they are used with their various available accessories. They will face, bore, turn, drill, polish, ream, cut both metric and inch threads and cut papers. When used with the vertical milling attachment, Sherline lathes can perform such tasks as fly cutting, milling, boring operations and drilling. They offer several lathes to choose from, so that you can purchase the lathe that fits within your needs as well as your budget; these lathes are easily available and come in either millimeter or inch calibrations. A DC motor with high-torque is standard on every machine with the variable speed control. The speed control is equipped internally with a converter which helps in automatic adjustment to the incoming AC current without the loss of torque.

Features of Sherline Lathes

  • Lifetime lubricated bearings of 20mm in the spindle
  • For the enhancement of low speed torque, the two speed belt drive system is available
  • For the maximum accuracy, there are adjustable preloads on spindle bearings
  • All the working parts are precision machined with the instrument quality finishes and are of the metal construction
  • For giving a long lasting accuracy, it comes with completely dovetailed machine slides along with the adjustable tapered gibs
  • Laser engraved handwheels
  • DC powerful Hi-Torque Motor which automatically adapts to almost any current around the world.
  • Electronic speed control which is adjustable from 70 RPM to 2800 RPM. The option for 10,000 RPM is also available
  • All accessories and tools are provided in metric or inch calibrations at the same price
  • Complete, illustrated, detailed instruction for all the accessories and tools.
  • Largest line of accessories by any manufacturer of machine tools, regardless of the size world wide

Other successful and famous models of Sherline lathes include Model 4000(4100), Model 4500 (4530), Model 4400 (4410) and many more.

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Jeremy D

Jeremy is the editor at TopToolTips.com where we're passionate about providing you with the best tips about a DIY and the tools to get it done. There are a lot of questions out there asked about all aspects of this topic and that's where we come in, to answer them quickly and helpfully.

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