Good lathe

brilliance

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What would be a good accurate lathe for a cuemaker?

I am planing to try to make cues and I need some advices..

Any tips for beginner are welcome :)
 

GBCues

Damn, still .002 TIR!
Gold Member
Silver Member
I would suggest you search here and in the Cue Machinery forum for "lathe". This question gets asked in both forums 2-3 times per week. You'll get a lot more information that way.
Good luck
 

whammo57

Kim Walker
Silver Member
get a Hightower Deluxe........ it does it all........... plug it in and build cues............. if you get a big iron lathe you still need to add taper bars and a rear chuck........

Kim
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
12x36 or 13x40 with a 1.5" bore or bigger.
Get one with a oil bath gear system, so you don't have to mess around with swapping out gears to get the right thread pitch.
These discussions pop up from time to time and you will find lots of makers recomending the lathes from unique, Chris Hightower or Todd and they can indeed work fine for cue building, but it's no metal lathe.
If you have the space, a proper metal lathe is the way to go.
 
Last edited:

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am planing to try to make cues...

:wink: That's actually what i use - a planer.

I like Joey's Eisen, didn't even know they made less expensive lathes. They used to be one of the Hardinge clone makers, and had a good rep - if you couldn't quite afford Hardinge when they were still being made. As was mentioned, there's a big difference in made in China vs made in Taiwan. Taiwan can still make some junk, but they tend to produce machine tools about competitive with Japan. That said, again, that specific lathe is news to me, so have no personal experience.

smt
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Obviously a cuemaker needs a lathe, or more than one. But for making cones and profiling, it has always puzzled me that AFAIK, none uses a linear profiler, which is designed to do that type work. Maybe they've all gone to the scrapyard since furniture plants moved to cnc, or moved offshore. But i saw a couple advertised cheap in the past few months. Then again i guess cue-makers are all going cnc, too.

smt
 

cueman

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Obviously a cuemaker needs a lathe, or more than one. But for making cones and profiling, it has always puzzled me that AFAIK, none uses a linear profiler, which is designed to do that type work. Maybe they've all gone to the scrapyard since furniture plants moved to cnc, or moved offshore. But i saw a couple advertised cheap in the past few months. Then again i guess cue-makers are all going cnc, too.

smt

Just for educational purposes can you post a link to pictures of the type machine you are talking about.
 

JoeyInCali

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Obviously a cuemaker needs a lathe, or more than one. But for making cones and profiling, it has always puzzled me that AFAIK, none uses a linear profiler, which is designed to do that type work. Maybe they've all gone to the scrapyard since furniture plants moved to cnc, or moved offshore. But i saw a couple advertised cheap in the past few months. Then again i guess cue-makers are all going cnc, too.

smt
http://www.dzcues.com/images/taper-attachment/taper15.jpg
Like that one.
Should work well for butts. Even compound linear tapers or dual-taper. Just gotta mark the spot for the offset.
Won't work with compound taper or for parabolic taper shafts or butts.

I still use a manual one with 3 shaft grooves and butt groove but can be offset.
Will not trade it for a cnc .
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The old linear profilers were a pretty crude concept, but so darn solidly built that they worked quite well and fast for heavy cuts in furniture rails and such, so would seem to be adaptable to light cuts on cues for any taper desired.

"profile shaper" seems to be the preferred description, I learned the other term long ago from an old machinery dealer

Basically a carriage that traveled lengthwise past a shaper spindle, with a top platform pivoted at one end, and either spring/air/hydraulic loaded against a collar at the shaper spindle. The top platform had provision for a pattern ("taper bar) to ride the collar. So as the carriage was automatically cycled past the shaper cutter, the blank moved in and out against the collar to according to the installed pattern (or taper bar). Feed is variable, a saw blade could be mounted on the spindle, or for furniture, shaper cutters.

Alternately, the T-slot table travels in a straight line with a pattern on one edge, and the spindle assembly pivots & is spring loaded to maintain contact with the pattern, and cuts to mirror the pattern as it goes, this seems to be more common for modern and for 2 sided machines.

http://www.irsauctions.com/popups/hirespics/?pict=389295A&lot=389295&letter=A&auc=

http://www.vintagemachinery.org/pubs/610/5100.pdf

When i started to make cues as a hobby again I set my planer up on the same principle as a profile shaper & contrived a router head in the tool slide. The platform under the powered center-set swivels on a stripper bolt at the far end, and is spring loaded to bear against a large radius (for low wear) follower bolted to the left planer column. As the table traverses, the waxed microlam plywood pattern on the edge controls the cut on the shaft.

Of course the pattern can be modified by the height of the cutter, and whether the centers are parallel in height, or shimmed to be different. As an extreme example, a hyperbolic curve can be generated on the shaft by raising the tip end, and skewing the centers to the line of travel, while just running the table in a straight line with no pattern or induced swivel motion.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_0005.jpg
    DSC_0005.jpg
    124.8 KB · Views: 273
  • DSC_0010.jpg
    DSC_0010.jpg
    145.3 KB · Views: 264
  • DSC_0013.jpg
    DSC_0013.jpg
    176.3 KB · Views: 264
Last edited:

Keith E.

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The old linear profilers were a pretty crude concept, but so darn solidly built that they worked quite well and fast for heavy cuts in furniture rails and such, so would seem to be adaptable to light cuts on cues for any taper desired.

"profile shaper" seems to be the preferred description, I learned the other term long ago from an old machinery dealer

Basically a carriage that traveled lengthwise past a shaper spindle, with a top platform pivoted at one end, and either spring/air/hydraulic loaded against a collar at the shaper spindle. The top platform had provision for a pattern ("taper bar) to ride the collar. So as the carriage was automatically cycled past the shaper cutter, the blank moved in and out against the collar to according to the installed pattern (or taper bar). Feed is variable, a saw blade could be mounted on the spindle, or for furniture, shaper cutters.

Alternately, the T-slot table travels in a straight line with a pattern on one edge, and the spindle assembly pivots & is spring loaded to maintain contact with the pattern, and cuts to mirror the pattern as it goes, this seems to be more common for modern and for 2 sided machines.

http://www.irsauctions.com/popups/hirespics/?pict=389295A&lot=389295&letter=A&auc=

http://www.vintagemachinery.org/pubs/610/5100.pdf

When i started to make cues as a hobby again I set my planer up on the same principle as a profile shaper & contrived a router head in the tool slide. The platform under the powered center-set swivels on a stripper bolt at the far end, and is spring loaded to bear against a large radius (for low wear) follower bolted to the left planer column. As the table traverses, the waxed microlam plywood pattern on the edge controls the cut on the shaft.

Of course the pattern can be modified by the height of the cutter, and whether the centers are parallel in height, or shimmed to be different. As an extreme example, a hyperbolic curve can be generated on the shaft by raising the tip end, and skewing the centers to the line of travel, while just running the table in a straight line with no pattern or induced swivel motion.



Ssonerai,

It is my understanding that you need to be very careful, dust-wise, when working with purpleheart wood as shown in your pic. Nice setup BTW.

Keith
 

WilleeCue

The Barefoot Cuemaker
Silver Member
My best advice to you is the FIRST thing you need to purchase is Chris Hightower's book on cue making. Then read it cover to cover.
You will then have enough knowledge to make a very educated choice of equipment.
His book will let you know what you are getting into and take you thru building a cue step by step discussing the wood and the tools needed to shape it.

If you ask me what lathe to buy for a novice cue maker then I would say Chris Hightowers lathes are the best value around.
Which one ??? that is why you read his book!

Word of advice here: The lathe is just the down payment on the stuff you will need to buy to complete that first cue. No single machine will be the best choice for all the operations needed to make one.
For cutting shafts and tapering the butts a CNC machine is top dog in that show.
The Unique TaperShaper machine is a close second and a very good machine to have in your shop.
A modest cue shop capable of producing high quality cues could consist of a Hightower top tier lathe with all accessory's, a Unique Rage CNC machine, about $1000 worth of assorted tools, and of course the cue making book by Hightower.
 

GBCues

Damn, still .002 TIR!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Ssonerai,

It is my understanding that you need to be very careful, dust-wise, when working with purpleheart wood as shown in your pic. Nice setup BTW.

Keith

Keith
Where did you hear that?
There is nothing especially more hazardous about purple heart than maple or many other woods used in cuemaking. However,some of the oily hardwoods like cocobolo can cause distress for some people. You have to avoid breathing the dust of all woods.
Gary
 
Top