Author Topic: Cowells lathes are they any good  (Read 2552 times)

Offline sbwhart

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Cowells lathes are they any good
« on: September 23, 2020, 05:37:10 PM »
Has any one had any experience of using a Cowells lathe any good or bad points

Stew
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Offline AVTUR

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2020, 06:02:34 PM »
I hope they are as good as they are said to be.

I have one on order. The order was placed on the bank holiday with delivery probably in February. Colin, the company director, says it is the busiest they have been for 16 years, which cannot be a bad thing.

AVTUR
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Online Twizseven

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2020, 06:22:49 PM »
Stewart,

I have had one for some time, but not done much on it recently.  The early machines had aM14x1.5 nose thread whereas the newer machines are M14x1.0 which is much better.  It gives you scope to buy lots of standard size chucks etc.  Mine is one of the earlier machines and I have in fact changed the spindle on mine to the later version so as to be able to move chucks, faceplates, collet chucks from lathe to Cowells Mill (and also onto the Myford Super 7).  Mine did not unfortunately have the resettable dials.  The early collet chucks and collets left a lot to be desired but the later ones I believe are much better.  From speaking to Colin late last year I understand he was going to replace his collet chuck with a newer version which would take ER11 or possible ER16 collets.

I fitted both the Cowells Lathe and Mill with DRO's using magnetic scales from Machine-DRO and Touch-DRO software (and appropriate controller for the scales) from Yuriystoys site.  I have a several posts on here with pictures and info on this.  I am very pleased with the DRO's on both machines.  It is a great machine for small scale bits.

The drive belt pulleys need to be kept clean as possible to prevent belt slip.

I have my two Cowells machines in my home/office and they are ideal for use in winter when cold in the garage/workshop.

Jo Thoms has done a lot more on her Cowells lathe and I'm sure she will be along shortly with lots more useful info.

If you keep your eyes open on Ebay you can occasionally find bits for these machines.  One of my machines came via Ebay and the other from a MEW advert.  I was lucky and had quite a few extras with both machines.

Best of luck with it.

AVTUR I hope you enjoy your machine when you receive it.

Colin

Offline Jo

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2020, 06:44:18 PM »
Has any one had any experience of using a Cowells lathe any good or bad points

It depends on what you are expecting:

If you want to compare it with a Chinese import then I would recommend that you use the Chinese import as a boat anchor.

If you want to compare it with a Swiss lathe costing ten times as much then it probably won't meet your expectations. 


The later machines are better than the earlier machines.


I think my Cowells is a good pairing with Mr Silky (my HLV-H) I am still waiting for my absolutely immaculate Schaublin 90 Lathe but even then I will probably keep my Little C (Cowells ME). I use Dial gauges rather than digital readouts on Little C, she normally gets used every week...


What are you thinking of using one for?

Jo

P.S. Big C is my as good as new Colchester Master  :Love:

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Offline Bobsmodels

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2020, 10:10:08 PM »
Hi Stew (and AVTUR)

I purchased a Cowells several years ago.  I got the 90ME.  Purchased a number of attachments since it needed to be shipped to the US I got more than I may have needed.  Before using it I made a toolpost holder and rear cutoff toolpost ( there are some threads here on it, just search on Cowells).  Now to answer your question.  I purchased it because I have wanted one for at least 20 years and decided I was not getting any younger (71 when I got it).  I have a well equipped set of sherline equipment, and a Super 7B Myford, both of which have handled my small stuff.  So my comparison is based on those lathes.

I have not put on any DRO stuff, if I need something in inches I just stick a dial indicator on lathe.  It is a very smooth running machine.  I have made small parts, bearings, little parts for valve linkages, etc.  It is just fine for small stuff, which is what it is designed for.  The three jaw chuck is dead on, at least mine is.  I would say at this point it has taken over at least 60% of what I would have done on the Sherline or Myford (which at this point sees very little small work). 

 It could take over all the work on the Sherline with the exception that the hole in Cowells is only about .25" sometimes an issue.  The biggest short coming, given the equipment I already own, is the collet system.  The Sherline handles WW collets and I do a lot of work using them.  I have the collet holder for the Cowells and it is a bit cumbersome to use.  It took me awhile to get a set of collets that fit correctly and gave me run outs that were acceptable to me. Not all DA200 collets are equal in quality.  If you ordered the collet holder you need to get on ebay and find NOS Erickson / Kennametal collets.  Not the new ones, I purchased a set from MSC and sent it back, the 3 jaw chuck had better run out than any of the collets in the new set.  DA200 collets are spec'd at .001, all of the ones I have are .0006 or less.  The ones I purchased from two different sources 10% at .001 or less, most at .002 or worse.  I got the Erickson collets because Colin told me that was the specs he used when he made collet holder.  If I did not have the Sherline, the Cowells collet system would be just fine given I have a nice set of collets.

Actually at this point I have the Sherline set up all the time with the WW collet system.

I think you (AVTUR) will be very pleased with your purchase, the more I use it the more I find myself walking over to it for making a part.  Not sure what you ordered with it.  Buy the collet chuck now and not later that way Colin can match it you lathe.   Here is what I ordered:
   
0-5/16 (8mm) DRILL CHUCK&ARBOR      
COLLET ADAPTOR FOR 90ME   
FACEPLATE      
HARD CENTRE  x 2      
DRILL PAD - PLAIN FOR 90ME AND 90E      
SCREW CUTTING GEAR SET      
NO.4 - ZERO MT/ OJ TAPER DRILL CHUCK ARBOR      
NO.5 - ZERO MT/ 3/8 x 24tpi DRILL CHUCK ARBOR      
60 holes in 64 tooth gear (this was a special request)   


Stew - go for it and get in line for the build, you will like it.

Bob

Offline sbwhart

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2020, 06:18:48 AM »
Has any one had any experience of using a Cowells lathe any good or bad points



What are you thinking of using one for?

Jo


Jo
I want to use it for making injector cones my Chesters lathe just hasn't got the repeatability for the accuracy required I think the Cowells top speed could handle the 0.5mm drills.

Thank you all for your comments and insight from what you have said I think the Cowells will do the job the only problem now is the cost will rule out a new one, I think I'm going to have to try and drop on a second hand machine.

Stew 
A little bit of clearance never got in the way

Offline Jo

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2020, 07:16:39 AM »
The early Cowells do not have the highest speed and the accessories are not as good as Colin mentioned above.

I wonder if a new Sherline would do you for the injectors  :thinking: Bill Lindsey has both might be worth asking him for a comparison.

Jo

P.S. you could buy a lot of injectors for the price of a new Cowells  :-X
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Offline sbwhart

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2020, 08:06:29 AM »


P.S. you could buy a lot of injectors for the price of a new Cowells  :-X

I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to injectors Jo I've made them successfully but I seem to have lost my mojo and currently I can't make one for love or money its really frustrating.

Stew 
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Offline steamer

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2020, 09:40:24 AM »
I'd never cry over the price of a very good lathe.....

Its the gift that keeps on giving...

Dave
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Offline Jo

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2020, 10:50:45 AM »
I'd never cry over the price of a very good lathe.....

Grown men might cry if they knew what I paid for Little C  ;)

Jo
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Online Twizseven

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2020, 12:48:51 PM »
Jo,

Enlighten us and make us cry.  :'(

I think I had quite a good deal with mine as it had quite a lot of accessories.  In fact I think there were about 400 worth of accessories.  So I was reasonably happy with the approx 900 I paid.

Colin

Offline Jo

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2020, 01:05:10 PM »
Jo,

Enlighten us and make us cry.  :'(

I think I had quite a good deal with mine as it had quite a lot of accessories.  In fact I think there were about 400 worth of accessories.  So I was reasonably happy with the approx 900 I paid.

Colin

I parted with every pound/penny in my possession  :stir: and after passing on the other bits that came with her to recover my costs. ..  she stood me in 50 

But I should mention she had been totally dismantled: http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,2238.0.html so I brought it as scrap

Jo

P.S. No that was not a typo  ::)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 03:40:07 PM by Jo »
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Offline Bluechip

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2020, 08:46:41 PM »

................... she stood me in 50 


Jo



 :o  There are times I despair at the profligacy of the younger generation. Fifty quid is 2 1/2 litres of So-Co at Sainsbury's current price .....   :wine1:

Dave

Offline Pete49

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Re: Cowells lathes are they any good
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2020, 03:45:31 AM »
or a bottle of good whiskey at Dan Murphy's
I used to have a friend.....but the rope broke and he ran away :(....Good news everybody I have another friend...I used chain this time :)