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Old watchmaker lathes, or very small lathes like the Proxxon FD150/e look affordable used, and not very space consuming either.

Can these be used, by a non expert, to build aluminium parts like thread adapters between 20 and 80 mm in diameter, threaded retainers, spacers, tubes, from aluminium or brass bar stock?

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  • "this old tony" (on you tube) does a review of the cheap minilathe. it does have threading capability, but setting the thread pitch involves rearranging the contents of the gear box – Jasen Dec 25 '19 at 21:54
  • For soft metals like brass bronze and aluminium, taps and dies are perfectly adequate. Single point threading becomes more economical if you have a lot of weird sizes, thread forms and shapes to deal with. – Criggie Apr 1 '20 at 3:57
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The Proxxon doesn't look like it can cut threads so that won't help you in that area. As far as the other items you want to make it looks good. With practice you would probably get good results. I learned how to use a lathe in high school shop class and it's not hard. Some of the other much more expensive lathes can cut threads but with optional equipment.

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  • I agree the pd model has threading ability but not the FD. My grandfather had a “watchmakers” lathe I think they are just smaller precision models usually around 6” some have threading capabilities some do not. + – Ed Beal Dec 25 '19 at 21:22
  • Watchmakers lathes have oddball chucks, able to pin and hold a watch body in off-center positions to drill post holes and so on. A watchmaker would not use a lathe for threading because most of the threads are too small for single point cutting. The exception there might be outer casing threads where a die would be very large. – Criggie Apr 1 '20 at 3:56

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