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Levin Lathes - page 2
Levin Lathes Home Page   Levin Ball-turning Lathe
If any reader has a Levin lathe that they would like to see appear in the
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Levin Micro-Drilling Attachment with optional dial-test indicator.
Able to fit any Levin lathe with an 18-inch bed, the Micro Drilling Attachment (Code ABJV) was developed to assist with the drilling of very small holes to below 0.004" where, for best results, it is essential that both the workpiece and drill rotate (in opposite directions, of course) and that the drill and lathe spindles are in exact alignment.
The unit, of considerable size, and superb quality, is adjusted by two screw feeds at the side of the drill spindle - perfect alignment can be achieved by delicate experimentation. The flange carrying the drill feed screw is independently mounted and, as the screw is turned, it is necessary to maintain a steady pressure on the slide handle to allow the feed to progress. The use of a separate screw feed both limits the pressure on the drill (and so reduces breakages) and means that, once the drill has been withdrawn to clear chips, it can be instantly returned by the slide handle to its last working position without fear that it will strike the bottom of the hole and work-harden the material before cutting again.
The base of the unit has an adjustable gib so that it can be fitted to any WW style lathe, and the drill spindle accepts WW sized collets.
A bracket is provided on the side of the unit to which a dial-test indicator can be fitted.
A friend successfully employed one of these machines to drill 0.001" holes through carbide discs for use in gas-analysis machines used for bomb-detection duties in airport security screening.

Levin Micro-Drilling Attachment mounted on the lathe with a drive via the Adjustable Idler Pulley

If there is one accessory guaranteed to excite the interest of Levin lathe owners, this is it - a complete Screwcutting Attachment (Code ABDP or ABHG with metric translation gears).

Lever Action Collet Closer (Code ACAO) as used on the "Heavy Duty" lathes

To the engineer the word is "collet" - but the dedicated watchmaker knows them as a "chuck", "split chuck" or "wire chuck". Because they are drawn directly into the heart of the headstock spindle they should, in theory, run with perfect concentricity, however, because they are undoubtedly the most used accessory they often become, through familiarity, the most abused. If the "prongs" are not maintained in perfect condition they cannot close evenly, or grip the work concentrically - and even minute amounts of dirt in the bore, or on the closing seat, can completely ruin the accuracy. Top-class tool-steel collets are expensive but, if looked after, can last a lifetime - store them in a proper rack, not thrown loosely together in a box and keep them clean and rust free.
The WW collets used in Levin other lathes of the same type may look the same, indeed, they may well appear to fit the spindle and draw up snugly. However, because of minute variations in production standards and differences in thread form and overall length, it is unwise to use other than the maker's collets in any precision lathe still in first-class order.
Most collets for watchmakers' lathes are marked in the metric system where, for example, a No.2 would have a 0.2 mm bore, a No.10 a 1.0 mm bore and a No.15 a 1.5 mm bore, etc.
Some collets however are marked with English sizes, often starting with a minimum size of 1/64". Collet sets were often made with a change in the "step size" as the collets reached a certain nominal diameter; for example, the collets may have been made in steps of 0.05 mm up to 1 mm in diameter and then in 0.1 mm steps for the larger sizes - but this was by no means a fixed method, and many different combinations have been offered.
Three series of Levin Step Collets are to be found - each collet in the set has nine different diameter recesses.
The three Sizes Ranges are:
Midget 5.8" dia. WW type Code SCSS (in leatherette box)
Large 1" dia. WW type Code SCLS (in leatherette box)
Large 1" dia. D type Code ABAO (in leatherette box)
Clock 13/4" dia. WW type Code ABIH
Clock 13/4" dia. D type Code ABIJ

WW Type Collets

WW Metric Sizes 1 - 50
(English range 1/64" - 3/16")

WW Metric Sizes 51 - 64
(English range 13/64" - 1/4")

WW Metric Sizes 65 - 69
(English size 17/64")

WW Metric Sizes 70 - 80
(English range 9//32" - 5/16")

Step Collet: (English range 3/8" - 1")

D Type Collets

WW Metric Sizes 1 - 80
(English range 1/64" - 5/16")

Step Collet:
(English range 3/8" - 1")

Set of five (Large style) 1" dia. D type Step Collets (Code ABAO) in leatherette box.

Step Collets in use holding watch-movement wheels (gears)

Blank Collets - basic dimensions.

Levin chucks were made in the usual sizes and types for this class of lathe and mounted on the appropriate draw-in collet. All the chucks have an internal and external holding capacity of 223/32"
- a 6-jaw "Bezel Chuck" (Code ABFD of WW collets and Code ABFE for D collets)
Fitted with "face jaws" which could be removed from the inner scroll jaw, and reversed; used for the delicate holding of thin discs, rings, instrument and watch and small clock bezels.
- a high-precision 3-jaw chuck (Code ABEX for WW collets and Code ABEY for D collets) fitted with reversible face-jaws and a scroll operated by an external hand-turned ring; designed for holding work too large for the collets.
An independent 4-jaw chuck (Code ABHY for WW collets and ABHZ for D collets) with reversible jaws and a maximum capacity of 2
23/32".
Faceplates were available in two different styles; a beautiful traditional type with three independently adjustable jaws and a "pump centre" for locating work; large "peep holes" were provided to aid setting up. A simple but exquisitely made 3
7/8" diameter tapped-hole faceplate was also available (Code ABHU with a WW mounting and Code ABHV in a D collet fitting).

6-jaw Bezel Chuck with a maximum capacity of 223/32"

Chuck for holding bezels

Ring-scroll 3-jaw Precision Chuck

4-jaw Independent Chuck

Cement Brasses - alternative way of holding delicate parts.

Tapped faceplate

A traditional Watchmakers'-type faceplate with three independently adjustable jaws and a "pump centre" for locating work; the

Utility Set (Code UFCS for WW collets and ABBC for D collets) included two high-speed steel gravers - hand-turning tools - (Code HSPG), a graver holder (Code CGGH), an aluminium oxide grinding wheel 2.5" x 1/8" (Code GWWD), a fine India Oilstone wheel 2" x 1/4" (Code GWIS), a wheel dressing stick (Code GWDS), two grinding-wheel arbors (Code GWAD for WW collets and Code GWMX for D collets), a cutter arbor (Code CCAQ for WW collets and ABAY for D collets), two high-speed circular saws 1" x 0.14" and 1" x 0.32" (Code CSHS) and a collet holder and a saw table assembly (Code UFST for WW collets and ABBD for D collets).
The saw holder was a hard-steel square block with a nut to draw a collet in. Used in conjunction with the Saw Table if offered a quick method of slotting small screw heads, milling squares and other useful machining operations.
The components of the set were available individually.

Saw Table and Collet Holder (Code UFST for WW collets and Code ABBB for D collets).

Collet Holder and a Saw Table Assembly in use

Manufactured for many years, the Levin precision drill was built along traditional lines for the type with a rear-mounted 1/12 hp 1725 rpm motor driving a round belt over twin jockey pulleys on its way to a precision ball bearing, WW-collet spindle.
The spindle head was designed for absolute precision and hence did not slide - although the position of its housing on the column could be adjusted - instead the 3
3/8" x 4" table was elevated through 1.5" of travel by a rack-and-pinion control fitted with a micro-adjustable stop.
Two ranges of spindle speeds were available. The slower drill (Code ABEL) had 1725, 2600, 3000 and 4700 rpm whilst the faster, fitted with a 3450 rpm motor (Code ABKP) ran at 3450, 5200, 6000 and 9400 rpm.
Small, Jacobs type, chucks are not recommended for holding microscopic drills - however, they can still be used if extreme accuracy is not required

Levin also manufacture a range of tooling to fit their capstan lathes - all with a 1/2" shank
Left: adjustable Boring Tool Holder.
The head has a short micrometer screw-operated slide which allows the tool to be offset by up to 0.25".

Releasing Tap Holder.
Constructed with a shockless clutch releasing mechanism and with all working parts hardened and ground the maximum thread capacity is 1/8". The shank is adjustable for precise alignment.
This accessory was also available with shanks to fit the lathe headstock and tailstock.

Releasing Holder for Geometric Die Head.
This unit is constructed to accept Geometric EJ5 Swiss Type adjustable die heads from 1/16" to 3/16". All working parts are hardened and ground and the shank adjustable for precise alignment.
This accessory was also available with shanks to fit the lathe headstock and tailstock.

Releasing Acorn Die Holder.
The head holding the shockless release mechanism is adjustable relative to the shank to obtain perfect alignment. All working parts are hardened and ground.
This accessory was also available with shanks to fit the

Floating Collet Holder.
This unit, with a hardened and ground shank and head, accepts WW type lathe collets. Because so many sizes of collet are available (in microscopic steps) that the need to make bushes to hold tools is virtually eliminated.

Drill Chuck - useful for holding small drills, reamers and other tools. Two types were available, one with a maximum capacity of 5/32 - the other 1/4".

Floating Reamer Holders.
Designed to accept standard machine reamers for precision reaming operations. The larger of two sizes available accepted reamers up to 3/8".

Box Tool. A micrometer adjustment is provided to set the cutter whilst hardened vees support the stock.

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Levin Lathes - page 2
Levin Lathes Home Page   Levin Ball-turning Lathe