Introduced in 1976 to replace the by then long-in-the-tooth Unimat SL1000/DB200, the 1.79" centre height by 7.8" between centres (46 mm x 200 mm) Unimat 3 had 8 spindle speeds of 130, 200, 350, 560, 920, 1500, 2450 and 4000 rpm. The headstock spindle was bored through a generous 0.4" (10.2 mm) and carried a nose thread of M14 (similar to DIN 800) while the standard 3-jaw chuck could accept material up to 0.866" in diameter (22 mm) in the inside jaws - and up to 1.968" (50 mm in the outside jaws. The tailstock barrel had a travel of 0.9" (23 mm), but did not have a taper - instead it carried a replica of the headstock spindle thread. The motor was a two-speed 95W unit some of which were continuously rated while others, depending upon the year of manufacture and the particular market, had a time limit on their operation of between 20 and 30 minutes.
An optional and very useful milling and drilling head was made (which could also be attached to an independent compound table to make a stand-alone milling machine) as well as a very large range of other accessories was originally offered by the makers (but not as large as that supplied for the earlier DB200/SL1000) - but the choice was truncated in later years to become but a fraction of those originally listed.
Built in Austria the Unimat 3 was very-well made and became enormously popular; when equipped with a range of accessories (and if in good condition) it remains an excellent machine for smaller modelling and experimental jobs and will accomplish in miniature what many larger machines are capable of. In the hands of a sympathetic owners - who is careful not to over-work it, it should provide endless fascination and enormous satisfaction.
After the lathe went out of production in early 1990 there was a gap until its reintroduction in 1996 as the Taiwanese-built Unimat 4. Unfortunately this lathe (painted all grey) had no provision to mount a vertical column on the rear of the bed and both its accuracy, and the fit and finish of the major components, was the subject of complaints. However, the present UK retailers now tell me that they are very confident indeed about much-improved quality control and sell several hundred examples each year to satisfied customers. The very low price, together with the chance of saving even more by picking up used accessories from older Unimat 3s, makes this little lathe something of a bargain platform on which to base a comprehensive miniature machining centre. The Taiwanese "clones" of the Unimat 4 are all made in the same factory but given different labels for the numerous export markets; some machines are virtually identical whist others have slight modifications - presumably to comply with the regulations of different countries or to meet the specification of a particular distributor. Despite the different brand labels the clones invariably carry the model numbers MJ-189 (motor under the lathe) , MJ-189A or Combi-218 - the latter seeming to be the most sophisticated of the breed with the same bed, but taller bed feet and a modified headstock casting that can carry a Drilling/Milling unit powered from the spindle motor. It uses changewheels for threading, with an English range of 12 to 48 t.p.i and a metric of 0.2 to 1.75 mm pitch and mounts a more powerful, two-speed continuously-rated 300W motor that gives a spindle-speed range of 170 - 3400 RPM. The other MJ-189 versions now have the same speed range as the Unimat 3 (130 - 4000 RPM) but are fitted with a two-speed, permanent-magnet motor (65/95W) rated for continuous operation. Other improvements include the Vertical Drilling/Milling Column with a Compact 5 style casting at the column base retained by four bolts that screw into a flat, reinforced section of the lathe bed - the original Unimat 3 column fitted into a simple V-shaped casting and was retained by two bolts passing through the column. It is not thought that the Unimat 4 milling post can be fitted to a Unimat 3 bed.
In Taiwan the Full Sun Machinery Company, Posei Tech Industries & New Poseidon are the same group (or company) formerly known as the Taiwan Fo Sun Machinery Corporation. & Taiwan Fu San Machinery Works. They manufacture lathes and other machine tools for re-branding by several European companies including Emco (Austria), Huvema (Switzerland & France), Optimum (Germany) and COAB (Sweden). In the USA Grobet sold what appears to have been a MJ-189 clone advertised as a "Saupe Precision Instrument Lathe." ..