Manufactured in the USA (and sold in the UK as the "Peatol" and in Holland and possibly other continental European countries as the "Grimberg") the Taig 2.25" x 9.75" miniature lathe has been in production for many years and is now offered in the form of a Mk. 2 machine. Cleverley designed and constructed, the lathe has a bed made from a section of dovetailed-edge, ground steel plate fastened to a base formed from a hollow aluminium extrusion filled with concrete. The carriage is machined from an aluminium casting and the headstock, cross slide and tailstock from aluminium extrusions; whilst useless for larger lathes, the very much smaller forces involved in turning small components do allow the successful use of this normally unsuitable material for structural parts in tiny machines.
Well-made, the headstock is actually two mirror-image extrusions which clamp around a bearing assembly containing pre-loaded ball races; the assembly is held together at the top by set screws whilst the lower bolts, which pass through one side of the casing and are screwed into the other, hold the unit to the 45 degree-angle bed sides. Sealed precision ball bearing are used, the spindle carrying a 3/4 in. - 16 t.p.i. SAE nose and bored through 0.343"; spindle speeds, using the standard motor, span 525 to 5200 r.p.m. -though the makers state that up to 7000 r.p.m. is possible.
In the UK the lathe comes as a kit of parts, with a bed, headstock, carriage cross slide and a simple toolholder; in order to complete the machine a wide range of accessories is available, some essential and some to extend its versatility; items available include: poer feed for the carriage, tailstock, compound slide rest, a pair of 11 mm bore pulleys to attach to headstock spindle and electric motor, a mounting plate to hold the motor, vertical slide, raiser blocks, fixed steady, collets, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, faceplate, lever-action drilling tailstock, tailstock drill chucks and die holder, rotating centre and a wood-turning 4-jaw chuck, faceplate, tool rest, cut-off tool holder, ball-turning attachment, flycutter, machine vice, grinding wheel and slitting saw arbors, alternative pulley sets, raiser blocks for headstock and toolpost and a set of miniature wood-turning tools.
The original Taig lathe looked very similar, but was constructed along rather different lines with a cast headstock and no room on the bed for a tailstock; a picture can be seen at the bottom of the page.
While a lathe of this size and construction is not suitable for turning large diameters in resilient materials it is perfectly suitable for lighter work and can cope with surprisingly large chunks of aluminium, brass and plastic.
Taig now also offer a rather fine-looking miniature vertical miller in standard and CNC forms.
The machine is marketed in the UK by PEATOL Machine Tools: Phone 0121 429 1015 and there is a comprehensive and very interesting Web Site run by a Nick Carter, an enthusiastic Taig dealer.
The official web site is at: http://www.taigtools.com