Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Unimat Lathe info


#1

Do any members have any experience or on the Unimat
lathe which Rio has featured in its recent catalogue? Is this a
fairly versatile unit in the expereience of members? Thanks, MDR


#2

Marty - I have one of the older style Unimat lathes. I would
only recommend it for turning wax, and plastic and very small
scale metal pieces. Steve

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA
mailto:@Steven_Brixner4
http://home.att.net/~brixner


#3

Hi, the unimat 3 lathe is a small versatile lathe that has a
tremendous amount of flexibility similar to a sherline lathe .
attachments can be bought to make it into a mini milling machine
as well. My preference is the EMCO 5 lathe which is somewhat
larger and made by the same company.

Daniel Grandi
Visit the work shop http://racecarjewelry.com/page03.html


#4

Hi Marty

Where I took a silversmithing course a few years ago they had a
Unimat and also a lathe with an 4" swing that came from Taiwan.

Having once worked in a machine shop when I was a young man I
will give you my opinion. The Unimat I thought more cute than
useful for all but the lightest work and for the money one could
buy a bench lathe, say an American made “South Bend” for the same
money or even less in the case of a used one and get a whack of
accessories to boot and have something that will work for a
lifetime.

True the Unimat will take up less room but I have never seen or
heard of a machinist owning one. The Taiwan lathe while crude
looking was capable of repeated tapered turning of ring mandrels
to within .001" (one thousand of an inch). Pretty good I’d say.

…Leo Doucet…Fredericton, NB…Canada…


#5

Do any members have any experience or on the Unimat
lathe which Rio has featured in its recent catalogue? Is this a
fairly versatile unit in the expereience of members?

If the lathe that you are refering to is the Unimat 1, it is
very limited.

I have a unimat 3, which is probably identical to the Unimat 4,
imported by Blue Ridge Machinery Co. From the standpoint of
future usefulness, available accessories, and flexibility in a
small lathe and milling system, however, you may want to look at
the Sherline lathes. While the Unimat has served me well, the
accessories are much more expensive than Sherline, and nothing
has been added to the line in the last 15 years or longer.

On the other hand, Sherline continues to expand the range of
tooling and accessories, and Joe Martin’s book, Table Top
Machining, is an excellent reference and details the history of
a small manufacturer as well. If you are looking for a tiny,
cheap lathe, Clisby, http://www.clisby.com.au/ who designed the
Sherline, offers a new product. You might also want to consider
the Taig- Frei and Borel sells it.

Rick Hamilton


#6

I am not completly familiar with the unimat that rio is
offering. however unimat makes pretty good stuff, but I
personally would go with one of Sherlines products,and I
wouldn’t get it from RIO. There are many publications dealing
with machining that could provide a supplier

Cyrus


#7

Marty, I wouldn’t waste the money. It’s a toy, and not a very
good toy at that. I thought I could find a use for one and tried
it out, then sent it back. It may work all right on balsa wood or
maybe even wax, but I don’t think so. The whole thing is made of
plastic, even the collets. I’ve never used one, but the Sherline
looks like a better bet. You can buy the lathe plus a milling
attachment from Gesswein. If you really want to try the Unimat,
don’t buy it from Rio - you can easily buy one for $299.

Brett
Freedom Design & Contracting


#8

If i’m not too out of date with my catalog, you can buy a Unimat
for about $225 at American Science and Surplus. They’ve also got
diamond cut-off wheels at a rather lower $ than most jewelers’
catalogs. You can also try them online at www.sciplus.com
…Surplus can be soooo entertaining!


#9

Marty, I wouldn’t waste the money. It’s a toy, and not a very
good toy at that. etc…

Please permit me to disagree with you concerning the unimat
lathe. Two years ago a customer paid us with a complete unimat
system which, to our surprise has permitted us to fabricate many
items which were extremely long or impossible to do by hand. We
machine mostly brass and silver but also tool steel. It is in
no way a production tool however it is well suited to the scale
normally used in a jewelry making facility. We do not consider
ourselves machinist, and still leave complicated and larger work
to the pros’. It has permitted to fabricate tools and jigs so
easily and quickly that it has even changed the way we design
certain items. With a little care, most metals used in the shop
are easily machined to tolerances which are totally acceptable (
0,05 mm). I believe that any metal lathe is better than turning
freehand on a flexshaft . The only regret is that it took us
thirty years before discovering this tool. A. MacKenzie


#10

I wonder if you are confusing lathes, Unimat mke several
different models rangeing from a recent plastic one through two
or three models more akin to watchmakers or model engineers
lathes. they go back about 30 years and I think originally were
German. The old ones have quite a lot of attachments ie dividing
head, milling cutter etc Tim.


#11

You probably are refering to different lathes. The unimat 1 is a
mostly plastic “toy” lathe, the early unimats included the
SL1000, Unimats 3, 5, 8 and 11 if I recall correctly, in
increasing order of size- cast metal parts and very practical for
machining parts within their scope of size. The original post
asked about the unimat 1. Clisby in Australia offers what is
probably the most useful tiny lathe- 11 inches long overall at
$129 US. You do need to provide a 12 volt power supply for it,
however. He offers it in both a metal and wood (wax) turning
format, and is making a few accessories. Clisby designed the
original Sherline lathe.

Rick Hamilton


#12
With a little care, most metals used in the shop  are easily
machined to tolerances which are totally acceptable (0,05 mm). 

I’d be surprised if we are talking about the same machine. Marty
was asking about the Unimat-3, I think you must have an older
different unit. Unimat used to (still do?) make a SL-1000 that
sounds like it would be a good machine - all steel, real motor,
real vises, ect. I’ve also heard about but never seen DB-200,
and Maximat V10. If you can machine metals to 0.05mm with the
plastic Unimat-3, you have my admiration. If it’s not the
Unimat-3 let me know what model it is so I can buy one if I come
across one.