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Just to get a sort of range of opinions (which you are pretty well guaranteed on this List), what sort of spindle speed do you blokes use when turning nickel silver rod?

Reason for the question is that I had always been pointed to the higher speeds ( say, 1750 rpm), but just lately seem to be getting better results at about 500 rpm. using a Sandvik-Coroman triangular replaceable tungsten-carbide tool.  (Peter McKean)

    If I remember right, I run my lathe around 750 RPM when turning nickel silver for reel seat hardware. I use an indexible  carbide insert.  (Dave LeClair)


I was wondering about the speed of my lathe when working on silver nickel tube for ferrules. I noticed in the archives a helpful email from Dave LeClair suggesting that a speed of 750 rpm was about right.

However as one who is self taught enough on engineering matters to use a lathe to make ferrules, but nothing else, do any of the experts out there have a simple way of working out what the speed of a lathe is. My lathe has a manual with details of different speeds using different gear wheels but that is all a bit beyond me. I would however like to know whether my lathe turns at a speed within cooee of the recommended speed. Can anyone suggest a method that does no involve expensive instruments or complex procedures?  (Ian Kearney)

    It depends on the lathe, the rigidity thereof, and the tooling.  The good news is, NS is a very forgiving metal to machine.  You don't really need to be perfectly spot on with speeds and feeds and depth of cut (though it does help...)  Those feeds and speeds and depth of cut tables were figured out on big, rigid lathes and mills, and are optimized for them.  My suggestion is to use the feeds and speeds and DOC as a starting point, and play around with it.  You'll eventually find the sweet spot.  750 rpm is a decent place to start, but sometimes you have  to adjust - that 750 rpm was figured out for a certain stock diameter.  As the diameter of the stock gets smaller, I'll at times nudge the speed up a little bit if I don't like the finish of the cut.  I always do that when cutting off, the closer I get to the center of the work piece.  (Mark Wendt)


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