I am considering buying one of the 7" by 10" lathes that both Enco and Harbor Freight sell for about $400. This lathe will be used to cut plastic, aluminum, brass and occasionally steel under CNC control (Dan Mauch's stuff). Experiences, both good and bad, appreciated. Sincerely, Olin K. McDaniel, III
I have bought 4 . The latest is being mod'd for R8 collets . It has nylon gears , and a toothed belt and a very nice DC motor with excellent speed control .... ( needs molydisulfide grease on nylon gears before use .)
The bed is soft and the cross slide will need to be hand scrapped . It was NOT touching on mine .
I gouge the saddle to allow more travel , flip the dial over and saw off the round part . Tail stock is worthless , make a new one using dowel pins and clamps to hold MT 2 or 3 ... ??? Why can't i push a chuck/drill bit over dowel pins !!
I shim the center of the 3 bolts in the block slides then titen the others carefully to adjust the under side pressure on the carraige . But the one on the far right has a lever to lock the carriage.
Maybe ENCO's will do metric but HF wont , only SAE threads . It has the proper clock wheel , unlike the big 12" belt drive lathe from ENCO ! But ENCO's gear drive 12" lathe has a proper 16T and will sync to ALL integral threads ! Idiot Chineese a 16 TPI LS dont sync' on a 12T thread clock gear ! it misses many threads ..
at $380 , HF 7 by 10 can't be ignored . It will earn back that money . There's much to be hated about it .
I will grind the R8's threaded end down , cause i dont want to cut out the lathe spindle to "all the way" , it will make it too thin .
HF sells a 4 jaw and a face plate . I dont like face plate , ill make my own will only drilled holes , no slots . You can't use slots in a small lathe , better to simply make a jig that screws to the face plate and slide what you want in the jig . HF sells Carbide . You can do far better work skipping HSS bits , but you must hone carbide , shrapen with GC wheels from ENCO $8 .
I lucked out , bought 12 used index boring bars when i was in BKK ... $20 all . They index on their bottom , no more struggle adjusting ht .
I like makin stuff , a HF polisher 7" has the lowest speed of any $30 elect tool , ill put a 1.5" alum drum on it and flat belt it to a larger shive , make a dandy hand held drill press with a hold off jig to feed . One part bolts to the drill/motor , the other is a shoe that holds off the work and the 3rd is a threaded sleeve that you turn to allow a steady feed into the work , all very light wt .
Polisher spins 3000 RPM and has high amperage , var speed and cheap $30 . The gears look sim to a 7 or 9 inch grndr , but the reduction is much lower speed . I cud use achop saw , but i think the duty cycle is lower for the motor core size ratio to amperage is very bad !
I like makin tools .....