Unimat Machine Tool

I don’t own a Unimat yet, but have had the pleasure of borrowing a ’70s model for small projects from time to time. I’ve used it on metal, wood, and plastic.

It’s a miniature wonder tool, made in Austria. It transforms from a lathe, to a drill press, to a mill, and back again. The older model looks a bit like a home sewing machine and has similar dimensions. You can whip this thing out on a desk and start machining stuff.

It’s relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the larger individual machines that it imitates. I’ve created many smaller parts on a Bridgeport that could have been completed on a Unimat. Of course there are limitations on speed, power, and precision, but for certain projects it’s the perfect fit.

I’ve never used the newer black & red model that looks like it’s made from 80/20 beam, so I can’t speak to them. But the older ones are well crafted. They have the feel of a fine watch crossed with a classic kitchen appliance. The parts are solid and hefty. The motor is beefy. The design is simple and precise. A real joy to touch and work with.

For me the ultimate combo is a Unimat coupled with a 3D printer. Subtractive and additive making without leaving the office chair means maximum iterations on protoypes while still having the computer nearby for research or CAD’ing.

unimat

Unimat demonstration from Dustin Firebaugh on Vimeo.

-- Aaron Nipper  

[Here's a video of Aaron's Unimat in action - Mark Frauenfelder]

Unimat Mini Lathe
Out of production since 1977
Check eBay for models and prices